• Mckenzie Dow

Brother Hubbard North | Cafe Corner

Greetings all! I'm back to tell you about my latest cafe corner experience at Brother Hubbard North! Brother Hubbard has two locations, North and South. After exploring the National Botanic Gardens, I googled 'coffee near me' and Brother Hubbard North is the first thing that popped up! It's located on Capel Street, north of the River Liffey. Capel Street is a lively spot in Dublin and also the location of the famed Panti Bar AKA "your national fucking treasure", which is absolutely worth your time if you're in town and love a good drag show.

I'd seen posts about Brother Hubbard before, so I was delighted to go try it out. Walking in, I was immediately surprised. I was under the impression that the Brother Hubbard locations were just really cool coffee shops, but Brother Hubbard North is actually huge! It's more like a restaurant with a takeaway cafe for coffee and treats/scones in the front. There are also a few shelves with some different food products and some Brother Hubbard cookbooks for sale. After my brunch, it was challenging to not spend more money on the cookbook. I would honestly go back and pick up a copy.

Apparently, they do private parties and event hires which I think this place would be amazing for.

I knew I wanted to sit down for coffee, so I ended up going for a full meal with my mocha. I was offered a seat in the outdoor terrace area which is adjacent to the Luas. Looking around, there's no doubt that this place is slightly hipstery. The brown sugar on the table was in an old baking powder tin and across the street there was a very lush-looking consignment shop and a scooter store (like those old Razr scooters we all had as kiddos). None of this is a bad thing and I don't shy away from hipstery, but I know some people tend to lean away when they hear the word.

The inside of the restaurant is very airy and bright with bold but not outlandish colours. The terrace area was a lovely place to be seated because you can people watch and enjoy the Luas passing you by. Right away I didn't feel weird being by myself, which is often times a problem for me (a very socially anxious human when it comes to going out for food). The atmosphere was great. It felt like the kind of place where you can enjoy your coffee and brunch in peace without feeling weird because you're a loner. Also, the staff were very friendly. The woman who took my order was not only fashionable and gorgeous, but also very kind.

I ordered a mocha and the avo & peppers (avocado on toast) option from the brunch menu, with a side of smoked salmon. I had a really hard time deciding what to order for brunch because everything sounded so good. The selection was also vegetarian friendly to the max. I settled for the avocado and toast because it tends to be a reliable choice wherever you go, and this one sounded nearly as extra as Jonathon from Queer Eye (which is a good thing).

My mocha came to the table really quick, which was lovely! It had your classic elegant leaf/heart design in the foam which I always appreciate because it shows effort. I also loved the blue cup!! Something about that colour is just so perfect. I'd nearly try to find the same set for our apartment.

Shortly after, my avocado and toast came out and it was immediately apparent that this dish was the STAR OF THE FREAKING SHOW.

This avocado on toast was the best version I have ever had the pleasure to consume. I could have had ten more servings. Not only was it gorgeous in appearance, but the taste was incredible. It was so colourful and had this perfectly orchestrated mix of flavours and textures, some of which I've never had on this dish before. It was creative and far from basic. It all felt unreal with each bite, so unreal that I actually texted Emily in all caps about it right after my first few bites.

There was avocado, but it was also piled with peppers, tomatoes, radishes and some sort of chickpea mixture which brought a bit of crunch that I liked.The dish had some slight heat, which was unexpected but very welcomed. The menu at Brother Hubbard North definitely has middle eastern influences and that came across with this avocado on toast. I cannot emphasise it enough: GO THERE AND TRY IT FOR YOURSELF. It was genuinely the best avocado on toast I've ever had.

Thank goodness the food was fantastic or else this post would have been so boring because my mocha did not blow me away by any means. So here are my scores:

Taste: 4/10 To be honest, I was disappointed with this mocha which I did not expect. I've heard a lot of good things about the coffee here, so perhaps they were having an off day. I felt it was below average. I wasn't really getting any tastes of ...anything? I could sort of get some hints of a darker chocolate and maybe some cinnamon (?) but the aftertaste wasn't great.

Price: 4/10 This mocha was €3.50 which is usually pretty average for mochas these days. However, because I didn't think it was all that great tasting, even €3.50 somehow felt like a lot to be paying.

Heat: 7/10 The heat from this mocha wasn't too bad! I like my mochas pretty hot and this one was nearly there.

Appearance: 5/10 A good ol' leaf/heart is reliable and shows that the barista cares about appearance! There was no cocoa sprinkled on top which could have helped with both the appearance and taste I think.

Overall, I liked everything about Brother Hubbard North except the mocha, funny enough. I'm really glad the avo + toast was there to save the day. I definitely would return to try again on the mocha if I knew that brunch was involved.

Update: I completely forgot to finish this post by adding a bit about where else I explored! Along with getting coffee and visiting the National Botanic Gardens, I also popped into the WWI Exhibit put on the the National Library after brunch. I've passed the entrance to this exhibit for months now while on the bus, and it was finally time I stopped in.

Now, for some reason I was under the impression was about the role of women in WWI, but it was actually more of a general exhibition about Ireland and WWI. It was a small exhibit totally worth stopping into, and completely free to visit.

Right away I was struck by the reproductions of WWI imagery. Whether it was posters, letters or photos, there was a lot of neat stuff to take in. I always seem to forget what the story is with WWI so I was glad to get a refresher and learn more about the role of Ireland in this world event.

I was really intrigued with the Bald Eagle poster (above). It was an interesting combo of American and Irish imagery. The one that says "Avenge the Lusitania" is really interesting as well. I couldn't help but notice the way that imagery of women are once again used in a political context. The media was all so colourful and personal stories were explored from Irish people who were heavily involved.

There was an old flyer addressed to Irish girls which was very interesting. Within, the author encouraged Irish women to take a stand for Ireland's freedom by not associating with Irishmen who were wearing English uniforms, and to encourage friends to avoid them as well. It even says "You endanger your purity and honour by associating with such men, and you insult your motherhood." That's intense!

Some of the quotes on the walls were very intense as well. They were a stark reminder of how layered and tense the social and political climate was during WWI here in Ireland.

I would definitely recommend stopping by to take a look if you've got a spare few minutes. It was definitely worth going in and small enough to fully digest the information without being overwhelmed.

Anyways, it's all just another day in Dublin. This city is so special for more than just mochas and Irish accents. That's my favourite thing about my Cafe Corner series: it gets me out and about in town and I'm always stumbling on something fun or interesting.

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