In the run up to the release of our 4th issue of FEAST: A Dinner Journal, and our 2nd print edition, we are taking a look back at some of the Irish food champions who have filled the pages of our previous issues.
When Oliver Cunningham opened his tea emporium he insisted that the name Wall & Keogh stayed above the door, the historic shop- space in Portobello needed to speak of its past as well as look to the future. Although a super-stylish space has been created inside with chocolate browns, oranges and accents in sky blue and white the space is sensitively managed and still echoes its earlier architecture.
“We’re only passing through,” Oliver explains, as far as he’s concerned he is only minding the building for the next generation. Oliver opened the doors for business in December 2010, joining a growing band of teashops and coffee houses in Dublin, but few are as chilled as this little gem. The counter is packed with gleaming glass jars filled with every conceivable variation of tea, tisane and infusion. But none of them have arrived here by chance. Oliver had previously spent many years back-packing around the world and worked in tea and coffee plantations from Brazil and Vietnam to Guatemala. He receives many samples of teas from suppliers but only the finest will make the cut. Each tea tells a story and he knows each one. His passion is palpable as he tells us that regardless of the function of the tea, whether it is medicinal or for indulgent flavour, it must be of the highest quality. The tea is sold in plain brown bags with a simple label so people aren’t paying for packaging; all the investment goes into the quality of the tea.
Step into Wall & Keogh and you step into a world of calm, nobody is in a rush here. Whether you want to chill downstairs in the kitsch 70s space, curl up with a book in a cosy corner by the counter or pop outside to the back terrace you’ll step back into our busy capital with a sense that all is well with the world. After all, most problems can be solved with a cup of tea.
Wall & Keogh