To the delight of many bright-eyed foodies, Camden Street is peppered with food shops and spots. No surprise, my latest coffee affair involves one of the local gems, Cracked Nut.
A few months back, Cracked Nut started its new life chapter when taken over by Dave Smyth and Louise Harte. As the co-owner of Ebb & Flow Coffee in Clontarf, Dave had already hands-on experience in running a successful speciality coffee house. So with that, they took on a new shop and poured their passion and time to elevate Cracked Nut’s coffee experience.
The space was recently refurbished. Clad in bright colours and showered in natural light, the cafe brings us a great ambience and casual interiors.
The cafe is supplied by the Full Circle Roastery, which he co-owns with Brian Birdy. Dave put a great team together to help him accomplish his goals.
Head Chef John pampers punters’ stomachs with his simple yet creative dishes. Natalia Grabowska, the head barista, who I met a few years ago, is as passionate about coffee as the other two. She rules the barista station but is also training as a roaster at the Full Circle Roastery.
I stumbled upon this local shop a few years ago. Named by friends as a healthy food shop with a focus on salads and snacks, I happily dropped by once or twice for a browse. Unfortunately, my visits didn’t leave much of an impression, which left the joint slightly on the edges of my trail. When I heard about the Cracked Nut’s new management, I decided to give it another go.
Let’s start with the essentials: coffee. Served by Josh, the flat white (€2.80) arrived with a beautiful, precisely poured tulip. It was pleasantly warm, not hot. In the cup: Tanzania, washed. It was sweet yet slightly piquant; I associated that with notes of dark cocoa and honey that teased my taste buds.
The flavour married easily with milk, adding extra layers to the overall drink’s texture. The coffee I enjoyed came from the Full Circle Roastery, which now resides in Grantham Place, just 500 meters away from the cafe. The whole experience was on point and worth repeating.
Food-wise, the menu keeps changing, adding new tastes and options. My first dish was the Chorizo Burrito (€7.95). Served with tomato, avocado and scrambled eggs, the mix of flavours was appetising and fresh. The sweet and sour balsamic reduction added spunk to the sweetness of eggs and the saltiness of avocado.
I loved how juicy the burrito was, with hearty pieces of chorizo generously spread across the whole dish. I had real fun while manoeuvring my way through the richness of the ingredients. It was light, scrumptious and filling.
My second option was Avocados on Toast (€7.95). Neatly presented on the plate, the two main ingredients accompanied by what seemed to be a mustard sauce and balsamic reduction.
The sourdough bread was perfectly toasted and there was a poached egg perched on the bed of avocado. A quick prick with a fork and I released a flawlessly running yolk. Although I liked this dish, I felt like something was missing.
The egg and avocado created the right canvas for more adventurous flavours to emerge. I would welcome a bit more crunch or spice to strengthen the flavour profile and give it a more distinctive character.
If you’re after sugar bites, Cracked Nut offers a mix of in-house bakes and goodies from Bretzel in Portobello, Dublin 2. From scones and doughnuts to pastries, there is a range of treats to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Cracked Nut made a mark in my books. Mixing great coffee with delicious food is always a win. Simplicity in design goes well with creativity, which opens a path to even better flavours in the future.
The total price came to €18.70.
71 Camden Street Lower,
T: (01) 537 5942
ARTICLE BY DUBLIN DRINKS COFFEE