Myself and himself decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day early by popping out for a bite to eat and a few beverages yesterday afternoon. This was partly due to our past experiences of Valentine’s Day dining being a complete shambles. I don’t know what is worse being rushed in and out the door of a restaurant or feeling like a sardine sandwiched between two sets of couples. Let’s just say it’s hard to gaze lovingly into your partners eyes or whisper sweet nothings in their ear when you are practically sitting on your neighbour’s laps. Don’t get me started on the crazy prices charged for these “romantic” dining experiences. It seems like many a restaurant know how to ‘inflate’ prices on this erm, most romantic day of the year. Let’s just say we suffered many a negative experience over the years and vouched to never again eat out on Valentine’s Day.
I had been browsing online for some inspiration as to what we could do to mark the occasion and came across something that instantly sparked my interest. Myself and Kev are big fans of brunch but let’s be honest it can be a bit on the early side of things especially at the weekend. We really value our lie ins especially with the newly added layer of comfort to our bed 🙂. So when I came across a dining experience in the Marker hotel called Le Drunch (where brunch meets dinner) I thought to myself, this sounds perfect. I had a peak on the website i.e. went straight to check out the menu and was pleasantly surprised. There seemed a great selection of dishes for all tastes both savoury and sweet. I showed it to himself and he seemed happy so off I went and booked us in using the easy reservation tool on their website.
Le Drunch, a dining experience born in my most favourite of places, Paris, is a later alternative to brunch. It has now made its way over to us and can be experienced in the brassiere at the Marker hotel in Dublin every Sunday from 2pm – 5pm. We booked ourselves in for the very pleasant time of 2pm and even managed to persuade the brother to give us a lift (they have their uses after all ha ha). We received a lovely warm welcome and were ushered to our seats in the centre of the brassiere (a nice spot), our coats taken and food and beverage menus handed to us. The very pleasant Gary, who we later christened the executive giver of delights explained the menu to us and even gave us some great suggestions both food and drinks wise. I must point out at this stage, the Marker hotel is a five-star hotel and as with that prestigious title comes attentive service. We have been incredibly lucky to have dined and stayed in five-star accommodation over the years but this was the most enjoyable and relaxed experience we have ever had. We did not feel out-of-place and were not met with any snobbery or grossly inflated attitudes which I’m very happy to report. We also weren’t rushed off the table or harassed by the waiting staff. The seating was also very comfortable, tables a nice size with ample room between ourselves and our neighbours. There was also a DJ spinning some laid back 80’s and 90’s tracks which really added to the relaxed atmosphere. The music was not overly loud, just enough to listen to whilst not feeling the need to shout across the table at your other half. I have set the scene now so onto the good stuff, the delicious food and drink. Don’t pretend, it’s what you are here to read.
As I said previously the menu is both delectable and delightful and we both found it difficult choosing what to eat as it all sounded extremely tempting. We opted for the tiger prawns served with garlic, shallots, chilli (not too hot), toasted french baguette and some salad leaves from the start plates to share. I am a huge fan of prawns and could happily eat them for dinner every day if I had the chance so I know how good and how bad they can be. Our dish arrived out on a wooden platter with the largest amount of fresh, juicy prawns I have ever seen for a starter. We both thoroughly enjoyed them and I have to admit I would have struggled to finish them on my own so it was a great dish to share. For mains or as they call it comfort, I choose the American pancake stack with smoked streaky bacon, maple syrup, fresh berries and cream and he choose the eggs Benedict with loin of bacon, truffle hollandaise, grilled tomato on a toasted muffin. If any of you regularly follow my Snapchat you will know I have a fondness for pancakes especially when out for brunch. These pancakes were the nicest I have ever tasted, so light and fluffy, very moreish. Kevin really enjoyed the eggs Benedict. I also had a taste for review purposes (you know yourself) and found them really tasty, the gooier the better. We also got a side order of truffle fries, thin crispy chips topped with grated Parmesan and chopped truffle. These were the most addictable and tastiest chips I have ever tasted. We may have also ordered another serving of these savoury delights later on in the evening whilst having a few beverages. I’m a divil for getting peckish whilst drinking alcohol.
Anyway back to the matter at hand, our stomachs. We had a little break from eating and ordered ourselves two cocktails, a strawberry mojito and an old-fashioned. Both were made with fresh ingredients and with absolute love. We then decided to order a desert to share. Himself had been eyeing up the baked Alaska served with vanilla and passion fruit so we decided to share that. I know the epitome of pure love. It was absolutely delicious and I loved the different flavours and textures. The only small vice I have and it’s a tiny one was the biscuit layer on the bottom being extremely hard to break apart but that was due to the layer of ice cream being directly above it.
As we were both extremely fat and happy and couldn’t manage to roll ourselves off the comfortable chairs we decided to stay put and order another round of cocktails. This time two traditional old-fashioned drinks, purely for digestive purposes of course. They were somewhat stronger in taste than the previous one but delicious all the same, a real drink to sip on whilst chatting and reminiscing. Upon finishing our drinks Gary informed us that a complementary cocktail had been applied to the table. This time we decided to go for something different. I ordered a refreshing and sweet orange, passion fruit and vanilla flavoured cocktail (with cointreau and absolute vodka) called the solero and himself went kind of mad and ordered the corpse cocktail, a refreshing blend of lemon with a crap load of alcohol (absinthe, triple sec and gin). There are also a fantastic selection of non alcoholic juices and smoothies available which looked and sounded yummy. Kevin had the ginger ale, lime and mint spritzer before dinner which was very tasty. It tasted a bit like a non alcoholic mojito.
So after our complete binge of eating and drinking, well it was over the course of four hours, we decided to call it a day, get the bill and go off on our merry way. All in all (minus the two complementary cocktails) it cost us €117. I know you might think wowsers that’s a bit on the expensive side but we haven’t had a meal/drinks like that out in a very long time and it was long overdue. We thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, relaxed and unwound. It was a much-needed break from everything that has been going on the past while and to top it all off I was feeling particularly good health wise. It really brightened up our day and we will definitely return. I was very impressed with the assistant manager introducing himself to us at the end of our meal and asking how we found it. We briefly chatted about my blog and I told him I was so impressed with the afternoon and our experience that I would be writing about it. I think some people can be very quick to complain but not so quick to complement. The level of attention and service we experienced was five-star and highly deserving of a shout out. Myself and Kev have no affiliation to the marker hotel or anybody who works there. We paid for our meal and drinks entirely ourselves (bar the two complementary drinks) so my review is an honest account of our experience. I would highly recommend a visit if you are in the Dublin area. It is located just opposite the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre so is a great spot for popping into before a show. I had been in the bar area last year with my mother-in-law before attending a show and found the food very nice. I think for Sunday’s Le Drunch you have to book a week or so in advance to guarantee a reservation. The online reservation tool is extremely easy and hassle free to use or you could ring the brassiere to make a reservation, whichever you prefer.