For Halloween last year I went to Dublin for the weekend to visit my friend Sinead and the city was bustling to say the least; in part because of Halloween but it was also the Dublin Marathon that weekend and of course there was a big rugby game on (like most weekends in Ireland).
I arrived late on the Friday night so we only had time to catch up over a bottle of wine, but spent the next day out on the town. We started with a delicious brunch at Dillinger’s in the cosy Ranelagh area.
The place was packed when we arrived but we got a nice table (can’t remember if you can book or not) and started to read to menu. For a brunch menu, this was one of the best I’ve seen; I wanted to eat everything! In the end I decided on the hash brown with guacemole, poached egg and smoked salmon while Sinead had the waffles with fried chicken and maple syrup. Both dishes were really nice (just a tad too big for us).
We also had bellinis drink (appropriate when on holiday) and coffee.
Our lovely Saturday continued with some shopping, both in Ranelagh and central Dublin, and some drinks outside before going home to change and then on to dinner.
Dillinger’s, 47 Ranelagh, Dublin 6, Ireland
New York is the brunch capital of the world (at least in my opinion, I have no facts to back this up), and so of course Sinead and I booked a brunch in a new great place while we were there. My friend Marie-Louise recommended Upland and we were very happy with the suggestion.
I liked the place straight away. The decor was relaxed yet classy and had a definite New York vibe I can’t really describe in words, but I think you know what I mean.
The food was lovely too. I had an amazing frittata topped with roasted garlic mayonnaise, espalette and chives.
Sinead had two eggs any style (in this case poached) with bacon, fried potatoes and sourdough. It was definitely enough to sustain us shopping for the rest of the afternoon.
Upland, 345 Park Ave S, New York, NY 10010
Around the same time as The Ivy was refurbished two siblings popped up; the Ivy Chelsea Garden on Kings Road (where it’s near impossible to get a table) and The Ivy Market Grill just by Covent Garden Market.
When Linus and Mirja were visiting at the end of May (where does the time go?!) we went here for Sunday brunch on their last day in town and it was such a nice send off.
The brunch menu is long and has plenty of egg dishes to choose from and everything we had was top notch. We ordered the sourdough for the table not realising it was a whole loaf, still warm. That’s several plus points just there!
Mirja had the vegetarian Full English breakfast consisting of halliumi, eggs, fried mushrooms and tomatoes, avocado and baked beans served in a mini copper pot. Really fresh and a nice breakfast dish!
Linus had the thick pancakes with bacon and maple syrup – that’s just up his street. And they were good. It’s so important that the simple dishes are cooked perfectly, and here they were.
I loved my scrambled eggs with truffle and toasted brioche. Although I make my own scrambled eggs a lot softer, these were still well-made and well seasoned, and the truffle on top was just a delicious pairing!
I will definitely go back here for brunch or breakfast; I like both the ambiance and the menu. Think of The Ivy Market Grill as a low-key alternative to The Wolseley.
The Ivy Market Grill, 1 Henrietta St, London WC2E 8PS
The weekend before last I went home to Southern Sweden for a wedding. It was my childhood friend Tobias who got hitched and it was so much fun seeing him and his Malin say I do and dance the night away with old friends. To make the most of a weekend at home I had brunch with my parents, my bestie Emma and her husband Claes the next day in Malmö.
We went to a restaurant in the West Harbour called Salt & Brygga. They have new owners and have recently started doing brunch we thought we’d check it out. Instead of a buffet (that’s the usual way for brunch in Sweden) it was table service and instead of a big menu they had a set thing on the menu. First vanilla yoghurt with homemade granola then a plate with an array of brunch items (like a smorgasbord on a plate).
We had scramled eggs and bacon, roasted new potatoes, sauerkraut, prawns, mozzarella salad, sausages, brie, melon and parma ham. And nice baguette on the side.
I prefer this to the buffet setup as you don’t have to queue and deal with other people’s mess, yet you get to sample different foods. It felt nice and fresh and the food was well cooked.
Salt & Brygga, Sundspromenaden 7, 211 16 Malmö, Sweden
Several Saturdays ago I met up with Sinead for a very lazy (and late) brunch at 2.30pm in the afternoon, a time that suits me perfectly when there’s unlimited prosecco.
Although brunch is almost a religion in the US and even more popular in my native Sweden than in the UK, London brunches are becoming increasingly popular. We went back to Avenue, where we had dinner a few weeks previously as we thought it would be a fun place for brunch, and it definitely was.
The other guests were in high spirits (maybe even literally due to that free-flowing prosecco) when we arrived and it was a mixture of smaller parties, hen dos and larger gatherings. It’s table service here (no buffets) and you can choose from the menu and then pay a set price for two or three dishes. We both started off with eggs (as it was at least my first meal of the day), I had eggs benedict and Sinead eggs florentine. Both really nice, although my slice, I mean slab, of ham was the biggest I’ve ever seen. After the savoury start we continued with amazing waffles with berries and yoghurt.
And then finishes off our brunch with something very sweet; an chocolate and vanilla icecream sundae. Really nice as well!
We really enjoyed our brunch here and the restaurant is perfect for that type of meal. But if I’m going to be picky (and I usually am) I would have liked some more fruit with the waffle and I still think they need to change the lights (or completely do up) the ladies room!
Avenue, 7-9 St James’s Street, London SW1A 1EE
On the Sunday in Stockholm Carina had booked brunch for us at Berns Asiatiska and Emma and myself will be for always grateful. It was such an amazing brunch for three sushi lovers like us!
Look at this. We queued a few times by the sushi bar to fill our plates; the sushi chefs were definitely kept busy. There was tuna, salmon and scallop sashimi which were all very nice but the scallop sashimi was absolutely fantastic!
There were also plenty of maki rolls and they were also utterly delicious. The nigiri were just as amazing. This is the best sushi I’ve ever had in Sweden!
Here’s my first (of several) plate(s). It looks like a lot, but we’d been out the night before and the rolls were actually not too big which meant we could eat more.
Even though we loved the sushi there were plenty of other foods to try as well so we did a proper lap around the restaurant. The asian flavoured oysters with coriander were delicious.
The dumplings were nice too, but I could have done with some more flavours since I love dumplings. There were also lots of other nice food such as ribs, nudel salads, spring rolls, stews etc. They really covered everything.
And the pudding buffé was just as nice. This picture shows about a third of it. I prefer sushi over dessert any day but still had to try two small pots, the lemongrass crème brulee was nice but far too rich for me after all that food but a pixie pot of yoghurt mousse was perfect to end the meal.
Berns Asiatiska, Berzelii Park, 103 27 Stockholm
One of the best – and certainly the easiest – ways to cook eggs for a large number of people is undeniably baking them in a large ovenproof dish.
These eggs with wilted spinach and fried mushrooms are really delicious and so very easy to make. I served them at a brunch with crispy bacon (and a smorgasbord of other brunchy things).
Baked eggs with spinach and mushrooms, serves 8
300 g fresh spinach
150 g mushrooms (I used chestnut mushrooms)
butter for frying
oil for the dish
Rinse and slice the mushrooms. Fry in butter, add salt and pepper. Remove from the saucepan and wilt the spinach in a little butter in the same saucepan. Remove any excess liquid. Grease an ovenproof dish and add the spinach and mushrooms and mix the two. Divide evenly across the dish and make twelve hollows for the eggs. Crack the eggs into the hollows and place the tray in a 200C oven for 10-15 minutes, until the eggs are just set. Add salt and pepper before serving.