The most memorable meal I’ve ever had – in the Coombe Hospital

The Irish Times: We Love Food - Alison Healy, food and farming correspondent

Alison Healy with her four reasons for her most memorable meal

Alison Healy with her four reasons for her most memorable meal


Forget your Michelin-starred restaurants. You can have your fillet steaks, Atlantic lobster and finest Chablis. The best meal I’ve ever had was in the Coombe Hospital Dublin.

I’ve had the same meal four times now. The first time I was blown away by its magnificence. The second time I looked forward to it but wondered if it would live up to the memory. And it did. Again and again. There are no complicated ingredients. It doesn’t involve truffles foraged by a pig in some remote French region, or olives stamped on by the feet of 20 Greek virgins.

It’s just tea and toast. But it’s the timing that counts. It’s the tea and toast that’s brought to you after you’ve delivered a baby. It’s the antithesis of the death row meal.

In all the excitement of giving birth to another human, you haven’t thought about food in perhaps a day. Then the rattling tray arrives. The butter melts into the golden toast, the tea is of perfect strength, and you realise just how hungry you are. The baby nestles into you as you take that first bite of toast and everything is perfect with the world.

I’m not sure about the etiquette surrounding the post-labour meal, but I may have breached it by asking for seconds. And that next slice was just as good.

While some restaurants almost seek your first born in return for reserving a table for you, you just need to give birth before indulging in this meal of meals.

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