Everything from high-end gastro domes and funky pop-ups to multicultural fast food, speciality BBQs and first-rate pub grub – which means it’s all happening for discerning gorgers like me.
As if to prove the point, I’m wandering up Camden Street to sample the delights of Green Nineteen when I’m sorely tempted by at least a half a dozen other places. To be honest, I can’t risk being too spontaneous in this game; a smidgen of pre-emptive research is always a recommended ingredient – but every one of these joints looks a creditable candidate for a review.
Still, before I know it, I’m at my destination. And besides the cool pared-back décor, two things in particular immediately stand out: first off, the atmosphere – its early afternoon and already its rammed (all two floors) with middle-aged business types, enormo-bearded hipsters, and a flotilla of girly-pals on a mid-week meet-up; and two – the menu.
As I wait for a table I see there’s a Toulouse sausage bap stuffed with horseradish mayo and a fried egg, house smoked pastrami with pickle and mustard, and braised pork belly with Dijon mash – the list goes on. But it’s not only the tempting range that grabs me. With starters all under €7 and mains all under €14 – I’m taken aback.
This all looks good.
Eventually I bag a seat and we’re off. The quinoa salad tastes every bit as good as it looks. I wash it down with a truly amazing homemade ginger beer. It’s like a shot in the arm for parched grub spies and as addictive as crystal meth.
They have me now – I can’t wait to try more. I could easily get hooked on the crunchy chickpea burger with minty tzatziki and a blast of Moorish flavour. In taste terms it’s right on the money. The grilled chicken and chorizo sandwich is on the cusp of sandwich ecstasy. If only the red pepper aïoli hadn’t turned the focaccia base into a gloopy mess.
A knife and fork are required for moping-up operations — not a high point in the sandwichmaker’s art. I’m almost tempted to say the chips are perfect, but they’re not — pretty darn close though. Perhaps they were hanging around a tiny bit too long before being plated?
But in a way I don’t mind, an excellent tomato salsa just about saves the day. Finally I have some raspberry cheesecake. And what can you say about cheesecake? It’s a dessert that’s almost impossible to go wrong with – and they don’t, which is fine.
I have to say I’d go back here like a shot. I’m not blown away by flawless cooking, inspirational food combinations, or anything I haven’t tasted before. But it would be hard not to embrace the welcoming vibe and the sheer overall good value.
Actually I’d describe Green Nineteen as a good-value-Xanadu. And with service that is also smooth and hassle-free. What’s not to like?
The damage: Food (€31.50) and drink (€3.5) = €35.