Warm up in the Idaho Cafe.

Idaho Cafe. Side Street Oasis.
It is small and perfectly formed, they say themselves. It is also bright and bubbly and has been bouncing on the same spot at 19 Caroline Street (at its junction with Oliver Plunkett Street) since 2001. It is of course the Idaho Cafe and themselves are the bright and bubbly Richard and Mairead Jacob.

"Real food for real people” was the original motto and you could now make it real local food! “We try to source all our primary ingredients from within a 100km radius of Idaho Cafe.” They can even tell you the names of their top laying hens: Beryl and Gladys.  

The cafe’s location could hardly be better, barely more than the length of a wren’s flight (25 yards for you city folks who never hunted the wren) from the busy Patrick Street. It is a breakfast place, a quick or a leisurely coffee and sweet things stop morning and afternoon, and a re-filling and refreshing lunch station. It draws visitors, shoppers and business types, along with casual drop-ins like myself.

We dropped in there on Friday shortly before one and just managed to get a table. Turnaround can be quick here with the coffee drinkers coming and going so check with Richard behind the counter if it looks full.

The menu is quite extensive. They are strong on breakfast choices and the lunch choices are good also, augmented by daily specials. We started off with a Potato and Fennell Soup. Fennell can be an overpowering element but here it was all nicely judged, really well balanced and very tasty indeed. Also enjoyed the brown soda bread.

Idaho has quite a reputation for its salads. Friday’s feature was Chicken with beetroot, roasted pepper, red onion and pine nuts (10.50). Looked almost too good to eat but this French style mix, so well dressed, was just gorgeous and both plates went back without a shred of evidence! Well, maybe a smear of beetroot.

Then had a look at the Sweet Things, next to the Hippy Teas. My choice here was the Rhubarb Tart and a pot of the traditional Barry’s Tea (not under Hippy Teas!). Both went down a treat.

Terrific ambience in this busy little spot which, by the way, is Cash Only! Contact them at (021) 427 6376 or idaho.cafe@gmail.com. Read more about Idaho here