Café Restaurant RIBA is opposite a taxi rank and the shopping centre on the always busy Kilmacud Road in Stillorgan. It's all dark wood and calming greys inside with two long banquettes opposite each other seating about 20 people in the main room. A long counter with zinc barstools faces the street with an array of pastries and cookies on white cake stands framed by a pair of steel vintage style lamps. Grace Jones is on the stereo and two pretty chandeliers made from milk bottles add to the charm together with a herringbone wooden floor.
The lunch menu is short and simple with a selection of sandwiches and baps which are €6.50 with an add on of skinny fries or soup (spring vegetable today) for €2.50. Or have all three for €10. A second page offers chicken wings, a burger, a superfood salad for those feeling hungrier.
Long stoppered bottles of water arrive at each table and are poured by the friendly, observant staff. Prosecco is available on tap for €6 per glass. That would be a very nice idea if I wasn't driving...
My lunch arrives on a slate : a pulled pork bap piled high with shards of pork on sliced tomato and celeriac remoulade and a side of red slaw. Chips, skinny and salty, are in a square zinc bucket. The little pile of red slaw is too creamy and needs a hit of acidity for balance. The pulled pork also needs a sauce to liven it up and add interest as it's all too bland. Unfortunately the remoulade dressing soaked through the bun base making it impossible to pick up and eat. A bit of revision here would turn something mundane into an enticing lunchtime dish.
Café Restaurant RIBA
4 Kilmacud Road Lower, Stillorgan, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Tel : + 353 1 2881999