COMMON wisdom holds that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We’ve anecdotally tied all sorts of ills to a failure to sit down to a ‘complete breakfast’.
The cliche that it is the most important meal actually developed from the early days of cereals as a breakfast product in the 19th century.
In the fast moving society of today, a breakfast roll and an Americano to go often suffices.
But researchers have found that eating a hearty breakfast, particularly one rich in protein, increases young adults’ levels of a brain chemical associated with feelings of reward, which may reduce food cravings and overeating later in the day
I’m old school, and still love to have breakfast cooked to order and served up to me. Luckily for me, Cork city and county has some excellent breakfast options in its restaurants, cafes, pubs or hotels.
The doyen of breakfast venues in Cork and Dublin for many years was Bewley’s, but sadly the Cork branch closed about 18 years ago, leaving a huge void.
There is nothing quite like a piping hot full Irish breakfast cooked to order, and this isn’t always easily obtained.
Very often, I find bed & breakfast establishments can usurp a four-star hotel when it comes to a quality morning feed, as many hotels now favour the mass-produced buffet breakfast which is often lukewarm, offers re-heated, jaded-looking produce,and lacks the personalised touch of a B&B.
Pubs have also upped the ante in the breakfast stakes in Cork and, like the B&Bs, they often rival and even eclipse hotels and restaurant offerings.
I’ve rated my own favourite breakfast venues in Cork and put them into categories as well, so here goes...
Best Pub Breakfasts
(1) The Groves, Dublin Street, Blackpool: Quality and quantity cooked to order with the fried potatoes the jewel in the crown.
(2) Larry Tompkins Pub, Lavitts Quay: Ticks all the boxes. Piping hot, cooked to order, and arguably serves the best and biggest sausages in Cork.
(3) The Silver Key, Churchyard Lane, Ballinlough: Their signature breakfast dish is the excellent Key Breakfast Omelette.
(4) The Linen Weaver, Paul Street, Cork city: I’m not a great fan of chain groups — this is a Wetherspoons pub — but their breakfasts are really good and excellent value with unlimited refills of coffees/teas!
Best Restaurant/Cafe Breakfast
(1) Tara’s Tea Rooms, MacCurtain Street, Cork city: Superb breakfasts, old world tea room atmosphere — a rare gem !
(2) Liberty Grill, Washington Street, Cork city: Invariably, queues form outside here on a Saturday morning and it’s simply top class, with arguably the best eggs benedict and freshly squeezed orange juice on the planet.
(3) Corbett Court, Ballyhea: Great stop-off point for meals in general, but the breakfast has long been the template for breakfasts in North Cork and continues to raise the crossbar.
(1) Imperial Hotel, Pembroke Street / South Mall, Cork city: I’m not a fan of buffet breakfasts but the Imperial hotel bucks the trend with a top class buffet breakfast and a superb range of pastries, scones and croissants, complete with a complimentary copy of the Irish Examiner (Da Paper).
To me, perfection on a Saturday, Sunday or Monday morning in particular. Walk- ins are welcome, not confined to residents
Best B&B Breakfast
(1) Innisfree B&B, Charleville: They always say that a spotlessly clean premises is a good barometer for the quality of food. The Innisfree is immaculate and the resultant breakfast embodies all that is good in an Irish B&B. Served piping hot cooked to order and just perfection personified.
Joe Seward is a presenter at Life FM in Cork