When I walked through the door of The Fumbally, for the first time, a few months ago, I knew that it was my sort of café. I loved the decor and was struck by the ambiance. I ordered and crossed my fingers and toes hoping that I would like the food as much as I liked the place. And I did. As it’s off my beaten track I don’t get back there often. Last Friday I left home without scarfing down breakfast so when I found myself a few kilometres away from The Fumbally I made a small detour to sample again The Fumbally’s ‘Eggs with Gubeen Cheese’.
The café is on the corner of New Street South and Fumbally Lane in Dublin 8 not far from the tourist set piece that is St Patrick’s cathedral. The area which has an urban-grity feel was a bit of a culinary wasteland until Aisling Rogerson and Luca D’Alfonso opened The Fumbally.
Aisling and Luca earned their foodie stripes by spending a number of years cooking at festivals; they did this during the summer months, saving madly so they could travelling the world for the rest of the year. They did a lot of food research during their travels sometimes eating more than one lunch a day!
They originally intended opening a falafel place in the city centre and were searching for a premises. However there was change in their thinking and they decided instead to open a café and as they wanted the place to have regular customers and a sense of community they shifted their search for a premises to a slightly out-of-town location.
When they saw the large cavernous space, that they have since transformed into The Fumbally, with its: large sun-filtering window along two elevations and its six metre ceiling height they were instantly smitten. They ignored the bog-standard brick-built walls, the ocean of concrete on the floor and the lack of redeeming architectural features; they had a vision for what could be. Aisling and Luca run the Dublin Flea Market so over the years they collected a diverse array of items for the food destination they knew they would one day open.
Their metamorphosis of the building was not done using a template: the café has a unique boho-eclectic crossed with shabby-chic style. The decor is entirely down to the talented pair as they had no professional help. In the wrong hands it could have ended it up as a maladroit mish-mash but they got it exactly right. It’s best seen rather that described but to give you a flavour the mix includes: a gargantuan wooden table surrounded by long benches; battered (in a good way) old leather chairs and sofas; delicious lights; assorted mis-matched vintage tables and chairs; gold painted statues; and a blackboard inked with the best recommendation ever for carbs (visual above).
The Fumbally is a cool place to visit and on certain mornings you can eat your food while listening to live jazz or classical music. It’s also a place where you get a glimpse of an imperceptible shift of the city from its central axis and can witness the evolution of Dublin’s café culture.
Note: The Fumbally is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm (the kitchen close at 4pm) and on Saturday from 10am to 5pm. Closed Sunday and Bank Holidays.