Her eyes sparkle as I look up. I’ve been staring beyond the grains of wood in the table. “enjoy” she says and gives me a knowing smile. The coffee has a tanned film, the spoon almost disintigrates on contact. She’s made it strong. She knows. And I think, “Christ, I must look awful”
In memory of my Great Aunt, who passed, and my Gran – her Sister – who were ladies versed in the fine Art of High Tea.
There are two on wicklow street. Firstly there’s a little one with only 12 tables or so. The seats are a little old and lumpy and the coffee grinder can be a little loud in such a small place but the coffee is good, the staff are nice and it’s got a small dark intitmate vibe (at this point I have been merrily tapping away in a corner for about an hour without being bothered which is good in my book).
The larger one, further down the street from grafton street, is a little fancier. The back area serves lunches and dinner. It’s very parisian and the Chocolate Opera cake is richly decadent.
The Cake café
Nestled behind the Daintree paper shop on camden street is a little treasure of sweet treats and savouries. Good coffee, good tea, friendly staff and an ecologically sound building ethos. This is where I encountered ‘hugs and kisses’, which are X and O shaped shortcake biscuits with cinnamon cream. Nom.
Airfield house café
All the way out in dundrum this café is the lunch rooms of large house and grounds. The coffe and tea should be enjoyed on the veranda whilst looking out at the gradens. (I feel the ladies would most certainly have approved of this one). Airfield house and grounds features a finely cultivated garden, some pens of chickens, goats, pigs and a field of cows, sheep and miniature horses. There are also allotment style mini gardens for children to plant vegetables and learn about growing foods and insect life. There are day talks and, my favourite bit, a garage of old cars from the 1920s (i think, could be wrong about the year). It’s a small grounds but definatly worth a visit.
It seemed that the ladies would take the view of ‘Expensive plus Exclusive equals Good’ with regard to certain things. So for that reason I include Avoca café. There is one on suffolk street on the top floor of the Avoca shop. The coffee was good and came with the foam expertly swirled into the face of a girl. What some of these barristas can do with just the flick of a jug is quite impressive.
There is also one on the grounds of the Mount Usher Gardens in Ashford and the grounds are sizable making this worth a visit in good blooming seasons.
CHQ dock IFSC
I need to double check this is still there but.. It would simply not be an appropriate ‘in memory of’ if it did not feature a tea house. Half way through the CHQ mall is a small tea shop with seats at the door. It has teas from all over the world and the owner can recommend a blend for any occasion. At the time of visiting you could get a High Tea of a pot of tea and a three tiered platter of treats (slice of sandwich, scone with jam and slice of cake). I find the CHQ mall a little souless but there was no denying the quality of the tea here.
And of course: Queen of Tarts
I am unsure whether the ladies would have preferred the large one on Cows Lane where you can watch people of so many diversaties eat some of the finest tarts in dublin and on a saturday experience a sea of colours in the Cow lane art market.. Or the small and cosy one on dame street which has very little room but almost feels like you must have a concentrated atmosphere to create the richly concentrated flavour of the sweet foods. Given the favoured fare of the ladies when I was out with them was tea and scones with jam I think they would have been quite happy with the pastries here 🙂
some of the fresh produce used in Queen of Tarts for their savoury treats
my goddaughter, a young lady of excellent taste, got me a Mule fairtrade coffee pack and mug.
Unfortunatly my plunger just wasn’t doing it justice. A few weeks later in a little kitchen supply shop off plunkett st in cork I came across an adorable art deco decorated 1 cup espresso pot. perfect. It may kick like a mule but since it’s only a mini cup the bruising is quite small