Jolin’s Vietnamese Coffee House

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I don’t get too far from the house these days and when I do manage to venture out I tend to go back to places I know I will get a good coffee/lunch/piece of cake. Imagine my delight, then, when a new place came to ME.

Ok, Jolin’s Vietnamese Coffee House did not open in my living room, but it opened up close enough to my living room that nipping out for a bowl of Pho feels like an entirely do-able adventure. Even with a four month old strapped to my chest.

Jolin’s occupies a café space on the top of Clanbrassil Street, just before the Herald’s Cross Bridge. The space has changed hands many times in the past few years. Coffee shops have never really managed to make it work. Konkaan, the excellent Indian a few doors up, is a  huge success, so I am hoping another proper restaurant will have more staying power.

I’m a Pho fan from way back. More accurately, I’m a noodle soup fan from way back, and Pho fits that bill. We didn’t know it when we set out for a crisp autumn walk a few weekends ago but Pho was EXACTLY what we were looking for for lunch that day.

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The shop has been painted colorfully and decorated with a few Vietnamese accents. The tables have Siracha and plenty of napkins on them. The menu is larger than I thought it would be, full of stir fries and rice dishes as well as the Pho. There were also spring rolls and crispy calamari; menu items you’d find on any Asian menu around Dublin.

Don’t order the spring rolls and crispy calamari or any of the items you would find on any Aisan menu in Dublin. Stick to the Pho and the stir fries and what can be made fresh in the tiny kitchen at Jolin’s. The Pho is generous, rich and full of noodles. The stir fries looked pretty good (from across the room) as well, and we could see the fresh veggies going into the dishes as we peered into the kitchen from our table.

Jolin’s is a little bit rough around the edges but I hope it will get enough business to smooth those edges out. Because we are getting deep into noodle soup weather and it would be greta if Jolin’s stayed in the ‘hood.

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Baby’s First Vietnamese Coffee
Jolin’s Vietnamese Coffee House

Pho Ta

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A few weekends ago I read a review of a new Vietnamese restaurant on Capel Street. Looking it up late last week, not remembering the name of it, visions of Pho and Banh Mi in my head, the Internet directed me instead to a Vietnamese place in Temple Bar. In TEMPLE BAR?! What?! How long has this been going on?

Pho Ta is, in fact, in Temple Bar and has been for a while. Why it has only now crossed my path is a mystery I shall leave to the Universe. I will simply be grateful that the discovery happened at all.

C and I met up for a quick lunch at Pho Ta over the weekend. Most of the clientele were young Asian students, none of whom was speaking English. I heard Korean and Japanese and one language I wasn’t sure of. There is a lunch deal (starter, main, drink) every day of the week and Saturday. We opted to share a starter (crab spring rolls) and each went for our own main course.

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The spring rolls (their proper Vietnamese name escapes me) were tasty and wolfed down too quickly to even discuss the finer points of the fillings. The sauce was tangy and sweet.

I opted for the chicken Pho, or Pho Ga. Nothing beats a nice chicken soup on a cold day. It was not at all boring; salty, meaty and packed full of vegetables. I always love a dish that comes with “add ons” that I can “add on” myself. I got a plate piled high with coriander, fresh chilies, and bean sprouts. On every table is extra fish sauce and a potent bright orange hot sauce. Everything extra on offer went into my pho at one point or another. I was happy to have a packet of tissues for extra nose blowing; always a good sign!

C had a Vietnamese version of meatballs which he was very happy with. His add on included some of the tangy, sweet sauce from the starter to go with his rice noodels as well as bean sprouts and a green salad. He was satisfied, and also delighted. Not bad for a wet Saturday afternoon.

Having a handy, affordable new lunch spot in Temple Bar is always a winner.

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Pho Ta