Paul Coffey and Brian Drinan opened this enterprising daytime restaurant and lifestyle store just off Patrick Street in August 2013, and it hit the ground running - not surprisingly, perhaps, as it’s an interesting concept and they wisely appointed Pam Kelly (formerly Head Chef of Nash 19) to head up the kitchen.
Painted white and with lots of windows towards the front, it’s a pleasing place with a stylishly comfortable mixture of old and new in the décor. Far from being ‘just a café’, the large bright space offers speciality foods from a selection of artisan producers, including Jack McCarthy Butchers, Green Saffron Spices, G’s Jams and Celtic Kitchens and you can also browse through the home wares by Memento and buy fresh flowers from the well known florists Best of Buds - whose large, eye catching arrangements break up the large space nicely.
But the main business is meeting and eating in this spacious place and the day starts early, when the breakfast menu is rolled out at 8.00 a.m and customers start calling in for their porridge or granola and hot dishes like the Full Perry, the Half Perry and various more-ish combinations of eggs and mushrooms etc
Mid morning or mid afternoon and the “snackers” are in, sipping a coffee or a tea (or maybe a glass of wine) along with a tempting pastry - and it has become a popular spot for informal business meetings too.
Business peaks at lunch time, when those in the know pour in the door to enjoy Pam Kelly’s famously wholesome fare - local producers are highlighted, with Ardrahan, O’Connell’s and Tom Durcan typically mentioned on the board - and straightforward good cooking.
Don’t be put off if you see a longish queue, it moves on quickly: you order, from the counter or from the blackboard menus, and the staff – who are very helpful and on the ball – find you a table and continue to keep an eye on your needs, even at the busiest times.
The system works well and tasty dishes like beef fillet stroganoff with red rice and the superb café salad, or an excellent quiche made with the superb Ummera smoked chicken are well worth a couple of minutes’ wait.
A wine list is offered along with other drinks, including some local ones such as the lovely Stonewell craft cider from nearby Kinsale.