Borlottie, on Baggot Street, needs a new door. The whole look of the place could use a re-vamp, but the first issue the designers should address the door. I was sitting by the door and everyone who walked in or out became my enemy. It wasn’t totally their faults. The door is not easy to close. The owners/managers clearly know this as there is a written sign on the door that says “please close door completely.” If only.
It’s a shame that the decor is not nicer (or chicer or cozier or slicker) because the food is good. If this place were in NYC (and it might as well be for the “CROSSFIT RECOMMENDED!” meals on the menu) I would slide past it to a slightly better looking salad/healthy lunch joint. No one should ever underestimate the power of a slick interior. I will go and sit a coffee shop because I like the light fixtures. I realize that says more about me than interior design, but I can’t be alone in this.
The main competition a few doors up is Cocu, and Cocu is far cozier and cuter if much tinier. Borlotte is vast. I like that there are more places to sit (and free wifi), so it should be comfortable to sit there. And warm. With a door that shuts properly, even if the queue usually goes out the door.
The food is fresh. I had the house salad with marinated turkey breast as my protein. I like that turkey is showing up more and more on Irish menus in creative ways. My salad was tasty but not “I cannot wait to get back here” fabulous.
There are more options (hot pots, noodle soups, rice dishes) than up at Cocu, and from the intel I gathered from staring at other people’s plates, they seem to be good options. Most everyone finished their whole meal.
Here’s a thing, though: in a health food based dining joint you would hope to find an eye towards environmental impact. The hot pots are served in styrofoam/plastic containers. The salads are all in plastic. The bin looks like Al Gore’s worst nightmare. It’s not hard to source paper take away containers.
Though I was satisfied with my salad and thought the turkey was a lovely addition, I won’t be rushing back to Baggot Street weekly for a salad here. Get a new door, though, and we’ll talk about it.
The health food/raw food/juicing trend is the new normal from America to Europe. I remember buying my first green juice from a cart on Wall Street in NYC some summers ago. it wasn’t the easiest thing to drink; I could taste the celery and the kale too much. As the years have gone on and juicing has become much more main stream, green juices are not only easier to drink (extra pineapple, cucumber and mint help in many concoctions), they are everywhere. In Dublin they are even selling them at Centra! This from a country that is famous for crisp sandwiches. You can find them right next to Volvic flavoured water.
When I first moved to Ireland in 2001, I struggled to find avocados to make a taco dinner for friends. The ones I found were from an Asian grocery store and were not ripe. They were also a euro a piece. The guacamole I made from those avocados was not the best. Now I can buy a net of five avocados in Lidl for 2.99. They are delicious.
Coconut was mostly found in sweets and treats when I was growing up. I love a Bounty bar and macaroons. Samoas, my favorite girl-scout cookie, is chocolate, coconut and caramel. Coconut milk I only ever used (or ate) in thai curries. Coconut water had it’s “coming out” moment in the summer of 2010. I didn’t like it at all; this was a trend I was not going to participate in. It turns out coconut water was only the beginning. The “tropical super fruit” is now everywhere from coffee shops (as an alternative to cow, almond or soy milks), to my own fridge door. I use coconut milk (a much watered down version) in my porridge.
Coconut and avocados are two of the main ingredients in the really wonderful Irish brand nobó’s ice creams. Bó is the Irish word for cow, so No Bó is . . .you get it. They aren’t ice creams, as the tub says, they are “frozen treats”. There is no better example of the health-food movement in Ireland making something wonderful. All the ingredients are organic. They are made mostly of fruit and nuts (coconuts included in that) and natural sweeteners. C and I have tried three flavors: salted caramel (the only vegan option as it doesn’t use honey), lemon, and chocolate almond. The lemon is our favorite with the salted caramel a close second.
I am not vegan, I don’t only eat raw food and I don’t own a juicer. I am a healthy eater, but I love treats. I don’t know if I would give up real ice cream for nobó full time. But if the health food movement is going to keep producing products like this, it will make life a lot sweeter.