I’ve always been a huge fan of the Kemp sisters and their culinary empire. I adore their country kitchen style cafe and restaurant Hatch and Sons on Stephen’s Green, particularly their yummy Blaas (floury soft white baps from Waterford with various fillings, my favourite being the ham and cheese). And I practically lived off Itsa Bagel when I worked out in the no-man’s land that is Sandyford Industrial Estate. This was back in 2007 – 2008 when there really wasn’t ANYTHING else tasty and nutritious to eat for lunch every day. It was truly the highlight of my busy day when I could go get my bagel, lentil soup and whatever treat I deserved that day! I have to admit I sometimes had two bagels a day if I was really hungry!! Don’t judge – I burned them off walking up and down that bloody hill to the Luas, lugging my laptop in and out of the office.
So ranting aside, it was with much anticipation that I awaited the arrival of their latest venture, Joe’s Coffee in Arnotts. I had high hopes, especially when I looked at the menu and saw a salted caramel brownie on there, as well the fact that they would be using the excellent Organic for Us milk from Donegal. (Another feature on that milk and where you can find it in your coffee is coming up on the blog soon, stay tuned!). They also had lots of tasty sandwiches and salads, but the real star of the show is their coffee, hence the name. They source only the very best coffee beans from around the world and use state of the art coffee machines and fancy copper tap filter things to bring you excellent coffee, perfect for fuelling you through the rest of the workday or for a little pick me up mid-shopping spree in Arnott’s!
It opened up on Tuesday last week and I had every intention of getting in there on the day to try out as much as I could, but especially that salted caramel brownie! But life got in the way and I had to wait until Thursday to get there. I even managed to drag my other half with me. He’s always complaining that there aren’t enough cosy places in Dublin to have coffee and work away on his laptop. He’s very particular about his coffee and his workspace. So when we got there I was pleased to see that the decor was stripped back and inviting, with long wooden tables and counters to sit on and cool brightly painted metal stools giving the place a bit of colour.
I don’t know why, maybe given that Itsa and Hatch and Sons have a high emphasis on making everything fresh to order, but I had assumed that all the sandwiches and salads here would also be made in front of you. Sadly this wasn’t the case, as they were all pre made in cute brown paper bags. Now having said that, they were all presented well and obviously made with care. I had the Spicy Chicken, with harissa and roasted vegetables and some lettuce. The other half had a Ham and Cheese.
But the real disappointment came when I realised they had no salted caramel brownies! In fact they only had one fresh cake, huge tasty looking slices of carrot cake with what looked like cream cheese icing. On the menu they have all sorts of yummy sounding fresh cakes like Cinnamon Pecan Buns and Portugese Custard Tarts, but perhaps they’re working up to those. The other half isn’t a carrot cake fan and it was huge, so I opted for a packaged cake, a “Honeybuns” lemon and ginger crumbly slice. We each got a packet of Keogh’s crisps, mine being the delicious Christmas limited edition of Turkey and Stuffing. I ordered a cappuccino for myself and a fancy filtered Kenyan coffee for the other half. He also got a lovely O’Donnell’s apple and raspberry pressed juice, and we asked for the sandwiches to be toasted.
I have to say I enjoyed my sandwich, and it was quite tasty and I love spicy stuff like harissa. Of course it would have been better if it had been made to order, but maybe that’s not possible with the limited prep space they have – I don’t know. My cappuccino was good, and the lemon and ginger slice was very tasty. The ham and cheese was apparently not great, but I think that was because it wasn’t toasted properly and was a bit soggy, but the Kenyan coffee was apparently very good, so I think he’ll be back. I definitely will, I just hope next time they have the brownie!! It really is cruel to tease us salted caramel addicts, you know Joe’s!! So please, get baking and let me know when you have them!! I really am drooling over them in my head – that sounds weirder than it should… So all in all, Joe’s is a great addition to the Kemp empire (or Kempire if you will!! sorry couldn’t resist!). It’s really inspiring to see an Irish foodie company grow and grow, long may it continue!!
PS: how come Itsa don’t have Organic For Us milk as well?? It would be great to able to get it in more locations with your tea, coffee of other hot drinks!!
Dublin 1, Ireland