I think a midday working lunch is the worst meal of the week in Dublin. Most of us grab a sandwich. Either a rotten half cooked roll from spar with that super bendy rubber chicken. Maybe One of those leather tasteless factory made abominations that Cafe Sol or Insomnia serve up and which have been sitting in their manky fridges for about 11 days. If you are willing to queue for about 50 minutes of your lunch break I'd reccomend Listons or the Pig and Heifer but time those spots wrong and no matter how good the sambo tastes you'll be pissed off wasting half your lunch break staring at some fat geezers back and admiring packets of organic quinoa on the shelves. Given the pressure of the working week lunch is one of the few things we all dream about. A little foodie escape from the daily slog so I've a perfect spot for you and rather than give out to me about my favorite sandwich spot share your own in the comments so as we can all benefit! I've already found a ton of new foodie spots thanks to readers of this blog so be generous with your sharing!
I feel in love with the Green Bench Cafe when I walked into it. The picture at the very top was the scene that greeted me. 11.55 is about the worst time you can enter a kitchen because panic is setting in among the chefs and with the Green bench being an open kitchen I was able to stand back and have a laugh and pat myself on the back for getting out of the cheffing game. The last thing you want is some fucker standing there asking for 8 chicken sambos 2 minutes after you checked the chooks and they are still half raw in the oven. Nowhere to hide and all that. "10 Fucking chickens will never be enough get more on" roared the chef to some poor lad upstairs. Luckily the chickens weren't raw and all the ingredients scattered out on the bench in front of me in organized chaos looked stunning. Whole roast chickens for their sandwiches!! Wow.
There were also a bunch of fresh cakes and slices coming flying out of the oven. Scones, carrot cakes and my own personal favorite of raspberry brioche with custard cream. See the thing is when you come in here you want absolutely everything. The coffee is amazing. The bread is good. The staff are friendly. They are the best at sharing their food on social media and it is all done with a real family feel to the place. I'm not sure of the economics (it is small and would have a high rent) but you want this place to do well. You just feel with every inch of the place that the product and the service provided is way more important than the bottom line. The people behind this place are real foodies. They live to see others coming in with a smile on their face.
Everything here is fresh. I cringe when I see the staff opening plastic packets of cooked chicken or wafer thin "bacon" in the likes of Obriens. How fucking hard can it be to make a good sandwich? Well the answer according to 95% of the places I visit is very fucking hard. They don't just serve sambos here either with lovely soups, little stews and the devine little rice paper parcels that you can see below.
They have nailed this place just in time for summer beside St Stephens Green and Iveagh gardens and I hope they make a killing. I hate that dreary feeling when you leave the office and think "where am I going today for the same boring old shite" but the good thing with Green Bench is that you never know what they are going to be serving. Take an extra 10-15 minutes and walk to this place from wherever you work in Dublin city center. It won't let you down but I just am dreading the day the queues are snaking around the corner because it is too good to stay this hidden for too much longer.