MEAL TICKET

In­spir­ing lunch with a real buzz

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - THE TICKET - AOIFE McEL­WAIN

Be­yond a gi­ant mu­sic box and a trio of mu­si­cal swings lies one of the most light-filled cafés in Dublin. The Sci­ence Gallery’s floor-to-ceil­ing and wall-to-wall win­dows reach across the two storeys of the space.

Since it opened nine years ago, al­most three mil­lion peo­ple have vis­ited Sci­ence Gallery Dublin, tucked away on the Pearse Street cor­ner of Trin­ity Col­lege Dublin. “Sound Check” is the 41st and lat­est free ex­hi­bi­tion at the gallery, and it could well be its nois­i­est one yet.

Sci­ence Gallery Café is the pub­lic-fac­ing home of Cloud Picker Cof­fee, one of Ire­land’s best mi­cro cof­fee roas­t­er­ies. Run by part­ners Frank Ka­vanagh and Peter Sz­tal since 2013, their small team hand-roast cof­fee to or­der from their roast­ery on Sher­iff Street in Dublin’s Dock­lands, just a short drive across from the Sci­ence Gallery Cafe on Pearse Street. But they have been the cre­ative forces be­hind the Sci­ence Gallery Cafe since 2010, even be­fore they launched Cloud Picker Cof­fee.

This sum­mer, change has been afoot in the cafe, with a new menu and a re­furb by Ir­ish fur­ni­ture spe­cial­ists Walls To Work­sta­tions. A long com­mu­nal ta­ble takes cen­tre stage while roofed booths of­fer a spot for a qui­eter chat. There is a daily break­fast and lunch, and it has re­cently launched a pizza and beer spe­cial on Wed­nes­day evenings. The menu changes reg­u­larly and Sz­tal’s Pol­ish her­itage makes an ap­pear­ance on many lunch menus, ei­ther through home­made pick­les or his mother’s pierogi recipe. At the week­end, brunch can be ac­com­pa­nied by pros­ecco or wine on tap.

Plates on a neigh­bour­ing ta­ble fea­ture an envy-in­duc­ing Clas­sic Club (¤8.50). It’s a grilled chicken, ba­con, let­tuce and tomato sand­wich topped with a bonus fried egg and a dol­lop of lu­mi­nously green tar­ragon aioli. My plate looks pretty too, thanks to a tasty beet­root mousse which is a glo­ri­ously bold ma­genta. The vi­brant colour matches that of the crunchy radic­chio leaves, and the plate is fur­ther adorned with pink pick­led radishes and fen­nel. These sit atop the main event: well sea­soned corn frit­ters com­plete with delectably crispy edges. The corn has been charred and the frit­ters are light, yet thor­oughly sat­is­fy­ing (¤9.50). It’s an in­spir­ing lunch, one that I sup­pose could fuel an af­ter­noon in the re­search lab or por­ing over an­cient books in one of Trin­ity’s li­braries. The cafe din­ers ap­pear to be a mix of Trin­ity staff and stu­dents, work­ers from the nearby area and the odd dis­cern­ing tourist.

There is Cloud Picker fil­ter cof­fee and cold brew flat whites, along­side fresh juices sup­plied by Green Beards. The barista bar is also a good place to ex­pand your home-brew­ing

Call­but­tons

The ta­bles are in­stalled with call but­tons and when pressed they ac­ti­vate the vi­brate mode of the wait­ing staff’s watches. On a busy lunchtime, I feel a bit sorry for their wrists as the reg­u­lar­ity of buzzing must be quite in­tense. My young waiter shows no sign of feel­ing over-buzzed. He’s friendly and ef­fi­cient, and doesn’t hold it against me that I’ve pressed on a sec­ond call but­ton on the ta­ble. That’s to let him know I want to pay by card at my ta­ble to en­sure a speedy exit. There is ground-break­ing re­search and in­spir­ing tomes to get back to, after all.

cof­fee col­lec­tion by pick­ing up an AeroPress or some Cloud Picker beans.

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