Meal Ticket: Grove Road, Rathmines, Dublin - looks like it’s going to stick

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Grove Road Cafe

  • 1 Lower Rathmines Road
  • (01) 544 6639

On the corner of the Grand Canal and Rathmines bridge in Dublin sits a little café that looks out onto this congested crossroads. In the past decade, a series of tenants have moved in to try to make this space work as a café, with varying levels of success.

The latest incarnation, Grove Road, looks like it’s going to stick.

Opened in April 2014 by Dona Watchorne, the floor-to-ceiling windows of Grove Road are a surprisingly effective buffer from the frantic traffic outside. I can see the folks trying to navigate the traffic, but I can’t hear the hustle and bustle. Instead, I find serenity, thanks to a thoughtfully understated décor with an abundance of dark wood, a few bright red chairs distributing pops of colour throughout the six or so tables.

Tall stools are propped along counters that flank the windows, providing the opportunity to contemplate those crossroads as you get stuck in to lunch or brunch.

Enticing reading
The brunch menu, served on weekends only, makes for enticing reading. I spot a plate of blueberry hotcakes (€8.90) being brought out from the small kitchen at Grove Road, and it’s a vision of brunch bliss. Petite pancakes sit atop spoonfuls of fresh fruit and seeds, all doused in maple syrup.

Tempting though those hotcakes are, I go down a savoury road instead. An avocado and feta smash (€8.90) is griddled sourdough topped with dollops of creamy avocado, with just the right amount of salty feta cheese mixed through. The addition of roasted cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of balsamic reduction are welcome flourishes.

I really enjoy the mixed-bean cassoulet (€8.90), and I’ve elected in favour of the supplementary sausage (€1.80). It’s a good-quality sausage but, because it hasn’t been cooked among the tomatoes, haricot and kidney beans that make up the sauce, it feels like an afterthought rather than a true constituent of the cassoulet.

Perhaps this brunch dish might be best enjoyed as vegetarian. There are plenty of meat options such as the scrambled eggs with chorizo and feta (€9.50) and The Big Breakfast (€10.50 and featuring all the usual suspects), but generally this is a menu very friendly to those who don’t eat meat.

Locals will rejoice that everything on the brunch menu is available for takeaway, so keep that in mind for your next hungover morning in Dublin 6 or its adjacent boroughs. The staff are attentive and amiable, so they’ll guide you through your hungover haze. The hot drinks are very good, too, with Roasted Brown beans (€3 for a flat white) and teas from Wall & Keogh, sourced from just down the road on South Richmond Street.

The lunch menu, served Monday to Friday, features our mixed-bean cassoulet alongside old favourites such as Ploughman’s sandwich (€5.80) and newer arrivals such as a kale and lemon pesto chicken ciabatta (€6.90). Watchorne tells me that customers can expect changes in the coming weeks as their new chef Kiri Booth will be implementing some Antipodean influences on the menu, while keeping the ethos of Grove Road, which is “to do simple things well, make things tasty and be nice to people”, very much intact.