Dublin – or as its Viking founders called it “Dublinia” – is a little gem that has been on my ever-expanding ‘to do’ list for some time. Then, my boyfriend’s birthday suddenly crept up on me and I thought “hey, what not buy flights to one of the booziest cities I can think of?” I know, BEST girlfriend ever right? Couple that with one of his best mates (my big brother) and we’ve got ourselves one hell of a weekend on our hands.
So. It kicks off with (would you believe it) a pint of Guinness at 8:00am at Gatwick airport. When we touch down in Dublin, we are greeted with a welcoming party consisting of rain, wind, freezing temperatures and hail. But to our surprise and relief, our wonderful hosts at the quaint and cosy Anchor Guesthouse had a roaring open fire ready and waiting.
After drying off it was time to do the ONE condition I had laid down for the weekend – visit the 3FE (Third Floor Espresso) cafe. After a spot-on recommendation from my friend Brian (@BrianCoffeeSpot), nothing was going to stop me from getting there.
We were starving and after the 5:30am start, in dire need of quality, bone-warming coffee. Boy, did we get what we asked for. With its basic, casual yet welcoming interior, I knew we’d hit the jackpot as soon as we walked in. The aroma of its different coffee roasts, in conjunction with the mouth-watering, mammoth-sized sandwiches on display in the cabinet, made me want to set up camp and never leave!
I ordered a huge ham, cheese, pickle and relish baguette with spicy whole-grain mustard, married with a Copacabana roast, flat white. The Big Bro and Boyfriend both ordered the enormous sausage sandwich bap (surprise, surprise) and one accompanied it with a Santa Petrona blend in Americano form, while the other a Patio Bonito flat white.
The food was impeccable, full of fresh, complimentary, wholesome ingredients and the perfect accompanying spreads and sauces. The coffee? Even better. I liked all flavours on sale that day (yes, I stole sips), but I believe I had made the right choice with the warming, toffee-infused Copacabana.
We then went all out and treated ourselves to the biggest meringue I have ever seen. Not only was it sprinkled with walnuts and pieces of – what I think were Honeycomb(?), but open it up and you are greeted with all sorts of chocolatey, moose goodness! Even shared between three, it was plenty.
And, as I mentioned, the décor of 3FE was so, so simple. Large, rustic wooden sharing tables, a big display of clean-cut branded merchandise, a big counter bar and…well…that’s about it. Light, airy and fresh is how I would describe it. Also, as my wise (who knew?!) older brother pointed out, where 3FE have won several awards, these trophies were displayed not beside the cash register for all to see, but tucked away up on a shelf, in a crevasse where roof meets wall. As he said “it shows they are proud of their achievements but humble too.” This was the perfect opening scene for our weekend in Dublin and prepared us well for the soon after Jameson’s Whiskey tour.
Of course, our café escapades did not end there. From what I gathered in the Irish Times, Ireland’s café scene has only just recently exploded. This was evident when researching where to go for a quality ‘on-the-Guinness-all-night’ hangover cure on the Sunday.
While the highly acclaimed “The Fumbally” was closed on Sundays (boo!) by simply roaming the streets of Dublin, we soon discovered Brother Hubbard – and they advertised all day brunch. Sold. Luckily, we seemed to have just missed the crowds got a table for three within ten minutes. The poor souls after us were not so lucky unfortunately – it really was a busy little spot.
Feeling a little confused and extremely dazed we welcomed three cups of – to my surprise – 3FE roasted coffee! Brilliant! This made me a very happy – if not slightly green – hungover kiwi. It went down a treat.
And when I thought it couldn’t get any better, our food arrived. Again, HUGE portions which could be a little overwhelming for some people (do Dubliners just eat more than other people?) however, not for us. Big Bro and I ordered the Moroccan Special – Aubergine, Tomato, Chickpeas dish with aubergine yogurt & served over sourdough bread with two poached eggs on top. Would we add chorizo for and extra €2.95? Umm does a one-legged duck swim in circles? Yes. The boyfriend however went for the massive pulled-pork sandwich. Another admirable choice.
I also really loved their ice-box display by the cashier filled with unique, homemade juices. It proved the perfect placement as we all bought one! Touché Brother Hubbard.
All in all, a breakfast for champions that set us right, ready for the Guinness Storehouse tour!
Really, can you ever have enough Guinness?
(If you’re thinking of heading to Dublin, comment on my post with any questions and I can definitely give you some recommendations, hints and tips!)