Ebb& Flow

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - THE TICKET - 56 Clon­tarf Road Dublin 3 bit.ly/Eb­bFlowCof­fee

Clon­tarf is surely one of the most well-fed suburbs in Dublin, with the sea­side road dot­ted with health-con­scious cafes, seafood joints and Ki­nara Kitchen, one of the city’s best Pak­istani restau­rants. Spe­cialty cof­fee moved into the neigh­bour­hood in the form of Ebb & Flow with civil en­gi­neer turned cof­fee nut Dave Smyth at the helm.

“This is Up­side Cof­fee, our guest roaster this month,” Smyth tells me, as he pulls an espresso made from a flo­ral Costa Ri­can bean, roasted lo­cally in one of Dublin’s new­est roast­erys, Up­side Cof­fee (up­side­cof­fee.com). “Have a smell,” he sug­gests, giv­ing me a chance to sniff and sip the espresso be­fore he tops it up with creamy, or­ganic foamed milk, sourced from Vil­lage Dairy.

Smyth worked as a civil en­gi­neer un­til the re­ces­sion hit and gave him an ex­cuse to do some­thing he had al­ways wanted to do – open up his own busi­ness. While study­ing for a Mas­ter’s in Busi­ness Man­age­ment, he started get­ting into spe­cialty cof­fee at home, mak­ing brews for fam­ily and friends for fun. An op­por­tu­nity pre­sented it­self to take over the space in front of a hair sa­lon called Sa­lon 56 on the Clon­tarf Road, and in Au­gust 2015 he opened Ebb & Flow. In the mean­time, Smyth be­came barista Brian Birdy’s busi­ness part­ner at the mi­cro-roast­ery, Full Cir­cle Roast­ers, which has since be­come the house cof­fee of Ebb & Flow.

Along­side Full Cir­cle Roast­ers, Smyth fea­tures a guest roaster ev­ery month. In the last year, they’ve had guest ap­pear­ances from Mojo Cof­fee, Cloud Picker Cof­fee, Baobab Roast­ers and The Barn via their Ir­ish dis­trib­u­tors at First Draft Cof­fee. As well as putting an espresso and a fil­ter of the guest roast­ers on the menu, Smyth in­vites the roast­ers to host a tast­ing ses­sion as part of the monthly guest slot, free for cus­tomers and open to ev­ery­one.

“It’s a very in­for­mal set-up,” ex­plains Smyth of the tast­ing ses­sions. “We’re try­ing to break down the bar­ri­ers of cof­fee knowl­edge. It can be tough for cus­tomers to en­gage if they feel they don’t know enough. We keep it very re­laxed.”

The Up­side Cof­fee tast­ing ses­sion, hosted by Up­side owner Jamie O’Neill (for­merly head of cof­fee de­vel­op­ment at Cloud Picker Cof­fee), will be in Ebb & Flow at 11am on Satur­day Oc­to­ber 15th, to fin­ish off their month-long res­i­dency. The next roast­ers to be fea­tured are Bailies Cof­fee from Belfast, one of the early in­no­va­tors in spe­cial­ity cof­fee in Ire­land and North­ern Ire­land.

The food of­fer­ing is sim­ple but well cu­rated. There are cakes and brown­ies from the ex­em­plary Camerino Bak­ery on Capel Street in Dublin’s city cen­tre, as well as as­sorted scones from Bake­li­cious based in Shankill.

The team make their own sand­wiches in the morn­ing, us­ing Smith­field’s Arun Bak­ery bread, ham from McDoyle’s butcher in Ar­tane and Gruyère from Deli Meats. They’re not made to or­der but the baris­tas, in­clud­ing barista Mark Walsh, toast them up on de­mand. It’s a sand­wich that is the sum of its parts, and it all adds up to a de­li­cious mouth­ful.

The cheese is a mar­vel­lous molten mess. The team are plan­ning to add por­ridge and soup to their win­ter of­fer­ing, work­ing within the lim­its of their space.

Ebb & Flow is dog friendly, too, as in­di­cated by the dog bowl full of cool Clon­tarf tap wa­ter on of­fer out­side, next to a sin­gle bench at the front of the cafe. How­ever, my dog is too skit­tish to be cafe friendly, but we man­age to sit for a mo­ment with our cof­fees, soak­ing up the au­tumn sun­shine with a view of the wa­ters of the River Tolka, ebbing and flow­ing, as it meets the sea. AMcE

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