111 South Circular Rd., Portobello
A "bastible" is a type of old-school, flat-bottomed cast-iron pot, used to cook everything from bread to meat in times long past. This place goes back to basics, reimagining the good, solid food of an Irish childhood for the modern palate. Contemporary Irish cuisine has borrowed a few tenets from the new Nordic—an obsession with seasonality and no cut corners are especially evident at this restaurant. Chef Barry Fitzgerald (formerly of Etto and London’s Harwood Arms) is turning out 48-hour fermented sourdough ready to be slathered in house-made butter, scallops, and salty seaweed potatoes, duck eggs with crispy parmesan croutons...you get the idea. The menu is set, with Sundays reserved for bigger pieces of meat or fish for the obligatory family-style roast dinner.
14b Emorville Ave., Portobello
Bibi's, on a corner of a sleepy Portobello terrace, can be hard to find unless you know about it—which everyone does. Run by brother and sister Geoff and Maisha Lenehan (their mother often lends a hand), the café is beloved for the reliably good breakfasts of creamy eggs, crispy bacon, and fresh ginger-and-honey tea. The menu rarely changes, which is just fine with the locals. People always want the same thing here anyway: spicy Turkish eggs and thick buttery slabs of sourdough. The space is small and cozy with a lovely familial atmosphere thanks to friendly regulars and servers who have bussed the same tables for years.
46 Harrington St., Portobello
Unanimously declared the best breakfast in Ireland, Brother Hubbard serves portions such that you probably won't eat much for the rest of the day. The food strikes the balance between health and indulgence; the classic but simple porridge is a reminder of childhood breakfasts—healthy, hot, with too much honey. Bravely opened at the tail end of the recession, no corners are cut here, and each dish has been constructed for maximum flavor. The beans on toast are topped not just with the perfect poached egg but with a zesty lemon-turmeric yogurt and pickled red onion; the homemade masala chai is the only coffee alternative we ever willingly order. The modern dining room is immediately appealing, super minimalist lifted by sculptural undulating lights that descend from the ceiling and give the space a golden glow. There's always a line snaking out the door, usually for the do-it-yourself hot cocoa: chocolate ganache and steamed milk in separate cups, a dream come true for those who like a little milk with their chocolate.
Meet Me in the Morning
50 Pleasants St., Portobello
Dublin's café culture has exploded, with no corner of the city left untouched by the whiff of a well-made flat white. Meet Me in the Morning is one of the newer kids on the block, with a chef slash artist manning the kitchen and a champion barista handling the espresso. The short menu lists the kind of dishes you want to eat in the morning, some heavy, some light, all extraordinary. The nut butter is no ordinary chalky almond spread; instead, it's a blend of toasted hazelnuts and cacao smeared on toast with local honey and flaky sea salt. The egg and greens? A sautéed mix of leek, spinach, and chard served on garlicky toast with yogurt and paprika. Grab a seat outside and work your way through the coffee menu while you wait for some of the most beautifully plated food in Dublin.
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