Brunch - not just a passing trend

Of all meals, brunch is the one that reflects modern Ireland the best and its flexible timing, relaxed approach and wide-ranging menu base give brunch a unique multi-generational appeal. This is the only Georgina Campbell award that’s open to public participation and, from over 150 nominations, we posted a ‘shortlist’ of 30 leading brunch venues that we felt best conveyed the essence of the ideal brunch in both urban and rural areas, and invited the public to support their favourite. The high calibre of nominations must have made for some difficult choices but, from many thousands of votes, the top five bunched ahead of the rest - and a clear winner eventually emerged, Arán Bakery and Bistro in Co. Kilkenny, which received a torrent of votes from its loyal customers, indicating just how passionate Kilkenny people are about their brunching options.

Bart Pawlukojc and his wife Nicole Server-Pawlukojc brought a wealth of experience at top restaurants in Europe and beyond when they settled in Kilkenny and opened this superb bakery and daytime restaurant in 2019 - and it shows in the stylishly simple interior as well as their delicious food. Arán - meaning bread in Irish - is all about simple and good. Their breads are made with just four ingredients - flour, salt, water and natural leaven or a fresh yeast culture - and stone-baked in their special bread oven. And, unusually, they use locally grown stoneground flour, which is milled by the seventh generation of the Mosse family at The Little Mill on the River Nore, at nearby Bennettsbridge.

The all-day brunch changes depending on seasonal availability but will always showcase local produce from Kilkenny and nearby counties. Many come especially for the Arán Breakfast Platter, featuring Ballon Farms Egg Sunny Side Up, Sourdough Toast, Jam, Baba Ghanoush, Knockanore Cheddar Cheese, John Joe’s Rashers, Dizzy Goat farms Wild Pig Sausage & Goat’s Cheese, Hash Brown and Sautéed Mushrooms, it's definitely not your average Irish breakfast. Vegetarian and vegan options are available too, and this is just the start of a menu that offers imaginative variations of many of the most popular breakfast and brunch dishes, along with stalwarts such as soup of the day. Everything has a very local tone and there are irresistible cakes and pastries too, of course - and natural wines (including bubbly) available to give your meal a lift. Most certainly worth a detour, Arán is simply special.



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