Friday, January 30, 2015


The one thing that I really feel that Ireland has over Australia in the retail space is Brown Thomas. Its consistently named as one of the best department stores in the world and sure why wouldn't it be when you walk in and see the amazing transformation it went through whilst I was away. Australia doesn't really do the luxury department store too well. Yes they do department stores, but none that are as focused or presented as well as Brown Thomas is.

I used to visit the restaurant in Brown Thomas quite a bit before I moved to Melbourne and it was always incredibly delicious. The burger, the Cesar salad; everything was done to perfection. So when I heard that the third floor restaurant had gone through somewhat of a face lift last year, I knew I had to check it out once I was back on Irish soil.

With a menu inspired by the two-Michelin-star restaurateur Patrick Guilbaud, a few of us decided to check the place out for breakfast one day after Christmas. Having grown accustomed to eating out a lot for breakfast in Melbourne, I've had the opportunity to visit some of the most incredible cafes and restaurants, where imagination and creativity is key in helping to differentiate one spot from the competition. 

The breakfast menu at The Restaurant, though extensive tries too hard to cover off every possible angle. There are American style pancakes with crispy bacon, blueberries and maple syrup, an oak smoked salmon omelette with dill & Crème Fraîche, Serrano ham with melon and scones with clotted cream and jam. On occasions when reading a breakfast menu like this, I feel in Ireland that brunch and eating out for breakfast is such a foreign concept that to appease each and every customer, restaurants feel they need to be ready to offer customers absolutely everything that falls into the breakfast category. 

Going back to those American style pancakes with crispy bacon, blueberries and maple syrup, I decided to order them. I was still coming down from my Christmas sugar fix and I thought, at that very moment that a stack of fluffy American style pancakes was exactly what I needed. What arrived was anything but American style pancakes. Thicker than a crepe but thin enough to fold into quarters, these pancakes were dense, doughy and devoid of any flavour. The crispy bacon was, well not crispy and the fat content hadn't been rendered down leaving it soft and a little pale for my liking. The dish came with maple syrup and blueberries, four of them to be exact and three raspberries just for good measure. It was a little bit of a DIY breakfast, what with each of the components sitting separately on the rather odd shaped plate. Are you getting that I wasn't too happy with this dish? 

Kevin ordered the toasted granola with berry compote and natural yogurt, while Eimear ordered the oak smoked salmon omelette. Both looked rather delicious, with the toasted granola standing out as the best dish of the day. We followed up our meal with a round of coffees. Coming in all shapes and sizes, I ordered an extra hot latte to get my through the cold. It was good. A lot better than some of the "premier" coffee spots in Dublin at the moment and I loved the little shortbread star that sat on the side.

Whilst I had expected a little more from The Restaurant, I'm a firm believer in giving all places a second chance. Perhaps I didn't order the right dish for me or maybe it was just an off day but the overall experience at The Restaurant left me thinking that if I want something a little different or out of the ordinary, The Restaurant is probably not the place to go and that's okay. Not everywhere has the people watching power of The Restaurant. 

The Restaurant 
Brown Thomas
Grafton Street
Dublin 2
Website: The Restaurant at Brown Thomas


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