It's a bold claim but we may have stumbled across the best damn brunch in Galway.
It's a bright, piercing morning in Galway’s West End as I walk down the canal looking at the famed Spanish Arch and the North Atlantic Ocean beside it. This is the first time in my adult life I’ve been in Galway of a Sunday morning and not been hungover. I fought hard to stay off the flowing Guinness the night before after my show and when there was talk of a house party with inevitable Buckfast and sheer madness I knew it was time to tap out and go back to the Airbnb before being sucked into a 6am vortex. My reward for such good behaviour was meeting my pal for brunch in Dela.
As I got close to the restaurant there was a good fifteen-strong hen party with some serious delirium tremens queuing up to get in looking 'pure shook', as they say in the west. I slipped through the front door as my friend had thankfully booked a table the day before.
Dela is a bustling place with staff and customers buzzing around. It’s strangely frantic but also calm at the same time. There are some amazing paintings on the wall and freshly baked loaves of bread at the door as you walk in with a really cool little bar full of everything from fresh juices, wines and a varied selection of crafty beers. Some all-year-round Christmas decorations hang from branches in the middle of the restaurant, There’s a Scandinavian vibe about the place which isn’t surprising as the restaurant's name comes from the Swedish word for 'share'.
We order a couple of freshly squeezed orange juices and brewed teas to start and browse the relatively small but exciting brunch menu. As I’m trying to be good, I order the Vegan Mezze Platter while my pal decides to live her #bestlyf and orders the Butterscotch Pancakes for which Dela has become famed.
Our food is out in no time and while I initially had a deep resentment for my friend for getting the pancakes whilst I was getting a vegan breakfast, I was in no way disappointed. My Vegan Mezze Platter was simply stunning.
The handmade falafel and bhaji were crisp on the outside and fresh and light inside, the baba ghanoush was creamy, tart and delicious and the pickled veg, sweet onion jam and mushroom pâté offered beautiful contrast and brought the whole mezze plate together along with the tempura courgette. If you can’t decide what to eat for brunch/lunch/dinner then get a platter, you can’t lose.
I’m sorry to admit this but I can’t deal with olives! I’ve tried and tried dozens of times and they continually make me retch. They were the only thing on my vegan platter that I didn’t eat. I gave them to the couple beside us because I’m sound like that and they happily inhaled them. Everyone's a winner.
We need to talk about Dela’s pancakes. Mother-of-divine Jesus - I’ve never seen a stack so beautiful. I was forced to try them for research purposes. Light, perfectly cooked and fluffy buttermilk pancakes, honey glazed chunky walnuts and bright fresh orange segments. These are serious and a different class to anything I’ve ever had in America or the likes. I’d drive back to Galway just to have them again in a heartbeat.
My pal suggested I get the Vegan Brunch Burrito to take away as well. The reason for this was twofold. Reason number one - I could eat it on the way home to Dublin for lunch (to break up the drive you see). Reason number two - my comedic colleague from Limerick, who did the show with me the night before, was the most hungover man in Galway so I could give him half of the aforementioned brunch burrito to make an attempt to save his soul before I abandoned him in his fetal hungover position in the apartment, therefore clearing my conscience.
The brunch burrito was a good pound weight of breakfast joy filled with fried potato, relish, jalapeños, coriander and lime salsa and Delas homegrown farm organic greens. 10/10 from both me and my hungover comrade who had revived in front of my very eyes like Popeye after a can of spinach. You feel in no way cheated that this is vegan by the way, it’s just mega, full stop.
Dela is owned by Margaret and Joe Bohan who live in Moycullen on a farm where much of the restaurant’s fresh veg, herbs and produce are grown in their own polytunnels. In 2016, Dela switched from weekend brunch to include weekdays and literally changed the game for midweek eating in the west end of The City of Tribes. All their meat and fish is sourced locally and their dinner menu offers some impressive looking dishes, they have really punched up their vegan and vegetarian options in the past few years.
The thing I love most about Dela is its complete lack of notions, there’s a super chilled out welcoming Scandi/Galway vibe here with everyone from students to young families to hungover hen and stag parties coming through its doors every week. The west for me really is the best and Galway’s West End is truly the best-end for food with this trailblazer of an eating establishment being one of the main reasons why. It’s imperative you eat here the next time you visit Galway, please order the pancakes, even if it’s for dinner.
Brunch dishes: €9.5- €12.5
Fresh Juices: €3.75