Meet me in the morning: Elevated brunch food
I was scrolling through my photos the other day realising that we went to Meet me in the morning a few weeks ago and that I had completely forgotten to write a review of this hyped brunch place. Shame on me. Thankfully, I do remember our visit very well and won't spare you the privilege of a review long-overdue.
It was early July, a nice sunny day in Dublin city. We hadn't planned at all to stop in Meet me - to be honest, I was very much in the mood for a big fat juicy Bunsen - but walking past Pleasants Street, we were srawn to this pretty little cafe that we had be meaning to visit for a while. Although we are utterly faithful to Fia, which is basically our weekend kitchen at this stage, we bring ourselves to discover new brunch places once in a blue moon, when we hear it's worth a try. It doesn't always end up well.
The cafe is tucked away on a quiet street, only a few steps from the agitation of Camden Street, yet we skipped the outside tables and sat down inside, under a collage of Instagram polaroids. The menu is quite different from the average brunch place, with no eggs benny or full Irish breakfast in sight - we were off to a great start.
Damien ordered the Big brunch hash, made of pan fried courgette and kale, black pudding, poached egg, whipped ricotta, beet pickled white cabbage on a rustic toast. I got the Summer rolls, a mix of seasonal vegetables, pickles, greens and noodles wrapped in rice paper on a pickled salad, served with peanut dipping sauce. You might notice a word is repeated a few times in this order; unless you have been living under a rock for the past few months, you know pickled food is super trendy at the moment in Dublin, righfully so. I even tried myself at it recently, albeit sceptically, and made some red cabbage and beetroot sauerkraut, a real killer.
The name dropping on the menu is there to assure you that the chef is all about well-sourced products, preferably from Ireland: the ricotta is from Macroom, the back pudding from Kanturk, the veggies from McNally's. I love to see how proud Irish people have gotten about their terroir (a French word I cannot find any translation to, which means how a particular region’s climate, soils and aspect affect the taste of the food it produces), very deservedly.
Both plates were unquestionably pretty and colourful. Damien's dish was heartier than mine and he enjoyed it thoroughly. While they were loosely wrapped and therefore not the easiest to eat, my spring rolls were fresh and tasty. I loved the contrast between the gooey noodles, the crisp vegetables and the crunchy peanuts, while the rich sauce gave it a luscious final touch. While meat is anything but mandatory for me, I felt the lack of protein (whether it could be eggs, tofu, beans) made this dish slightly light and it didn't keep me full for the day, which I found slightly disappointing for 12 euros. Damien's dish was a cool 14 euros and could have gone up another 4 euros with the addition of chorizo and another egg. I know a lot of places in town would shamelessly charge that for some basic avocado on toast yet I do find this a bit pricey.
I had a quick chat with the chef before leaving and, while handling a few pans in his small kitchen, he taught me something very interesting that has stuck with me since. In the pickled veggies, I detected a flavour I couldn't really identify and went to ask him what it was. He said a few years back, a butcher told him to always use a secret ingredient in his recipes, something people couldn't quite identify. In this case, it was fennel salt. I only exchanged a few words with him but I could sense he was quite a character, the passionate kind. For his priceless advice and the food he serves, I would certainly recommend Meet me in the morning.