I’m having the Aztec soup and the most gorgeous chicken sandwich with jalapeño mayo on Tartine bread with crisp fresh leaves and I’m thinking to myself: it was worth driving all the way to the Longmile Road just to eat this.
I’m also thinking that if I next happen to be on the Longmile Road around breakfast time, I will drop in for the homemade baked beans with bacon bits and habanero on toast, which comes with a poached egg, and which should get the day off to a flying start, especially with a cup of good Ariosa coffee.
I’m in the Farmhouse Café, on the Longmile Road. If that sounds surreal, then that’s exactly what it is. Of course, there are no farms on the Longmile Road, and there are no houses. There are car dealerships, trade-only outlets selling machinery and tools, big box shops, petrol stations, and lots and lots of traffic.
But in between all this, and right beside O’Sullivan Safety (you’ll see the big CAT sign which says “Equip Yourself”) is the Farmhouse Café. In fact, the Café is actually part of O’Sullivan Safety, so you could, if you wanted, get a pair of CAT work boots after you had some of their farm pork ribs in spicy sauce served with ciabatta.
Susan O’Sullivan opened the FC three years ago, carving out the café space in her husband’s safety shop, and freely admits that she “had no notion” about how to run a food business (“I never even waitressed as a student!”). The farmhouse moniker is explained by the fact that she lives on a farm in Enfield, where the family keeps rare-breed pigs (Gloucester old Spots are her favourites) and grow leaves and things for the café. Their secret is simple: Farmhouse Café cooking is scratch cooking, with everything made properly. Isobel, the chef, has a Ballymaloe School background, and it shows: there is patience, care and devotion in this food.
Their success means that the Café will soon be expanding, taking up another swathe of the shop. That means more people will get the chance to enjoy a really darling space, and some demon cooking, in this sweet, surreal oasis.
Longmile Road, Dublin 12, Tel: 01 257 3300 Open Mon-Fri 8am-3.30pm