Just a few steps away from the hustle and bustle of St Stephen’s Green is Emer’s Kitchen on Leeson St Lower. Wrapped in blue, this cafe is an outpost of proper deliciousness.
Emer and Brendan opened this foodie haven two years ago. Their cuisine embraces local produce, tapping into the best of what’s on offer from their fruit and veggie suppliers. They mention Smithfield market trader Ciaran Butler, whose advice on what is in season is absolutely invaluable. Likewise, they favour Irish meats, which they transform in their kitchen into mouth-watering delicacies.
The cafe’s interiors were inspired by the current London food scene. The space is airy, with a high ceiling dotted with simple pendant lighting. White walls contrast nicely against red brick. Huge lettering graces the room, and I love a red bicycle hung by the barista station, with wheels which act as a ginormous double ‘o’ in the word ‘Food’.
The counter boasts the daily treats that Emer’s Kitchen has to offer. From beautiful in-house scones and muffins to Revolution Bakery’s doughnuts to striking fresh salads, it is a visual feast that promises a scrumptious meal. All their bread comes from Firehouse Bakery, based in Delgany.
An open kitchen at the heart of the cafe reveals its wizardry to us mere mortals. Emer’s Kitchen is a food-to-go joint as there are no tables or seating areas. With people constantly queuing for grub, this spot is a must-visit for anyone who finds themselves in the neighbourhood.
I always start with a cup of joy, and by that I mean a cup of joe. Emer’s Cafe serves Badger & Dodo beans. I started my adventure by ordering a flat white. The coffee was strong and slightly tangy, and would be a great pick-me-up in the morning. Definitely something to prep a person for a busy day ahead.
With an overflowing pre-Christmas schedule, my batteries were running really low. I went for Thursday’s Sandwich: slow-cooked brisket of beef in a bourbon BBQ sauce served with mixed leaves and a fennel, red & white cabbage slaw. Divine! The meat is beautifully tender and juicy, which goes nicely with the crunchiness of slaw and freshness of mixed leaves. The portion of beef is very generous, to satisfy even the biggest appetites.
The meat feast was encased in a roll which was slightly sweet, with a soft crumb. The roll’s crust was deliciously golden – with the shine that only an egg wash can provide. The simple sandwich was a marvel, with ingredients that accentuated and complimented each other, balancing flavours and textures.
For ‘dessert’, I chose a salad bowl. Made and changed daily, the salad selection consists of green options to help anyone meet their 5-a-day nutritional requirement. On the day I visited I could sink my teeth in some truly diverse options. A mixed bean salad came with sweetcorn, baby tomatoes, chick peas and cucumber, all sprinkled with coarsely chopped parsley. It tasted sweet and slightly spicy, which I really enjoyed.
Next was a salad of spinach, squash, feta and pumpkin seeds. The saltiness of feta went well with the mineral-rich flavour of spinach and sweetness of squash.
Last but not least, I tackled the sweet potatoes. Cooked to perfection, pieces were coated gently in yoghurt, chilli and parsley, which offered a real explosion of extremes: the intense sweetness of the potato followed by spicy chilli. Although sweet potatoes are generally not on my menu of personal favourites, I enjoyed munching on them.
Emer’s Kitchen is a treasure trove with delicious food and great atmosphere. Emer, Brendan and the whole team know how to brighten up your day and tickle your taste buds.
102 Leeson Street Lower,
I’m Anna, the voice behind Dublin Drinks Coffee. My caffeinated adventure started a few years ago, when brewing and steaming in one of local coffee shops. Since then I’ve enjoyed a lot of great cups across Dublin and I share all my stories with on www.dublindrinkcoffee.com. Dublin is full of independent cafes and coffee houses that enrich our culinary scene every day. Browse through lists of unique and local cafes, events, books/movie recommendations and other caffeinated treats to enjoy!