Great designers and artists are masters at what Zozimus Bar has achieved: a fusion of meaningful influences that acknowledges trends without mindlessly replicating them and that takes inspiration from the past without over-relaying in nostalgia. The bar’s name pays homage to Michael Moran, aka Zozimus, a beloved 19th century street balladeer who entertained Dubliners with his verses.
The venue’s creativity and artistic sensibility can be felt before even going through its doors: its vibrant umbrella installation has given a new life to Anne’s Lane; reminiscent of Portugal’s cheerful Umbrella Sky Project, it invites you to enjoy a drink under its technicolour shade.
Diners and cocktail lovers are not the only ones who have taken note and neighbouring venues whose façades greet you from Dawson Street are investing in entrances on this side, I noticed on a recent Sunday afternoon when heading to try Zozimus‘ new brunch menu.
I had been in Zozimus before for cocktails and, as I well aware of its pedigree when it comes to their drinks menu (awards include Best New Cocktail Bar at the ICCA Irish Craft Cocktail Awards 2016 and Best New Bar at the Sky Bar Awards 2016), the bar was set high for what the kitchen could come up with.
Don’t get me wrong, I like avocado on toast as much as your next millennial but I was delighted to see the spark of originality in their menu. Divided in four sections it started with a “Light & Healthy” array of lean, protein rich and super food rich creations; followed by a “Hot & Hearty” array of sheer indulgence, a “Sweet Bites” selection and of course, the “Brunch Mixed Drinks”, ranging from the gloriously boozy to the blissfully innocent.
We took our time to decide on the mains, blame it on the super comfy chairs and the relaxing music played at a reasonable volume for 2:00 pm on a Sunday, but eventually the helpful suggestion of our waiter motivated me to try the Vietnamese Steak Salad. The tender meat rested on a crunchy vegetable bed, and the fresh and herbal seasoning with a delicate aniseed note was a most welcomed surprise.
My brunch companion went full decadent mode and ordered the Southern Chicken Friend Waffles with streaky bacon and maple syrup. Man Vs. Food’s Adam Richman would be proud of that one: it was juicy chicken sandwiched between a golden waffle and the crispiest bacon in a Jenga tower of comforting flavours.
One of the biggest surprises while browsing through their menu was its great value: plenty of options for a tenner or less and no dish above €15, something that you’d expect in a modest cafe but not in an establishment with bespoke napkins on the tables and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.
Our visit wouldn’t be complete without tasting some of the cocktails we had watched landing in neighouring tables. Their brunch cocktail selection offered a good palette of styles and spirits, but here’s a tip that Instagram heads will appreciate: Zozimus’ full cocktail menu comes with small illustrations of each cocktail, so you can see its colour and the type of glass if will arrive in: globe, flute, tiki mug brought straight from Hawaii… you name it, they have it.
My love for rum is well documented and absolutely catered for at this bar, in fact head bartender Pat Thomas, was the all-Ireland winner at last year’s Dipomático Rum World Tournament. A bright Hola! greeted me the right way. The yellow and pink combination of ligth rum, elderflower, lemon, cucumber, berry and pineapple juice does deserve the exclamation mark on its name.
If Hola! introduced itself with a hug, our other cocktail saluted us with one of those satisfying high fives that leave your hand just with the sightliest feel of burn, Good Mornin’ Vietnam Spritzer, a spicy take on the drink of the season: fizzy, herbal and with the right amount of warmth from red chillies.
Desserts were tempting, but the bright coral globe glass that we’ve seen leaving the bar on several occasions was even more intriguing. “It’s our best-seller”, said our waiter, as if laying a feather on a scale to finally make it move. We ended our experience by sharing a Lime Gosling, the sweet amalgamation of vanilla vodka, white chocolate liqueur, passion fruit, apple and strawberry juice.
Brunch at Zozimus Bar is a carefree and laid-back affair elevated by the venue’s sophistication. Comfortable elegance and flawless service enhanced our enjoyment of appetising dishes and cocktails that will surely continue to earn one accolade after the other.
The bill including two mains and three cocktails arrived at €61.40.
Centenary House, Anne’s Lane
Anne St South
Dublin 2, Ireland
T: (01) 536 9640
Gabriela’s passion for writing is only matched by her love for food and wine. Journalist, confectioner and sommelier, she fell in love with Ireland years ago and moved from Venezuela to Dublin in 2014.
Since then, she has written about and worked in the local food scene, and she’s determined to discover and share the different traditions, flavours and places that have led Irish food and drink to fascinate her.