Grub Spy: Smooth as Silk...

Alan Kelly dishes the goods on Ireland’s tastiest dining destinations
The funky interior at Silken Thomas

The funky interior at Silken Thomas

Avocado on toast

Avocado on toast

Moroccan eggs

Moroccan eggs

I have to say, when it comes to pains in the arse department, shopping malls do it for me – not all shopping malls of course, and not every time: I mean Grafton Street is a kind of shopping mall, but at least it feels real, as does most of our town-centre shopping streets.

SILKEN THOMAS 16 Market Square, Kildare Four Star FOOD €19.90 COFFEE €5.90

What I’m talking about are those huge Americanised versions of shopping when (for me) trying to locate a simple pair of jeans becomes an orgy of boredom and exhaustion – and I do mean exhaustion. Kildare Village had me dead on my feet. But what do I expect with a splurge of new year sales just around the corner? And there’s no point denying the success of Kildare Village. Some people love it – actually huge numbers of people love it, if the thronging crowds we encountered are anything to go by. I could whinge all day about the fun of clothes shopping being destroyed.

But I think I’d be in a small minority: and a small ‘older’ minority at that. Anyhow, a hefty slice of local R&R soon revives our spirits.

The Silken Thomas is a fine big, funky place to land yourself in – especially after a torturous hour of shopping just down the road. With its hardwood floors, low-hanging light fittings, leather banquettes and a stylish bar area, the owners have kept the layout contemporary, neat and simple. Arty wall murals complete a cool vibe.

Like its smart interior, the breakfast menu doesn’t need to try too hard. Even with strict adherence to social distancing, the place is buzzing.

The standard Full Irish is there, as is the fried/scrambled or poached eggs with all the trimmings – not forgetting the porridge and fruity yogurt bowls. There is nothing the least ‘standard’ about my two perfectly poached eggs on a rich tomatoey ragù with crunchy sourdough toast (gorgeous bread) plus a couple of crispy rashers. Called the Moroccan, it perhaps could have done with a tad more depth, maybe by way of some chili heat?

Regardless it still passes muster as a delicious lunch, brunch or breakfast. Australian chef Bill Granger is credited with creating the first ever poached eggs and crushed avocado on toast over 25 years ago in Sydney. A mainstay on any decent café brunch menu nowadays, the Silken Thomas version (on more of that gorgeous sourdough) is as scrumptious and tasty as any we’ve tried.

Also have to mention the coffee here, which was so badly needed after the shopping stampede (did get the Jeans, by the way. So wasn’t all bad). Proper Italian roast, full of complex flavours, speedily served with a smile and biscuits.

Silken Thomas is a pub rich in what is essential – charm, service and good grub. Frills are few and far between: but it presses all the right buttons, and nothing is too much bother.

We enjoyed a relaxing breakfasty lunch of serious quality served by properly trained staff who like and know what they’re doing. I would describe the experience as an unusual case of substance as well as style.

Will I call again? Definitely.

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