During the week, I fell ill with one of those 24 hour bugs that flashes through you. It disappears as quick as it arrives, but the aftermath leaves you feeling tired and drained. Over the course of the day, I drank lots of water and some tea, but I couldn't bring myself to look at food. Later in the day though, I was hungry and I wanted something that would help set me right. To be accurate, I felt in need of some pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) or something similar.
Bread & Bones is a newly opened on Dublin's Northside, just a stone's throw from the Jervis Centre and Luas stop. Essentially it's a street food restaurant serving a fashionable mix of ramen soups, steamed buns (bao) and banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches). The noodle soups are served in homemade bone broths, hence the moniker Bread & Bones.
A few small tables are lined up outside in the afternoon sunshine with diners happily tucking in. The inside of the restaurant is quieter, with several large mismatched tables scattered around and other smaller tables tucked into corners. It's a wide open space, with industrial height ceilings and a large open kitchen behind a high counter. The decor theme is manga rustic and the staff are warmly friendly without being off-putting. Posters advertising late evening dj sets make it clear that evening time is fun time at Bread & Bones.
|The open kitchen at Bread & Bones|
Himself opted for the lunchtime offer of 3 bao (oriental steamed buns) for €15, or individually available at €5.50 each. The lunchtime menu offers a choose of 5 different fillings and we ended up with roasted pork belly, teriyaki chicken and panko crusted tiger prawn versions. The bao themselves are delicately soft, sweetly doughy and perfectly sized to be demolished in 3-4 mouthfuls. The addition of sauces such as chili mayo or hoisin sauce and tangy vegetable pickles adds crunch and flavour to the buns. Each one is a hit.
|Bao at Bread & Bones|
|Roasted pork belly boa with carrot pickle, peanuts and hoisin sauce|
Bone broths may not look the prettiest at times, but they are gloriously restorative. When done well, they often have a little fat floating on the surface and are full of meaty flavour. Bread & Bones make their own broths and I choose the roasted pork belly soup to help sooth my insides (€10). A medium sized bowl came filled with rice noodles, soft slices of roasted pork belly, half of a soft boiled egg, bamboo and bright green scallions for some crunch.
Even though I was still slightly under the weather, I shook in some generous amounts of chili oil and bright red Sriracha sauce, picked up my chopsticks and ladle and got stuck in. With each slurpful, I could feel myself improving, slowly returning to centre. It was just the right tonic for my ails.
|Pork belly noodle soup|
Tap water is bought to our tables in large bottles, and a quick look at the short wine list reveals some very interesting, modern options. Any young hip restaurant isn't complete without a craft beer selection and Bread & Bones has a decent listing of Irish and international beers and ciders.
Bread & Bones has hit the proverbial nail on the proverbial head. It's fun, casual, tasty and reasonably healthy. The large open space means that it's particularly child-friendly, but I found it to be everyone-friendly. The grand total for lunch, including a glass of crisp Picpoul de Pinet and a soft drink, came to a wallet-friendly €33.50. Mission accomplished.
Tel: +353 (0)85 215 2408