Meal Ticket: Science Gallery Café
Light-filled oasis of good food, cool service and Cloud Picker coffee on Pearse St
Science Gallery Café, Dublin
Beyond a giant music box and a trio of musical swings lies one of the most light-filled cafés in Dublin. The Science Gallery’s floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall windows reach across the two storeys of the space.
Since it opened nine years ago, almost three million people have visited Science Gallery Dublin, tucked away on the Pearse Street corner of Trinity College Dublin. “Sound Check” is the 41st and latest free exhibition at the gallery, and it could well be its noisiest one yet.
Science Gallery Café is the public-facing home of Cloud Picker Coffee, one of Ireland’s best micro coffee roasteries. Run by partners Frank Kavanagh and Peter Sztal since 2013, their small team hand roast coffee to order from their roastery on Sheriff Street in Dublin’s Docklands, just a short drive across from the Science Gallery Cafe on Pearse Street. But they have been the creative forces behind the Science Gallery Cafe since 2010, even before they launched Cloud Picker Coffee.
This summer, change has been afoot in the cafe, with a new menu and a refurb by Irish furniture specialists Walls To Workstations. A long communal table takes centre stage while roofed booths offer a spot for a quieter chat. There is a daily breakfast and lunch, and it has recently launched a pizza and beer special on Wednesday evenings. The menu changes regularly and Sztal’s Polish heritage makes an appearance on many lunch menus, either through homemade pickles or his mother’s pierogi recipe. At the weekend, brunch can be accompanied by prosecco or wine on tap.
My plate looks pretty too, thanks to a tasty beetroot mousse which is a gloriously bold magenta
Plates on a neighbouring table feature an envy-inducing Classic Club (€8.50). It’s a grilled chicken, bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich topped with a bonus fried egg and a dollop of luminously green tarragon aioli. My plate looks pretty too, thanks to a tasty beetroot mousse which is a gloriously bold magenta. The vibrant colour matches that of the crunchy radicchio leaves, and the plate is further adorned with pink pickled radishes and fennel. These sit atop the main event: well seasoned corn fritters complete with delectably crispy edges. The corn has been charred and the fritters are light, yet thoroughly satisfying (€9.50).
It’s an inspiring lunch, one that I suppose could fuel an afternoon in the research lab or poring over ancient books in one of Trinity’s libraries. The cafe diners appear to be a mix of Trinity staff and students, workers from the nearby area and the odd discerning tourist.
There is Cloud Picker filter coffee and cold brew flat whites, alongside fresh juices supplied by Green Beards. The barista bar is also a good place to expand your home-brewing coffee collection by picking up an AeroPress or some Cloud Picker beans.
The tables are installed with call buttons and when pressed they activate the vibrate mode of the waiting staff’s watches. On a busy lunchtime, I feel a bit sorry for their wrists as the regularity of buzzing must be quite intense. My young waiter shows no sign of feeling over-buzzed. He’s friendly and efficient, and doesn’t hold it against me that I’ve pressed on a second call button on the table. That’s to let him know I want to pay by card at my table to ensure a speedy exit. There is ground-breaking research and inspiring tomes to get back to, after all.
Science Gallery Café is open, 8am-8pm, Monday-Friday, and 12pm-6pm, Saturday and Sunday.
Science Gallery Café
The Naughton Institute,