Something special has been happening down in the docks now for a number of years. The influx of tech giants like Facebook and Google, tons of young Irish start ups and some new cultural landmarks like the Bord Gais theatre make this an up and coming area of Dublin. I remember living down here in the late 90s and the place was quite frankly a shit hole. It might have been D4 but the local Ringsend and Pearce Street knackers meant you walked home constantly looking over your shoulder. One of the little fuckers even robbed my moped and is probably still driving around on it to this day. The only bright light on the horizon was the odd time you'd hear U2 jamming in their studio across the water. Oh how the place has changed and as Ireland enters a new more positive era you won't believe what is about to happen down here. This will be the area that defines the country as we start to recover and there is not better way to define an area than by it's food...
One things that the Silicon docks has always lacked is good cafes. Ely is excellent and a nice spot for some fancy lunch or dinner but given the thousands of young professionals working down here the depth of quality is poor. I stepped into Bakers on a gorgeous crisp November Saturday to see if they could compete with Herbstreet next door. The place has huge glass windows, slick design and free WIFI so that ticked a ton of boxes for me.
The Menu was simple. Maybe a little too fucking simple especially given that the fact I was told the baked potatoes weren't ready yet. Being a chef I know that is the old "coming in a little late because you've had a heavy Saturday night" syndrome. The waitress told me they would be 45 minutes and because I had work to do and a lovely coffee and pasty starter I was cool with that but with such a small menu and one of the items missing that is shoddy at best.
Luckily the coffee here is absolutely awesome. Deep and rich and piping hot. The pastry was slightly stale and tasted as if it could have been from the day before. The sun was shining so bright and the coffee so good that I actually wasn't that pissed off.
When the baked potato did show up after a sixty minute wait it was well worth it. They could have just fucked it into the microwave but they didn't and the result was a fluffy pile of deliciousness topped with chili, sour cream and lovely rich cheese.
As I sat there looking out at the sun with Google's HQ on one side, a wake boarding circuit on the other and free WIFI pumping all through the area it felt like change was in the air. Water defines our city in a lot of ways with the river and the coastline but this section of the quays will continue to grow and become a focal point in our city. I still think it is a tad light on good restaurants and cafes but things are getting better and despite the couple of cock ups the sun was shining bright enough to make me vow to come back here. A super early weekend brunch spot.