In restaurant years, a decade is a very exciting age: mature enough to have developed a loyal customer base and to have found its place in the neighbourhood, but young enough to keep evolving and experimenting without alienating regulars. Recently refurbished, Gourmet Food Parlour in Swords just hit the milestone and it’s looking better than ever.
I went there on a Saturday around 11:00 am and was immediately led to a table by the window. It read “Est. 2006” backwards on the glass. Usually I’d be delighted by that spot but it was just too sunny for my shadow-loving companion so they quickly moved us closer to the centre.
I got a latte and Andy got a cappuccino to begin with and we asked the waitress for her suggestion on the brunch menu. She recommended the Huevos Rancheros and the Protein Start. She explained that this last dish, along with others sharing the same logo, was Food Flickr approved, developed with sports nutrition standards in mind.
I went for the Huevos Rancheros and Andy ordered the American Pancakes. This is the beauty of brunch, the sweet and the savoury coexisting on the same menu along with cocktails and actual desserts. While we waited for our food we agreed that the restaurant reminded us to something…
Finally we got it, it had an air to Julia Child’s kitchen, at least as portrayed on the film Julie & Julia. Makes sense, as the author of Mastering the Art of French Cooking learned her way around the stove in the beautiful Provence in the South of France, where she lived in the fifties.
Both the French style and the vintage nod influenced the design at Gourmet Food Parlour, which combines that inspiration with a modern, Irish vibe. Soon we were presented with our food by Cristina, a waitress that must have noticed our conversation as she greeted us warmly and checked on us a few times in Spanish. It was a lovely touch and a very pleasant surprise.
Speaking of pleasant surprises, those Huevos Rancheros were so good. The seasoning was perfect, the portion generous, the beans soft, the cheese melted and the eggs just runny enough. Best ones I’ve had, actually. The pancakes were lovely too, soft and just like the ones you see in American TV breakfasts.
As they took our plate away and offered dessert, we hesitated as we were quite full but it only took a tiny bit of upselling to get us to share a red velvet cake. This better be worth the extra calories, I thought.
We were glad we decided to order just one, as it was a large slice of cake, spongy and fresh with a rich creamy filling and plenty of white chocolate on top. As everything else, it was very nicely presented.
I always try to get a feel of who would I recommend the place to… Is it good for a business power coffee chat? Is it great for families? Lovely for couples? Good for those looking to eat healthy? Or ideal for a group of friends looking to catch up and relax? Rarely there is a place that is so versatile that gets yeses to such a wide array of customers, but as some tables ordered Prosecco, others espresso and others apple juice, I realised Gourmet Food Parlour is just what you need it to be.
The bill arrived for €34.5 and it included the Huevos Rancheros, the American Pancakes, three coffees, a glass of orange juice and a Red Velvet cake.
North Street, Swords. Co. Dublin
Tel: (01) 897 1496
Gabriela’s passion for writing is only matched by her love for food and wine. Journalist, confectioner and sommelier, she fell in love with Ireland years ago and moved from Venezuela to Dublin in 2014.
Since then, she has written about and worked in the local food scene, and she’s determined to discover and share the different traditions, flavours and places that have led Irish food and drink to fascinate her.