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The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - EATING OUT | SEVEN DAYS | -

IR­ISH FOOD DE­SIGNS

If you care about what you eat and where it comes from, that cu­rios­ity and at­ten­tion to de­tail might well trans­fer to what you eat off. In­deed, an in­ter­est in food prove­nance can lead to an in­ter­est in kitchen ac­ces­sory prove­nance.

There is plenty to draw from when lay­ing our ta­bles, thanks to our her­itage in ce­ram­ics and the work of makers such as Ni­cholas Mosse and Derek Wil­son. Also, Ir­ish de­sign­ers and makers work­ing with Ir­ish tim­bers and linens have us cov­ered when it comes to the grit­tier as­pects of kitchen life; the chop­ping and the tidy­ing up.

(bun­bary­boards.com) were first crafted in 2007 by the Lis­nav­agh Tim­ber Project, es­tab­lished by Wil­liam Bun­bury, who took over the man­age­ment of Lis­nav­agh Es­tate in 2001. He wanted to sus­tain­abil­ity pro­tect the es­tate’s hun­dreds of acres of wood­land by find­ing cre­ative ways to use fallen tim­ber. What makes Bun­bary Boards (from ¤29.50) spe­cial is that there is of­ten an edge left un­smoothed on each board, re­tain­ing a char­ac­ter­is­tic of the orig­i­nal piece of wood it was carved from.

An­other prac­ti­cal piece of wood comes from Water­ford­based (face­book.com/lit­tle­hillde­sign) whose boards come in a range of shapes and sizes. There are large round ones and small square pal­ettes of wood, per­fect for chop­ping an ap­ple and a wedge of cheese for a quick snack. Th­ese boards are avail­able to buy at the Ir­ish De­sign Shop (irishde­sign­shop.com).

The (satur­day­work­shop.ie) is an­other of my favourite makers work­ing with wood. Ed­ward and Iseult O’Clery are a fa­ther-daugh­ter team who started making things to­gether in their spare time as a way to chan­nel the cre­ative

Bun­bary Boards

Lit­tle Hill De­signs

Satur­day Work­shop

Knife-maker Fin­gal Fer­gu­son

as­pects of their re­spec­tive pro­fes­sions in ar­chi­tec­ture and engi­neer­ing. They make a range of wooden prod­ucts and toys, but my favourite is their set of four geo­met­ric egg cups (¤34). You can crack your boiled egg open over a square, cir­cle, tri­an­gle or hexagon, de­pend­ing on how you’re feel­ing that day. Also in the Ir­ish wood realm are

(su­per­folk.com), whose teapot triv­ets are made from Ir­ish ash, beech and oak. The de­sign team be­hind th­ese sur­face pro­tec­tors are de­signer and craft maker Gearoid Mul­downey and ar­chi­tect Jo Anne But­ler. Their aim is to de­sign and make home­wares “for peo­ple who love the wild out­doors” and their in­sta­gram ac­count (@su­per­folk) evokes the west-of-Ire­land life­style their brand em­bod­ies. For bread and cheese knives,

( chaim­fac­tor.com) in Wick­low is a one stop shop. Its bread and cheese knives (around ¤65) are made from the na­tive woods of Wick­low.

Su­per­folk

Chaim Fac­tor

of Gubbeen seems to be tak­ing a break from hand-craft­ing his ex­quis­ite knives but it might be worth see­ing if he has any left for sale by con­tact­ing him di­rectly through fin­galfer­gu­sonknives.com.

Fin­gal Fer­gu­son

Cut your Cloth

When it comes to tea tow­els, you can’t get much bet­ter than

Based in Ca­van, this com­pany is led by Damien Han­ni­gan (an­other ar­chi­tect) and

Chapel Lane.

Usu­ally, a menu that claims to of­fer the food of three na­tions makes me ner­vous but here it makes sense. The culi­nary tra­di­tions of Greece, Tur­key and Egypt have been swapped and shared through­out the ages, and it’s th­ese that Keshk’s menu fo­cuses on.

The hum­mus (¤6.50) has a grainy, home­made tex­ture, rather than sus­pi­ciously smooth, and pleas­antly bit­ter with tahini. The ac­com­pa­ny­ing pitta breads are soft, round and fluffy, served warm. The feta frit­ters (¤6.75) are large chunks of feta cov­ered in a coat of bat­ter and deep-fried, as op­posed to crum­bled feta in a bat­ter with mixed veg­eta­bles. The feta is in­tense served this way, but the grilled cour­gette that ac­com­pany them go some way to tem­per them.

A kafta in gar­lic but­ter

31

Joi Fu, who work with Ir­ish linens and tweeds to cre­ate home­wares. Their range of li­nen tea tow­els (¤16) are made with 100 per­cent Ir­ish li­nen and come in an range of pat­terns and styles. Also work­ing with Ir­ish li­nen is

(en­richan­den­dure.com) the apron makers from North­ern Ire­land. Based in Belfast and founded by brother-and-sis­ter team Lor­can and Sarah Quinn, their aprons are made from 100 per cent Ir­ish li­nen and are de­signed to be durable and hardy in the kitchen. Their ready-to-wear aprons start from £49 and come in a range of colours from or­ange to blue to cream. Last but not least are

(thetweed­pro­ject.com) aprons. Avail­able in two shades of grey, th­ese aprons are de­signed by Aoib­heann McNa­mara (of Ard Bia) and Tri­ona Lillis in Gal­way as part of their Ir­ish tweed and li­nen project, whose new range is be­ing launched this win­ter.

