Monday, February 6, 2023

Greenwich. Passionate café culture in Cork city centre

Greenwich. Passionate café culture in Cork city centre

The lady at the counter is delighted, compliments are flowing to the staff as she pays her bill in the little Cork café. “This is delightful,” she enthuses, “A real café, great food and relaxing music, and in the heart of the city. How long have you been here?”

They explain that the current owner has just celebrated a year in residence but the café has been here for about 20 years. With an incredulous gasp, she questions: “How come I’ve never found it before?” Greenwich is the uber central café in Caroline Street, just behind Brown Thomas that itself faces onto to the main thoroughfare of Patrick Street.

Dermot O’Sullivan is the chef/owner celebrating his first anniversary here in Greenwich and he has the place smelling well, looking well and sounding well! 

Flowers and bright paintings all around, cool jazz and easy swing ooze from the speakers as tempting aromas waft from the kitchen. This gentle melange for the senses, served with smiles and chats, has enthralled many a customer, our happy lady the latest in a long line.

These months, with not much use being made of the outdoor seating (even if it is sheltered), the 20 plus seats inside are busy and buzzing, the punter’s eyes on the glass containers of cakes on the counter, the wall-mounted boards (detailing coffees, teas and wines) and on the menu with its day-long brunch offerings and its lunch list, along with a host of sweet treats.

We get in around 1.45 on a midweek afternoon. There is a short wait for a table and we have the menu to check in the meantime. By the time we’ve read it, the table is cleared and we have a good idea what we’ll be eating.

I had the Reuben sandwich on my most recent call and this time I’m inclined to go for something off that day-long brunch menu and pick the Challah Bread French Toast. It is a tasty and generous plate,  the bread (from the English Market) is dipped in egg and cream, fried in butter until golden and served with crispy bacon  and maple syrup. There is also a homemade fruit compote vanilla Mascarpone version. 

Dermot supports local suppliers. The ever reliable Chicken Inn is one such and CL picks the Chargrilled Chicken Salad with chargrilled red pepper, toasted cashew nuts, dressed Waterfall Farm leaves and pickles served with the café’s homemade honey & mustard dressing. A generous and inviting plateful, accompanied by a couple of slices of their brown bread, is a very satisfying combination of colours, flavours and textures. 

They have a short wine list here but today we pick the beautiful refreshing apple juice from Con Traas’s Apple Farm in Cahir. Coffee is by the Golden Bean and we decide to share a slice of the Lemon Curd Cake. Just as well we shared, as the portion is quite large!

So, heated by the meal and feeling good after the warm welcome and the friendly service and the day’s play-list, we are well equipped for the walk back to the car.

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