Located in Baggot Street, newly opened café and patisserie Eathos specialises in healthy eating with an indulgent twist. Lisa Murrin who runs the café with her brother Peter talked to us about the global influences behind her new venture and her life-long quest to learn more about feel-good food.
Lisa, you’ve always worked with food, haven’t you?
Pretty much! The whole family is in the food industry and my brother Peter and I have been working with the family business, a high-end catering company called With Taste since we were 16. Running a café has always been my dream, so I studied culinary arts in college, and then travelled around the world looking for ideas and inspiration.
Tell us about your new venture. Is the name Greek?
Eathos is a take on the word ‘ethos’ and we put in the ‘A’ as a way to bring the food pun into it! Healthy eating is so important for longevity and everything so we really wanted to focus on fresh healthy ingredients. It’s a concept that we’ve had in the pipeline for a few years now but because the ingredients we use are so expensive, we wanted to wait until the economy was looking up and everybody was feeling a little more comfortable again. We always wanted to be on Baggot Street, so when a premises eventually became available it was a perfect match with perfect timing for us. The café has been open for a couple of months now and Peter and I run it with Ann Marie Nohl who’s been a great mentor for me. I’ve learned a lot from her.
The design of the restaurant is visually very appealing.
We really wanted the food to speak for itself so that’s why we went with the very clean, plain background, with small pieces of art on the wall. The design is clean, white and simple which reflects the cleanliness of the food. The colour in the restaurant comes from the flowers, the plates and the food and we’ve taken a lot of inspiration from Ottolenghi in London and the simplicity he tries to get across.
Tell us about the menu.
The menu reflects influences from many parts of the world. We put a lot of time and effort into tastings. Nothing goes on the menu without all of us sitting down, tasting it and getting a feel for what it is, so everyone knows the menu inside-out. We were in the kitchen for about a year and a half testing hundreds of recipes, and eventually we whittled it down to the key proteins and incorporated popular spices such as turmeric and saffron. Greek style food and light eating is very popular at the moment and you can see it filter into a lot of menus in Dublin. We’ve really focused on Irish provenance, so we list where everything is from on the menu and we have two provenance boards showing who our suppliers are.
You have a great selection of desserts.
Yes! We wanted to have the indulgent desserts for people who come in who aren’t that interested in healthy eating but wanted to have something nice with their cup of coffee. We’ve created two or three desserts that are paleo, vegan and sugar-free, and people are happy that they can have something that they know is low in sugar, with no wheat, no dairy and no hidden ingredients. They leave feeling full of energy, which is exactly what we want!
You’re geared-up for take-out as well?
Definitely. People might walk past and see a full café seated and they feel a little bit intimidated to come in, but our entire menu is available for takeout. So you can have buckwheat pancakes or Shakshuka eggs with your sourdough, the same way you can have all your proteins or salads and your seafood chowder. Every ingredient we’re using is the best of the best, which makes it a little more expensive, but as anybody who has had cafes or restaurants knows, the labour alone for the kind of stuff that we are doing is huge so the price has followed through to that. Our food is freshly made for today and we don’t use anything again tomorrow. At the moment we’re open Monday to Friday from 7am to 5.30pm focusing mainly on breakfast and lunch and we’ve put a provisional date in the diary to begin opening on Saturdays. We have a lot of repeat customers and we’re still getting new people in the door.
You have an Instagram account, The Health Balance (@the_health_balance)
Yeah. Growing up I had a lot of problems with my stomach, so I wanted to figure out a way that I could sort out my own gut without going on any medications. The Health Balance was borne out of a love of feel-good food and that’s where it all stems from for me, just understanding food. I started it about three and a half years ago and it’s grown steadily. If I ever study anything further I’d go back and do something in nutrition just to further my knowledge there. You never stop learning with food. Every day I’m learning something new. I find it fascinating!
Eathos, 13a Baggot Street Upper, Dublin 4
For further details see www.eathos.com
Words: Martina Murray