Girly Brunch in Balfes

If you read my blog post yesterday on my girly day out on Saturday with my Mum, you’ll know that we started our day out with brunch in town before going to the The Shelbourne spa for some pampering.

Our restaurant of choice was one of Dublin’s best loved brunch spots, Balfes in the Westbury Hotel, which has been open for quite some time now, but until this weekend I still hadn’t gotten around to going despite hearing lots of yummy things about it. So when Mum and I were planning our girls day out, it was the perfect time to give it a try and see if it lived up to all the hype.

The first thing I noticed when I arrived, apart from the gorgeous New York chic inspired decor and marble table tops, was the friendliness and professionalism of the staff. The manager greeted us warmly, showed us to our table which was a lovely spot in the centre of the room, and proceeded to take our drink order.

Mum opted for her old reliable latte, while I of course, decided on a nice glass of bubbly – I mean why drink coffee when you can drink prosecco, right?! There’s nothing better than a glass of bubbly to kick off any girls day out and why change the habit of a lifetime I say.


The brunch menu in Balfes is very varied, with many different options from healthy to indulgent. There are paleo and gluten free options, vegetarian options, as well as sharing platters, oysters, and all the usual breakfast options you would expect to find on any good brunch menu.

Spoilt for choice, it took us a while to decide what we wanted to eat, but eventually I decided on the Turkey Burger with guacamole, salsa and coleslaw, and just because I felt like being a little bit bold, swapped out the sweet potato wedges for normal skinny fries – delish!

There was just the right amount of everything on this dish, and I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that there was no bread bun with the burger. The dish definitely didn’t need it, and it made me feel like I was being at least a little bit healthy, even if I was having fries!

I enjoyed every bite and overall think it was definitely worth the €17 price tag that accompanied it.

Mum went for a breakfast option, namely the Blueberry Pancakes with bacon and maple syrup which cost a very reasonable €10.50, and the first thing we both said when it arrived, was how fresh it looked. The pancakes were made with fresh blueberries within the pancake mix rather than cooked blueberries or a blueberry syrup which sometimes happens. According to Mum the pancakes were light and fluffy and the bacon perfectly crispy, and she too really enjoyed her dish.

Needless to say it was a great experience overall. The food was delicious, and the lively, buzzing atmosphere that filled the restaurant made it even better.

We will certainly go back, and I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a reasonably priced place to eat for a good girly catch up. That’s not to say you couldn’t venture in with your other half either – I’ve already got Dave booked in for a brunch date in the next few weeks and I can’t wait!

Sorcha x

Angelina’s – The New Kid in Town

Angelina’s, one of the newest hot spots in town, has been on my list of restaurants to try for the past few months. I’ve heard lots of good things about it, and some not so good, but when the girls and I were looking for somewhere to go for dinner and drinks, we decided this was the perfect place.

Part of the same group that owns The Dean, Angelina’s looks like you imagine it to look. The interior is very cool, think quirky lights, fifty shades of grey (the colour kind), mixed with parquet flooring and super comfy red leather booths. It’s warm and welcoming, and the kind of place you could happily sit for hours catching up with friends.

The food, of which I failed to get many photos, disaster I know, is simply delicious. To start I had the Crab Salad with fennel and cos lettuce which was fresh, light and the toasted pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top gave it that extra crunch. The perfect starter in my view.

I followed this by opting for the Halibut which was bursting with flavour, the almonds and samphire that accompanied it were so tasty, I almost wanted to eat it over again. For our side dishes we ordered the parmesan fries and snow peas which were equally yum. My only criticism is that when my Halibut arrived it was covered in mushrooms and mushrooms were not listed on the menu. I hate mushrooms. Like I mean, I really hate them. So had I known they were served on the dish I would have most definitely ask for it without. But I just pushed them to the side of my plate and carried on.

To finish, the four of us treated ourselves to a Vanilla Honeycomb Sundae and Lemon & Vanilla Mascarpone cheesecake to share between us and they didn’t last long let me tell you. I could take or leave the cheesecake but that’s simply because I’m just not a big fan of mascarpone. But the Sundae, oh dear lordy. The honeycomb was crunchy and melt in your mouth just as it should be, and the caramel sauce was to die for. Heaven in a glass.

