Oxmantown is a tiny district in Dublin that most people have never heard of. It also happens to be the name of a hip deli on a corner between Smithfield and Capel street. It is an area of the city that I am continually being drawn to these days because of the incredible food and drink in places like Brother Hubbard, Mulligans, Slice, Dice bar and a host of other spots. This is an area that has been touted as Dublin's answer to meat packing district in NY or Borough market since way back in the early days of the Celtic Tiger but the crash put a harsh end to all that. Having lived in Smithfield for 3 years you really have to say the planners fucked that area up royally. The big apartments have just been dumped into the middle of the square and were designed on a spreadsheet rather than with any serious city planning.
City defining new areas are hard to "plan" and they happen organically. The first sign is always cafes and cool food joints started by enterprising people on a tight budgets. Oxmantown is super simple and clean in design and it would have taken incredible vision to have seen the place and area and popped it in here. The Luas whizzing past and a series of bizarre one way streets make it a hard venue to just stumble upon. I've visited it about 5 times in a taxi and the driver has never once even heard of it. Once you do find it though you'll soon realize that this is the sort of place that is worth a little detour to get to.
The sandwiches are absolutely incredible and they do a super job of underselling their menu and over delivering on the end product. I had a chicken and stuffing sandwich purposely choosing something boring when better options existed to see how good it was. It was incredible. A proper lunch. What they do here is turn the humble sandwich into an art form. Their pulled pork is to die for.
While their sandwiches are good their coffee is nearly even better. Probably one of the best flat whites I've seen around Dublin to date. What I love about Oxmantown though is that you are forced to sit at benches looking out the windows. You get to do some proper people watching and the city is your landscape for the duration of lunch. It was lashing rain and maybe it was just because the sandwich was so good but I loved watching people's faces as they battled the type of sideways rain that you only see in Ireland. It is the sort of place where you'll want to stay a little longer and have one of their delightful (and nicely portioned) little treats with the coffee.
To keep things interesting they also have a daily special that they share via social media and which will make you start licking your screen when you spot it online. It felt like for the last 10 years we were all eating the same old shitty sandwiches but with Green Bench, Oxmantown and PBF the standard across town is on the up. Cafe owners spot potential in areas long before city planners or developers ever do and it is no surprise to see all the great food options popping up down here. I want to eat an Oxmantown sandwich every day of the week until I die. Thats how good they are.