The new exotic restaurants keep on coming, but this week I decided to take things down a notch. No cocktails or truffles, no lemongrass or Limoncello. In fact, quite possibly not even a lemon.
Hatch and Sons is a wholly Irish restaurant/coffee shop located in the basement of the Little Museum of Dublin on St Stephen's Green near the junction of Dawson Street.
It is named after a 19th-century dairy that was on Leeson Street and it is open for breakfast and lunch and until 8pm on a Thursday.
This is the latest project of Domini and Peaches Kemp of the Itsa chain, in partnership with food writer Hugo Arnold. I confess I am not a fan of Itsa bagels, so I was not particularly excited about their new venture and I'm also not a fan of basements, having lived in one for many years.
In addition, I visited on a miserable rainy afternoon with Princess Foodie, who is as difficult to please as her new nickname would suggest, so I was determined not to go easy on H&S.
First impressions were good as, unlike most basement restaurants/ coffee shops, H&S has two large bright windows, solid furniture and good attention to details -- the effect is half coffee shop and half country kitchen.
The menu is completely sourced in Ireland, except obviously the wine and the odd spice.
Sandwiches are made with blaa baps from Waterford, the cheese is Irish farmhouse and the menu reads like a slightly posh version of a Maura Laverty cookbook from the 1960s.
You can have porridge for breakfast, rock buns and scones, soda bread and smoked mackerel and maybe a steamed lemon pudding for dessert.
For a starter we cleared a mixed board containing soda bread, St Gall and Coolea cheese from Cork along with Burren Smokehouse salmon and Tom Durcan's spiced beef from the English Market.
My main course of beef and Guinness stew tasted just like one my mother used to make and had plenty of beef and lots of sweet pearl onions.
The blaa that 'C' chose had St Gall goat's cheese, beetroot relish, toasted seeds and rapeseed oil mayonnaise (inevitably) and had a lovely tangy texture with the blaa lightly toasted to give a little extra texture which we loved.
We finished with a good-sized plunger pot of coffee and a slice of moist and spicy carrot cake and a more-ish lemon raspberry coconut slice.
We very much enjoyed our visit to Hatch and Sons, not because they are doing anything new, but because they are doing something very old -- using truly the finest ingredients you could find and serving them with only a tiny hint of panache and lots of warmth.