My mixed feelings towards the ritual of brunch have been the subject of many a rant, from whinging about settling for one meal when I could have two to an overall lack of enthusiasm for all things eggy. That said, I can always get behind day time cocktails, so sometimes I’m willing to compromise.
Sunday dread can be very real when the weekend feels like it has whizzed by too quickly, but The Marker’s Le Drunch looks to make Sunday afternoon feel more like Saturday night. With a DJ on the decks playing laid back tunes and the uber chic decor of the ultra modern Brasserie, Le Drunch feels like the hottest ticket in town.
Le Drunch is a concept the five star fashionista haven has borrowed from the city of haute couture, Paris, for messieurs et madames who know that Sunday morning is best spent in a greedy slumber, or related activity. Encouraging a leisurely late lunch that ambles into the evening, Le Drunch aims to banish the onset of the Sunday evening fear and squeeze every last drop out of the weekend.
Granted, your fear may be far worse on Monday once you spot the dedicated Mojito bar, which allows you to mix up a concoction of your choice with vodka, rum or gin plus fresh fruit like raspberry or passion fruit, all topped up with either tonic, club soda or ginger ale.
The Marker is like an Insta playground, and everywhere I look gangs of perfectly preened ladies who drunch are snapping and toasting with pretty potions for boomerangs, but my super zoom is firmly fixed on the menu.
Kicking things off with a beautiful Woodford Reserve Old Fashioned (not too sweet and punchy as hell) and a deliciously refreshing Cucumber and Elderflower Martini, which is basically one of your five a day, we were happy ladies indeed as we narrowed down our choices.
The first dish to grace the stylish marble table top begged us to dive in, a sizeable and sizzling skillet of Tiger Prawns with lashings of garlic. If you’re on a Le Drunch date, make sure you pack some tic tacs, or at least agree to share if you can bear it. Simple, perfectly cooked dishes like this make the Brasserie a safe bet at any time of the day.
Across the table, a generous bowlful of Crushed Avocado was topped with warm tortilla cones and grapefruit segments and the resident guac fiend duly demolished it with gusto – I’m still a little annoyed that I only managed to steal one bite.
I’m always a firm fan of chef Gareth Mullins’ Equilibrium offering, dishes packing a nutritional punch as well as a serious flavour hit, and was super tempted by the Nutri Burger when I spotted one arriving sans bun at a neighbouring table.
Tailoring dishes to your individual needs is no problem at all at The Marker, and they were more than happy to doctor my Pulled Ballinwillan Boar dish so I could save my carbs for cocktails – now that, dear readers, is equilibrium.
Said boar felt wildly indulgent served alongside a luxurious Caesar dressed baby gem, a perfectly oozy soft boiled egg and an earthy celeriac remoulade. Lashings of parmesan and oh so creamy anchovy spiked dressing played deliciously with smokey and sweet sticky shredded boar, so much so that the bun really wasn’t missed. Pulled pork fans will feel like they’ve pulled a cracker with this dish.
For a side of smugness, we opted to try out Salt Baked Heritage Beetroots from the Equilibrium menu, which was a dish as pretty as a styled Insta post and undeniably #delish. Little golden nuggets of crunchy vanilla scented honeycomb and rich St Tola goats cheese made for a light but ever so satisfying bite with the tender sweet candy pink beets.
Polishing our halos, we also tucked in to a green goddess of a Seasonal Salad, a changing stalwart on the menu which always underpromises and over delivers. This time, massaged kale was tossed with a lemon marmalade, roasted rhubarb and slivers of crisp turnip with a toasty buckwheat crunch. They say you don’t make friends with salad, but it pains me that I can’t have Gareth on speed dial every day for lunch with salads this genuinely enjoyable.
Had we not decided to end our drunch on a seriously sweet note with a Banoffee dessert with gooey caramelised banana and dulce de leche, we could have walked away feeling rather saintly but neither of us regretted indulging.
My only complaint is the fact that The Marker is right around the corner from my place, and strolling past it on Sundays from now on is going to be far too much of a test of my willpower – I’d be perched in one of those chic orange booths fighting off the Monday feels every week if I could.
The Brasserie at The Marker
Grand Canal Square,
T: 01 687 5100
REVIEW BY DARINA COFFEY