Brunchy delights and sweet treats in an urban sanctuary, says Grub Spy Alan Kelly
THE CAKE CAFÉ The Daintree Building, Pleasants Place, Dublin 8 4.5 stars Food: €19; Drinks: €4
Even at peak times, which seems to be any time of the day you might care to drop by, it is a magnet for diners seeking a hideaway brunch with a glass of something chilled or an abstemious snifter of homemade lemonade.
While you’re there, you might also check out the fantastic range of utterly desirable cakes of all shapes and makes, including vegan and coeliac options.
According to a friend of mine, who lived close by for a time, this much-admired neighbourhood kind of café/bakery/diner has been successfully operating for quite a while.
And straightaway, I can see why it’s a winner. They even offer bakery classes for those who actually have time to give baking a go at home.
I describe it good-humouredly as a kind of café/bakery/diner because of its tempting array of delicious brunchy delights: green goddess poached eggs with pea guacamole, pickled onions and goats cheese; potato farls with cannellini beans, crispy bacon and yoghurt dressing; spicy peanut rayu poached eggs — or what about buttermilk pancakes with citrus curd, sliced banana plus optional syrup and bacon?
The hungry lunchtime crowd are as young and old, beardy and white-collared as you can imagine.
Eventually, I decide to sample the toast special: On two sourdough slices are mounds of beetroot hummus, pea guacamole, (unexpected but no less gorgeous) pico de gallo, crumbly feta cheese, pickled onions, a pair of perfectly poached eggs and a splatter of crunchy dukkah for texture.
While it ever-so-slightly looks like an unholy mess — with a side-helping of Hicks merguez sausage it is utterly scrumptious, very filling and absolutely stuffed with a pleasing mish-mash of flavours.
I’d go back merely for this again. A super-toastie with added oomph and extra tastiness for the earnestly greedy.
How could I visit a place called The Cake Café and not try some cake? After that mega-toastie, I have just enough room left for a simple-looking slice of chocolate brownie.
Ably assisted with a zingy glass of homemade lemonade, I take my time to enjoy this light orange-scented chocolate classic.
It is surprisingly delicate with a just-right level of sweetness and flavour. Maybe it’s a tad on the dry side, but it still works for me.
Needless to say, for cake lovers, there is a fantastic range of goodies to choose from.
Oh and yes, at €30 a head you can enjoy a complete afternoon tea and sample a bit of everything, maybe even with a convivial glass or two of prosecco.
So, if after your next mad-busy work/shopping/sightseeing trip to the big smoke you require an oasis of calm to rest and relax in, you need look no further than Pleasants Place.
I am captivated by this adorable little bolthole, and I do mean little. Indoors is roughly the size of two phone boxes.
And while you have to be a certain age to actually know what a phone box is, you will have no problems fitting in here.