I knew that Farmer Browns had made our best-of lists for both burgers and brunch, and I knew that everyone and their brother seemed to worship the place. But when I walked in to review it last week, in the midst of an appalling mid-week mood, none of that seemed to matter.
It was a dour Wednesday afternoon, I was in the middle of a marathon work schedule, and I was stubbornly certain that nothing could improve my terrible form – so even the impossibly high accolades awarded to the place, I thought to myself, would not be enough to send me out beaming.
But that assumption was already challenged the moment I turned off Bath Avenue, and entered the restaurant to hear Fleetwood Mac's Rumours playing. There was a chalkboard wall full of information, including the mission statement that “cattle shouldn’t need passports.” There were about three dozen appliquéd throw pillows.
It was Pinterest come to life... and before I'd so much as taken my seat, I could feel my resolve breaking.
Any worldly hate I had left in my system disappeared when my friend and I got our food. She had opted for the much-hyped burger, I for the club sandwich.
Though I was slightly put off by the very tongue-like slab of roasted red pepper hanging off the side of it, the burger was 100% pure cheesy, classic comfort food. Even better than the burger, though, were the sweet potato fries we ordered with it. The size and greasiness of the burger make for a pretty heavy main, and the low-impact sweetness of these chips really rounded the meal out.
While we had a feeling the burger would be great, I went into the club sandwich fairly blind. Club sandwiches can be risky, I foolishly thought. They remind me of supermarket delis or catering for children’s sports teams. But this was not your mother’s club sandwich.
For starters, it was about the size of my arm (which, for €7, is a pretty good deal). This thing came with enough giant slices of avocado, bacon, and Cajun chicken to easily feed two people – and it didn’t stop there.
The house-made aioli was one standout of the club’s remaining half-dozen components, but most pleasantly surprising was the bun it was served on. This bun somehow managed to hold together a sandwich the size of an infant while still remaining soft and chewy. It reminded me of Hatch & Sons’ BLAA on Lance Armstrong-level performance enhancers.
The pair of us polished off our respective meals, feeling as if we’d had enough food to sate our appetites for the week. But then? Then the waitress directed our attention to the dessert menu.
My once impenetrable bad mood had long been traded in for joy, thanks to the brilliance of our mains, so I figured there was no better way to finish off such a happy meal than with a stupidly indulgent chocolate brownie. The vanilla cheesecake my friend ordered was decent, but the brownie I had really stole the show.
This brownie was hot, gooey and literally melting onto the plate when the waitress brought it out. Even the plain vanilla ice cream scooped on top was delicious. In contrast to the warmth of the brownie, the ice cream felt like new-fallen snow, and while this dessert probably tipped my caloric intake for the day over into the five digits, it was entirely worth it.
Farmer Brown’s does boast one flaw, in that the food is served in portions that are simply too huge for an average-sized appetite. That problem is accounted for by the menu, though, as any of Farmer Brown’s sandwiches can be ordered as a salad.
Try it out sometime when you’re in Ballsbridge, hungry enough for some Olympic-athlete calorie loading... or looking for a meal so satisfying that it will melt away even the worst of sour moods.