Tuesday, July 28, 2015


I've always felt quite weird about birthdays. Whilst I love the idea of everyone's focus on me, I must admit that when it actually comes to it; I tend to run for cover. This year I edged even closer to that milestone birthday of thirty and whilst I'm not expecting thirty to be all that life altering a birthday, it does make you take it account of where you are in your life and what you want. Hey, what I want in life and where I want it to go, that's a whole other blog post. 

I happened to have a few hours to myself the day after my birthday and with a stack of new magazines, I thought a spot of brunch would be absolutely perfect. Its quite hard to think of a comfortable place to go to chill out, with a stack of magazines, to grab a great coffee and some tasty food. I ventured into town and walked around for a while looking for that perfect spot eventually deciding upon Balfes. I had been meaning to try this place for a while as I'm a big fan of The Westbury Hotel just above it. 

Initially grabbing a table inside, I was amazed by the fantastic interior. There is nothing more disappointing that visiting a restaurant and it being let down by a terrible interior (no matter how good the food). The interior instantly made me feel like I was sitting in some Parisian cafe just off The Avenue des Champs-Élysées. 

Ordering the blueberry pancakes and an almond latte, I thought to myself how beautiful their outdoor area was (out the front) and given its Summer (and I use that word loosely) at the moment it would  have been criminal not to use it. Moving outside, my food and coffee wasn't to far behind. 

Having craved pancakes for the last few weeks I was really looking forward to this dish and thankfully it delivered. Fluffy, full of plump juicy blueberries and slightly crispy around the edges - heaven. One of my main complaints when it comes to brunch in Ireland is the way in which most places prepare their bacon. Cafes love to toss around the word "crispy" when referring to their bacon and when you eventually get it, its chewy, fatty and resembles nothing like the image you have in your head. Thankfully the bacon was nice and crispy at Balfes, with the fat rendered down perfectly. Maple syrup accompanied the dish and it really brought all the different elements together. 

Coffee-wise, I ordered an almond latte which can be hit and miss depending on the location. Unfortunately I'm not sure what brand of almond milk Balfes uses but it was very artificial tasting, with a really strong taste of marzipan. Next time I think I'll be sticking to regular milk. 

Overall, Balfes really surprised me. My food was really good and really hit the spot. If I was to make any negative comments about my experience there, it would be the chain smoker who decided to sit next to me the entire time I was eating. I know this occurs everywhere there is an outdoor dining section as its not illegal, but I applaud the likes of Sister Sadie who have listened to their customers and made their outdoor dining area non-smoking. I think in this day and age, most people will agree that smoking in dining areas is not particularly attractive and doesn't do anything to enhance the enjoyment of your meal. 

But hey that's just me.

Balfe Street,
Dublin 2
Website: www.balfes.ie
Telephone: (01) 646 3353


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