DUBLIN

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

Cow­town Café

73 Manor St , Dublin 7 01-441-1118 Find them on Face­book €

The Dublin bor­ough of Stoney­bat­ter has seen much gen­tri­fi­ca­tion in the past five years. Some of my favourite new cafes and gas­trop­ubs are on or near Manor St. With that in mind, I get a pleas­ant sur­prise when I visit Cow­town Café, be­cause it’s such a re­fresh­ingly straight­for­ward greasy spoon café. Opened in Oc­to­ber 2015, it comes com­plete with squeezy brown-sauce bot­tles, plas­tic chairs nailed to plas­tic ta­bles, and ging­ham cur­tains on the win­dows. Even the name Cow­town harks back to an older, dis­ap­pear­ing Dublin.

Pro­pri­etors Niall Ka­vanagh and Sinead Byrne also own Cin­na­mon Café in Smith­field, which has been on the go for more than a decade. “We opened a greasy-spoon style café be­cause we be­lieve ev­ery high street or town should have a cheap and cheer­ful op­tion,” says Ka­vanagh. “We re­ally do think a café like ours should be part of the lo­cal com­mu­nity and wel­come to ev­ery­one.” This rings very true and on my visit I no­tice how var­ied the clien­tele are, in both age and ac­cents.

Cow­town’s great­est as­set may be their staff. My server, who takes my or­der at my ta­ble, is the quin­tes­sen­tial Greasy Spoon Girl, and I mean that as a huge com­pli­ment. She’s friendly, she’s su­per-fast as she flies around with plates of break­fasts and mugs of tea, and she’s funny. “I keep los­ing my pens in my bun,” she laughs, as she searches in her hair for a biro to take my or­der. She makes me feel like I’m an ex­tra in The Com­mit­ments, and I love her dearly for it.

But none of this would mat­ter if the food wasn’t up to scratch. What re­ally works for me is the op­tion of a large, medium or small fry. The small fry is ¤5 and is a sim­ple plate of a per­fectly fried egg, a de­li­ciously charred sin­gle rasher of ba­con, a sausage and a home­made potato cake, with toast and tea or coffee in­cluded. The potato cake is fluffy and re­as­sur­ingly un­der-sea­soned, ex­actly how my grand­mother would have made it. The sausage is a lit­tle on the thin side. A juicier, thicker banger would re­ally el­e­vate this brekkie in terms of flavour, but prob­a­bly also in terms of price. Break­fast is served un­til noon, af­ter which you can go for com­fort food such as fish fin­ger butties (€4.95), BLTs (4.20), cot­tage pie (€9.50) or Liver & Mash (€9.95).

That €5 break­fast seemed wor­ringly cheap to me, so I was glad to hear that Cow­town Café keep their sup­pli­ers lo­cal. Their butch­ers are Shane and Paul from the Ma­hon Butch­ers on Manor St. Their fish comes from Mul­doon’s on Prus­sia Street and Kish on Bow Street, and their fruit and veg comes from Tommy in The Green Gro­cer’s on Manor St. They bake their own bread and scones, and get the rest of their breads and pas­tries from Thun­ders on Prus­sia Street, Pro­ject 12 and Arun Bak­ery on Ox­man­town Lane. The coffee is sup­plied by McCabe’s Roast­ers and, though an Amer­i­cano is on of­fer, I go for the more tra­di­tional diner-style brew. It’s so thick and head-blow­ingly strong that I won­der if my milk will be able to blend into it. This is, how­ever, the per­fect cup of coffee for this set­ting.

Cow­town of­fers WiFi for cus­tomers, but it seems wrong to sug­gest you might get a bit of work or brows­ing done here. In­stead, this is a spot for spread­ing news­pa­pers across your ta­ble while you dip your toast in a runny yolk, an op­por­tu­nity to slow back down to a pace of life as­so­ci­ated with a time when a neigh­bour­hood greasy spoon was a more com­mon thing.

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