Brunch at Farmer Browns

Dublin is full of cafes offering the full “Irish breakfast”, typically distinguished from the “Full English” breakfast by the present of white and black puddings. A culture of drinking leads to a culture of a late brunch and so Dublin offers plenty. As more people move towards the coffee-drinking culture Dublin has sprouted to match the expectation of a quality brunch place offering meals that go beyond the “plate that fixes the hangover”.

I went along to one of the newer ones, Farmer Brown’s located just near the newer Dockland part of the city. Nestled between a number of residential places, this cafe offered seating outside, a covered terrace and inside seating for all. Wanting some French Toast, it arrived with a hugely generous portion of bacon that had literally been cooked together where the strands of bacon seemed to infuse itself. So… much… bacon but very good. Unlike other places where you run out of bacon before you have finished the eggy-goodness-soaked bread, there was plenty of it to go around with each bite. Yum. Flat white wad admittedly disappointing with milk being both too hot and not foamed enough.

Other dishes looked good looking around at what other people ordered.

Other places I’d like to try next time include the Lennox Cafe (31 Lennox Street, Dublin 8) and Herbstreet (Hanover Quay, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 2) Another one worth trying is apparently Odessa (14 Dame Court, Dublin 2) although I’m loath to bother lining up for a place when there are so many other options.

Find Farmer Browns at 25A Bath Avenue, Dublin 4.

Frühstück at the Steigenberger Hotel, Hamburg

I rarely have breakfast in the hotels that I stay in, particularly because mmost of the time they are overpriced and much heavier than what I really wnat to have (normally a bowl of muesli with skim milk and berries). I was booked into a very nice hotel in Hamburg (Steigenberger) and I thought I would at least try their breakfast once.

Though not cheap at €24, the breakfast is a buffet spread with the proper white clothed dining experience. Lead to my table, I was asked about tea and coffee, and I was first offered a pot of tea. The tea arrived in an impressive looking tea pot, complete with tea light caddy to help keep it warm. When I later went to the buffet spread, I could see the dozen or so high quality teas they also had on offer. I later switched to the coffee and the attendants were nice enough to even switch the glasses before bringing a pot of their classic German dark and strong coffee.

On to the buffet.

Though not the biggest selection, everything was pretty high quality. There are the usual cereal spread (a choice of about eight different types of mueslis and cereals), breads, fruit, cheeses and meats, and even a omellette/pancake station. Although tempted, I didn’t really want to wait in line and although I would normally love a pancake, this was more the crepe-style pancakes that do nothing for me.

Name: Steigenberger Hotel, Hamburg
Found at: Heiligengeistbrücke 4, 20459 Hamburg, Germany

Breakfasting at The Delaunay

One of the very well praised restaurants to have popped up in central London is The Delaunay. It’s a European cafe/restaurant located just off the side of the strand. The cafe portion is unmissable with large windows viewing into a very grand reception, whilst the entrance to the restaurant is slightly inset from some formidable gates.


As a meeting breakfast place, I find this to be a good option because it opens at 7am. Most other places in central London open at 8am, and if you happen to be working in the area that is fine, but hard if you need to further your journey. It’s easy to meet for an hour meeting and then be on your way for a normal day.

Everything engraved with a D

Operated by the same people behind The Wolseley and Brasserie Zedel one expects the service and the food to be up to high standards. And it is.


Although we weren’t asked for our coats to be taken, the restaurant has plenty of space and numerous coat stands near most of the tables. We were seated promptly and then asked if wanted some drinks. Juices are reasonable, although I found the £4.50 they charge slightly excessive. Stick with the Americano for the same price, but greater quantities.

Pancakes with Blueberries

Whilst we talk about price. Many of dishes are extremely reasonable. Porridge for £4.75 (yes, it is a restaurant), plain pancakes £6.75, or with bacon £9.50 or blueberries (pictured above) for £9.75. Perhaps you just want some muesli for £4.25. All amazingly great value considering the atmosphere and the execution (three pancakes is plenty!).

Single Benedict

At the other extreme, you do pay dearly if you want any of the benedict/florentine/arlington eggs. £7.25 for the cheapest (single), or up to £17 for two. Yes, it’s quality, but it’s terrible dear. Having said that, service was very prompt, the atmosphere extremely grand and a wonderful place to have an early breakfast during the week. Note that the place fills up with suits by about 8am, so it’s definitely the in-place to have some business meetings. I prefer just the leisurely breakfast there.

