I like to eat early in the day.
I much prefer indulging in a large meal for lunch or brunch rather than late in the evening. I just don't really enjoy the feeling of being overly-full when I'm going to bed.
I recently met up with two of my childhood friends whom I hadn't seen in quite some time. A big catch up was on the cards and as the big Lovin Dublin gal I am, I volunteered to pick a fancy venue for us to meet.
I wanted somewhere a little different, somewhere that the girls would be talking about long after our encounter - Somewhere memorable.
This was a special occasion so I didn't mind stretching the budget a little bit, after all it was going to make up for all of the meals we had missed out on together over the last few months. It was the first time I was meeting the girls and taking them out since I started my job, so I wanted to show them what being a foodie in Dublin was all about.
Considering all of these factors, my venue of choice was pretty obvious.
Clanbrassil House on Clanbrassil Street recently launched a brunch menu and it has been on my radar ever since.
I knew this brunch menu would be like no other, as it was created by Head Chef Gráinne O Keefe. Gráinne's innovative dishes can be tasted in a wide range of eateries in Dublin. If you've tried a deadly, cheesy burger at BuJo or a Michelin-recognised meal in Pichet or Bastible, you'll understand exactly why I'm obsessed with her.
We entered the cosy restaurant and took a seat right by the window - I had to get that good lighting for all the pictures I was about to take. I grabbed a menu and instantly felt my stomach rumble.
This was going to be good.
What's the vibe?
Clanbrassil House is a cosy and simple spot.
I sat on a stool at a high table, there's about four or five at the front and then some more seating at the back. I kind of felt like I was sitting in a little restaurant down a cobbled street in the south of France or Italy, it's got that chilled yet elegant feel to it.
The sun was shining through the large windows at the front (ideal for people watching), there were fairy lights along the bricked walls, the people beside me were nattering over a bottle of wine - It was just so pleasantly peaceful.
It was a big change from the hustle and bustle of my usual brunch spots.
What's on the menu?
The menu takes a step away from the conventional brunch dishes and offers intriguing combinations and flavours.
There's around five main dishes to choose from along with some snacks for the table and sides. I could tell straight away by looking at the menu that this gourmet brunch would be like no other.
Myself and my mates decided to go all out and to order a few things from the menu to share, a kind of large tapas, if you will. It's my favourite way to eat because you get a taste of everything and you really get a feel for the quality of the restaurant as a whole.
We began our meal with a toast.
Rhubarb bellinis for all!
Prosecco and rhubarb are two of my favourite things so put them together and it's a good day.
We started off with something small but satisfying - Olives and Iberico ham croquettes.
I'm not a fan of olives myself but my friend said they were some of the best she'd had. I cut into my croquette and saw gooey cheese run - That is epitome of happiness on a plate.
Crunchy and crispy with a soft, creamy centre - This was a winner for me.
We then continued our snacking with a Taramasalata and Charred Sourdough.
This dish was almost too pretty to eat, there was so much colour and the presentation was to the highest standard.
I dug my knife in, the sourdough crunched and the the sauce oozed on to my fork - Food porn at its finest. I had never tried anything like this before, it had such a distinctive flavour - Sweet, creamy and smokey.
After a successful start, I couldn't wait to tuck into the mains.
We ordered hot-smoked trout Benedict, smoked beef cheek crumpets and hay-smoked potato salad, poached egg and crispy capers. We also got a side of hash brown chips...
We really were good to ourselves.
All three dishes were divine and each of the three of us had our own favourite.
For me, it was the trout Benedict. I often find places can scrimp on the Bendict sauce but these eggs were smothered, which was the dream.
The trout added a new element to the brunch classic and it was a great pairing and the bright colours made for the ideal Insta.
I know what you're thinking, how in the hell did this gal have room for dessert?
Well let me tell you, I always have room for dessert. It's as if I have a second chamber in my stomach made specifically for dessert.
Like, seriously. I think it's actually a thing.
Dessert consisted of grilled peaches mascarpone and pistachio, chocolate mousse and strawberry swiss roll.
My two friends still talk about the swiss roll, they were blown away. I'm more into a chocolate dessert so I pretty much devoured the mousse by myself.
The honeycomb and marmalade ice cream added so much flavour to the mousse. I was on cloud nine.
We washed the meal down nicely with a white port and tonic, which I had never tried before. It was pretty similar to a G&T, which is my all time fave so I was hooked after the first sip - Deffo something I'd try again.
What's the damage?
This high end dining experience did come at a cost.
The dishes are a little more expensive than your average brunch menu but it was a more formal, extravagant meal so I think the price did match the dish.
The meal came to €118, so about €40 each, which I was happy with, especially considering we had two drinks each.
It was exactly what I was looking for - A top quality meal with a twist.
Instead of meeting in the evening and having to rush our meals so people could catch their bus or train home in time, we had the whole afternoon to relax and have a proper catch up. The intimate venue aided to this as well.
Brunch is probably my favourite meal because I adore eggs and nibbles, so to be able to avail of it in a different kind of setting was ideal. It was more filling, full of flavour and unconventional making it a meal to remember.
Goodbye avocado on toast, hello gourmet smoked trout Benedict!