Youthful Léa’s already making a name for itself and creating a buzz in the Glucksman at UCC.
Léa's, a new daytime restaurant in Cork's Glucksman Art Gallery, is being brought to you by three youthful friends: Colm Liston, Joe Dowling, and Cyprien Jouve.
The trio, who already have two successful cafes in the city under the Joe's+Bros title, are aiming to create a high-energy hub for people to hang out, drink good coffee, eat better food, and listen to great music (not too much need for music if this level of buzz continues!).
And that buzzy atmosphere, the happy noise of people of many ages enjoying their food and drink, has been there from the August (2023) start. The place was packed when we visited last week and one of the staff told me it is like that every day, seven days a week. So do book here before you go.
We arrived about 12:30 pm and were soon at our table with both the brunch and lunch menus to choose from.
As it happened, we picked one from each. My choice from the Brunch menu was the Chimichurri Steak: Open Rosscarbery steak served on Pana toast with chimichurri, fried egg, crispy onions, hollandaise and dressed leaves. Packed with flavours, on well-oiled bread (a good quality olive oil ensuring the toast wouldn’t break my “old” teeth!). This satisfactory plateful could well be your dinner for the day. Just add a side to be sure!
CL chose the Léa’s Sambo: Grilled chicken or Pulled ham, garlic mayo, crispy shoestring fries and piccalilli (a favourite of hers) served on pana bread with Monterey Jack cheese. The chicken choice was taken and the sambo was superb, again adding a side will make quite a plateful and you have some 11 sides to choose from.
Open from 8.30 am, Léa's offers a breakfast menu of contemporary dishes, such as Chocolate porridge, Cacao granola, and Peanut butter toast. For brunch (from 10.00 am), there's a wider selection to choose from, including Ham hock benedict, Chimichurri steak, and Hong Kong French toast (not too sure about this variation but bound to suit someone!).
|Léa's, pictured from the west. That wall is a necessary flood defence|
but also acts as a wind barrier to the outside dining area.
The lunch menu, which runs alongside the brunch menu, features a variety of sandwiches, burgers, and bowls. Some of the highlights include the Jalapeño smash burger, Korean fried chicken bun, and Fritter Smuggler. There's also a good selection of sides (no less than eleven) and sweet treats available.
Those sweet treats consist mostly of cake slices though brownies and cookies are also available. We enjoyed the Orange and Almond Tart, nice and moist with excellent Badger & Dodo coffee.
Léa's has been open for just four weeks, but it's already proving to be a popular spot with students, college staff and visitors. The restaurant is already known for its friendly atmosphere, efficient and friendly service, delicious food, and reasonable prices. If you're looking for a new place to go for breakfast, brunch, or lunch, Léa's is definitely worth a try.
* The menus are based on the best of local produce and this is well handled in the kitchen. There is a list of suppliers on the wall here and they include the likes of Rosscarbery beef and pork, K. O’Connell Fish, Pana Bread, Toonsbridge Dairy, Stonewell Cider and Barry’s Tea.
* The Glucksman Gallery is a renowned cultural institution, and its unique setting makes it a perfect partner for Léa's. The gallery, with its cantilevered and wood-clad structure, is listed internationally as one of the “1001 buildings you must see before you die”. Léa's plans to offer extended hours to accommodate gallery and university functions.
* Unless you are permitted to use the college lots, parking may be a problem but both the 208 and 205 buses service the area and their stops are just a few steps from the college gates and Léa’s is just a few minutes inside.