Words: Emily Mullen
After much wracking of brains, trawling of the internet, and broken down email threads we are proud to present, The Ultimate Dublin Food Guide, Pastry edition! A guide that cuts through the mire of food and drink reviews made by every Tom, Dick and Harry, with opposable thumbs and access to 3G.
Few things in the world hold as much joy as the alchemy of fat, flour and air. The combinations don’t matter, nor do your pastry choices, whether you take it sweet or savoury, crumbly or flakey. Whatever which way you take it, there’s a pastry for everyone.
A cup of coffee is practically naked without one, the combination has launched a thousand cafe deals boasting the pairing for a reduced price. The popularity is with good reason since few days are picked up better, than treating yourself to a croissant beforehand.
They are what’s on offer the mornings of celebrations. Flakey shapes piled onto everyday plates, laid out ahead of weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries. These mass celebrations wouldn’t be the same without these buttery observances.
We had some mixed responses from our contributors on this topic, one name came up repeatedly while others had some strong views on the Dublin pastry scene as a whole. Influencer and cookery book co-author James Kavanagh told us he had a “huge issue” with Ireland and its pastries, “so many places serve doughy, chewy croissants or pain au chocolat. When eating a PROPER one done the PROPER way, it should feel as though you’re biting down on delicate glass, shattering into a thousands pieces in your mouth.”
The pastry scene in Dublin is smaller than we had previously once assumed. Since they are omnipresent in many Dublin cafes, you would have imagined that the city was overrun with bakeries and pastry producers. But there aren’t as many in Dublin as you might have thought since many cafes around town don’t produce their own and instead stock pastries from a handful of excellent spots like Bread 41 and Firehouse bakery.
Having consulted our panel, the answers have been floured, folded, egg washed, baked at a high temperature and left to cool. Into your scrabbling sugar-deprived claws let us place The Ultimate Food Guide to Dublin’s best pastries:
This Dublin institution opened in Portobello way back in 1870, and there it has stayed. One of the city’s last remaining inner-city bakeries, the team at Bretzel Bakery make all of their bread and pastries between their production facility in Harold’s Cross and their bakery-come-cafe in Lennox Street. Ex-Mister S head chef Dan Hannigan was a particular fan of Bretzel Bakery’s pastries.
Dublin 8’s 1a Lennox Street
For more information visit the Bretzel Bakery website.
Known for their sausage rolls (particularly the chilli and fennel bois) Bibi’s Café bake an awful lot more than just those delicious meats in pastries. The cafe has a flair for pastries too, which come served on beautiful homemade pottery if you are sticking around to have them inside. Baker with Monamie Daniela Carnevali is a big fan of what goes on behind the counter at Bibi’s and recommended their Hazelnut brownie as one of her top tier baked items.
Dublin 8’s 14b Emorville Avenue
Dún Laoghaire’s 2 Windsor Terrace
For more information visit the Bibi’s Café website.
The team at Eathos certainly have Baggot Street covered, with one spot in the lower and the other in the upper end of Dublin’s unofficial CDB. They have been making a whole range of pastries in-house for a good few years now, boasting challenging baking such as friands, financiers and sable pastries. Dan Hannigan is signed up as a card-carrying member of the Eathos fan club.
Dublin 4’s 13 Baggot Street Upper
Dublin 4’s 8 – 11 Baggot Street Lower
Baggot Street Upper Monday-Friday 8.00-15.00
Baggot Street Lower Monday-Friday 8.00-15.00
For more information visit the Eathos website.
Their spot in the Powerscourt Centre is one of the city’s most beloved cafes. Over the summer the team expanded the capabilities of their bakery and opened a little spot in George’s Street Arcade where they sell their wares. Chef and Director of Conbini Condiments Holly Dalton was a fan of their products adding them to her list of faves.
The Pepper Pot Cafe Powerscourt Centre
The Pepper Pot Bakery George’s Street Arcade
The Pepper Pot Cafe Thursday-Saturday 10.00-16.00
The Pepper Pot Bakery Thursday-Saturday 10.00-16.00
For more information visit the Pepper Pot website.
Firehouse Bakery might be based out in the wilds of Wicklow, but they are included in this list since their bakery stocks an amazing amount of cafes around Dublin. Step into most cafes and you will see a Firehouse Bakery cruffin or cinnamon swirl sitting pretty on the countertop. The team have a cafe in their bakery, out in Delgany Co. Wicklow and a second one in Wicklow Town. Firehouse was serial-restauranteur Niall Sabongi’s top pastry pick.
