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by FFWD Staff
Ceilis easy for Sunday morning
Sometimes Sunday morning feels like an alley. You wake up and your hair smells like an ashtray, your head is as murky as a Nova Scotian fog and your stomach feels like a burning oil drum.
The quest for good Sunday morning grub has been a pursuit of lounge lizards everywhere, and on those mornings where you have to head back downtown to pick up your car, you might as well return to the scene of the crime.
On a recent turbid Sunday, Ceilis Irish Pub & Restaurant was where I hoped to relieve a hangovers rugged grip. Known mostly as a nightspot, the rumours that the pubs breakfast was good had to be investigated. While I was craving a standard Irish breakfast, Ceilis offers something a little more elaborate on Sundays: a buffet-style brunch served between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Now it must be said that eating breakfast in a pub can be a risky undertaking the smell of old smoke and stale beer can be enough turn you green. Ceilis was, however, very clean and fresh for a Sunday morning. Arriving early, the pub wasnt very busy, and the service was sleepy but friendly. My friend and I were introduced to the buffet and then seated near a comforting fireplace.
The buffet ($14) isnt as diverse as some, but offered a selection of the standards plus a few extras, including complimentary champagne and orange juice, and a giant mug of coffee.
After the standard few minutes of looking things over, it was time to fill up the plates. Our first trip brought back a Belgian waffle, a serving of eggs benedict, a giant sausage, some fresh fruit, and cheese and tomato omelettes. The omelettes were prepared fresh while we waited and were quite respectable but slightly overcooked for my tastes (certainly not for my friends). With a drizzle of strawberries and real whipped cream (from a can), the waffle was also decent Ive certainly had worse for more money. The fruit was fresh but dry on the edges, suggesting that it had been prepared the night before.
The eggs benedict was a little weak the hollandaise sauce was underwhelming though the eggs were nicely poached. The sausage, however, was a big disappointment: lukewarm and bland. Considering the quality of meats to be found in Calgary, I was disheartened by the inclusion of this sub-par sausage, normally one of my favourite parts of an Irish breakfast.
Already full, I had to return to the buffet to try the lamb stew. I really only wanted a little sample, but was pleasantly surprised when my request was filled with a large portion of thick stew served in a bowl of fresh bread it was a meal in itself. Back at the table we found the stew a sweet blend of lamb, fresh vegetables and spices, and the accompanying bread very fresh. The only complaint being that the stew was a little bit gluey and could have used some thinning.
The other thing which could be improved is the orange juice, which was watered down and less than fresh. While unsatisfactory on its own, the problem was compounded when mixed with the champagne and plenty of ice.
For the price, Ceilis brunch, which also includes the likes of fresh pastries, bacon and eggs and roast beef, is a decent and convenient addition to the citys table of buffets. Its not outstanding, but for the most part its standard breakfast fare.
The hangover? A pint of Guinness after breakfast took care of that now thats what makes a pub breakfast terrific.
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