Up with the lark this morning, I rolled out of the hay and into the sunshine with a spring in my step. Alas, my cupboards being on their default setting – that’s bare – it was time to forage for brekkie. I gave the Bruv a quick call and lo he was up and about too, walking the canal bank. Zipping into town on me rothair, shades and all, I found him sunning himself in St Stephen’s Green. Who’da thunk it in February? He had a hankering for a dirty great fry up and I knew just the place.
Cafe Bliss on Montague Street, that little lane between Harcourt and Camden, is an old haunt of mine. I used to live around the corner and they kept me well fed over the years. This place is a great neighbourhood staple – I’ve brought various beaux, girlfriends, my Mother – everybody loves Cafe Bliss. Watch men in uniform go by when dining solo – sharing elbow space with the boys from Garda HQ is a tasty dessert for any lady. Delish…
We took a pew at a table for two and set about the brunch menu. Cafe Bliss offers excellent morning fare and lunch as well as a fantastic value Early Bird and A La Carte. The Bruv got stuck in with a full Irish, while I went for French toast with bacon and a fresh banana strawberry smoothie. And lovely pots of tea, natch. He made fast work of his breakfast, a non greasy supply of pig stuffs including both black and white pudding and plenty of toast. Potato wedges were a bonus – proper man food.
Satisfied with our carb loading we washed it down with free tea refills while we had a good post mortem of the week gone by. Cafe Bliss is a great chill out zone for that sort of thing. The staff are relaxed and the atmosphere smart yet homely. Lively but far from the madding crowd, Cafe Bliss strikes just the right note, offering a fine feed for a nice price. I know I’ll always be a regular – it’s worth the spin across town come rain or shine.
Cafe Bliss, 4B Montague Street, Dublin 2
Last night’s stunning debut by Cars Love Girls was one of those hot Dublin moments I just didn’t know was going to happen. Always a random Wednesday night! First stop food and since I was in the area, Café Bliss on Montague Street of course. I was delighted to be greeted with a “great to see you again” by the lovely owner, who’s been feeding me for the last five years, to which I replied “great to eat here again!”
I slipped in beside a gang of Tipp ladies who provided entertainment with their Chardonnay girl talk – this is one of the best people watching spots in town! One delicious Caesar salad and a sunshine smoothie in my belly I was ready to rock Crawdaddy, under the arches of the old Harcourt Street railway station.
On arrival it was clear that Cars Love Girls first gig was hugely anticipated as the place was nicely swelled with fans & musician friends alike. The band come from Dublin rock royalty, being fronted by ex Republic of Loose axe man Bres and singer Orla. The sibling duo bring their unique retro R’n’B and pop sound, not to mention myriad talent, to Cars Love Girls in their first project together.
I scooped up my Tiger beer and ducked from the super chilled Chocolate Bar into the cavern of Crawdaddy – the intimate venue was wall to wall as I weaved my way front of stage. The air was thick with expectation as the band took hold, Orla and Bres on either side, with ex Boss Volenti honcho Rob Daly centre back.
Straight off the bat Cars Love Girls launched into a stonker with pristine sound, deep instrumental integrity and very impressive vocals knitting them together. Orla is a cool blonde who looks as good as she sounds, Debbie Harry cheekbones, channelling Alison Moyet through Stevie Nicks in the voice department.
It’s clear from the off that this is one smart outfit with Bres’s distinctive licks layered into loungey cuts, his own vocals a honeyed version of his sister’s powerful sound. There are shades of Republic but it’s almost as if the Breslins have distilled all the good bits and perfected them into radio friendly heaven. A girl can’t help but dance to this stuff – if Sile Seoige was here I’m sure she’d have a smile on her face! Cars Love Girls do sexy with a natural ease.
This band owned the stage and just three songs in it was obvious that something very special was happening in Crawdaddy. Belters like “Lose Your Mind” and “Cars Love Girls” are well crafted pop songs – I was picking up Prince, Steely Dan and Madonna. Excellent lyrics make up the package with songs like “Future Ex Wife” re-inventing Fleetwood Mac in funk disco – you just have to hear it!
Non stop action from the duo and a polished back up including sax player Keith transported us back to 1980’s New York. Kudos to Cars Love Girls for creating such a good feeling, Bres getting lost in spiralling instrumentals, diamante guitar strap glistening with every pick and Orla all lungs, shimmying kohl and LBD. It just works.
Lots of oohs and la la las cushioned well thought out numbers and the audience was delighted by covers of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” and Eurythmics “Heaven Must be Missing an Angel”, both of which showcased Orla’s sultry vocals. Cars Love Girls left the stage on a high, their debut a triumph and my head filled with hooks and words I look forward to dancing around my lounge to.
I bumped into Jan Van Couver and Kendrick Berrera of 80’s super group Springbreak fame bopping away in the corner. Van Couver couldn’t contain his excitement when he said “There was high expectation of this gig and the Breslins delivered. This is a sibling combo at its best – think the Carpenters, Pointer Sisters, the Bee Gees.”
I then caught front woman Orla Breslin fresh off the stage and she revealed to me how much Cars Love Girls enjoyed their first gig. “We’re really happy! Bit nervous at the beginning but we’re pretty tight so we got into it” she trilled “We’re delighted with the turn out and reaction. It’s great to be on stage with Bres, we get on and musically we bounce off each other so I love working with him.” Indeed the pair oozed a confidence that highlighted how well they work together.
Orla told me how much fun it’s been recording new material. “We’re hoping to release a single in October / November, then our album “Skip School” in the spring time” she says “And we just signed up to FM 104’s The Gig at the Olympia in October.” Then I joined the rest of the crowd, euphoric on hops and tunes, a chilled disco DJ set bringing me back to earth.