Meal Ticket: Science Gallery Café, Naughton Institute, Dublin 2

Come for the four-course Beta Brunch, stay for the science-based shenanigans

   
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Science Gallery Cafe

This bustling, triangular café narrows to a perfect point in the wedge-shaped Naughton building on Dublin’s Pearse Street. Serving breakfasts, lunches, and hosting lots of events linked to the exhibitions in the Science Gallery, it’s a fun, frenetic place to come for a coffee, excellent pastries, pizzas, salads or a bowl of stewp – a stew/soup hybrid that’s served at from noon until close (usually 8pm). It’s the kind of place you’ll come for a cuppa and end up getting caught up in an experiment or scribbling on a blackboard.

Noticing a rare lull on weekend mornings, the cafe has just launched its Beta Brunch, available from noon to 3pm every Saturday and Sunday. This four-course brunch kicks off with a fresh-fruit punch – with or without rum. When we visit, it’s apple and ginger served in lab flasks, with a smaller flask of orange juice to mix to our own taste.

The menu is set – a bread-and-dip course, a cereal course, an eggy course and dessert – and while you have to choose between granola and pudding, the rest is chosen for you; surprisingly comforting for some rather tender heads who have been out celebrating the same-sex marriage referendum results.

There are platters of a dense buttermilk bread studded with walnuts, sweet flecks of onion and fresh herbs and served delicious whipped goats cheese with herb oil and dukkah. A choice of granola with whipped yogurt, stewed figs and a chai flavoured yoghurt was deemed superior to a “frog-spawny” chia seed pudding with preserved berries and edible flowers (although the latter won on aesthetic front).

You’re reminded of your scientific surroundings when a wild garlic omelette is accompanied by herb-flavoured maltodextrin dust. The flavour is so faint it’s more for show, but there’s also some more familiar bacon and asparagus to bring you back to Planet Brunch. Dessert is again very pretty but very sweet – a trifle of gooseberry and lemon, violet sugar and crushed ginger nut biscuits. It costs €25 per person, including local Cloud Picker coffee or teas such as a cold Cascara brew (again served in lab flasks), a light, sweet tea made from the cherries of the coffee plant. The Beta Brunch makes a fun change from the Eggs Benedict offerings, and is great for groups.