I’m not a big fan of the old sangwich: one too many lunches where the cardboard packaging and the contents became indistinguishable. O’Brien’s slop has also turned me off the very notion of a filling in bread, although I’ve yet to try Rachel Allen’s signature creations.
Last week, I was wandering around the Stephen’s Green area with a good friend who, although very adorable, is a borderline vegan. We wanted a cheap, delicious, and vegetarian lunch that we could enjoy in the sunshine – not easy to find in that part of town. Perhaps somewhat judgmentally, we snubbed the Insomnia/ Cafe Sol type places; Chez Max didn’t have any enticing vegetarian options; and Sushi King’s vegetable tempura held little appeal.
With time running out, we found ourselves in the Lower Baggot Street branch of Munchies, the well-known cafe chain that started off on Wicklow Street. Very surprisingly, I realised I’d never eaten here before. Both the vegetarian and I were very impressed with the fantastic choice of meat-free options – indeed, more than half the menu was meat-free. Each sandwich, wrap, or roll sounded more enticing than the last, and the quality of ingredients was very clear from the counter display.
Only one thing left to do: try it. I went for the lunch special, which included the soup of the day and any sandwich under €5 for a total of €6.50. The Simply Veg – a wrap with mixed leaves, grated carrot, alfalfa sprouts, cucumber, and semi sundried tomatoes – was colourful, well presented, and gloriously healthy. The vegetables were clearly of a much higher quality than the usual sandwich bar fare, giving them a robust flavour and freshness. My tomato and lentil soup was a generous takeout portion which we shared in the Stephen’s Green sunshine. The veganish friend boldy went for the Puck Fair Special, a ciabatta with melted goats cheese, Ballymaloe relish, tomato, and mixed greens (€4.75), which was equally well received.
I’ve no idea is Munchies is consistently good across all branches. I still have a very soft spot for Simon’s Place, but on food and value alone, Munchies might just be my new favourite cafe in Dublin.
Munchies has Dublin branches in South William Street, Eastpoint Business Park, the IFSC, Lower Baggot Street, John Rogerson Quay, the Millenium Walkway (aka Italian Quarter), Beacon South in Sandyford, and Upper Drumcondra Road