Grub Spy: Velo profile

Grub Spy Alan Kelly dishes the goods on Ireland’s tastiest dining destinations

The modern decor

Fresh lemonade

The avocado brekkie

I was thinking recently, as I sat waiting impatiently for an afternoon repast in my all-time-favourite best-ever neighbourhood brunch places, how much of my thinking-space is jam-packed with a gallimaufry of restaurant memories — and there’s a sentence I never thought I’d squeeze into a review.

VELO EATERY & BISTRO George’s Quay, Ballintemple, Cork 4.5 stars Food: €22.40; Drinks: €6.20

I mention the G word partly because I was taken-aback by how simple descriptive terms like ‘eatery’ and ‘pop-up’ seemed to annoy the bejesus out of a few morose gombeens at a near-by table. ‘Eatery’ especially seemed to be getting right up their collective nostrils. It was like they were being mentally scarred by such terminology. I guess for some diners it’s never really about enjoying the food or the moment.

Anyhow, the Boss and I are happily admiring the stylish new-look and re-vamp of Velo Eatery & Bistro in Cork (called Café Velo up to a couple of weeks ago). The menu too has been slightly updated, but happily it is still as appealing and tempting as ever.

Jack McCarthy’s black pudding omelette – Brioche French toast with crispy rashers – Eggs Florentine on sourdough with wilted spinach and a glug of Hollandaise – and my usual lunch/brunch choice, the ferociously delicious Mouth Melter toastie heaving with chargrilled chicken, herby stuffing, pesto, sundried tomatoes and mozzarella.

Today we decide to try the new chorizo hash with sourdough toast, and the familiar smashed avocado with poached eggs on sourdough toast. Smothered with chunks of smoky chorizo and done to tasty perfection, the hash spuds, topped with two fried eggs, although entirely a one-note flavour, are simply to die for. The Bosses’ smashed avocado with luscious sweet roasted tomatoes and some fresh salad leaves, tastes gorgeous and much like the chorizo hash is largely faultless. Simple and unadorned with sides of sourdough toast, these dishes are close to what I call peerless lazy afternoon feasts.

Usually I would say life is too short to be complaining about stuff like toast. But therein lies the only let-down. The toast is not remotely like proper toast. On both dishes it is nothing more than soft warm bread. And as soon as I say that, I feel like the glum looking guys complaining earlier about the word change. At this point, to get myself back on wiser ground I will now comment favourably on the excellent service and the exceptional coffee. They are the areas that have thankfully remained much the same as before the re-vamp.

There is so much to like about Velo Eatery & Bistro (although still can’t let go of the so-called toast, guys). Not only is it a fab place to take yourselves for a late brekkie or early lunch and blather-on about silly words and politics and why Liverpool are the best team in the whole UK and Europe.

The highlight of today’s brunch is pretty much what it always is for us i.e., the whole shebang. Good food in an easy to get-to café… sorry, that should be Eatery and/or Bistro.

Regardless of what it is now called, quality always wins. I’ll still be beating a hungry retreat to Velo when my chorizo hash penchant next comes a-calling.

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