Meal Ticket: Luncheonette, Dublin 8

A cool little spot that has the frantic starved-student mayhem during lunch, but is a relaxing spot in between

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Lunch at the DIT Aungier Street canteen when I was in college in the 1990s usually involved cheap cups of tea, a couple of Marlboro Lights (sorry Mum) and if we were feeling flush, a plate of chips and gravy. High times indeed.

The students at NCAD have a much tastier option in Luncheonette – a vaulted basement café, run by artist Jennie Moran, whose light installations brighten the subterranean space. Along with Brazilian chef Wagner Dos Santos, Moran has created a cool little spot that still has the frantic starved-student mayhem during lunch hours, but is a relaxing spot in between (non students are welcome).

Open from 8.30am on weekdays for breakfast (it closes at 3.45pm) the menu changes daily, but stalwarts include pound cake (it’s a tangy lemon and thyme at the moment, €2), a good serving of porridge with cream, roasted hazelnuts and honey (€2) and “complicated flapjacks” (€1.70).

Lunchtime offerings generally include a couple of sambos and a soup or salad. They’re student-friendly in budget, but a million miles from chips and gravy.

There are some really interesting flavours and ideas; Azerbaijani spinach and split pea soup with pomegranate and bulgar, €3 (college-going Rachel would have recognised about two of those ingredients), roast free-range chicken ciabatta (€4) or a decently-sized portion of spiced brown rice and mung bean salad, thinly sliced radish, pistachio and coriander (€3.50).

A lovely, friendly lunchtime spot that could teach other college canteens a thing or two.