Historical. Full of Irish pride. Delightful in every way.
Cookie FM Rating – 5/5
There are many places which resonate with us, and give us those nostalgic feels. When I was younger, I used to travel down to Dublin from the small village of Annagassan, Co. Louth with my grandma for a spot of sightseeing that would usually end with a little slice of cake. And the only place my Grandma would have in mind was Bewley’s on Grafton Street. Then, when my family had moved to Dublin from Munich, this historic café was still the number one place my Mam and I would venture to for a cuppa and cake – it’s also the place where I tried my first ever chai latte and fell in love.
In early 2015, Bewley’s closed its doors to the public and underwent an extensive multi-million-Euro refurbishment, leaving many of in shock and at a loss. Their temporary hold on the corner of George’s Street gave us a glimmer of hope but with a smaller selection of their famous cakes & pastries. Thankfully, last year in November 2017 the wait was finally over as those famous doors reopened and Bewley’s was back, with a beautiful makeover.
“Bewley’s is brunch, and brunch is Bewley’s – we hope that this is the place to be together, and to bring these together.” – Maria Cassidy, Bewley’s Head of Beverage Development
Last month (April 27), I was invited to attend their launch event for the Brunch Menu, developed by Bewley’s Executive Chef Ludo Lantier. Here we were introduced to their latest addition to the weekend happenings, that include the traditional brunch options as well as a variety of delectable desserts.
Welcomed by a selection of reception cocktails, of which I chose the Bellini (€8.50), we were seated in the beautiful James Joyce Room, which overlooks Grafton Street. Bright, atmospheric and comfortable, there are hues of forest green and sky blue from the three four-chair tables, as well as the old-style off-pink booths and the wooden chairs, surrounded by dark wood and the original dark green Oriental-patterned wallpaper – all of which are reminiscent of Bewley’s.
To start my afternoon feast, I opted for the Eggs Royale (€13) and an Earl Grey tea – fun fact: Bewley’s is the only Irish tea I buy! Two beautifully poached eggs arrived atop fresh Irish smoked salmon, on perfectly baked & toasted brioche with a generous amount of hollandaise sauce. Beautiful in flavour, I polished off this plate with ease and total satisfaction.
Next was the Potted Crab (€18), that was such a generous amount of flaky, flavoursome crabmeat blended well with chilli, spices and clarified butter. Accompanied by three slices of toasted sourdough and a portion of fresh Asian prawns, this was the perfect dish for a fish lover like myself.
During the brunch, Bewley’s Director Cól Campbell introduced himself, spoke about his family’s heritage founding Bewley’s, and also about the renovations and how it took “1,000 days of renovation to reopen”. Bewley’s Head of Beverage Development Maria Cassidy followed, who spoke about the decisions to spruce up the menus, create the Jazz Brunch Experience and to add cocktails to the Bewley’s drinks offerings. Responsible for the creation of the café’s redesign of their Hot Chocolate, Maria spoke passionately about the introduction of the cocktails, including the Chocolate Espresso Martini (€10).
To finish off this brunch we were treated to a selection of Bewley’s best desserts with six pieces from the patisserie kitchen, introduced by Frenchman Ludo Lantier. This included the Apple Baba Sponge Cake, Pure 70% Chocolate Eclair, Carrot Cake with Chocolate & Orange, Dark 62% Chocolate Mousse, Matcha Green Tea & Raspberry Religieuse, and Lemon & Yuzu Meringue Tart. Visually these were truly beautiful, colourful and easily enticing – our group quartered each dessert so we could all have a taster. They were as delicious as the next, and to pick just one favourite was quite tough.
The Pure 70% Chocolate Eclair (€6.50) was perfect; a light choux pastry, with glossy chocolate atop and filled with a delightful dark chocolate filling – thankfully none of this over-whipped Irish cream business! The Carrot Cake with Chocolate & Orange (€6.50) was easily the best I have had; it featured layers of cinnamon-spiced carrot-infused cake, with rich chocolate, cream and orange cream too. Such a beautiful combination.
The Lemon & Yuzu Meringue Tart (€6.50), one of my personally favourite desserts, was zingy, smooth and perfectly created atop a baked pastry case with a dome of airy meringue. And the Matcha Green Tea & Raspberry Religieuse (€6.50) was refreshing and indulgent, with a velvety matcha mousse and raspberry choux pastry, stacked to very tasty heights.
What makes the Bewley’s brunch even more special, every weekend guests will be treated to live jazz music, played by duo Bernard & Shane on piano and double bass. This adds another sense of class to the experience, another trait the café is known for, while not being overly distracting from enjoying your afternoon treats.
The Bewley’s Jazz Brunch is available every Saturday & Sunday, 11am-4pm
As a whole, the Bewley’s Jazz Brunch Experience is definitely one not to be missed. From the delicious and delectable dishes of their savoury and sweet selections, to the historic decor and atmosphere within the James Joyce Room, the wonderful jazz music and the friendly service, there are many reasons to visit the newly refurbishment Bewley’s Café.
Furthermore, since returning I have experienced many surprises at Bewley’s, including The Ritz Brothers performances throughout the café on May Day to celebrate the reopening of the Theatre Café, and surprising three of their staff members with plaques of excellency!
TRIED & TESTED
Brunch (see full menu)
Eggs Royale with Kenmare Smoked Salmon, toasted brioche and homemade citrus hollandaise sauce
Potted Crab seasoned with chilli and nutmeg, served with poached Asian prawns and grilled sourdough
Apple Baba Sponge Cake
Pure 70% Chocolate Eclair
Carrot Cake with Chocolate & Orange
Dark 62% Chocolate Mousse
Matcha Green Tea & Raspberry Religieuse
Lemon & Yuzu Meringue Pie
Earl Grey tea
Bewley’s Café, 78-79 Grafton STREET, DUBLIN 2
CALL ON (01) 816 0600 // CLICK TO VISIT Bewley’s
Images © Nirina Plunkett, Bewley’s Ireland
*I did attend as a non-paying guest for this experience, but that does not influence the authenticity of this review.