Meal Ticket: The Market Kitchen at Temple Bar Food Market
Pop-up cafe highlights incredible diversity of produce on offer at venerable Dublin market
The Market Kitchen
- Temple Bar Food Market, Meeting House Square, Dublin 2
Jenny and Patrick McNally have been running the McNally Family Farm stall at the Temple Bar Food Market for almost as long as the Dublin market has been operating – which will be 20 years this year.
Everything the McNally’s sell is grown or made on their organic spread in north county Dublin, near Balbriggan. They are considered heroes among the food community, supplying cafes such as the Fumbally Cafe, Fia Cafe and Meet Me in the Morning with spectacular greens, salad leaves and Irish chilies, among other seasonal ingredients.
One of the McNallys’ daughters, Sara, is well used to Saturdays at Temple Bar Food Market. When the market turned 18, she and Liadain Kaminska, who has also worked in the market for a number of years, wanted to create a project to mark that birthday. They launched the Market Kitchen to further highlight the stellar produce being sold throughout the market. The project was such a success that they have continued to appear at the market almost every Saturday since then.
On a cold Saturday morning, I indulge in a steaming hot toastie (€5.50), which has been crispened on the Market Kitchen’s grill. The bread is from stallholder Le Levain Bakery, a fantastic naturally fermented French-style bread baked by Rossa Crowe. Also in the toastie is a healthy dose of outstanding Young Buck, a relatively new cheese made in a Stilton style by Mike Thomson in Co Down and sold at the market’s Corleggy Cheese stall.
Fried leeks from the McNally farm maintain a lovely crunch while having their full sweetness revealed by frying in, I suspect, a generous heap of butter. They have also been doused in a Béchamel sauce made with Coolatin cheddar. McNally and Kaminska have really nailed their brief of highlighting the best of the market, and what can be done with its produce.
The week I visit, they are selling cupfuls of an ancient Irish leek and oatmeal soup known as Brotchan Roy, which translates as a broth fit for a king.
“We got the recipe from Trish Deseine’s book Home when we were researching for inspiration,” McNally says as she spoons a ladleful of the oaty broth (€3 for a full portion) into a takeaway cup. It’s like a savoury porridge, thoroughly comforting on a cold day. Also on offer is a vegan spiced carrot soup (€3) and a delicately spiced Masala chai (€2). They do a weekly cake, often using vegetables as the main ingredient, such as a sweet pumpkin sponge (€2).
The weekly menu features an All Day Egg Breakfast (€6) as well as the Market Toastie. When I visit, the day’s breakfast includes an egg on Le Levain toast, slathered with a pumpkin purée “That’ll be the last of the pumpkins now,” says McNally.
She says there is a very close connection between the Market Kitchen and the seasons. “We look at what’s good in the market and plan our weekly menu around that.”
The Market Kitchen has been a moveable feast as well. It has popped up at festivals such as last summer’s Body & Soul as part of the Food on Board project. For the Savour Kilkenny Festival of Food last October, they moved in to Mullins Mill, which dates back to 1782. The partners brought their daytime fare of fresh bakes, tea and coffee by day and a long table candlelit supper by night.
They created a hand-bound book as a memento of the dinners, filled with recipes from the suppers such as pickled fennel, spiced pumpkin soup and a crab apple, rosehip and sweet geranium cocktail. You can browse the book and request a copy (€15) at milldinners.com.
Keep an eye on the Market Kitchen on Facebook @themarketkitchenTBFM or on Instagram @themarketkitchencafe to see what’s on the menu this week – or where it will be popping up next.