Like stepping into a country kitchen in the midst of the city, this subterranean café aspires to take you away from the urban humdrum and restore you with honest-to-goodness home cooking and traditional baking, it’s not surprising that sourcing is at the heart of this modest operation.
Décor is refreshingly low-key with small wooden and zinc-topped tables and mismatched wooden chairs crammed into two rooms. Set in the basement of Dublin’s Little Museum (customers get a 10% discount on entry to the museum) this space would originally have been the kitchen of this fine town house.
It’s romantic to find the original hearth, crammed with firewood, as a main decorative feature and a trip to the bathroom reveals the old stone steps staff would have used to carry dishes up to the family above.
The walls are plain but the large island counter groans under the weight of artfully arranged baking, fresh fruit and old style, Irish made sweets - and also a small but thoughtfully selected collection of Irish artisan products for sale: “If it isn’t Irish we don’t sell it”.
Serving an all-day menu that includes fried breakfasts served in a pan, complete with homemade soda bread and pats of Glenilen butter, there’s bottles of old school YR sauce on the side if you’re so inclined. Loose leaf Barry’s tea is served in generous silver pots with dainty strainers while a wine list offers 8 wines by glass and bottle as well as a few carefully chosen Irish craft cider and beers.
The commitment to Irish foods is evident on the menu where rustic sandwiches are served in blaas, Waterford’s famous floury baps, and items like Bellingham Blue cheese, Burren Smokehouse fish and Kettyle ham are all name checked.
Hot mains, perhaps fish cakes or beef and Guinness stew are offered alongside sandwiches, cold deli boards, salads comprise and daily specials. While only serving breakfast, lunch and cakes they do host occasional evening supper clubs based around talks by visiting food producers.
A wonderful city centre flagship for Ireland’s artisan produce Hatch & Sons’ heart is in the right place, even if service is a little scatty at busy periods. Dishes are clean and light, which is a good thing as it leaves room for the tempting baking on display. If it’s on offer, their carrot cake is amongst the finest in Dublin.