This Garden Kitchen In South Dublin Serves Up Tasty Brunch And A Day Full Of Adventure
"This is the best brunch I've had in a long, long time"
Don't be too shocked at what I'm about to say, because I love it, I really do... But hasn't brunch in Dublin become ever so slightly *whispers* boring?
Once the most exciting part of your weekend, it's difficult to get a brunch in town that's not a carbon copy of 10 other places nearby. While I love American style pancakes and Eggs Benny as much as the next greedy gal, I've been aching something a little more unique, and the other week I found it.
Just a five minute drive from Dundrum Town Centre is Dublin’s only 38 acre working farm that boasts landscaped gardens, a tiny-but-growing vineyard, farm animals and – best of all – an absolutely incredible restaurant.
Airfield Estate (and its restaurant, Overends Kitchen) is a real oasis tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city
Airfield is a charitable organisation, established by the Overend sisters in 1974 who lived on the estate all of their lives, and the aim is to "inspire people to refresh their connection with food and the land it comes from."
Just one visit to Overends Kitchen will show you that they're absolutely smashing it.
A bright, almost Scandinavian-style restaurant, it's all glass and pine wood and overlooks a pond. At 10am on a Sunday morning the place is already heaving with young families and couples.
Overends Kitchen uses produce straight from the farm at its doorstep, meaning fresh and creative food
Their ingredients are thoughtfully sourced with milk, meat, fruit, veg and eggs coming from Airfield and nearby producers and the menu is rustic and comforting yet modern and light.
Freshly baked cinnamon buns, apple custard brioche and a bowl of toasted granola with rhubarb from the garden and Jersey curd from the cows grazing outside are just some of the treats to look forward to.
Culinary lead at Airfield, Luke Matthews, is a much-respected advocate of authentic root to shoot, nose to tail cooking and there's nowhere else in Dublin serving brunch like this.
Bibi's in Portobello comes close in terms of menu and atmosphere but the farm right outside your window at Overends pips it. This is the sort of food you want to eat every single weekend.
I know it's only 20 or so minutes outside of town but Overends Kitchen feels like a real rural retreat and the chilled out and friendly staff just add to the charming countryside vibe.
"This is the nicest brunch I've had in a long, long time"...
Where to begin? My choice of the Shakshuka Eggs with Garden greens, smoked aubergine, Jersey yoghurt, linseed dukkah, toasted sourdough was just €10 an absolute steal for such gorgeous grub. The nutty flavours of the dukkah (a Middle-Eastern spice and nut blend don'tcha know) added an extra boldness to the smooth greens and tangy yoghurt.
Usually Shakshuka makes me feel sometime as though I'm just gulping down a big bowl of passata sauce but the Overends Kitchen green version is perfect.
Other plates of Gubeen chorizo, Poached Eggs, Macroom buffalo ricotta, parsley, toasted sourdough (€11.50) and the Airfield breakfast: Higgins sausages & bacon, fried spuds, house baked beans, charred garden greens (€12.50) are next on my list.
No city centre prices of €16 for a greasy fry-up here, and a cardomom lassi drink was a lovely sweetener that convinced me this is my new favourite spot to brunch it up in Dublin.
After brunch you can stroll around the farm – learning about sustainability and seeing their beaut herd of Jersey cows and little piglets
The food gardens with their pathways through espaliered fruit trees and vegetables are designed to be places of discovery, education and fun. The formal gardens contain ornamental farmstead plans (oregano/artichoke/parsley) where kids (and big kids!) can share Airfield's passion for planting, growing and cooking local seasonal home grown food.
Ever wondered how cows are milked? You can see the whole method in action here every day at 10.30am as well as gawk at fluffy calves, donkeys, hens and pink pot-bellied piglets.
Pastel-coloured hen coops and wooden bee hives make a stroll around the estate extra pretty...
A secret garden that will remind you of the Frances Hodgson Burnett novel is a pleasant surprise
A romantic walled garden had me almost searching for a hidden door covered in ivy and there's an ornamental tea garden and a peaceful greenhouse garden to explore.
The hedgerows of Airfield date back to the 17th century and include crab apple, wild pear, cherry and plums and there's vintage cars on display in the garage that belonged to the Overends sisters.
Tickets to enter the estate are €10 for adults which isn't bad considering you could easily spend three-four hours here, staying even longer once the weather gets better.
Just make sure you don't leave Airfield Estate empty handed... The farm store sells fresh eggs, local juices and mouthwatering baked goods
In the restaurant (which does regular pop-up dinner events FYI) there's a full range of homemade breads, scones and all the sweet buns you could dream of as well as pear and apple juice from Llewellyn's Farm in Lusk.
Get the pear juice, please.
You can also handpick eggs that have been laid that morning to take home with you and when I asked about that delish toasted granola I'd had for brekkie the chef told me it would soon be for sale, before coming back with a plastic container of it "in the meantime."
A garden shop by the entrance of the estate will also entice you in with its range of plants and flowers and quirky garden trinkets. I don't even have a garden and I still wanted to buy absolutely everything in sight.
An entire day out in the countryside without even leaving Dublin? Overends Kitchen at Airfield Estate is my new personal paradise.
Go this weekend and tell your friends, your family, your boss and your bae. A place this special deserves to be shared.