Home from home for its many loyal customers for over 20 years, Claire Nash’s bustling city centre restaurant is right in the heart of the business district and just a stone’s throw from the English Market – the source of much of the local and indigenous produce they are known for, including vegetables, fresh sustainable catches and meats.
Behind the attractive frontage of an old building, you pass through a recently opened organic food shop and deli to the restaurant, which is spread between several areas on the ground floor - with bright yellow painted up to waist height, and painted white above including exposed vaulted brickwork, it’s a cheerful spot, where quite well-spaced wooden-topped tables laid with good quality cruets and stainless cutlery set a tone of simple quality.
Although called a restaurant, it’s more a licensed café, open all day during the week, serving breakfast and lunch, also teas, coffee and light food throughout the day. ‘Simple food cooked honestly’ is their mantra and the day starts early, with a procession of deliveries from local producers and suppliers arriving between 7 and 8 o’clock each morning, and the bakers already busy making the fresh breads, scones and pastries that will be needed for the day.
The lunch menu changes every day, depending on the availability of fresh seasonal produce, many dishes are coeliac friendly and this is highlighted on the blackboard listing.
You might enjoy tasty starters of chowder & tomato and leek & lentil soup; well-made mains of seared salmon with salad & potatoes, and grilled hake on chive champ, and a freshly baked berry pie for dessert. Other mains might typically include roast loin of bacon, lamb curry, beef and a vegetarian option.
It’s a very child friendly place, with high chairs available, and a proper children’s 3-course lunch plus milk or cordial is offered every day for €10 (ie small portions taken from the main menu, not sausage & chips); this wholesome little meal might be a cup of squash & orange soup, chicken & mushroom pasta and a chocolate brownie. Also the staff are very tolerant – on the Guide’s visit the child was not very restaurant friendly.
A small but carefully chosen wine selection (mainly from small producers) is listed on a blackboard and changes monthly; Heineken is available by the glass and all staff are Barista Coffee trained.
The operation has been constantly evolving over the years and its most recent addition is the retail shop at the front of the premises selling their own and some specialist suppliers’ product.
There is a service counter at the front for the shop where you can buy snacks and treats to take away, or to eat on the premises – and, if you need ready meals, you’ll find quality casseroles, pies and pastas here to stock the fridge.