MEAL TICKET

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

Duo Cafe

James Street, West­port, Co May­oface­book.com/ DuoCafeWest­port

On a re­cent lay­over in West port, en route from I ni sh turk Is­land and mak­ing my way back to life in Dublin, I ask Twit­ter for a good spot for cof­fee and lunch, and both Duo and Mono get a cou­ple of shout outs from lo­cals in the know.

Iwon­dered if West­port hada rule about sin­gu­larly named restau­rants ,but it turn­sout both busi­nesses were brought to life in West­port by K ask a Ru ck a.

Rucka, anartist liv­ing in West port but orig­i­nally from Poland, opened Duo Ca fe in 2012. Her idea for Duo be­gan as a space for artists to dis­play and sell their work, and its ear­li­est in­car­na­tion was more of a gallery that served food.

Last year Duo Ca few as given a new look, with the in­te­rior get­ting a mod­ern, re­claimed face lift. There is less orig­i­nal art­work on the walls, and in­stead there is a col­lage of 1960 sf ash ion icon so none wall, and shelv­ing for plants made from wood pal­lets. The fur­ni­ture is slightly mis­matched, in a more sub­dued take on the quirky vin­tage look. There is a counter made of nat­u­ral wood and a dis­play cab­i­net for cakes. And there are quite a few cakes to be­hold.

Four or five full cakes and dessert op­tions sit a top the bar. On any given day these can in­clude rasp­berry pis­ta­chio meringues, baked cheese­cake and mixed berry crum­ble cake. I share a rasp­berry mac­a­roon cake (¤4.50for aslice with cream), a per­fectly moist co­conut-based sponge­cake drenched in a de­li­cious rasp­berry syrup. It’s the high­light of my visit. Duo is open for break­fast and lunch, and their menu was de­signed and hand-drawn by a lo­cal artist. It’s a sweet rep­re­sen­ta­tion of their dishes, of which there area sig­nif­i­cant amount.

For break­fast there is a clas­sic fry with lo­cally pro­duced sausages as the star (¤8.50) or a health­ier home­made gra­nola op­tion.

There are also Duo’ s crepes, with seven savoury and three sweet op­tions to choose from. There is a daily home­made soup, fresh smooth­ies and milk shakes on of­fer, too.

A spe­cial of the day is Pol­ish bread with brie and a home­made berry com­pote. It reads well on the spe­cials board but it’s a lit­tle dry and un­ex­cit­ing when it ar­rives. The bread is in­deed the ubiq­ui­tous Pol­ish bread, which makes great toast, but it’s a lit­tle un­der­whelm­ing in this set­ting mostly be­cause the cheese isn’ t quite melted and there isn’ t enough of the berry com­pote to make the two come to­gether in any spe­cial kind of way.

My Croque Mon­sieur (¤7.50) fares a lot bet­ter, and makes my lunch date alit­tle jeal­ous. It’s the clas­sic com­fort food of a toasted ham and cheese sand­wich with a coat­ing of blis­ter­ing be ch am el sauce. My only re­gret is­not hav­ing it up­dated to a croque madame, with the ad­di­tion of a fried egg on top.

The cof­fee and tea list on the menu feels overly com­pli­cated and too long, but it may be some­thing to do with the hand-drawn de­sign and the in­di­vid­ual ex­pla­na­tions of each type of cof­fee.

That’s help­ful, but per­haps not com­pletely nec­es­sary these days, as most cus­tomers can dis­cern be­tween an espresso and a latte. It just makes the page with the tea and cof­fee see ma lit­tle crammed.

I didn’t man­age tospot what type of beans are be­ing used in Duo, but the cof­fee wasn’ t bad. I get a tall latte(¤2.60), served in a long glass, and it’s fierce hot.

It’s a very func­tional cupo f cof­fee, and I didn’ t get any par­tic­u­lar fl av our or bal­ance in the cup. It’s just a de­cent, hot, milky cof­fee.

Over­all, the con­sis­tency of Duo’ s food could be im­proved a lit­tle and there might be some room for up­dat­ing the cof­fee of­fer­ing to a more mod­ern, spe­cialty ap­proach, pay­ing more at­ten­tion to fil­ter cof­fee sand flavour pro­files.

They’ ve nailed those cakes, though, and that sweet, rasp­berry co­conut num­ber made my West­port lay over worth­while. AMcE

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