Groundstate Coffee: A grand brunch in Dublin 8
We have to confess that since moving to Dublin 8 last summer, Two Pups has been our main (ok, only) option when we go out for brunch. I mean, it’s so close to our front door that we have been tempted to go in our pyjamas (we never did, in case you’re worried). But while the food is thoroughly enjoyable, Two Pups tends to get a bit mental at the weekend these days and getting a table can be tricky.
After reading a glorious review of Groundstate Coffee by Catherine Cleary in The Irish Times recently, we decided to try this nearby cafe, which doubles as a yoga studio. We recruited our friend Sarah to try the brunch menu and headed there on a Saturday at 12.30pm, wondering if we’d be able to get a table at peak brunch time. This didn’t seem to be an issue; while the cafe was nicely busy during our meal, it never felt like the whole of Dublin 8 was queuing by the door. We sat down at one of the long tables, feeling in a familiar territory since the decor resembled the classic hipster cafe, with plenty of plants and open shelves holding fermented food in large Mason jars.
Except for a Croque-Madame made with Gubbeen ham, the menu is vegetarian, but offers a nice variety of add-ins, such as bacon, hummus, eggs or chorizo for those worried about their protein intake. I ordered the Green sushi bowl, made of roasted organic sprouting broccoli, Irish pak choi and cucumber over sushi rice and puy lentils, with a ginger and sesame dressing. I added an egg for good measure, and I’m really glad I did because while this dish ticked all the boxes flavour-wise, I have to say that the portion was slightly meager, and I’m not someone with a huge appetite. The serving of veggies was fine, but when a dish is called “sushi bowl”, you would expect a healthy amount of rice, and the dish really lacked that. I was still hungry when I finished it, and while it was a nice incentive to try something sweet, I just wish I had a few more bites to fulfill me. The almond latte that I ordered alongside my dish was delicious and I would have got a second one if I wasn’t afraid to end up with a caffeine rush.
Damien ordered the Resaca, a self-entitled “hangover” bowl of fried egg (or tofu scramble) with salsa verde, salsa, refried beans, paprika roast potatoes and greens, topped with cashew butter and pickled onions. Nothing to complain regarding the serving, or the dish itself. It was a pleasant Mexican-inspired plate, flavoursome with an interesting combination of ingredients.
Sarah got the Weekend scramble, a more common brunch dish, with eggs served on organic Bread Nation sourdough with greens, tarragon mushrooms and pesto - to which she added a side of bacon. She barely finished the bountiful plate, so I got to try the lovely mushrooms. We all agreed however that dessert was needed.
We ordered the Guinness chocolate cake, rather aptly, considering the location of the cafe a couple of steps from St James’s Gate. This rich chocolatey cake was full of cacao nibs, giving it a nice chunky texture. The creamy icing on top felt a bit grainy but this didn’t impair the flavour. While the waiter explained to me that it wasn’t a particularly healthy dessert, the sweet display at the counter included several vegan slices and a decadent-looking cheesecake.
Overall, we had a lovely time in Groundstate and we are happy to have another cool brunch spot in Dublin 8. Affordable, offering interesting flavours and elaborate dishes, this cafe is a great neighbour to have.