If I only had a few hours to show somebody about Dublin I'd choose a weekend (naturally) and bring them for brunch and a walk by the sea.
Two things we do particularly well, and two of the many things that make the city so special.
And though there are plenty of ways to tackle this combo, you'd be hard pressed to find a nicer walk than along the bay in Clontarf followed up by a bit of grub in Pigeon House.
It's a big airy room with lots of heated space outside which converts into a wonderful terrace for those few good days we do get each summer.
The design is stripped back, and purposely minimal, with the highlight for me being the exposed pipes in the bathrooms. If our grandparents had been eating here a generation ago they'd have complained that the building work wasn't finished, but that's the look these days...
I started with a duck liver pate which was beautifully presented on the plate with sourdough and a gorgeous chutney. Of course, I say it was beautifully presented but that was until I opened the lid on the little jar that it came in – and the colour that greeted me could best be described as toilet water grey.
To the naked eye it looked like a jar of cement, and about as appetising as eating a bowl of sick. But luckily, being a chef and all, I knew that scraping off the top should reveal something better – and it did in the form of a rich velvety and wonderfully vibrantly pink pate.
The beauty of a pate is that the layer of fat on top preserves what's underneath, but it also tarnishes very quickly when it comes into contact with the air. Every chef knows the moment where they have to throw out a perfectly good pate because nobody has ordered it and it has gone this shade of grey.
Having said all of that it was incredible in flavour, texture and the bread was superb.
The starter was so big that I didn't really need a main, but... well, I wanted one.
I went for the eggs shakshuka because it is a dish I simply can't ignore on a menu. The success rate when cooking this dish from I can see is well below 50%, but this one was one of the best yet.
A lovely slightly spicey tomato sauce with rich fennel flavours and beautifully cooked peppers and eggs made this an incredible dish for dunking yet more of that wonderful sourdough into.
They get all the little touches right in here too – excellent coffee, tap water with mint and lemon without asking and top-class service mean it ticks all those boxes where you see so many places fall down.
Add in the location, which is just 50 yards from one of the nicest walks in Dublin, and this is a must-visit.
They're open with great breakfasts, lunch and dinner seven nights a week. But, for me, the Pigeon House really sings when it comes to brunch.