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26th Jun 2019

Is our beloved brunch being replaced by the Sunday roast?

Leslie Ann Horgan

Still all about those eggs.

Food trends come and go (attention passengers: final boarding call for doughnuts) but occasionally a new culinary invention has such a massive impact on Irish society that we give it a place in the permanent collection between the six-pack of Tayto and the box of Barry’s. Step forward brunch, the meal beloved not just of millennials but by basically everybody in the country at this stage.

Whether it’s a Saturday morning meet up with friends to kick-start the weekend, or a morning-after-the-night-before carb-load on Sunday, brunch perfectly suits the pace of Irish life. In recent months, however, there have been whispers among the culinary community that the, ahem, appetite for brunch may be declining.

Instead of dishing out eggs, eggs and, um, a vegan alternative to eggs, chefs across the country are instead choosing to make a roast dinner the centrepiece of their weekend offering. It’s a move that would put us more in line with our neighbours in London, where a roast down the pub is tradition beloved by everyone from hipsters to pensioners, innit?

So is the end of brunch nigh, and should we be stockpiling avocado toast? Top Irish chef Oliver Dunne says that brunch lovers have nothing to worry about, the most Instagrammable meal of the week is here to stay.

“Brunch is still firmly the king, but when you can have both options its a win-win,” says Dunne, the owner of Bon Appetite, Cleaver East and Beef and Lobster restaurants. The latest venture from the chef – who was the youngest cook to win a Michelin star in Ireland – is The Donnybrook, a gastro-pub located in the Dublin 4 suburb.

 There, a wide-ranging menu features everything from daytime sandwich specials and classic pub toasties, to an evening menu offering the likes of of black garlic, soy and white miso glazed chicken wings, Lambay Island crab claws and king prawns, and 30-day aged 12oz striploin.

While a roast dinner – a drool-inducing plate of sirloin of dry-aged Hereford beef with duck fat roast potatoes, honey-glazed chantenay carrots, tenderstem broccoli and gravy – does feature on the weekend menu, it’s complimented by brunch dishes including a buttermilk pancake stack with grilled bacon.

In fact, the Donnybrook Roast is available as part of the brunch menu, from 10am to 4.30pm on Saturday and Sunday, meaning that you can have your cake – or, well, your roast – and eat it too.

The idea of dinner at breakfast time is quite simply glorious. All we need now is to know what to call it… Broast? Brinner?