Delgany’s Old Delgany Inn
Wicklow Town’s Abbey Street
Monday-Friday 8.30- 16.00
For more information visit the website.
Named after the 1947 Noir flick with Rita Hayworth and Everett Sloane, the bakery is living up to its name by being a tad mysterious. Operating under an ordering system that is circulated through social media, the bread, pastries and homemade drinks are then available for collection in Drumcondra. Run by the former owner of Le Levain, Rossa Crow, The Lady From Shanghai has recently been running 100% gluten-free, based on a natural fermentation method developed by Crow. Daniela Carnevali was a big fan of The Lady From Shanghai, “this a very special little bakery where everything is produced with such care. I just can’t resist a good chocolate tart and theirs is quite something” she told us.
Drumcondra’s 1 Russell Street
Collections from Saturday-Sunday 10.00-14.00
For more information visit the Instagram account.
Opened in April, the Artybaker is a pretty interesting spot created by the head baker at London’s iconic Hotel Cafe Royal and Great British Bake Off the professional’s contestant Romain Tessier. The team out in Sandycove are living up to their name, popping off some truly out-there pastries. In the last few weeks alone they have produced things like jalapeño poppers croissants, Biscoff Swedish buns and pistachio cherry bostocks. The Artybaker was name-checked by Holly Dalton and Mister S co-owner Paul McVeigh as having some quality pastries.
Dún Laoghaire’s 27 Sandycove Road
Wednesday-Sunday 8.30-17.30 (or until they sell out)
For more information visit their Instagram.
Known for their gnarly bear claws, the team at Scéal Bakery make some unbelievable sweet and savoury creations. They push boundaries in terms of ingredients, adding in things like sauerkraut, Gouda, quince, masala chai, to the folds. Seasonally-driven, the team based out in The Fumbally Stables are constantly reworking and adapting their confectionery. Scéal was mentioned by Paul McVeigh, Holly Dalton and Bahay owner Riggz Castillo, with baker Daniela Carnevali telling us that “anything they make is just special. The effort and research they put into new flavour combinations is amazing”. Daniela’s top pick is the cardamom and honey bun which she says “is just unbelievable.”
Dublin 8’s The Fumbally Stables
Thursdays and Saturdays 10.30 – 13.00
For more information visit the website.
Described as the buttery love child of Proper Order, the pastries that come out of No Messin’ are only available in the Stoneybatter cafe. The team put a lot of love into their pastries, making their own essences and syrups to garnish and furnish them with. Holly Dalton, Dan Hannigan and Riggz Castillo were all fans of No Messin’ with Colin Harmon giving a particular shout out to their double chocolate frankies.
Proper Order in Stoneybatter’s North King Street
For more information visit the website.
Describing Bread 41 as a bakery sort of does it a bit of a disservice. Words like “institution” or “destination” might fit a bit better. Bread 41 is supplied by their own bakery (that has a built-in mill onsite) which operates alongside the Pearse Street spot. There’s a focus on local organic produce and the team make a lot of work for themselves since they make their own ferments, butter, and jams. Bread 41 was on the lips of almost everyone we spoke to, here’s what some of them had to say:
Holly Dalton “The G.O.A.T when it comes to pastries in Dublin. The twice-baked almond croissant is iconic at this stage. Other standouts for me include their sausage roll and sea salt and rye chocolate chip cookie.”
Colin Harmon “The humble croissant from Bread 41 is worth a trip alone.”
Dan Hannigan “I live about 2 minutes away from bread 41 and cannot get enough of their offering of incredible pastries and breads. I’ve known Eoin Cluskey [head baker and owner] for a long time and to see how he puts sustainability at the forefront of his business while maintaining amazing standards is a really brilliant thing to achieve.”
Riggz Castillo “Look, they’re just the best at what they do. The kimchi cheese danish is so, so tasty.”
Enrico Fantasia “I really have a soft spot for the Bread 41, all they do is simply amazing. Now that I live in Portobello my neighbourhood shop is the equally amazing Lennox Street Grocer and they carry bread and pastries from Bread 41, so my life is much easier…”
Garrett Fitzgerald “Bread 41 is just great – full of seasonal focus and innovation so their reputation is well earned (and no doubt a huge amount of passion and hard work is necessary to back it up!)”
Dublin 2’s 41 Pearse Street
For more information visit the Bread 41 website.
Honourable mentions: Filo Cafe, Liston’s on Camden Street, Dolce Sicily, Krust and The Green Bench.