En­rich and En­dure

Tweed Project

(¤16.95) is more like a meat­ball in a creamy curry sauce. The meat is flavoured well and cooked on a char­coal grill. The sauce it­self has re­deem­ing qual­i­ties but as a dish, with the ac­com­pa­ny­ing rice, it doesn’t ex­cite. The falafel (¤15.95 for six pieces with a side salad and more fluffy pitta bread) are good, if a lit­tle dry. The desserts are the usual sus­pects of chocolate fudge cake and ice cream, the baklava (¤5.50) be­ing the top choice for dessert.

The ser­vice is friendly and ef­fi­cient. The dé­cor in­cludes paint­ings of kash­bahs and med­i­nas on the walls, and in­stead of go­ing for the full on Mid­dle East­ern plush palace, the look is in­stead clean and comfy, if a lit­tle out­dated and bland. Keshk is of­ten noted for its bring your own beer or wine

Aoife McEl­wain

pol­icy, and the fact that it has no cork­age fee or ex­tra charge for this.

They’re open for lunch, too, and serve most of the din­ner menu at lunchtime prices. They also do take­away and are on De­liv­eroo, so you can in­dulge in their hum­mus in the com­fort of your own home.

Berlin Café & Bier­haus

The

Claren­don Street, Dublin 2 face­book.com/ home­ofthe­bear € On the cor­ner of Cop­pinger Row and Claren­don Street in Dublin sits a cafe space that pays homage to the cre­ative city to whom Ire­land has lost many an Ir­ish artist; Berlin.

I was dis­trust­ful when I first saw the Berlin sign in the sum­mer of 2014, when it first opened. Much like an in­au­then­tic Ital­ian restau­rant called “Rome” or “Napoli”, it feels like a disin­gen­u­ous mar­ket­ing tool, an at­tempt to shift a few coffees through the as­so­ci­a­tion of a vibey city. I also bris­tle at the idea that we have to bring a bit of Berlin to Dublin to make it cool. I wasn’t ex­pect­ing to like it, so when I find my­self be­ing com­forted within its walls by a bowl of warm soup on a cold day, I’m pleas­antly sur­prised by the space and how it’s be­ing used.

Chairs and so­fas line the street out­side of the cafe, which curls around the cor­ner of the Pow­er­scourt Town­house Cen­tre. In­side, the high­ceilinged space is filled with long, communal wooden benches for pun­ters and a long, wooden counter for the baris­tas.

When I visit, the soup of the day (¤5.50) is a hearty tomato soup served with toasted sour­dough bread. Other op­tions in­clude a daily hot­pot (¤8) and a salad plate of four sal­ads, which can in­clude bul­gar wheat and shred­ded pick­led cab­bage, for ¤7.50. Pani­nis (still pop­u­lar in Berlin?) in­clude old favourites such as moz­zarella and tomato. It’s an un­am­bi­tious menu but it’s done well. The cof­fee is brewed with care and of­ten comes adorned with a bear through the medium of latte art. There are pret­zels on the cof­fee bar, and next to them are cakes by Pa­leo Man Foods, an ex­cel­lent gluten- and dairy-free dessert com­pany that also sup­plies Kaph around the cor­ner on Drury Street.

Where this Dublin café cap­tures some of Berlin’s cul­tural spirit best is the multi-pur­pose use of this space. It’s a day­time café that dou­bles up as a venue and DJ space for small, reg­u­lar gigs, and the room is well suited for it. Mon­day nights of­fer Dublin’s buskers the chance to sing with a roof over their heads and for you to dis­cover new tal­ent (you’ve been warned). Re­cently, a Cabaret Quiz Show was held on a Tues­day evening. Satur­day nights are given over to Disko Tapes from 6pm till late, where just a few weeks ago Olan O’Brien from All City Records was a guest DJ. Beers are avail­able too; last month a Brat & Bier spe­cial was on of­fer to cel­e­brate Ok­to­ber­fest.

So it turns out Berlin isn’t here to make a state­ment about Dublin; in­stead it’s try­ing to cel­e­brate a slice of Berlin’s mul­ti­pur­pose bar cul­ture on a Dublin cor­ner.

Café Joly

The Na­tional Li­brary of Ire­land Kil­dare Street, Dublin 2 nli.ie € The Na­tional Li­brary of Ire­land is home to records of Ir­ish life, made ac­ces­si­ble to those read­ers who wish to study the doc­u­ments and ar­chives of this pub­lic li­brary. The Li­brary is free of charge to any­one who wants to con­sult the col­lec­tions, though a reader’s ticket is needed, and avail­able from the li­brary’s front desk in the build­ing that over­looks the Dail, where the li­brary has lived since 1877.

It’s not a lend­ing li­brary and in­stead read­ing rooms abound in this im­pres­sive space. There is of­ten a small ex­hi­bi­tion in the hall­way just be­fore you en­ter

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