December, it’s all go go go. There is shopping to be done, Christmas parties to grace with our presence and of course there is still work to contend with. Christmas is looming and the best thing about the festive season is taking a breather from it all to catch up with friends and celebrate the really important things of the season – food (ok ok, maybe family and friends too). There is nothing quite like the feeling of escaping the hysteria with your friends and finding that special place to collapse, menu in hand and breathe. All the better if festive cocktails happen to be on the menu. Here are a few of our favourites to help you survive the season and catch up with the gang in the process.
Chimac, 76 Aungier Street, Dublin 2.
Dubliners could hardly contain their excitement when KFC joint Chimac opened earlier this year, and the anticipation it seems, was indeed fitting. Fast forward a few months, and once again Chimac has us agog with their announcement that they have recently started serving brunch on Sundays. The Breakfast Sambo is the stuff of dreams (or is it just me?) with twice-fried, free-range chicken breast, sriracha candied bacon, fried egg, house pickles, gochujang mayo and a drizzle of sriracha caramel. Add a side of Cauli Wings and a Wine Slushie and suddenly all is right with the world.
Hooked, Rockwood Parade, Abbeyquarter North, Sligo
Hooked Café and Restaurant in Sligo have a food provenance to be proud off. Using local, artisan produce is high on the agenda here and the menu reads like a who’s who of Irish producers. The Brunch menu offers an extensive selection of regional foods crafted in to delicious dishes, but it’s the Crispy Beef Kofta Kebab that gets my heart racing. Locally farmed Beef, Creamy Feta & Yogurt Dressing, Sriracha and Caramelised Onions, served with Garlic Flat Bread sounds just good enough to eat. Alesso Prosecco is priced at just €5.50 per glass so a catch up here will not break the bank either. Added bonus, they also do take away should leftovers be thin on the ground. Which they will, believe me.
The Local, Dunbrody House, Duncannon, Co. Wexford
The brainchild of restaurateur and hotelier Kevin Dundon, The Local is located on the grounds of the beautiful Dundrody House and provides a more casual dining experience for locals and visitors alike. While it may appear slightly off the beaten track, there is a complimentary shuttle bus to the neighbouring Wexford towns, so excuses are null and void. And why would you want one? With a Christmas Market on the grounds every Sunday in December and a Jazz Brunch on Sunday afternoons, diners can cosy up beside open fires and gorge on brunch classics such as The Local Full Irish, American-style Pancake Stack or Eggs Benedict served on a Waterford Blaa. Wash it all down with a Craft Beer or an Artisan Cider and you and the gang will be embracing your inner Country Squire in no time at all.
The Gallery at The Westbury Hotel, Dublin 2
If there is a more Christmassy location in Dublin City than The Westbury Hotel, we have yet to come across it. And while cocktails in The Sidecar and lunch in Wilde are very special, a Festive Afternoon Tea at The Gallery Lounge overlooking Grafton Street makes for a completely Christmassy experience. While not technically brunch, the Festive Afternoon Tea at The Westbury is the perfect pit stop while you are out braving Dublin City centre at Christmas. The atmosphere in The Gallery is electric at this time of year and what better way to soak it up that by nibbling on Smoked Turkey Breast Salad, Cranberry Chutney on Brioche Rolls or indeed Oak Smoked Salmon & Crab with Gherkin Relish on Homemade Soda Bread. Follow up with the Miniature Scones, Festive Handmade Desserts and Mini Mince Pies and you will certainly feel like Christmas has arrived. With a Champagne Afternoon Tea option also available, you will certain to be brimming with good cheer.
The Strawberry Hall, Dublin 20
Again, while not technically Brunch, this is the ultimate ‘get away from it all’ escape in what is arguably the most Christmassy pub in Dublin – and now, they have wood fired pizza thanks to their colleagues at Goats Gruff. The pizza from the guys at Goats Gruff is getting rave reviews and being compared to traditional pizza from Napoli so it must be good, and perched on the banks of the River Liffey in this picturesque country pub, you would be hard pressed to find a better spot to catch up with your friends or family over the Christmas season. A collection and drop off service is offered locally and if the conversation begins to lull, you can always have a quick game of Bagatelle (similar to indoor Billiards I’m reliably informed). This is a truly unique spot that is guaranteed to foster some well-earned Christmas Cheer.
Cool interiors, fantastic cocktails and delicious dishes are the order of the day in this South Great George’s Street favourite. Great pricing, super staff and a wonderful central location. We have a very strong fondness for the Buttermilk Pancake Stack, that Maple Butterscotch Sauce is the stuff of dreams. We would definitely recommend booking head. If, like us you love a bit of people watching as you brunch, ask for the window seat, although every seat is cosy in this beautiful establishment.
Feature By: Ciara McQuillan