I’ll confess, I’ve never really “got” brunch. I feel this has something to do with the difficult decisions brunch often prompts: Should I have breakfast beforehand? What time, if at all, should I have “dunch”? Shouldn’t I be in my 11am lecture right now? The rather mundane problem is that I end up feeling too full by midday and too hungry by 3pm.
Then there’s the problem of cost. Anthony Bourdain once described brunch as a “horrible, cynical way of unloading leftovers and charging three times as much as you ordinarily charge for breakfast”. This is not exactly a glowing assessment, and it can indeed be difficult to justify the considerable dent brunch tends to make in your budget. Particularly if you’re saving up for a house, the avocados must remain unsmashed, we’re told.
Yet, brunch is now seen by many as an important and valuable addition to our modern lifestyles. It’s difficult to ignore its growing popularity and so, bracketing my concerns, I investigated some of Dublin’s spots which do it best.
Meet Me in the Morning
This charming café hidden just off Camden Street offers mostly vegetarian options. The interior is pared-down and unassuming, with a small menu offering deceptively simple, thoughtfully prepared food. With friendly, inviting staff armed with carafes of water upon your arrival, Meet Me in the Morning is a perfect hangover refuge. Placing an emphasis on seasonal ingredients which are locally sourced from Irish suppliers, the café also ticks the ethical boxes, which should help to alleviate some guilt for the previous night’s sins.
“It’s worth asking the helpful staff for their recommendations, since the menu changes every week based on what’s available.”
The tortilla with Ballyhoura Mountain mushrooms had an especially pleasant earthiness, balanced with the acidity of pickled vegetables and a handful of peppery rocket. It’s worth asking the helpful staff for their recommendations, since the menu changes every week based on what’s available.
Pepper Pot Café
If you haven’t been before, Pepper Pot Café can be strangely difficult to find using your phone. Once you do manage to locate it, however, you’ll be rewarded with great food in a stunning location, on a balcony overlooking Powerscourt Town Centre. Looking down from the leafy vantage point gives you the feeling of a millennial Bond villain plotting your next malevolent manoeuvre whilst living your best life, which is something we all aspire to, I imagine. The food again places an emphasis on local ingredients with its breads and pastries baked fresh daily.
Though famous for its bagels which are among some of the best in Dublin, the bacon, cheddar and roasted pear sandwich affords the opportunity to try something different for the real thrillseekers. Surprisingly, the combination works fairly well. The salty crispiness of the bacon and the sharpness of mature cheddar offset the sweetness of the roasted pear, offering you the chance to relive that Ratatouille “cheese and strawberry” epiphany which Remi fell so tragically short of. The weekend queues are notoriously long though, so this is perhaps more of a weekday spot.
Two Pups Coffee
Avocado on toast? Check. Derelict, fashionable furniture? Check. Carefully curated Instagram account? Check. Popular amongst Dublin food bloggers, Two Pups Coffee ticks all the boxes one would expect of a Hot Hipster Hangout™. The food is refreshingly vibrant and imaginative, however, with a menu which combines classic choices with more innovative options. Its pastries (particularly its brownies) are also well worth trying, as of course, is its coffee. Located in the Liberties, the café also offers a fantastic opportunity to pause en route to the Guinness Storehouse and plead with your visiting friend to abandon their ill-advised visit: “Are you sure you want to go?”
“The menu is inspired by Middle Eastern influences and their mezze tray (also available as a vegetarian option) offers a wholesome, high-quality meal, which at the very least delays the “dunch” dilemma”
With locations on the Northside and Southside, Brother Hubbard is a well-known destination for all things a-brunchin’. The menu is full of Middle Eastern influences, and their mezze tray (also available as a vegetarian option) offers a wholesome, high-quality meal, which at the very least delays the “dunch” dilemma. Be aware that their food is a little pricier than the other places suggested though, with most of their brunch dishes around the €12 mark, so this is perhaps more of a place for special occasions.
For a more budget-friendly alternative, the jianbing in Oh My Street Food on Westmoreland Street affords students an opportunity to try one of the most popular Chinese breakfast items at a comparatively reasonable price – think somewhere between a savoury crepe and an omelette. Oxmantown in Smithfield also do some of the best sandwiches in Dublin from 8am on weekdays. Finally, it would be remiss not to mention Trinity’s very own Perch, which offers neither great quality nor value yet still somehow manages to disappoint. Our loss is the seagulls’ loss also.