The good gourmet: Brioche
Brioche is a little gem of a place which I happened to stumble upon by accident one day. I was strolling up Aungier Street when I saw staff taking in interesting food, so I followed them inside. The decor was lovely, with beautiful Moroccan-style crystal ball lights that I would not mind having in my own house.
I ordered myself a café latte and croissant, and sat down. The croissant was really buttery with excellent pastry and it arrived on a wooden tray, served with butter and jam. My latte was lovely, perfect for a cold morning, and the friendly waitress also brought me a much appreciated glass of water -- I didn't have to ask.
All the stock is prepared fresh every morning in kitchens located in Smithfield then delivered to the café. Everything arrives between 11am and midday and all the sandwiches come pre-packed, so it's ideal if you are in a hurry.
The novelty of Brioche is that they never really have the same thing every day -- it depends on what they have in the kitchen -- but here are just a couple of sandwiches they had on the day I visited: chicken with stuffing and garlic mayo on brown or white bread (€4.75); a feta cheese, basil pesto, tomato and cucumber wrap (€5.50); baked ham with Swiss cheese (€5.50); and Cheddar cheese with a homemade relish (€5.50).
The menu doesn't stop there: they also have two different soups each day, and there's a special offer of soup and a sandwich for €5.50 to take away, or €7 if you sit in. The soups change daily and, again, the staff have no idea what soup it is until it arrives.
On the day I visited, green pea, smoked bacon and coriander soup and a Tuscan tomato soup were the choices of the day.
As I had already made arrangements for lunch, I picked up one of their packed meals to try at home. A fresh and vibrant spaghetti with anchovies, capers, olives, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and Parmesan cheese cost €5 and, when I heated it up later, I enjoyed every bite. Not only did it look fresh but it tasted of Italy. I shared none with my children or the Frenchman!
Brioche also has spaghetti ragu, spinach and ricotta tortellini, shepherd's pie, Italian-style meatballs with baby potatoes and a Thai red curry with chicken and rice. I'll keep those in mind when I'm shopping in town, with his credit card of course, and be the perfect wife, bringing home a great meal!
For something lighter you can choose from a selection of pre-packed salads for €5.75 to take away. The choice varies, but they usually have some type of green salad, a Greek-style salad and another with noodles, which can be served hot or cold.
Brioche does home or office catering, and dishes such as Beef Bourguignon with smoked bacon, and Chicken Hongroise (with smoked paprika, cream and onions) work out at €7 per person.
Brioche, 8 Aungier Street, Dublin 2. For home catering email Derek at info@brioche or call 01-476 3771; www.brioche.ie