The whole country is fucking broke at the moment. We've a cloud of depression hanging over us all but the only silver lining is that the restaurant scene is getting seriously cool in Dublin. Something pretty special is happening in this city and it's happening because of the recession. Restauranteurs are being forced to get creative on low budgets and coming up with some incredible concepts on a shoestring. Most people are in so much debt that eating out is one of the little joys of life. Whats 50 quid for a nice meal when you owe 100k to the banks? It never ceases to amaze me just how much a good restaurant experience can cheer people up and I had discovered one of the cutest places you'll ever find in Dublin this week. It's called Bibis and it is half boutique half hipster cafe...
As regular readers of the blog will know I live in Ranelagh and worship the place for it's amazing food and good living. If I was forced to pick the next Ranelagh though and speculate on property it would be Dublin 8. It's all that area in beside the canal and there is a bit of a movement down there that makes it feel part New York part Camden in London. It is hipster central and still grungy enough to find some serious bargains on houses. If you've not spent much time in Dublin 8 then head straight for Bibis to get the full experience. 2 Sisters took the building below and turned it in to the cutest and funkiest little space you will ever find. You sit in between rails of clothes and handbags for sale and the place is absolutely buzzing. In a world dominated by chains, franchises and restaurants with little soul this place just screams personality. The transformation is mind boggling and shows you the level of creativity these girls bring to everything they do.
We started with some pretty tasty ginger beer (I fucking hate it but Aaron said it was good) and Sicilian lemonade which was seriously tasty. Talk about the fucking perfect thirst quencher. Another lovely touch was a big jug of cucumber flavoured water. The menu is tiny and it changes by the day. The girls clearly head to a market or get a delivery and cook whatever they feel like. I love this approach...a big fuck you to the corporate world where everything is getting standardised.
We had a couple of sandwiches and a cup of sup as well as a salad. I wouldn't say the food was earth shattering. Very tasty and good value but the ham and cheese toastie was soaked in butter and impossible to finish. The thing is you don't really give a shit about the food because you are so busy looking at all the insanely cool things hanging beside you. This place must be like the holy grial for girls all over the world as they can sit there eating and shopping without moving a muscle.
Its also a weekend spot. We only had an hour for lunch and the pace of the place doesn't really suit busy young professionals during the week. Its a place to bring the paper, forget about the shite in your life and just kick back and relax. It's also got a real community feel to it and you just feel like you are escaping the world when you walk in the door. My guess is you'll struggle to get a table at the weekend so head down early like a German tourist and grab your seats before the hungover crowd arrive.
So the moral of the story is buy a house in Portobello as soon as you can because the place is exploding and something pretty magical is happening down there. You'll make a fortune in the next 3-4 years. All the creative and hipster style folk are opening up insanely cool places and Bibis would be top of my list (Check out Fumbally too) as an example. You'll only spend 20 odd Euros feeding yourself here and you'll walk out with a huge fucking smile on your face knowing that those 2 sisters are in there living and working in their dream business. The world would be a better place if there was a Bibis on every corner.