We first made the acquaintance of The Green Bench café over a year ago while interning in an office on Harcourt Street. Everyone kept returning to the open plan office with unbelievable looking sandwiches and moaning over them, so we had to find out from whence they came, stat!
For anyone who works in the area, The Green Bench on Montague Lane is a little food sanctuary. A pilgrimage sets off every day at around lunchtime, when suits and overalls vie in a cue for the hot sandwich taste bombs they specialize in. The space is compact and full of people, but never overwhelming. A sort of calm reigns over the place, as though you’ve walked into a busy family kitchen where all you have to do is wait quietly and you will be fed. A large part of the relaxed and friendly vibe comes off the couple who run it, Zuzana and Jason. We paid them a visit on a sunny afternon to find out why it works and to see for ourselves just how lovely they are.
Did you meet through working in food? We met long time ago here in Dublin, Jason was a chef at La Finezza in Kiely’s in Donnybrook and I was a lounge girl. We worked again together in Da Vincenzo’s on Leeson Street, in EDEN and in Millers. We wanted to travel and ended up in Sydney for over 3 years working together in a big natural and organic marketplace called About Life, where Jason ran a big production kitchen for cafes, shops and catering businesses.
How did the café come about? After having a baby girl in Australia, Klaudia, we decided we missed friends and family, so we came back and made the decision to open our own cafe. We looked for a space for almost a year as very few small premises are available to newcomers. It wasn’t easy, but after almost two years we opened, and it was a pretty major deal to us!
You must be happy that the shop has turned into a bit of a food hub. What works about it do you think? The shop is small and we only do take away and catering and we hope to keep it this way. We’ve been getting a great response to our concept of freshly made simple food with little quirky twists – mostly healthy but also some naughty ideas, like the famous sausage rolls only available on Fridays.
Their favourites: Jason’s favourites are the spiced beef or anything with Haloumi cheese. For me any of the salads or the Hereford prime beef Thai spiced Meatballs.
The Green Bench Café is open Monday- Saturday normal hours.
Roisin Agnew @Roxeenna
Photography by Ailbhe O’Donnell