Dublin's food story inspiration

A visitor on a work trip or a short break may only have the chance to try one or two places to eat each time they come to Dublin. You could argue that they’d be spoilt for choice. But in practice, the vast number of eating places and food experiences makes it hard to know where to begin.

So to get across why a visitor should choose your place over another, you need to grab them with the story you tell – capture their imagination and let them know what makes you unique. Make them feel they’ll experience something they couldn’t get at home.

Be a part of the bigger picture of Dublin's food story by using some of the themes from the story. Here are some examples of different ways in which Dublin businesses are telling their stories.

  • 1. Using a sense of place >>

  • Dublin food festival, Chefs at work, Templemead food market

    The Pig’s Ear, Nassau Street
    They describe themselves as “an Irish restaurant serving good, honest Irish fare with a modern touch”. Their typical menu is particularly striking because every single item has an Irish name or an Irish twist to it.

    It may be the name of a place or supplier, a particular method, or a traditional dish – from tea-soaked prunes to smoked gubbeen cream, and from Gold River Farm Beetroot to Mourne Crab Mayonnaise and Lough Erne Shepherd’s Pie.

    Read The Pig's Ear menu to get a sense if its Irish vibe


    Gallgher’s Boxty House, Temple Bar
    Located in Temple Bar, Gallgher's Boxty House is popular with tourists, and committed to authenticity and quality: “a place where there is a strong connection with the land, our culture, and our history”. The menu features lots of traditional Irish dishes such as turf-smoked salmon, Atlantic seafood chowder, Paddy Smith’s corned beef, and, of course, Irish stew, with the eponymous Boxty – a potato pancake – the star of the show.

    The business uses an ingenious strapline – on fascia boards, menus, napkins, and more – that manages to convey the Boxty House's values and credo, along with Irish wit and warmth: “the humble spud made beautiful”.

  • 2. Being proud of your suppliers >>

  • couple enjoying oysters at Dublin food festival, modern urban cheese sandwich, urban eating in Dublin

    Green Bench Café
    Green Bench has a funky, contemporary website that gives prominence to their suppliers – using pictograms on the landing page for named Irish suppliers for their meat, fish and bread in a typically simple and fun way that also suggests high quality ingredients. Even the fruit and vegetables get a look in, with “daily deliveries from Smithfield Market”.


    Oxmantown
    Oxmantown is an independent sandwich shop and café located in the heart of Dublin city's fruit and vegetable markets. They don’t say much about themselves online. But we liked the sound of Oxmantown’s Pulled Pork sandwich featuring “free-range saddle-back pork shoulder from Clonanny Farm, North County Dublin served on a soft Arun Bakery Blaa”.


    Chapter One
    These guys never miss the chance to credit Ireland’s artisan producers: “What you see on a plate in Chapter One is an expression of many artisans, many landscapes, and much hardworking talent.”


    Their website is divided into three sections: 'The Land', 'The People' and 'The Food'. Under ‘The People’, as well as a full list of their suppliers with website links, they have commissioned stunning portraits of nearly 20 of their artisan producers: each photograph tells a story and is itself a work of art: “The new Irish artisans. Their produce was like a palette of textures and flavours to play with.”

    Of course, this Michelin-starred restaurant’s lyrical, arty style would not be right for every food business. But it’s a great example of a restaurant that champions Ireland and Irishness.


  • 3. Sharing your story >>

  • man at bar, restaurant story, Temple Bar Love Lane
     

    The Winding Stair
    The potted-history they tell of this much-loved bookshop and café, named after the Yeats poem, becoming a Dublin landmark frequented by creatives in the 70s and 80s, then rescued from closure in 2006 – could make the difference between it being a restaurant-among-many and a ‘must-visit’ experience.



    Queen of Tarts
    There’s just a very brief allusion to a back story here, but it tells us a lot: two sisters who “trained as pastry chefs in New York City in the 1990s, returning home to Ireland” to set up this “homely and welcoming space”.

  • 4. A strong sense of self >>

  • Man eating at urban restaurant, temple bar food market, fumballys

     

    Forest Avenue
    In less than 60 words, Forest Avenue sells itself with confidence: it’s a masterclass in self-assured copywriting. There’s a little back story: “Named after the street where Sandy grew up in her native Queens, New York”.

    There’s the chance to have an authentic local experience off tourism’s beaten track (so important for some well-travelled markets): it’s “a neighbourhood dining room”.

    And there’s a well-crafted, deceptively simple sentence that says so much: “We serve modern food using excellent seasonal ingredients in relaxed informal surroundings”.

    Hatch & Sons
    Hatch & Sons calls itself an “Irish Kitchen” and promises “real food without fuss, but with lots of attention and care”. These values come across loud and clear in the design of the interior, the menus, and the marketing.


    The business is named after a traditional dairy, and there is a retro-style fascia board logo, menus designed to look like old dockets and invoices and marketing featuring enamel pitchers, old-fashioned bone-handled cutlery, scrubbed tables, plain glasses, and simple starched kitchen linen.

    They describe how they sat around a kitchen table to plan the business – “all-day dining of an informal and easy nature”. A contemporary concept with traditional values.

     

    Fumbally’s
    There's lots of ways in which Fumbally’s makes its mark, but a great example is their engrossing blog. We loved this post about Fumbally’s guest appearance at the Drop Everything festival on Inís Orr – where they made Smoked Seaweed Porridge, buried overnight to cook, then served with purple clover sugar, whiskey gorse raisins, stewed rhubarb and toasted almond oats, and breakfast eggs with rock samphire, sea campion, and pepper dulse.

    “Yet as always, it is not only the food that makes the memory, but the people and the place”, they conclude, demonstrating that a blog gives you a chance to show your knowledge, skills, and personality, and talk about things beyond the four walls of your place, and even beyond the city itself.


  • 5. Keeping things simple >>

  • cupcakes, fish stall, nuts in baskets
     

    Fallon & Byrne
    Fallon & Byrne have a lovely way with words, promising “the season’s good stuff from land and sea, cooked with gentle respect for excellent ingredients, served by cheerful sorts in a beautiful place.” It has pace, brevity, lyricism, and made us smile - it’s really more of a poem than prose.

    Fish Shop
    Fish Shop in Smithfield knows that less is more when keeping things simple – from its logo design, to the specials chalked on the wall telling you where your fish comes from, it all gives you a sense of place.

    'We felt that in Dublin if we did something simple well enough, and with an honesty that people could see, we would make a go of it.’ So says Jumoke (known as J) Akintola and Peter Hogan, Fish Shop.'