What: O’Callaghan hotel breakfast (St. Stephen’s Green).
Prices: Included in room price.
Vegetarian menu: Pastries, cereal, toast. The beans, mushrooms and eggs had pieces of meat in them.
Drinks: Tea, coffee, orange juice, apple juice, etc.
Service: Staff were rushed off their feet. As a result, they forgot to bring the ordered coffee.
Comfortable? We had to stand for a few minutes while waiting on a table. The breakfast room looks out onto the street and is light-filled. The tables were big enough and sturdy. The chair had unpleasant stains on it.
Was the food good? No. We ate very little, only toast, as the presentation of the food at the self-service buffet was so unhygienic, vegetarian unfriendly and generally off-putting (see photos). For example, the ham was placed on the same platter as the cheese (and, in fact, on the cheese), making this unsuitable for vegetarians. In addition, there was only one regular fork (not even a serving fork) on the platter meaning that guests had to serve themselves both ham and cheese with the same fork. There were pastries which were left uncovered and thus exposed to all the sneezing and coughing of the guests. No tongs were provided with which to pick up a pastry (see photos). This meant that the pastries were touched by the possibly unclean hands of any guests who chose to eat one (or left one behind after a change of mind). At the hot buffet there was no distinction made between the utensils that should be used to handle meat and those which should be used on non-meat products. This meant that if you wanted to have some mushrooms you would have to use the serving spoon which had just been used to serve meat. That said, the mushrooms, eggs, and other non-meat products at the hot buffet, had bits of the other products in their containers rendering all of them out of bounds to vegetarians, i.e., the container with mushrooms had pieces of meat in it (see photos). There was a special toaster provided so that each guest could make their own toast. This is a good idea, but again, there were no tongs provided, such that guests had to risk burning their fingers to insert the bread and then pick up the hot toast with only their fingers. The toast requires two passes through and is hot but not toasted, after the first pass. The coffee was acceptable, when it eventually arrived.
Toilets: Not tested.
My advice to the chef: It seems that zero thought is given to vegetarians or to the hygienic presentation of any of the food.
My advice to the manager: Where to start? All meat and non-meat products should be kept entirely separate from each other. This applies to the hot buffet as well as the cold. All of the pastries should be kept under a lid and tongs should be provided with which to pick them up. Tongs should be provided at the toaster. It should be made clear to guests which utensils they should use to serve themselves meat and which should be used for non-meat products. There should be no contamination of non-meat products by meat-products. Also, hire more staff so that the existing staff are not so harried.
Overall: We strongly recommend that vegetarians in particular seek breakfast elsewhere (we also recommend that omnivores give some thought to the matter before subscribing to breakfast here).
Management were asked to respond to this review.
Click on photos to increase size.