A hidden northside gem that gets to the heart of the Mater
Just around the corner from the hospital is a spot that could cheer up any tough day
Delisuz is a haven for tray-bake enthusiasts
There’s a corner in Dublin’s north inner city where Berkeley and Mountjoy Streets converge with Blessington Street. At this fork in the road lies Delisuz, a petite take-away deli that has been serving up sandwiches on this spot from 2005.
Its current owner and manager, Joanna Skitek, started working in the deli in 2006. Nearly 10 years later, in 2015, she bought the business and now runs the show. Skitek comes from Poland where she did a four-year stint at catering college and a Master’s Degree in Food Science and Technology.
You might be forgiven for over-looking Delisuz. In one way it’s hard to miss with its bright orange signage but its exterior, apart from a sign signalling Badger & DoDo coffee, doesn’t quite express the treats that lie inside. Locals know all about it, as do staff and visitors in the nearby Mater Hospital.
This deli specialises in sandwiches, salads and baked goods to go. On the menu are classics like baked ham sandwiches and goats’ cheese and beetroot salads, alongside unexpected curveballs such as buckwheat pancakes for breakfast and falafel super salads. The team here make and bake almost everything from scratch, apart from the bread which is supplied by Arun Bakery down the road in Smithfield.
A Roast Turkey Reuben (€6.50) is a mix of thick slices of deli-style turkey, swiss cheese, sauerkraut and a chipotle mayo. It’s a solid sandwich, stuffed to the gills and nicely toasted on request. I don’t think the turkey surpasses the yum factor of the more traditional pastrami but it’s a good effort.
A Falafel Super Salad (€6.50) is a box filled with salad greens, shredded carrots, cucumber and a dollop of very good hummus. The falafel are small and lacking in the crispiness that comes from intense deep-fat frying, but they’re tasty nevertheless. The salad is really brought together by a lovely avocado yogurt dressing, and I get a few crispy chickpeas thrown in on top for good measure.
Delisuz is a haven for tray-bake enthusiasts. There are raw protein bars, caramel coconut slices, raspberry flapjacks and peanut pretzel bars, all for €2.50 a slice. The peanut butter pretzel slice, coated in a layer of chocolate, is an intensely good combination of sweet and salty. Coffee is supplied by Badger & Dodo in Cork and made with milk from the Dairy Direct. A flat white (€2.70) is well made and hits the spot.
The staff made my experience extra special. Their master baker Renia served me with a smile as her colleague, Justa, cheerfully put together my salad and sandwich. Their friendliness lifted my spirits on a tough day spent visiting a dear friend at the Mater. True, this deli might not have the most ground-breaking menu in the city, or trendy light fixtures, or a minimalist decor. Instead, they’re cooking up classic comfort deli food made with care and served with genuine warmth and hospitality from the staff.
If you continue to walk to the end of Blessington Street, you’ll be met with another of the north inner city’s hidden gems – the Blessington Street Basin. This park’s centrepiece is a perpetually calm and still pool of water, originally operated as a drinking reservoir from 1810 to the 1970s. It’s been a public park since the mid 1990s. Today, benches surrounded by flowers line the outskirts of the pool of water, a special spot for a bit of peace and quiet. Delisuz is a take-away only spot but on a good, dry day the Basin makes for one of the best outdoor eating areas in the city.