Beautiful design, whether it’s Irish or international, never fails to cheer me up. So, when I take refuge from the rainy streets of Galway into the upstairs craft shop at Coffeewerk + Press, and find myself surrounded by Falcon pie dishes, Galway based Tweed Project blankets and Rian Poortvliet gnome prints, I sip on a perfect flat white and note how my mood shifts in a considerably more positive direction.
Coffeewerk + Press is the passion project of Daniel Ulrichs, whose family have owned and run the toy shop Wooden Heart in Galway since the late 1970s. Initially, Daniel set up this little sister company as a publisher for postcards and prints by local artists, which they still exhibit and sell today. He expanded the business to open the coffee and craft shop in May.
“It’s about starting a dialogue between the customer and the design pieces,” Ulrichs says. “Even if they don’t buy anything, it’s nice for people just to be around these beautiful things.”
I sit on the bay window on the second floor, looking out over a rain splattered Quay St. A vintage sideboard, complete with record player, sits under a slate fireplace and spins Bob Dylan’s
It couldn’t be more appropriate. Gestalten books such as and
sit alongside the Ard Bia cookbook on a display to my left.
Homeware and jewellery by Dutch design duo Onshus catche my eye, as well as the handmade soy candles by Californian PF Candle Co. The Rian Poortvliet gnomes are framed and hung over vintage filing drawers, and bespoke shelves, designed by Ulrichs and a friend especially for the space, are the object of admiration on my instagram feed when I post a pic.
Downstairs, their baristas make coffee using beans from The Barn in Berlin and Copenhagen’s Coffee Collective, both of which are available to buy by the bag, alongside Irish apple juice and a selection of the speciality tea that Coffeewerk + Press also serve. My flat white is faultless. It’s the right strength of coffee topped by the correct amount
John Street Dingle Co Kerry facebook.com/idasrestaurant € Dingle is not short of good restaurants, with stellar seasonal and year-round choices from local stalwarts such as Out of the Blue and The Global Village. Last year, Idás Restaurant joined this fine company when they moved from their original premises in the Gaeltacht town of Baile na nGall to John Street in Dingle. The chef at the helm is Kevin Murphy, and it’s his great-grandfather, whose local nickname was Idás, whom the restaurant is named after. Murphy trained as an artist but found his way into cooking, a self-taught chef whose love of local becomes clear at a glance at his menu.
The standout dish on our visit is the seared scallops with braised pork cheek and kale, smoked garlic sauce and Pomme Annas (¤29). Everything about this dish works. The pork is slowcooked and sticky with flavour, the kale sweaty with pork jus and the scallops caramelised yet soft and plump. The Pomme Annas, a kind of butter battered spud, are outlandishly delicious. The confit of wild halibut (¤32) is a simply stunning dish, with Glenbeigh mussels seeped in buttermilk resting artistically on the pieces of fish, surrounded by sea vegetables.
The broth of foraged land and sea vegetables, wild herbs and Ballyhoura white beech mushrooms (¤8) is a bit disappointing. I applaud its dashi base and relish the flavour of those Cork grown Ballyhoura mushrooms, but the Carrageen seaweed in the broth is too slimy in this context for me. The overriding taste is the bitterness of the gorgeously thick, green leaves that float in the dashi, whereas I was hoping for a more umami-based experience. Still, it’s one of the most interesting starters I’ve had this year and is pleasingly evocative of the wildness of this restaurant’s locality.
I’m intoxicated by the potential of the dessert of fennel poached pear, lemon and honey meringue and the restaurant’s signature nasturtium ice cream (¤9). In the end, though I enjoy the dish, I don’t get enough fennel from the pear and the meringue is powdery rather than my personal preference of gooey interior and crisp exterior.
I love how Idás menu reflects what’s happening in Ireland’s food landscape today, with its sincere emphasis on foraged, local and wild ingredients. For a town that cares about food - a collective passion evident in the success of the annual Dingle Food Festival (dinglefood.com) and the enthusiasm of the Dingle Cookery School (dinglecookeryschool.ie) – Idás is another strong calling card of the standard that the Kingdom of Kerry has to offer visitors and locals alike.