There’s a hugely popular Irish song from 1980 called “Summer in Dublin” by Bagatelle. Hugely popular in Ireland that is, without any discernible profile beyond these shores.
It’s a warm and affectionate account of a guy just travelling around the city recounting what he’s seeing and thinking on a day in time. Some of it has aged: the Liffey, thankfully, no longer “stinks like hell” but it will still bring a smile to the face of any Dub to hear its familiar opening bars.
If someone were to sacrilegiously update it’s lyrics to 2014 Dublin, it seems inconceivable that it would not involve a weekend stop for brunch. The brunch is as ubiquitous on a Sunday (and increasingly Saturday) in Dublin eateries as that Liffey stink was when the song was written.
While the number grows, there are a few places which stand out from the crowd and have set the bar for others to beat.
The reigning champion and standard bearer. Packed out for brunch so book or wait a while. The “Brunch of Champions” including the legendary Lobster Benedict. A lively place with a friendly atmosphere, and great service. The traditional Breakfast of Champions, and the Chicken and Red Pepper Bruschetta are both definitely worth a look.
The main challenger, and very much of a type with San Lorenzo. In truth, there’s not much to choose between the two, with a similar vibe also.
A more spacious dining area, this completes the three options you’ll fund in any brunch list in Dublin. A more calm and laid back venue, you’d bring your parents here more readily than the previous choices. Still buzzy, and decent value too.
If you want more of a seafood focus to your brunch, here’s where to go. We had Norwegian eggs with smoked salmon, and a crabmeat and eggs brunch option. Both scrumptious. The Bloody Mary was properly spicy, with a prawn, quail egg and pickle perched on top too. Service was professional, and it’s clear they have a loyal clientele with staff and other customers on first name terms. And the fish and chip shop next door changes everything when it comes to city centre fast food.
If the Bloody Mary is what matters to you for a brunch, and all that food lark is incidental, here is your choice. Don’t get me wrong: the food is tasty. However, the Bloody Mary is the best around, and it is a feat of extraordinary willpower to stop at just one.