Thursday, January 8, 2015

Finding the perfect scone in Dublin

Savouring a scone accompanied by a cup of tea was probably my most guilty pleasure in Dublin. Those little pastries, hard and soft at the same time, both savoury and sweet are just the perfect treat on any occasion. Add some jam and cream on top and it becomes a heavenly experience.

Too often when I didn't have anything to do in the weekend I would just walk around town looking for yet another cosy place serving the best scones with tea in Dublin. I just loved spending some time people watching with a warm cuppa on my hands and a gorgeous scone on my plate waiting to be devoured. So, if you're ever in Dublin and want to treat yourself to a delightful scone, here are some suggestions - all tried and taste tested by me.

Queen of Tarts - Cows Lane, Dame St and Cork Hill, Dame St

Oh, where do I start. Queen of Tarts was probably my favourite café in Dublin. I will tell you more about it in the near future but for now I'll just tell you that it had some of the very best scones in town and tea was lovely served in vintage china. It is a very popular place and scones sometimes sell out fast, thus variety is limited in the late afternoons.

Bewley's Grafton Street Café - 78/79 Grafton St

Despite my love for the Queen of Tarts, I have to say that if you only go to one place in this list make it the Bewley's in Grafton Street. Bewley's is a true institution in Dublin and Ireland. Founded in the 19th century, it has spread with many other coffee places in Dublin and their own brand of coffee and tea. My office was actually beside the Bewley's factory and some days a dense smell of chocolate inundated the air. In those days walking out of the office felt like walking into Willy Wonka's factory. Anyway, I'm digressing in here. Go to the Bewley's on Grafton Street, the authentic and original one. You may have to queue for some ten minutes but once you're sit, take you're time and enjoy yourself. Every room in the café is lovely, some of them with very decadent armchairs and most decorated with fine stained glass panels by Henry Clarke.

Clement & Pekoe - 50 South William St

Clement & Pekoe is the kind of tea room for cool people. With long communal tables and a somber atmosphere, it is always crowded and the cool people of Dublin are queueing outside. I didn't go often here but I can tell you that their scones were, well, delicious. The first time I went round happened to be a Tuesday and they had a Tuesday special offering a scone and cup of tea for only €3.75 - a real bargain for a pricey city like Dublin.

The Oval - 78 Middle Abbey St

Keeping up with the bargains, I was drawn to The Oval when I saw their advertising of scone plus tea for only €3. This is probably the best value for your money option. You get a delicious warm scone, complete with butter, jam and cream and a pot of tea all for yourself. 

The Oval is actually a pub and it gets really crowded during the gaelic sports season, so getting a scone or a sit can be tricky on any September weekend when the All Ireland finals are on. Just like many other Dublin pubs, The Oval is packed with people sporting scarves and hats with the colours of the county they support. On those days you may not get a scone but you can enjoy a beer with a cheerful group of Irish people and learn something about gaelic football or hurling.

The Traditional Craft Bakery - 34 Lower Liffey St

The Traditional Craft Bakery is a small place which bakes beautiful cakes for all sort of celebrations. But they also have bread, sweet treats and all kind of sandwiches. And very competitive prices. This is definitely the place to go if you're on a budget as you can get a cup of tea or coffee with a scone for only €1.95 - nowhere else in Dublin will you find a cheaper deal. You can order to take away or stay there for a while. While their high stools may not be the most comfortable seats in the world, the place is nice enough to take a quick break between all your sightseeing. I really like the simple graphic paintings on the walls.

I guess that if you're not an avid tea drinker like me a cup of coffee will do as well and most of the previous offers were actually applicable to a cup of tea or coffee, though I've totally skipped the caffeine bit. Now, if you excuse me, I'm off to look for some scone recipes to try a recreate the flavours of Ireland in my kitchen this weekend - let me know if you have a good recipe to share!

Have a lovely Thursday!

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