It was all washed down, as it so often is, with a couple of glasses of prosecco and a cocktail at the end.

But. And there is a big but here. I’m sorry to say, our waitress was incredibly rude. When I say rude, I don’t mean just stressed and busy, I mean plain old rude. Everything seemed like such a hassle for her, there was tutting, and sighing, and I’m pretty certain at one point there was eye rolling. It was bad but we were enjoying ourselves so let it pass. That was until the time came to pay the bill.

Almost afraid to, given her attitude, I asked for change of a €50 note, purely so I could leave a tip when paying my portion. The look of disdain on her face was shocking. She snapped the note out of my hand, then said what do you want? I asked for a combination of 20’s and 10’s, then she snapped again, and said tell me exactly what you want of each. Hmmm. If she had asked in a nice way, or if it was not possible to give me change, I would have understood but there was just no need for the attitude.

When we arrived for dinner at 5pm we were told they needed the table back at 8pm. Totally fine. So as 8pm approached we had asked for our bill and asked if we could then move to the bar to have our cocktail – again eye rolling. After a round of nervous laughter at her reaction amongst the girls and I, she eventually told us she would hold four seats at the bar where we could move to once we had paid.

I’m talking less than five minutes later the bill was paid (it would have probably been a lot quicker only we were waiting for her to come with the card machine), when we went to move to the bar we were told by said waitress that we didn’t move quickly enough and she couldn’t be responsible for holding us seats. She got extremely snotty with one of my friends, it was so bad that at this point, we went back to the table and removed the tip we had initially left.

We mentioned the issue to one of the bar guys, he was lovely and seemed to know immediately who we were talking about. He didn’t seem surprised either. He told us he would speak to the manager which I hope he did as I can’t imagine we’re the only people who have experienced this.

The thing about it is, I loved the atmosphere and I loved the food, we all did. It was so close to being perfect and it would have been if it wasn’t for her.

My friend who made the booking is making a formal complaint so I’m not going to name any names here, but beware if you are visiting Angelina’s anytime soon.

Having said all that I will return. I want to give it another chance because of how much I enjoyed everything else. But next time, I will request that she doesn’t come anywhere near our table.

Sorcha x

Brunch Time: Union Café

This weekend was all about brunch for me, so much so, I went to the same place on Saturday AND Sunday. Who does that?… Anyone?! The place in question was the new Union Café in Mount Merrion which I have heard a lot of great things about over the past few weeks, but with our wedding and Christmas I just hadn’t got around to trying it.

Yesterday was the day I finally got to give it a go when I met with two of my oldest friends for a good old fashioned girly catch up. Unfortunately they hadn’t been able to make the wedding, and one of them also just had a baby, so needless to say we had a LOT to talk about!

The girls were already there when I arrived and had a lovely cosy table with a big couch in the centre of the room. Sometimes when you sit at couches in restaurants I find you sink into them so much it’s hard to eat your meal, but these were so comfy and the perfect height. We ordered some bubbles and began chattering away, eventually realising we had to actually order some food.

The all day brunch menu has a great selection, but as we met later in the day, we decided to opt for salads rather than breakfast. I ordered the Dundrum Bay Crab Salad and the girls ordered the Rotisserie Free Range Chicken. The portion sizes were large so we took our time eating in between sipping our drinks and catching up on all our news. My salad was lovely and fresh, and the crab was particularly tasty too. The girls had nothing but good things to say about their choices also.

Although it was very busy when we were there, we didn’t really notice which is always good sign and the atmosphere was very relaxed. After a good two hours, we said our goodbyes, but having seen the breakfast menu, I was excited to be revisiting this morning with one of my besties.

When I arrived at 10.30am, it was very quiet but the lovely atmosphere still remained. I ordered a cuppa and perused the menu until my friend arrived a few minutes later. This time I went for the Bacon and Eggs which was delicious (if not a little bold), but so reasonably priced for the portion size. Once again, we were left to sit and relax with no interruptions, ordering another round of coffees two hours in.

All in all, I really enjoyed both experiences here and will definitely be back for brunch again soon. I’m also looking forward to trying out their dinner menu. Unfortunately one friend of mine did have a bad experience here a little while ago, but I’m hoping that was just a once off and that the high standard I experienced will continue.

Only time will tell…

Sorcha x