Ridicu­lously de­li­cious cook­ing

A soul­less city premises just got it­self some se­ri­ous food soul. See you in the queue

The Irish Times Magazine - - FOOD -

This place was so quiet be­fore I ar­rived my friend felt al­most awk­ward about swal­low­ing. Her gulp sounded too loud in t he hush. They haven’t turned on the mu­sic yet. She’s in her coat wait­ing in this stark white room with its mix of min­i­mal­ist ply ta­bles and school chairs. Some­one called Car­los has been busy with his pro­trac­tor on the chair next to mine. His name looks like it’s been there a while. I won­der where Car­los is now.

Sto­ry­board feels like a box- fresh place be­cause it is, but we won’t have it all to our­selves for long. When we’ve fin­ished our ram­ble through the break­fast, all- day and lunch dishes, the ta­bles are al­most all taken. By the time you read this, I reckon the hushed and empty stage will be a dis­tant mem­ory, like the three- hour nap a baby used to take be­fore they hit tod­dler­hood. Be­cause this is the best cafe food I’ve eaten in Ire­land. Queues will form. And it will be worth the wait.

Laura Caulwell is the chef be­hind Sto­ry­board. She cooked in the Fum­bally on Clan­bras­sil Street. I ate her Mex­i­can food there the last time I got to one of their Wed­nes­day sup­pers. She left the moth­er­ship in June to set up her own place here on the nearly- north­side bit of the South Cir­cu­lar Road at Is­land­bridge.

The stretch of traf­fic- heavy road with its gor­geous London Plane trees feels like a slightly dif­fer­ent city, one where they’ve fig­ured out ur­ban liv­ing just a bit bet­ter.

The ad­dress is Clancy Quay, a mix of new blocks and apart­ments in re­fur­bished build­ings on what was the site of Clancy Bar­racks. None of the apart­ments are for sale. It’s a large- scale rental- only district.

What more could a mon­ster de­vel­oper want than a kitchen tal­ent l i ke Caulwell and her team to an­chor down a new idea for Dublin. If you put miso but­ter on it they will come. Sto­ry­board has a daugh­ter- of- Fum­bally feel, a sim­i­lar idea on a smaller scale of a new caramel and shreds of soft crys­tallised gin­ger adding a spicy pop to ev­ery­thing. Cubes of mango and a fleshy rasp­berry fin­ish it off. They call it por­ridge. I call it bel­uga- grade rice pud­ding.

We are show­ing no re­gard f or Caulwell’s gor­geous plat­ing, dots of house- fer­mented hot sauce with smaller dots of yo­ghurt and black sesame seeds around eggs on toast. As soon as the plate hits the ta­ble, we swipe through those touches to carve up ev­ery­thing so we each get half. First up are that sim­ple com­bi­na­tion of great eggs and great toast, free- range ones from Wick­low and Le Le­vain sour­dough. That hot sauce is plea­sure enough but then we come to the rea­son I’m go­ing to be­come part of the fur­ni­ture here: miso- but­tered greens. Take one Ja­panese sta­ple add the world’s best but­ter, ap­ply lov­ingly to lightly steamed kale, sprin­kle with sesame seeds and there you have it: greens made epic.

There’s a sausage sand­wich on the same great toast, free- range pork sausages sliced down the mid­dle so they sit flat and this doesn’t turn into a messy spill. Fin­gal Fer­gu­son’s smoked Gubbeen on one side and a car­away may­on­naise on the other nuz­zle it all to­gether. There’s a salad of leaves that taste like they were picked just a few hours ear­lier and a house kraut of or­ganic McNally Farm red cab­bage, fer­mented to a candy- cane pink, zing­ing and alive with flavour.

We drink fer­mented gin­ger ale and round off with ex­cel­lent cof­fee. Sto­ry­board feels like a story that’s go­ing to get big­ger and bet­ter. It’s break­fast, brunch and lunch only at the mo­ment. But hope­fully Caulwell will start sup­pers soon.

Cook­ing this good de­serves a crowd and a lit- up room full of happy eaters on a win­ter’s night.

A soul­less city premises just got it­self some se­ri­ous food soul. See you in the queue.

Brunch/ lunch for two with cof­fee and gin­ger ale came to ¤ 36.

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