The younger retail sister of the McMahon family’s excellent Café Rua on New Antrim Street, this brilliant deli & café is first port of call for many food lovers visiting the town and stocks a wide range of the delicious foods and ingredients that have been served in the café for over a decade.
Upstairs, a bustling daytime café sells the same kind of quality homemade meals that keeps diners at the original Cafe Rua coming back as regulars.
Super breakfast/ brunch dishes begin with classics like Flahavans Organic Porridge with a choice of toppings or the Cafe Rua Fry (Kelly’s sausages and black & white pudding, ‘Andarl Farm’ bacon, fried eggs, grilled tomato and mushrooms with toast or brown soda), merging into brunch territory with a range of gourmet sandwiches and blaas. The lunch menu offers some comforting items that also say brunch (Kelly's sausage blaa with melted Maryland cheddar, perhaps) and it's also big on salads - although, whether breakfast, brunch or lunch, it's all semantics and the big story here is the sheer quality on offer.
They somehow manage to deal with the lunchtime queue on the stairs swiftly and charmingly. Large blackboards proclaim the dishes of the day (with due respect afforded to proudly named suppliers) and sweet temptations displayed at the counter make it unlikely you'll leave without dessert.
Downstairs, the shop is a delight, especially if you happen to call when one of the artisan suppliers is doing a promotion. International speciality foods feature too, of course, but the McMahons are renowned for supporting quality Irish producers and, among the many local goodies on sale, you’ll find Stephen Gould’s finest mixed salad leaf selection, from Headford; the excellent Nadurtha Pasta from remote Bangor Erris near(ish) Belmullet; the Butler family's unique Cuinneog country butter, from nearby Balla, Castlebar; Carrowholly raw milk cheese from Westport; Westport Grove jams and relishes (and an unusual quince paste) and the handmade Achill Island Sea Salt (when available).
Excellence from slightly further afield is represented by superb products such as St Tola Organic Goat’s Cheese from Inagh, Co Clare, Connemara Smokehouse smoked salmon and tuna from Ballyconneely, Co Galway and the super Castlemine Farm pies and other products from Co Roscommon.
Most local of all, there are the foods they make themselves - including gorgeous freshly baked breads and a range of chutneys, relishes and dressings – and they also sell non-food items like cookbooks and the beautiful Bunbury chopping boards from Lisnavagh Estate, Co Carlow. And that’s only the beginning.