Millennium Walkway and the Italian quarter are strange little parts of Dublin.
The area felt like it had lost its mojo during the bust, and far from being an Italian quarter it was more of a dark dank alleyway that people shuttled through on their way to somewhere nicer.
But with the uplift in the economy, the area is starting to see a resurgence – the outdoor tables have started booming again and all the empty units have been taken up. And amongst them all is a wicked little restaurant called Bread and Bones.
When you step inside the place is bright, funky and spacious with an open kitchen. It feels like it was dreamt up by a bunch of teenage boys with the bright comic references, street art and craft beers – but there's also a serious touch of the hipster about it, and as I sat down and saw the cutlery placed inside a brick I thought the place might be all style and no substance.
That was quickly dispelled, though, as I started with some lightly fried squid that was crispy, fresh and gorgeous. A perfect little starter, even if the sauce was a bit watery and needed more of a kick.
Now the place does serve awesome rolls and a bunch of other stuff, but really, I came for their broths.
I noticed from the Facebook page that they make all their own with a big focus on bones (as you would work out from the name of the place).
And I'll tell you something that most non-chefs wouldn't know... bones are really, really tasty. You use them to make stocks, gravy and great sauces, as well as broths and soups.
Boil them (sometimes for up to a day) and the result is a natural liquid full of flavour and goodness. In simpler times, when we didn't have as much cash, our grannies would have made many an awesome soup from a chicken carcass. Today our food comes pre-packaged and I'd expect most people to be put off by the sight of bones.
So instead, most places get their flavour these days from MSG or powered chicken stock and gravies.
Not here, though. The seafood broth I had was superb with big juicy prawns, lovely mussels, noodles and veg all brought together in that natural broth. I could feel the goodness going into my body as I slurped it up.
The best thing about this place is that it is perfect for lunch.
You'd be in and out in 30 minutes and there is something for everybody, from the big meat eater to somebody who wants a nice healthy salad.
They've hit the nail on the head with the branding, the craft beers and the style of the food, meaning it feels fun to go and eat here; no pretences, just friendly staff and a chilled vibe. The best thing about the place, though – and apologies in advance if this sentence sounds weird – are the bones.
You'll never see them or eat them but their flavour and deep rich goodness permeates everything in the place. If you start with a good foundation like that and do things properly from the ground up you can't lose. Check it out,as it's a top spot and a great addition to the newly bustling Millennium Way.