It is always exciting to see people travelling abroad, learning about food trends and bringing them back home to Ireland. After years of absorbing the exciting cafe culture in Melbourne, this exactly what owner and chief roaster Adam McMenamin has done in 250 Square. The name comes from the building’s petite dimensions, and this titular nod to simplicity carries through into the decor, which is bright, airy and pared-back.
250 Square, a little red-brick cottage tucked away off Rathmines Road Lower is fast becoming a destination for purveyors of fine coffee. Those with a discerning palate for black liquid gold can’t fail to be impressed by the fact that 250 Square has a USP of roasting all its own beans. Taking pride in this process has paid off for the boys, who now stock other hip eateries across town such as GreenBeards.
Luxuriating in Dublin sunshine is a rare treat, but when I popped in to try out 250 Square’s brunch menu with a friend we were lucky to nab a table on the outdoor terrace to lap up the sunshine. Green astroturf made it feel like we were chilling out in a park and much to my delight this area attracted loads of gorgeous dogs accompanying their owners for brunch, which added to the perfect laid back atmosphere that 250 Square is all about.
Since coffee is the main event in 250 Square we were keen to sample and both opted to start with Vietnamese Iced Coffee(€4), for the Irish scorcher of the day that was in it. Sipping from our straws we both agreed that this was a slightly dangerous discovery – dreamily creamy and stickily sweet with a complex coffee punch, like an affogato left sitting in the sun. I actually contemplated ordering another, but managed to reign myself in. Just.
250 Square’s brunch menu is available every day with stacks of pancakes and patatas bravas to destroy any craving, it sits alongside a selection of tempting sandwich options – House-cured Rainbow Trout and Avocado was difficult to pass up. Our eyes were drawn to the brilliant ‘Eggs Your Way‘ section, comforting like being asked how you like your eggs in the morning. While ‘with a kiss’ didn’t appear as an add-on, you could have yours poached, fried or scrambled on sourdough (€6) with delicious sides of marinated kale (€1.50), avocado (€1.50), crispy bacon (€2) or trout (€3.50) to name a few.
Getting exactly what you want is very satisfying, as my brunch buddy discovered having put together a bespoke egg dish – poached on sourdough with bacon, avocado and hollandaise(1). Eggs perfectly oozing – check. Bacon perfectly crisp (and plenty of it)- check. Sometimes simplicity is best. Topped off with a silky dill-spiked hollandaise and creamy avocado, this dish was giving me a bit of brunch envy.
I needn’t have been too jealous as my Brunch Tortilla (€13)arrived and I knew I had chosen a winner. This dish drew me in with the delicious buzzwords of chilli-fried chorizo, marinated tomatoes, avocado butter and aioli topped roasties. And the beautiful plate placed in front of me exceeded the description – chunky chorizo rendered to its yield paprika-scented oils and sunny side up eggs, easy over – a match made in heaven.
Pile this on top of soft, sweet marinated tomatoes mingled with mashed avocado on a crisp tortilla and you have yourself a perfect brunch dish. Just enough crispy roasties doused in aioli sat on the side, making this seem like the just the tonic for a rough night before, which could certainly hold its own against tortilla dishes in a dedicated Mexican eatery.
A stroll inside to check out the coffee selection proved dangerous as the Paleo treats menu caught my eye, leading to the decision to share a coconut brownie over a long black made with house roasted Ethiopian beans (€4). My buddy opted against a hot drink in the sun and chose a Prosecco instead, at only €5.50 a glass it was too hard to resist. The brownie was date-sweetened and richly flavoured with 74% cocoa solids chocolate yet light due to the addition of coconut flour, mingling perfectly with what was the best coffee I have had in a very long time. Not a hint of bitterness and an innate sweetness, I could swear I tasted a hint of cinnamon – a seriously good cup indeed and a wonderful end to brunch.
Our 250 Square sunshine brunch came to €43 in total, which we both felt was good value for the different treats we sampled. I’d come back for the coffee alone but given how enjoyable brunch was I’m sure my next visit will involve some more dish sampling. For guys who set out to specialise in coffee they have really proven themselves on the food front, so much to my delight, as I was leaving I spotted a Supper Club menu which will be on offer Thursday and Friday nights all summer. I’ll see you there.
Rathmines Rd Lower
T: (01) 496 8336
Growing up with the name Darina, I was constantly asked if I could cook like my namesake. With that (and greed) as the ultimate motivators, I quickly realised that home-baked goods make excellent bribes and an obsession was born! With bachelor’s and master’s degrees in law I undertook a PhD, but a preference for cookbooks to textbooks persisted. As a (self-confessed!) demon in the kitchen, I am the only person to have contested both Masterchef and the Great Irish Bake off, which fuelled my desire to set my focus on food in a serious way. Working with The Taste allows me to satiate this craving and marries my food fascination with my love of writing and ranting. Follow me as I share my food adventures and hopefully inspire others to indulge their passion for cooking and food in the process!