Name: The Delaunay
Found at: 55 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4BB


This last Tuesday gone was Shrove Tuesday or sometimes called Pancake Tuesday. We sort of cheated on the day – instead of making them, we simply went to The Delaunay for breakfast where they have some great pancakes at reasonable prices.

I’m a big fan of the American style fluffy cakes. German Pfannkuchen is quite often just as fluffy – often used in a regional food called Kaiserschmarrn. I like French crepes less as a pancake. Crepes are good – just not what I feel pancakes should be.

I realise I haven’t posted a pancake recipe on here, so to make amends. Ingredients for 2 people for a hearty breakfast:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Pancakes baking


  • Take three bowls. Mix the dry ingredients in one of them.
  • Separate the eggs into the other two bowls. Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form, add a bit of the sugar and keep beating until it’s stiff. This extra step ensures the pancakes remain light and fluffy.
  • Combine the rest of the wet ingredients with the egg yolks. Beat, and then gently fold into the dry. Fold the beaten egg whites in until just combined. You don’t want to overbeat the batter as this develops gluten and moves the pancake away from being a cake to more of a bread/dough consistency.
  • Melt some butter in a pan, pour batter on. Cook until bubbles appear, and then flip
  • Serve how you like. I prefer it the Canadian stack way – crispy bacon and maple syrup.

Pancakes cooking

Pancakes are certainly a good treat. They are definitely not your everyday food but they are good in so many different ways. Try putting nutella on as a topping. Lemon juice, with some dusting of sugar works very well as well. Blueberries, greek yogurt and honey add another dimension.

Canadian Stack


Breakfasting the Italian way in Turin

We stayed a little bit further afield in Turin this time for the Salone del Gusto and that sort of made our breakfast trips a bit of adventure. We didn’t really need to rise early, and then with the meandering into town.


One of these places that we tried to go to had already run out of pastry, and with the poor weather, we opted for something quite close because we were going to head down to the festival anyway.


It ended up being quite a popular place – and not just with the tourists like us in town (although maybe they were some Italian-sounding tourists.)


We had a pick of different croissants – reports from the others on the plain and marmalade croissant had it rather overrated, but I certainly enjoyed the custard one.

At least the coffee was okay and the overall cost not particularly expensive

Breakfast at Christopher’s

I’ve heard a lot of Christopher’s and although I had heard about it, didn’t realise where it was in Covent Garden, lot alone what sort of food it served. I met my Italian friends their for a Sunday brunch to catch up to see how they were.

Being Sunday, we decided to live a little and whilst others stood with the classic Bloody Mary, I took the opportunity to be efficient in the caffeine and the alcohol hit and go for the espresso martini. Well presented and with a double whammy of effect.

A “starter” of pancakes were ordered. They were pretty small after all and were pretty light and fluffy.

And then being quite gluttonous, going for a “main” of eggs benedict served with a hash brown. Both eggs perfectly poached, wonderfully citrusy hollandaise as it should and a bit more carb loading with a hash brown.

The atmosphere is very nice, and I have to admit I felt a little under dressed in the white-table clothed environments with just a jumper, t-shirt and jeans. Fortunately the service was just as wonderful and nothing really noted or observed.

Name: Christopher’s
Location: 18 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, London. WC2E 7DD

Brenda’s French Soul Food in San Francisco

When hunting for breakfast places, Brenda’s French Soul Food constantly came up as a breakfast place with a twist. This restaurant focused on offering foods from the deep south of the US.

Apparently they extended their premises recently and it shows from two very distinct styles in each section. The first is a thin corridor holding only a smattering of tables. A huge painted mural sits on an exposed concrete wall. The section next door opens up into a brightly lit dining room fitted with nicely lacquered woodwork and more space between tables than the first section.

Influences from the deep south permeate the entire place with the cutlery served out of emptied steel cans from the “famous” New Orleans’ French Market. A cute twist to it all. Bottles of hot sauce and tomato sauce also readily available on the tabletops.

The menu offerings for a brunch seemed a bit confused including heartier meals like gumbo, shrimp and grits, a croque monsieur as well as classics including omelettes, french toast and eggs benedict. My sister ordered oyster omelette that incorrectly came with grits. As you can see from the picture below, the appearance of grits swimming in a pool of melted butter wasn’t exactly appetising.

I went for a classic brioche french toast with associated bacon. It strangely arrived with even more butter that I set aside. The toast was perfect. Crisp on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside. Yes, it was dusted with powdered sugar and I probably had a sugar overload when added with the maple syrup but it went perfectly with the bacon.

