Saucy meals that will satisfy even the greatest of appetites

Helen Crooks

RESTAURANTS come and restaurants go. And sometimes they come back again which is the case with the Brazen Head franchise which returned to its old base at the previous Dagwood premises on Cape Road in December.

For those not in the know, The Brazen Head is an authentic Irish restaurant and pub, originally situated in the heart of medieval Dublin.

Dubliners were enjoying food and drink in The Brazen Head a few hundred years before Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492, and The Brazen Head is also mentioned in James Joyce's Ulysses.

Ireland's famous literary son was drinking there around the same time Henry Ford was building his first motor car.

Building on this long tradition, the PE branch of the successful pub offers a diverse, if somewhat pricey, menu with quite a few of the dishes on offer not being for the faint-hearted when it comes to portions.

For instance, on the starter menu there's a hearty minestrone pot pie at R49, which in my book would constitute a main course, but that offering is offset by lighter salads and boxty's – the Irish forerunner of the popular wrap concept which are available for R89 upwards.

There's also pub grub, including the ever-popular bangers and mash, and liver and onions and the "big" sister of the pot pie starter– beef and guinness, and chicken and mushroom pies.

With so much to choose from, it took us quite a while to decide on our mains but eventually I settled on the familiar chicken schnitzel (R89), while my more adventurous dinner partner plumped for the Irish trinchado (R75) – tender beef strips sauteed in garlic and served in a peri peri sauce, mopped up with a mini garlic loaf.

The food was served promptly and was accompanied by side orders of light and tasty onion rings (R22) and the veg of the day, butternut and marrows (R14).

The schnitzel was perfect (and more than ample in size), the cheese sauce good, and the promised crispy chips very moreish indeed – seasoned as they were with salt, pepper and paprika.

The beef strips were also very moreish, although my dinner partner felt that there could have been a bit more sauce, but then for her there's no such thing as too much sauce.

Having given the starters a miss, we felt we just had to round the meal off with dessert, as a menu with cheesecake (R39) on it, is a menu that cannot be ignored. I settled on that while my dinner partner opted for the chocolate fudge cake (also R39).

The desserts were served promptly but it was immediately obvious that the cheesecake was frozen as it was still a little icy, but none-the-less delicious, with shreds of lemon or lime zest making the cheesecake one of the best I have ever tasted.

The chocolate fudge was also very tasty but unfortunately for my teetotal dinner partner it had been finished off with a generous serving of amarula.

At the end of the night our bill came to R347, including three glasses of wine (at R15 a glass) and two cream sodas.

The Brazen Head also offers a R40 menu which is available from 11am to 4pm, with many of the meals on offer in the main menu available at the far more affordable price in that time slot.

Restaurant visits are unannounced and all meals are paid for in full.