I've groused about the current brunch trend in previous blog posts, as I'm feeling completely overrun by the brunch-mania that's sweeping over the capital. But like all good things, you don't really realise how good you have it until you no longer have it. And while brunch may be two-a-penny in Dublin city, it's still got some way to go in Cork City.
For many years now, my weekends at home in Cork have been slightly diminished by the lack of options for a good Sunday breakfast or brunch. But the situation is much changed down Leeside, and slowly but surely, Sunday options are improving. (By the way, for a list of all breakfast options in Cork, check out this blog post from 40 Shades of Life).
Brick Lane sits at that very mysterious point where North Main Street transitions to South Main Street. It occupies the premises that I knew in my student days as Rosie O'Grady's and which my younger sisters knew as The Classic. In the first phase of the Classic development, the interior has been completely overhauled in the modern style of mis-matched vintage chic. With the front windows wide open, the parquet flooring was glowing in the morning sunshine, making the venue feel welcoming and comfortable.
|The bar at the new Brick Lane|
|Vintage doors at Brick Lane|
The brunch menu is pretty straightforward at first glance but a deeper reading reveals some touches of brilliance. Firstly, there is no bacon, but honest-to-god, rashers. Other little touches appear like the addition of cinnamon to waffles or pancetta and sourdough French toast to an eggs Benedict. The menu also clearly calls out the price for additional orders (such as rashers, sourdough toast or maple syrup).
Sister No 1 chooses the Monte Cristo Benedict (€8.50) which consists of sourdough French toast topped with crispy pancetta, Hegarty's cheese, free-range poached eggs and a creamy hollandaise sauce. Sister No 2 chooses the chunky Belgium cinnamon waffles with crispy, smoked thick rashers and maple syrup which is great value at just €7.00.
For myself, I choose the potato chorizo breakfast (€8.50) which is quite similar to one of my favourite dishes to cook at home. A large bowl of sautéed potatoes mixed with spinach, chorizo and sweetened with a drizzle of maple syrup is topped with a softly fried egg. It's utterly delicious, right down to the small, golden-brown crispy bits sitting at the bottom of the bowl.
|Monte Cristo Benedict (with rashers)|
|Potato chorizo breakfast|
|Belgium cinnamon waffles with rashers and maple syrup|
Brunch was finished off with a sample of superb pistachio shortbreads and an incredible dense, chewy peanut butter brownie. Service is just the right level of friendly throughout (as you'd expect in Cork) and we really enjoy our meal. The only exception is the bizarre stuffed ferret (?) which stares at us from within his cage. Sometimes vintage chic just goes a little overboard.
We arrived for brunch at approximately 10.30 am and even at that time, there were groups of diners scattered around the bar and tables. It seems pretty clear that there's a market in Cork for early morning brunching and Brick Lane is benefiting. If the casual and comfortable vibe is continued throughout the day and into the nighttime, it's pretty easy to see Brick Lane being a success in Cork City.
Tel: +353 (0)87 271 0710