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