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The Venezuelan House in Portobello

Set up in September of last year, The House of Salads offers customers Caribbean style street food – and has now recently been fused with Venezuelan food.

Juan Gil, owner and sole operator of the business based on Richmond Street in Dublin 2, comes from a nutrition background and hopes that "More people decide to give natural and healthy food a shot and see how the right kind of ingredients can and will make them happier and healthier".

"I had no previous experience running a business and, even though I loved to cook for family and friends, it’s nothing like cooking for customers," Juan explained. "It is important to be consistent and deliver what the customer is expecting on time, every time." He continued, saying that the range of choice makes the industry very competitive in Dublin, which means providing the best product and service for the customer is paramount.

The menu, which only recently began to include Venezuelan dishes, includes natural healthy ingredients carefully combined to satisfy customers. Simple yet delicious, the menu includes salads, wraps, omelettes and cachapas. It also includes arepas - "A staple food for Colombians and Venezuelans, roughly about the size of a burger bun made of corn flour which are then cut in half and stuffed". There is also a vegan option available, stuffed with mushrooms slow cooked with garlic, Spanish paprika, onions, oregano, turmeric and whisky.

When possible, Juan prefers to physically go to the market to pick his own vegetables; "There is nothing better than hand picking the tomatoes".

Juan also gets his fresh cheese from Sabanero from Galway, which is one of the main elements of cachapa; one of the most popular dishes. Other ingredients such as Pimenton de la Vera (Spanish paprika) and olive oils come directly from Spain.

Reception to the cafe has been positive so far, with Juan already acquiring regulars who love the Spanish omelette and the vegetarian paella. "I absolutely love to see how people enjoy eating food that reminds them of their home country or even of their holidays in Spain, when they have previously enjoyed a proper tapas and a glass of good Spanish wine," said Juan.

"There is nothing more rewarding than to make the customers happy and being able to welcome them every week."

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