Not a lot of people know that, before he powered Coffee Angel to prominence, Karl Purdy was a red-hot Dublin restaurateur, running a smashing place called Bond, which was in Beresford Place, near to Busaras.
Back in 2002 in The 100 Best Restaurants in Ireland, we were calling Bond “a one-of-a-kind on the Dublin restaurant scene”, and were confidently stating that “this one-year-old up-and-comer is blessed with loads of natural talent, energy and verve.”
Indeed it was, but sadly Bond was the right restaurant, in the wrong place, and Mr Purdy and his team had to close. Having lost all his money, he quickly turned his hand to Coffee Angel and, in the autodidactic manner that is his style (in the Irish Food Guide we once described Mr Purdy as “a perfectionist”) he quickly made himself into a masterly coffee expert, manning a tiny coffee cart that delivered caffeine bliss to commuters.
Then the first Coffee Angel got its doors open and, today, there are a quintet of vital Dublin destinations where coffee heads can get a fix of Coffee Angel coffee magic and – just as importantly – enjoy some of the finest service that you can experience in Dublin: where does Karl find all these cool guys?
Mr Purdy is one of the great characters in Ireland’s contemporary food culture and, as a guy who hails originally from Canada, he has always retained a clear eye and a sense of perspective about working in Ireland. His objectivity is a blessing, and has gifted his shops with a leanness and a focus that always feels just right. He’s made the city a better place and – who knows? – maybe one day Bond will be back. Remember: the name’s Bond.
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