If you’re a regular around the Aungier Street area, it’s unlikely that you’ve missed Food Monkey – its bright blue and bright pink colour scheme makes it stand out quite starkly against the Tesco Express to its right.
But having opened shortly before Christmas, the café is only really hitting its stride now, as students return to the libraries in DIT Aungier Street and Kevin Street – and perhaps seek a bit of a break from, or a healthier alternative to, local favourite Boojum.
“Pretty much everything here is made on-site,” owner Charlotte Brien explains to me, inside the magnificently colourful café.
“The soups, which are all gluten- and dairy-free; the salads, which are all vegetarian, but with the option to add a grilled chicken breast; and the gourmet toasted sandwiches are all prepared on-site, as are the pulled and slow-roasted meats
“We also prepare 99% of our dressings here, along with a veggie box containing baked eggs, soda bread, rocket and vine tomatoes,” she adds.
“Oh, and we prepare fresh pre-made sandwiches every day as well.”
All coffees are made with a double-shot and cost just €2.50, which is rare value in the city these days – so you can see why this place is going to drag in the nearby students.
You can also pick up perfectly snackable bagels with cream cheese or peanut butter/banana (both €3) or cream cheese with hickory bacon (€3.70).
And of even more interest to the demographic will be the Breakfast Blaa (€4), which is served all day and contains baked eggs, hickory bacon, sausages and Ballymaloe relish on a toasted Waterford Blaa.
There’s no space to sit inside, so it’s takeaway only – but with a magnificently colourful interior, and those seriously slick prices, we feel this is going to become a standard part of the local set very quickly.