O’Brien’s Sandwich Bar

Café: O’Brien’s sandwich bar
Address: Parliament Street
Average Shambo Price: £4.50
Rating: * * *

They never tire, do they? Every Saturday some hooligan will put washing-up liquid into the fountain on Parliament Street. It’s an outrage.
But the spectacle is enjoyable. Find a seat and watch mothers squeal as their toddlers plunge into the froth, or amuse yourself as chunks of the stuff are whipped up by the breeze and flung into shoppers’ faces.

There are two ideally placed cafés for this activity: Pret a Manger and O’Briens sandwich bar. Dilemma! In a competition for postmodernity, Pret wins hands down. Here’s their franchise policy: “Franchising – sorry we don’t. Please don’t call us and ask for a franchise because we don’t; we really don’t. We don’t franchise. The fact is, we don’t like to franchise, so we don’t.” Right. Got it. But here is O’Briens: “Is O’Briens first class? Is O’Briens right for me? These are just some questions…” Blah blah, get a grip.

But I decided to go Oirish. I ordered a Shambo with bacon, brie and cranberry. A shambo, I found out, is toasted bread in the shape of a shamrock with herbs – rosemary, I think – baked into the top. It worked well. With a packet of crisps and a superb iced mango drink it was about £6 – not bad at all.

So I might go back next week. And I’ll take some washing up liquid in case the hooligans let me down.

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