Saturday, 27 September 2008

that breakfast at Cafe Paradiso...

... is not for the faint-hearted. If you're the kind of person who can only face a cup of coffee first thing, look away now. Everyone else, please take a deep breath.

OK, first up, how about some porridge? With whiskey-soaked sultanas? And brown sugar? And lashings of fresh-as-a-daisy cream for that added cardiac-inducing effect? And more cream on the side? OK. You got it:

Cafe Paradiso porridge

Actually, I think the whole lot was whiskey soaked, never mind the sultanas. Oh, and for the record, that bowl was the size of King Kong's dinner plate. Heh, but I was on holiday, you know?

And precisely because I was on holiday, it seemed pointless to stop at the porridge. Surely I could manage a mere 'scrambled eggs with lovage on toasted sourdough with roasted tomato and potato hash'? I mean, I'd be a wimp to turn it down, right?


Cafe Paradiso scrambled eggs

To give you a sense of the dimensions involved, that plate was a foot long. The two pieces of sourdough were an inch thick. The potato hash was probably the tallest building in Cork.*

(*This might be a slight exaggeration. Then again, it might not.)

Still, remembering my duty to you all, I was undaunted. Undaunted, I tell you.

Those scrambled eggs were amongst the most delicious I've ever tasted. Just golden, rich-yolked eggs, butter, and a smattering of lovage leaves. The lovage - think of a taste somewhere between sage, celery, and parsley - was inspired. It cut through the richness of the egg with an earthy, faintly peppery and gently savoury note. Fabulous. If you've never had scrambled eggs with lovage before, make them this way FROM. NOW. ON.

Not that The Other Diner was missing a trick, either. No, this is what was being swiftly devoured and oohed and aahed over across the other side of the table...

Cafe Paradiso oyster mushrooms

... 'pan-fried oyster mushrooms with chives and soured cream, grilled bread and rosemary aioli', no less. I must admit, I nicked the odd mushroom here and there. And they were very, very good indeed. I would have nicked more, but I wanted to live to see the rest of my holiday. The Other Diner can be vicious when provoked.

The great thing about these breakfasts is that you really don't need to eat anything more until the evening. Except you do, because this is Ireland. But more of that in another post.

I have to say, I was a little less gung-ho the next morning. Instead of the full-blown breakfast, I managed a few oatcakes, Knockalara cheese, gooseberry chutney and rocket and tomato salad. I don't know why I didn't photograph them for you, because it was just the most gorgeous, zingy plate of yummy stuff. I think it's something to do with being mesmerised by The Other Diner's considerably more valiant effort at demolishing this:

Cafe Paradiso poached eggs 1

... 'poached eggs with spinach on toasted sourdough* with warm cherry tomato and avocado salsa' (*opted for in place of the poppyseed bagel. We absolutely fell in love with the sourdough over there).

Those eggs? Yep, perfectly cooked, thanks:

Cafe Paradiso poached eggs 2

The rest? Really rather lovely, apparently, as well as being an absolute picture to look at. The tomatoes were, like mine, small, sweet, and bursting with juiciness; the spinach was earthy, meaty, and melting; and the rest, I am told, couldn't be faulted. Except, that is, if you're a fan of small portions, in which case you might have had due cause to complain.

But like I say, this is Ireland. Small portions simply don't exist. What are you - a wimp or something?


Manggy said...

What are you - a wimp or something?
*crying* YES!!! ;) Really, that is beyond decadent. I don't think I'll be able to eat till 8PM. I'll just hide from the lunch police :) Maybe I can work on *miniature* (read: normal-sized, heh heh) versions!

Lizzie said...

Holy crap! That's a breakfast and a half. Good work!

Naomi Devlin said...

I feel bloated just looking at that stuff - when did Irish portions get so huge? When I was growing up I was lucky to get some cabbage with my potatoes.

My family are from Cork - I'm very jealous and dying to see more pictures.

x x x

Helen said...

Good God! It's a breakfast of champions and I think you must consider yourself triumphant! Those are some serious plates of food - I love the look of those mushrooms.

Browners said...

Super stuff. You've put Ireland firmly back onto my "must go back" list.

Pia K said...

So ok I don't fancy sultanas, or whiskey or porridge with cream - however a normal protion of porridge with applejam and milk, now we're talking! - and nope no poached eggs either.

Nor supersized portions - I admit I am Swedish wimp - other that those minor details it looks absolutely stunning!!

Heather said...

Uh, how many dining companions did you have? My breathing got labored just looking at all that. But I've been on holiday, too, and eating like a Viking. It's hard work, all this eating.

lorraine@italianfoodies said...

I can't believe I've never been there and I used to go to Cork nearly every month a couple of years back, only saw pubs mind you which explains a lot:) A fellow Irish blogger is working there now!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Mark - that was precisely my problem! I don't normally consider myself a lightweight when it comes to food, but in Cork...

Naomi - we got huge portions everywhere!

Helen - the mushrooms were VERY good. But then, it all was...

Browners - yes, you must! I'm already planning my next trip.

Pia - you'll never qualify for dual Swedish/Irish nationality!

Heather - just one companion. Five more would have helped.

Lorraine - go now! You're not a million miles away, after all.

Rosie said...

OMG these is a feast to the eyes!! I would have great pleasure in tucking into these great dishes!!

Rosie x

Foodycat said...

The whisky soaked sultanas are a good idea. A few times I have had a decadent breakfast of porridge with cream, honey and a shot of whisky poured over. Very warming on a cold day! But if it were whisky-soaked sultanas I'd feel better about the whole thing.

Antonia said...

Those breakfasts are something else. I am literally drooling whilst looking at the screen - just divine! I don't think I've ever eaten lovage either... Must hunt some down...

Sophie said...

Quite a breakfast!

The whisky soaked porridge sounds divine - I think I know what I'm having for breakfast on christmas day now :-)

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