“Breakfast is only worth having when someone else makes it for you”
Waking early to clear skies and sunshine is the happiest type of inconvenience and it caused us to make slight adjustments to our breakfast plans this morning. Our extremely spoiled four-legged friend never likes being left behind, especially when a little slice of sausage might exist to be begged for, and so on the occasional day the Irish weather allows for an al fresco meal, we are easily guilted into taking him along. Therefore our chosen hostelry needed outdoor seating to accompany a breakfast menu. Beans and Leaves, on the banks of the Shannon, ticked both boxes and so off we went.
Despite being a predominantly rural and agricultural country, it always surprises me how poorly we cater for our non-human friends here in Ireland. Where our UK neighbours will accommodate a well-behaved canine almost anywhere, the number of dog-friendly bars and cafés in Ireland still remains quite minimal. And so, when the friendly waitress arrived with an unsolicited bowl of water and a playful greeting for the accompanying pet, Beans and Leaves was off to a good start.
The next positive was the level of variety to the breakfast menu. Now this is not an issue for my husband whose thought process is simply – “it’s the weekend, it’s breakfast, I will have the full Irish” – but with the rashers swapped out for extra sausages. Yep, as a consequence of some weird, unexplained anomaly, I married an Irishman who doesn’t like rashers. Personally, I don’t get people who don’t like rashers but I suppose we are all flawed creatures in some way or another!!! Currently, my food choices are a little more complex, bound by the rules of the devil’s detox mentioned in my previous post. Although things have relaxed a little, I am still trying to avoid gluten and dairy and severely limiting caffeine and alcohol (a little weekend deviation is now permitted) and my nutritional focus is very much on wholefoods. It’s all a little exhausting, and while I love feeling the benefits, eating out can be a little more challenging. And so, having perused the menu, I decided my best option was a veggie breakfast.
Now a veggie breakfast is often, to my mind, a bit of a con. They take out the meat but what do they add in? Tomato and mushroom and little else – and the price reduction can be paltry. But this was a veggie brekkie with a difference – it had a really tasty vegetarian sausage, a potato cake, sweet potato falafels (which were scrumptious), baked beans, tomato and a fried egg. The only quibble I would have was that the mushrooms were battered and fried to crispy, and while this was delicious, it seemed a little unnecessary to me (especially in light of the current calorie counting!!). Don’t worry, I just made the dog do an extra lap of the park to neutralise the offending fungi.
Quibbles aside, I ordered the veggie offering feeling a little sulky that I was compromising due to my current dietary restrictions – I mean, there were nutella waffles on offer!!!! But I ended up thrilled with the plate of food presented. Surely this is how it should be for vegetarians and vegans all the time- without any meat the cost per plate shrinks dramatically – far more than is reflected in the price – and so it should be commonplace to try and inject a little variety and imagination into the dishes on offer. But so often this just isn’t commonplace, and that makes the Beans and Leaves effort worthy of both praise and a return visit. If you ever find yourself here – give the veggie breakfast a go – trust me, even committed carnivores will enjoy it xo.