The Breakfast Menu Breakfast reviews from the South Coast and beyond


Brick Alley Cafe, Dublin, Ireland

Brick Alley Cafe [map]
25 Essex St E,
Temple Bar, Dublin 2,
Co. Dublin City, Ireland
Tel: 0353 1 679 3393

Breakfast Times: Open for breakfast from 9am, 7 days a week

Last Visited: October 2010

A weekend break to the emerald isle gave a chance to move away from the mainland and take on its first breakfast outside of the UK.  The reason for visiting Ireland was somewhat foolish on my part, as I had signed myself up for the Dublin marathon.  Some people say that in order to run a marathon you should be dedicated in both body and mind and that to achieve the 26mile goal it is vital that you have the foundations of a sensible diet to fuel you to the finish line.  However gorging yourself for weekly breakfast reviews is not the best preparation for this, so I was determined that on my four day stay in Dublin I would eat healthily and reflect on the full spectrum of the Irish capitals breakfast delights.  Plus I could always steal from Mrs NoEgg's plate when she wasn't looking!

After a nights scouring for breakfast locations we settled on a charming café situated in the heart of Dublin’s most popular tourist area, the Temple bar district.  Found amongst pubs and chain sports bars, the Brick Alley café stood out not for the brashness of its neighbouring eateries, but for the simplicity of its exterior and its low-key style which was a welcome change from the touristy bars and cafés we had encountered that were “up for the craic” and had shamrocks and leprechauns emblazoned on every available space.  The first customers to walk through the door on a sunny Sunday morning, we were on entry greeted by friendly staff and took a table at the back of the establishment  Though not the biggest café, they have done extremely well to fit in as many seats as possible in to what seemed to be a converted pub.  Customers are encouraged to sit on large wooden communal tables which adds to the light atmosphere of the establishment, but is slightly restrictive for those who prefer to spread out when they sit down.

The café menu was also a little surprising.  I had often thought that like Scotland (haggis and deep fried goodness), Ireland had its own unique style of breakfast with Soda bread and other local delicacies being used.  But as with most cafés we found around the city centre, aside from the inclusion of ‘white pudding’ with the fry-up, the breakfast menus were identical to what we would expect to find in any town or city in the UK.  Being good before the marathon I plumped for the porridge and a side of toast as the low GI rating of the oats would serve me best for the race soon approaching.  Also I knew that as Mrs NoEggs was going for the ‘Traditional Full Irish’ (Sausage, eggs, bacon, white pudding, sauteed mushrooms, grilled tomato and toast) and as she can never finish her breakfast and I would be able to polish off the scraps!

To maximise space within the café, the breakfasts were cooked on a hot plate surface behind the counter, a method I had not seen before, so I was equally impressed to find that when the breakfasts quickly arrived they were hot and well presented as you would expect from being made in a full kitchen.  The quality of both our breakfasts and the drinks served was good and did not reflect the “serve them anything, as they won't be back” attitude we found in other tourist cities.  Sampling a bit of each of Mrs NoEggs breakfast, for research purposes of course, the bacon and sausages were very good catering standard pork sausages, but lacked the character and flavour of a butchers sausage.  I was told that the eggs were the highlight of the breakfast (why I don’t know) and their ‘easy-over’ style was a nice twist.  There were however no beans, so at times the breakfast was a little dry.  The white pudding was also a nice inclusion, but lacked any real distinct flavour and could have easily been identified as its British cousin in a blind taste test.  But coming in at under 8 Euro’s it is comparable with all other eateries in the city and the care and attention when cooking the breakfast more than made up for any short comings with the ingredients.  In fact the only place cheaper for a full fry-up we found in the city was a Weatherspoons style restaurant on O'Connell street  by the 'Monument of Light' spire.

The porridge portion I was served was easily enough for two people and was exactly what I needed.  Despite eating for over 20 minutes I still only managed 2/3’s of the bowl and at just 3.70 Euros I can recommend no better breakfast to eat but before a long day sightseeing, or as preparation for a marathon.  If this is not to your taste pancakes were also on the menu, as were a number of fresh cakes and muffins to tempt your fancy.  The temple bar area is by far the most popular eating and drinking location for visitors to the city, in amongst the gaudy bars and souvenir shops there are however a number of other good cafés and breakfast locations to relax in.  The ‘Joy of Cha’ (with over 100 teas to choose from) and ‘the Lemon Jelly café’ were two which we also found delightful during our stay.  But if you have the urge for a hearty breakfast and a break from blarney and Guinness I would recommend stopping in to the Brick Alley café and grabbing a bowl of oats.

*Postscript: I ended up running the Dublin Marathon in 3hrs 53 minutes and put this achievement down to my regular fry-ups, the porridge that weekend and watching the Rocky IV training montage a lot!

Mr NoEggs

Ingredient Quality: ★★★☆☆
Portion Size: ★★★½☆
Value For Money: ★★★½☆
Service: ★★★½☆
Overall: ★★★½☆