Reviews also recommended trying some of the beignets. Brenda’s offer interesting combinations including a crawfish variation, granny smith apple filled, and a chocolate with molten chocolate one. We asked for an order of some plain that arrived, also dusted in icing sugar. As you can see a serve includes one plate. Although nice and light and airy, I think the oil was too hot with a crust verging on the edge of being burnt and the insides of the two of them still clearly doughy and undercooked.

I liked Brenda’s but not sure it’s the sort of place I’d come back to all the time for brunch. Great for something unusual and probably a great place to try dinner as well.

Name: Brenda’s French Soul Food
Found at:

Chicago’s Bristol

One of the final places I ate at during this trip to Chicago was The Bristol. It’s one of those places that focuses on nose to tail eating and the pig features heavily in their menu in a wide variety of forms. It’s not too far of a walk from Bucktown towards a more polished neighbourhood filled with high end independent stores.

As you can see from the picture below, they take their pig seriously.

I had a hard time picking something on the menu as I wanted to try quite a number of dishes. I think it’s the sort of place I could go back to. We were seated immediately at the bar, and I think was almost preferred to the crowded noisy shared tables behind us. We also got to see the bartender make some of his brunch drinks including the Bacon Manhattan we tried.

A mixture of bourbon, maple syrup and a bacon infusion plus a candied streak of bacon with oversized ice cubes worked up a charm. It’s not the sort of drink I would have too many of, but its a decadent drink that makes you think about what exactly a mixologist can make. A great balance and a perfect start to a brunch.

Here’s the crowd behind us.

Ajit ended up with the burger. Not a huge sized burger, but definitely a good portion size as well as the duck fat fries topped with parsley, salt and a number of other tasty seasonings.

Not content, I had to order another cinnamon roll just to try it from this place. As you can see, it seemed a bit more cooked and less fluffy as the ones we tried at ann sathers. In a way, I preferred this one as it focused more on the cinnamon flavour and the roll rather than the sweet glaze poured all over it.

I went for a braised pork chilaquiles, salsa verde, cilantro, lime, fried egg. Continuing on the mexican theme, what turned up was a soft pork belly bits of meat through softened tortilla chipps and lots of flavour all throughout. I put on quite a bit of the home made chilli sauce that was reported “very spicy” but turned out to be slightly more than a typical tabasco. Still a great addition to it though.

Name: The Bristol
Found at: 2152 N Damen Ave Chicago, IL 60647, United States

Brunch at Ann Sathers

Although London’s offering of great brunch places continue to increase, they still cannot match those on offer in some other major cities. Chicago has no shortage of these places and Gaz and Molly suggested a brunch catchup at Ann Sathers, who has four different spots about town.

They are apparently especially known for their massive cinnamon rolls (above) as well as other baked goods that you can order at the counter to go. The above two rolls came as a “side” to a pretty big breakfast offering.

We met at the Lakeview restaurant made up of two huge rooms constantly turning tables over but never feeling rushed. I think we met pretty early, about 10 or 11am to avoid queuing up, but there was a significant queue stretching out the door by the time that we left. The menu offered some pretty classic american fare ranging from the eggs benedict, omelettes and pancakes to a grilled breakfast including bacon and eggs.

I opted for a slight twist on the eggs benedict opting for the “southern style” where instead of hollandaise sauce, the poached eggs came with a gravy and in place of bacon, was an american style sausage patty. Yum.

It felt a bit lavish but went down a treat. It also tasted much better than what the picture shows above.

Name: Ann Sathers
Found at: 909 W. Belmont, Chicago, IL 60657

Clinton Street Baking Company

With all of our big meals in New York, I only ever really ate twice a day. Rather than doing a lunch, we decided to go early to get a table at the Clinton Street Baking Company where I met a couple of friends for a weekend brunch last year. We didn’t have to worry about coming before they opened because it wasn’t the weekend this time, although we still hit it shortly after they opened and we didn’t have to wait. Good thing too because a line did shortly form about 5 minutes after we arrived.

I remember the huge cups they serve their coffee in. And the local sourcing they do. Good stuff!

And rather than go for something with their famous buttermilk biscuits (they were really good!), I decided to go for their pancakes for which they are also very well known for. They come in three varieties (chocolate chunk, blueberry and banana walnut) but I went for the latter after a recommendation by our waitress. The huge stack of fluffy, American style pancakes came with accompanying maple butter (I didn’t really want to know how much went into them).

The pancakes were great. Super light, and went well with the side of bacon that we got (crispy american style). My only worry was really how big they were and I didn’t even try to finish it this time.

Name: Clinton Street Baking Company
Found at: 4 Clinton Street (btw. East Houston & Stanton), New York, NY 10002