There we were, the two of us, cosy in our nice careers back in the heady days of the Celtic Tiger. We enjoyed our jobs, enjoyed our lives. But it just wasn’t quite enough. Too often we found ourselves daydreaming about doing something else, something we could be intensely passionate about. I felt I was never going to write a book or paint an amazing canvas, but I knew I loved cooking and I thought I might have a chance at being decent at it.
Brother Hubbard quietly
opened its doors in
At the height of a dreadful recession that terrified us all, especially anyone foolhardy enough to try to open a business. Our intention was clear from the outset: to provide simple, pure, interesting food, made entirely from scratch, and to share our love of a food that was somewhat different to what else was available out there. It was all about inviting others on the exciting adventures we have had with food.
Our food is designed to offer nourishment and pleasure, and above all, you should feel better for having had it. That is not an experience that happens as often as any of us would like. We try to make pure food that is healthy and full of freshness, providing a feel-good quality without compromising on enjoyment. We don’t sermonise and ask you to change your lifestyle. We genuinely feel that this is food you might enjoy, and you might just happen to feel better after having eaten it.
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We opened selling just cakes and coffee. Determined as we were to get things right, we thought we would start simply-yet- focused and take it from there. Thankfully, the response was encouraging, to say the least. Aside from people enjoying what were offering, they were very supportive and congratulatory of us opening in the most desperate of economic situations.
A few months later, we added our lunch menu. Nine months later, we could serve you breakfast. A further nine months on, brunch. A further nine months after that (are you sensing a pattern?), we expanded into the space next door. And then our southside sibling café, followed. Then, our evening menu. And most recently, a cookbook. It has been so much fun. We are humbled. We started with just the two of us and two staff, but today we are bigger and busier than we ever could have dreamed of. We have a wonderful team around us of colleagues and comrades, but also loyal customers. And thankfully, it still remains fun and full of adventure, particularly when it comes to our menu.
We hope your visit will reflect that and that it brings about numerous adventures of the culinary kind for you too. Located on the northside’s Capel Street but now also southside on Harrington Street, we open seven days a week, serving breakfast, brunch, lunch, treats and dinner. It certainly keeps us busy! The approach to the food was to offer something new, creative, different and interesting, focused on quality and value. We decided to anchor our food (though not exclusively) in the culture of Middle Eastern cuisine, a cuisine full of fresh, healthy food (often very vegetarian friendly) that remained relatively undiscovered beyond very specific evening eateries.
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We’ve deliberately avoided the classics, so ubiquitous and available everywhere, such as the full Irish, eggs Benedict or generic mayonnaise-drenched coleslaw. These can no doubt be wonderful dishes and absolutely have their place, but we decided to avoid them, to do something different, forcing us to be that little bit more creative. We still sometimes lose customers because they can’t have a big fry-up or a bottle of Coca-Cola with their lunch, but we feel we’ve gained so many more customers because we are providing something different, something we’ve created and something we’ve made from scratch.
Effectively, everything we give you (except for certain types of bread), we’ve made ourselves from scratch. That means our food can be purer, fresher and more creative. And we would like to think it’s better, and better for you, as a result. Aside from that, we’ve tried to create a place that’s welcoming and where, as a customer, you will feel cared for. In certain respects, it should try to feel like having people over for food – you want them to feel that they are being looked after. We want you to enjoy the food and the experience and the personality of the whole offering. That’s what got us cooking as a home cook originally, and it’s what sustains our approach today. And so, over time, what started out as a simple café has ended up being so much more: a community of the most enthusiastic people dedicated to doing the best they can day after day, with a spring in their step, for our wonderful customers, who provide us with so much encouragement.
We take our coffee very seriously – we drink a lot of it, after all! So last year we decided to partner with Peter, our senior barista, and begin roasting our own coffee on-site here on Capel Street. With access to the best green beans on the market, and using state of the art roasting facilities and techniques, we’re able to provide some of the most exciting coffee experiences available. Farmhand Coffee opened its doors last summer and has been getting a great reaction from our customers. It’s available in both our cafes, and we sell retail bags of single-origin varieties for you to take home and enjoy any time.