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31st Mar 2023

OPINION: Brunch is on the out and Sunday Roasts are showing it the door

Emily Mullen

Sunday Roast

We are entering into a new phase of weekend dining, that no longer centres around the twilight zone between breakfast and lunch

Ecohing the cultural barometer beloved of weekend magazines, Dublin-based food and drink influencer Sarah Hanrahan posted a video recently sharing an “unpopular opinion” that brunch was out and that Sunday Meals were in. Unlike a lot of opinions that are offered in the echo colanders of food and drink media in Dublin, this one was roundly well received. With Lovin‘s own Cassie Strokes commenting, “Sunday menus are the future… brunch used to be about spontaneously drinking all day, it was a vibe and now it’s more about the food and there’s nothing spontaneous about it!”.

Brunch Fatigue 

This got us thinking about the concept of brunch, which is no doubt twitching in its Hollandaise sauce, deviling eggs and flinging hash around at this dialogue. After years of having our weekend calendars punctuated by brunches with the girlie wirlies, the tide is turning. We have reached brunch saturation, technically put this is the point in which no matter how filled with alcohol, how lively the entertainer is, or how thematically curated the menu is, we’ve just seen too much and we are done. The signs were all there, and in my case, they were the size of billboards. So much so, in January I wrote a piece about the top 12 brunch spots in Dublin and awarded the top place to an establishment that doesn’t even serve brunch. lol.

Brunch Menus

The contents of brunch menus are undoubtedly part of the problem, with many feeling like a pursuit in the cursory art of box-ticking. It’s unusual to find such a menu without 7 iterations of eggs benedict, a ham hock hash, chicken + waffles and the perfunctory veggie-friendly shakshouka. These are all great dishes, but there’s a predictability to them that can wane, with each menu you pick up. As with a lot of things, demand can dictate the end result, and these menus could stem from the fact that brunch has been co-opted by the woo-wooing girlos who are more into the ✨vibes✨ of a place than the food that they serve.

There’s a highly meme-able scene in the Hulu series The Bear, whereby Carmy who has returned to his family’s sandwich joint after a storied career, is spitballing ideas with his sous chef Sydney. When the topic of brunch comes up, he turns to her and says, “f**k Brunch!” which she repeats with even more feeling. Scratch the surface and most chefs’ feeling about this constructed eating time and eggy-based menu is pretty similar to the sentiments shared in the kitchen of the Original Beef of Chicagoland.

Sunday Roasts 

But what’s clear is that the boomerangs of prosecco flutes aren’t hitting like they used to. We are emerging from the grips of brunchin’ and entering into a new phase of dining which thankfully isn’t dictated by a manufactured meal time and eggs. Enter Sunday Roasts, much beloved by our English counterparts who seem to not be able to pass the day of rest without getting a piled-up plate strewn with gravy.

Traditionally we have looked across the pond, shook our heads and said to ourselves “what are they at?”. But this time it’s different, we truly want what they are having. As with all the games we play with England, the intention is not imitation, the intention is to win. While they have a head start, we are blessed with a lot of advantages when it comes to the battle of the Sunday Roast, including access to some of the best ingredients on the planet, exemplary chefs and Irish hospitality.

Baggage

Now, entering into this new phase of weekend dining is not without its baggage. Irish people have long been traumatised by Sunday dinners set in front of them by Irish mammies, plates of grey meat that hasn’t seen a lick of seasoning since it was chewing grass, unstrained gravy, overboiled veg and lumpy mash (roasties if you were lucky). We will need to overlook these triggering emotions about the Sunday dinner and look forward to a new dawn of plates piled with glistening roast potatoes, seasoned meat, pure fancy Yorkshire puddings, glossy gravy and sides that weren’t cooked in the microwave.

Where to get Sunday Roasts in Dublin:

3. 57 The Headline

56-57 Clanbrassil Street Lower, for more info click here

The team at The Headline do a bang-up job serving up some of the best burgers in the city, so there’s little doubt that they can tackle a meaty feast like a Sunday Roast. Do yourself a favour and head to this Dublin 8 staple for a leisurely Sunday filled with roasts and pints.

2. Hen’s Teeth
Blackpitts, Dublin 8, more info here

Always with their finger on the proverbial pulse, Hen’s Teeth have been doing a class Sunday Roast meal deal for the past few months, which includes a roast for 2 with a bottle of wine.

1. The Old Spot
14 Bath Avenue, more info click here

This ol Spot on Bath Avenue has been synonymous with Sunday Roasts for quite some time and for good reason. Do yourself a favour and get your name booked in for a Sunday treat as soon as you can.

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