Anyone planning a visit to the Memorial Gardens in Phoenix Park on the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, might consider calling into nearby Storyboard, Laura Caulwell’s stylish café.
The cafe is well placed, also, for visitors to IMMA and Kilmainham Gaol – situated in Islandbridge in a minimal room that blazes with sunlight when the clouds part. The room feels like a cultural space, with its education-style chairs and modern museum-style architecture that exposes all the functional and structural elements of the room.
Storyboard food is a well-studied salvo that embraces modernism, and cafe culture. This is not facsimile food - it is as deeply considered as any cultural opus.
Take their dish of kimchi pancakes, for example. Ms Caulwell constructs a mosaic on a plate, using international techniques blessed with local ingredients. This is complex cooking, cooking that demands thought and time to assemble, deeply considered culinary craft that is, however, disguised as a simple brunch.
The fermented kimchi and the hot sauce zing. Garlic mayo adds a sweet, tart complexity that is tempered by some mellow green herb dressing. The sauces are scattered oknomiyaka-style over the pancake. Eggs are softly scrambled. And then, the tour de force of some crunchy sunflower shoots, and colourful calendula petals.
But the element that holds the whole dish together is actually hidden under the pancake. An intense mushroom sauce, garum-like in its depth, is hidden under the whole concoction, and its umami savouriness conducts all the other flavours into a gastronomic chorus.
A lot of cafe food is misunderstood, shallow in its presentation, and limited in its ambition. But chef Laura Caulwell is a special and unique talent, and Storyboard is a cultural feast.
Storyboard, Islandbridge, Dublin 8