Pip’s birthday today. We looked online for a suitable place to go and found the Brasserie at The Marker Hotel in the Grand Canal / Financial district of Dublin. This is an area close to the river Liffey that was redeveloped during the years of the Celtic Tiger, rather like Canary Wharf in London. Typical for the Irish put-down sense of humour, it is known locally as Canary Dwarf. It is full of multi-storey office blocks and expensive apartments which attract the financial and IT yuppies of Dublin. We hadn’t been to this part of town before so thought that we’d give it a try.
On a Sunday, the Brasserie offers “Le Drunch”, a hybrid of Lunch and Dinner that runs from 2pm to 5pm. The food was superb and surprisingly reasonable in cost – I had Galway oysters with Bloody Mary and Vietnamese chilli sauce accompaniments (purists would say the oysters would be ruined but never mind) followed by Eggs Benedict with salmon and asparagus, Pip had grilled Baby Chicken followed by a selection of ice creams and sorbets.
What we hadn’t realised was that they have a resident DJ on Sunday afternoons as well and so shortly after we had begun our complimentary breads, the music started blasting out and we realised we were in a direct line with the speakers. Noting our anguished looks and possibly realising that we were not part of their usual demographic (there were a couple of tables of the aforesaid yuppies there as well) the waitress kindly offered to move us to a secluded spot in the sunshine around the corner.
The hotel has a rooftop bar on the 7th floor so when it came time for Pip’s dessert, we asked if they could serve it up there and they agreed so up we went. There was a permanently-placed gentleman staff member (lesser establishments would call him a bouncer) at the entrance to the lift up to the bar who enquired after our intentions and at the top another imposing gentleman with an earpiece was there to meet us. Clearly the riff-raff of Dublin were not going to be afforded much courtesy or progress here – in fact, I think we ourselves just made it in, possibly only due to my new purple jersey, because it was wall-to-wall yuppiedom up there – the precocious, overpaid brats. Never mind – if they were the Young Upwardly Mobile, we struck a blow for the Odmies – the Old Downwardly Mobile market segment.
So we sat down, they brought Pip’s dessert to which they had added a Happy Birthday message and one candle (I was about to correct them on their arithmetic but then thought better of it, fearing a disintegration of Herself’s radiant beauty, possibly swiftly followed by a similar, more permanent disintegration of my own radiant features).
We ordered a cocktail each in honour of the occasion and it was then that we discovered how they made their money – very expensive for just the two drinks (well, we did have free small dishes of olives and wasabi nuts on the table).