A little café in the Dublin inner suburb of Phibsboro is trying to reinvigorate a much-needed sense of community, and their food is right on point too, as James Kavanagh reports
Phibsboro on Dublin’s northside is seeing an injection of fresh blood and enthusiasm with various entrepreneurs setting up shop, but a proper food trail is something it still greatly needs to improve on – there are 10, dingy fast-food restaurants to every one nice eatery. On the up side, two lovely cafés have sprung up. One of them is Bang Bang.
Try to imagine what a ‘neighbourhood café’ should be. You’re probably thinking small and cosy, where the owners know everyone by name; the kind of place you could bring your granny to, or your coolest friend, and both would feel totally at home. Well, that’s exactly what Bang Bang in Phibsboro is, and it’s hidden in a housing estate like a little secret.
It’s the brainchild of brother and sister Daniel and Grace Lambert, and it also plays the very old-world and nostalgic role of a corner shop – you can pick up fresh eggs and very necessary bits and bobs for your kitchen there too.
What got me hooked on Bang Bang is its Brunch Burger. It’s a brioche bun housing bacon, homemade relish, a fried egg and leaves. You can accessorise it (which I certainly do) with black pudding, avocado and sausage (if you’re starving), and it’s made right in front of you, in a pan you’d find in your gaff. It’s as if your friend is whipping it up for you in their small kitchen, and it’s lovely.
The Brunch Burger used to be only available on weekends, but due to demand from people like me, it’s now available every day. The joy.
Given the fact owner Daniel is vegan, Bang Bang also does a vegan brunch burger, which, according to my vegan friend, is the business. It’s a chickpea burger generously surrounded by varied salads. Their coffee, like nearly everything stocked, is sourced locally, and it is damn good. Iced coffees were something I always wanted to like, but didn’t in reality. Until Bang Bang made me one. Get it with almond milk and a squirt of hazelnut syrup.
Key To The City
Bang Bang is named after the old Dublin character, Thomas ‘Bang Bang’ Dudley – a man who used to ‘shoot’ unsuspecting Dubliners with a large key and scream: “Bang bang!” Knowing this will help you understand why there are keys of varying sizes covering nearly every inch of the walls. It’s a nod to a Dublin where stories were an integral part of the community fabric.
This is something that the café is really trying to resurrect. Every time you go in, Daniel or Grace will tell you a little story about a new local product they have, or where the eggs come from, or about a funny customer they had. And this is why they are the definition a ‘neighbourhood café’. More of this, please!