Thursday 4 September 2014

Merrion Square Lunchtime Market and Le Petit Camion

Blog update: This market and Le Petit Camion are not operating anymore

From Tuesday to Friday, all year round you can go to one of the Irish Village Markets that take place across nine different locations in Dublin. The Merrion Square Lunchtime Market was the latest addition to the Irish Village Markets when it launched a few months ago and has been on my list of places to try for a while.

A few weeks ago as I found myself in the area at lunchtime I decided to meet a friend there for a quick lunch. The weather wasn’t so great on the way there but suddenly changed (thanks Irish weather) and soon we were lucky enough to enjoy the warm sun and clear blue skies.

The market is open every Thursday from 11.30am to 2pm inside the park (Merrion Square). With about 20 vendors, the lovely green area and live music, it has a street food festival feel to it. People sit on the grass and there is a mix of office workers and families, which makes the atmosphere very chilled and friendly.

From Indian cuisine to burgers or from German schnitzels to pies, the choice of food is quite diverse and includes many different types of cuisine. You could easily try something different every week if you wanted.

I knew what I was going to get even before I got there. It wasn’t the warmest day and I was with a fellow French friend so we had a definite plan: a visit to Le Petit Camion. Le Petit Camion is a vintage Citroen van (his name is Henri) owned by French lady Marine and Irish counterpart Brian. They can be found at different markets and events around Dublin including Merrion Square every Thursday.

They specialise in the ultimate comfort food: Raclette. Now Raclette is usually made with Raclette cheese (from Switzerland or France) and is basically melted cheese served with charcuterie and potatoes. At Le Petit camion it has been given an Irish twist as they use delicious Coolea (an Irish farmhouse cheese) instead of Raclette cheese. You’ll find 3 different Raclettes (melted cheese dishes) ranging from €5.50 to €7. They also sell 3 types of sandwiches (Le Petit Melt, The Gringo and the Original) all made with excellent organic sourdough bread from Tartine Bakery, with organic Coolea cheese.

I went for the pulled ham raclette, consisting of melted Coolea cheese over pan-fried baby potaotes, pickles and home roasted pulled ham.

Maybe not the lightest summer dish but perfect on colder days, so substantial and heart-warming.

My friend had for the Classic, which is the same thing minus the ham.  The portions of cheese were generous and delightfully stringy, seeming to stretch endlessly. 

Spuds and melted cheese, nothing can go wrong really. Délicieux!

Depending on which location you’re visiting Le Petit Camion at, the sandwiches may differ or they might even have French baked goods, gluten-free cakes or even crêpes.

The Merrion Square Lunchtime Market is definitely worth a visit if you fancy some street food for your lunch. If it’s not in your hood, check out their other locations, there might be one near you.

Irish Village Markets

Le Petit Camion