Taking over a Celtic Tiger casualty of a space that had been lying empty since it was built, The Fumbally has become Dublin 8’s new favourite hangout spot. Sitting on the corner of Fumbally Lane and New Street, its bright interior, yummy food and delicious coffee makes it a hard place to leave. We spoke to co-founder Aisling Rogerson about herself and Luca D’Alfonso’s plans for The Fumbally’s future.
The Fumbally has been a project a long time in the making. When did yourself and Luca come up with the idea of the café?
Well, The Fumbally wasn’t what we originally had planned at all, but you know how these things twist and change over time. Initially it was just a falafel place (because you couldn’t get a good falafel in town) – this was about 4 years ago. Then we started doing the festivals to make some money and basically spent all of it traveling and getting ideas. So we came back from travels wanting to open a place that did street food from around the world. It was gonna be something a lot smaller, but then we found this space and all the plans got extended a wee bit. And with that we extended our vision for the menu as well. We are still heavily influenced by street foods but not strictly speaking
What factors have influenced it in morphing into the cafe it has become?
There have been so many influences along the way that have shaped what The Fumbally is. Taking ideas from different parts of the world is probably the biggest. Our involvement with the Dublin Food Co-op and the Flea Market has also played a big part. I think running the cafe there for the last 3 and a half years has shown us the importance of doing things for the local community. We never really wanted to be in the city centre anyway but we’re really glad we are where we are in Dublin 8. It’s much nicer to have regular customers who pop in every day for a coffee than tons of passing trade who you might only see once. But The Fumbally is only at the beginning of its evolution, there are loads of possibilities for the future.
What were your main motivations for setting up a café in Dublin?
The need for variety in Dublin, wanting to do something a little bit different I suppose.
Tell us about the menu at the moment.
The menu is small and simple and always will be. I could tell you about the eggs if you want…they’re pretty damn good, and kind of represent the simplicity in a way. They came to be our signature dish in the cafe in the Co-op so they’ve taken prime position on top of the menu in The Fumbally. They’re our own take on a Spanish Huevos Revueltos and are scrambled in the pan with olive oil, garlic and gubbeen cheese, served on a brioche with fresh tomatoes. They are so simple and easy but really tasty. We’re pretty conscious about the food we use as well, only free range eggs and pork, organic fair-trade coffee, other organic bits and pieces where we can and as local as possible. We’d love to be using more local independent growers, so if there’s anyone out there….!
How will the menu change in the coming months?
There are a few staples like our eggs, falafel and porchetta (slow roast pork sandwich) that will always be on and then other things will change around from week to week. Our salads change daily and we’ll probably be adding another sandwich or two over the next while. It’s never going to be a massive menu though, we’ll just make sure that what we do have to offer is good! All our cakes are baked in house and they rotate around from day to day.
Who are your food influences and heroes in Ireland and abroad?
The Happy Pear are great friends of ours and wonderful influences. They really get that cycle of life, food and happiness. We have some amazing friends in East and West Cork as well, who recharge the soul every time we hang out and cook. They have this great harmony with the land and growing and rearing and just living great lives that are surrounded by food. A pleasure to be around. Our main influence abroad is Luca’s Dad!
Are there plans to open in the evening? Will you be serving booze?
Yes, we will. We’re unsure as of yet how this will take form but we have lots of ideas.
We’ve noticed a little stage in the corner of the room. What are your plans for this?
For it to be used. We had our first gig there in July. David O’Doherty did a morning show at 8.15am which was brilliant. Loads of funny things happen before 9am apparently. We have some ideas for gigs in the future, but in the meantime we’d like people to actually sit on it during the day. Most people seem to have stage fright.
Mondays to Fridays (opening weekends soon)
8am to 6pm
The Fumbally’s Avocado on Toast for One
1 ripe tomato, diced
A few basil leaves, finely chopped
1 slice of sourdough bread
1 clove of garlic, sliced in half
1 pinch of re-seeded and finely chopped fresh red chilli
1/2 a ripe, creamy avocado
Marinate the diced tomato in a bowl with the basil leaves, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, toast the sourdough bread. Lightly rub the toast with the garlic clove. Roughly chop the avocado and lightly mash with a fork. Spread on to the toast and add a pinch of salt.
Top the avocado with a pinch of the red chilli. Now add the diced tomato mixture, drizzle with a little more olive oil and finish with a sprinkling of black pepper.