Growing older is inevitable, growing up – optional; said a wise person somewhere on the Internet. There’s something about Sophie’s, the rooftop eatery and late bar a-top Dublin’s newest boutique hotel, The Dean; that’s both sophisticated and childlike – that made me think of that phrase.
And I think that’s why I loved it so much.
Whether it’s pancakes for lunch or sitting on swings waiting for the lift; it’s a place of polar opposites. Old fashioned, modern, chic and childish. It strikes me as something of a Neverland.
Not a weekend would go past that I didn’t sulk as I scrolled through Twitter spying shots of last nights antics on the indoor swings or cheery early risers who managed to bag a table for brunch. Anyone who was anyone was going and had a profile picture of themselves sitting, swinging, with a big silly grin on their face.
So no doubt I jumped at the possibility of joining a friend for a Birthday Brunch one Sunday, to see what I’d been missing out on.
We arrived desperately late for our booking, for no intelligent reason other than our own tardiness, but it gave us time to get a glass of something at the bar and take in the view. And what a view. It’s verging on cliche to talk about the view when at Sophie’s, but the mountains and rooftops demand it.
There’s something very New York about the dining room, in two ways. There’s a hint of lofty Soho warehouse meets classic upper-east-side hotel. It’s timeless, with it’s marble table tops, deep leather seats; and as the bubbles are poured into champagne saucers in place of flutes, it feels as though you could be anywhere at any time.
The brunch menu is a mix of the classics we’ve yet to tire of, and why would we. No-fuss fry up, on-trend tortillas with the Huevos Rancheros, big BLTs, steak and chips that’s not afraid of serving a sizeable steak at an early hour, and more including any arrangement of eggs you could ask for.
Bellini in hand (I was feeling fancy that day) I conceded to my inner child and chose the buttermilk pancakes as my meal. I hate the phrase melt-in-the-mouth but it’s all that comes to mind when I think about that fluffy stack of heaven. The orange butter upped the game from diner-dish to grown-up gourmet and is about 75% of the reason I want to go back and order it again. Everyone at the table was equally impressed with our meals as we toyed with the idea of dessert and chickened out, ordering icecream; like the grown ups we are.
I also returned for drinks with work a few weeks later and can confirm it was busy, buzzing and slightly blurry – and that’s about all I have on it!
Whether it be a special occasion or a spontaneous catch-up, or maybe you want to the youthful thrill of a night out on Harcourt street with a grown-up edge. We may have spent our respective youths in and around Harcourt street at some point or another, but that’s not to say we can’t still go back there. Besides, didn’t Peter warn Wendy that growing up was trap anyway?