The best full English (Irish) breakfast in Valencia and the best Sunday roast can be found at Metropolis Bistro in Ruzafa. Eugene Costello went along on Saturday and Sunday to sample both…
The best full English (Irish) breakfast in Valencia and the best Sunday roast in Valencia? Sounds like the Holy Grail to me…
So what is Metropolis? It’s the brainchild of two sisters from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Riona and Fiona Ward. They started their careers in hospitality in Boston, arguably the most Irish of all American cities, before moving to Xativa and setting up the first installation of Metropolis, which they ran successfully for four years with a loyal clientele of both Spanish and expat customers. And in March of this year (2023), they closed in Xativa and opened the doors on their new venture in Ruzafa, on Carrer de Cuba, opposite Dulce de Leche.
They specialise in good, down-to-earth Irish hospitality, albeit with some Spanish twists. This means a decent pint of Guinness – “the secret is not where you get your Guinness,” says Fiona, debunking the myth that the only decent Guinness is in Dublin, using the waters of the Liffey. “No, the secret is how you store and pour. Serve three-quarters of the pint, then wait just over two minutes before you finish the pour,” she adds. Add in Irish coffee and – of course – the breakfasts and Sunday roast, and you are in an Irish Valhalla.
And so to the breakfasts. These are served until 1:30pm on Saturdays and Sundays, and fulfilled my Proustian childhood memories. It’s a fabulous plate of food. Two decent rashers of lean, unsmoked back bacon, traditional Irish sausages, simply delicious black pudding, Irish breads (meaning two triangles of potato bread and two of white loaf with butter), fried eggs, fried tomatoes, beans and mushrooms. It’ll fill you up for the day. And served with excellent Illy coffee, café con leche for me. My aunts in Co Offaly and co Galway, God rest their souls, would surely be smiling down on me. The true taste of home for anyone from the British Isles. A very reasonable 12,50€ per plate. So you have no reason not to.
The home of Sunday roasts
And Sundays mean roasts. Choose from turkey, beef or ham – in this case, the Irish sense of ham, which the British would call gammon. The afternoon I visited with my friend Steve, the ham had sold out so he went for turkey and I, the beef.
But first the starters. Steve went for a classic prawn cocktail in a margarita glass, Marie Rose sauce, chopped iceberg lettuce – the classic, found in pubs from Dover to Derry. I had a hearty winter-warmer celery soup with chopped greens leaves as a garnish. Both of us were happy with our choices. And mains came with Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, mash, carrot and parsnip mash, purple cabbage with pear, and gravy. On top, in the centre was a ramekin filled with hearty gravy for gravy lovers. We finished our plates entirely, accompanied only by the odd “mmm”. It was the taste of home, plated up right here in Ruzafa. And at only 20€ for two courses or 22€ for three courses – I found room for the generous portion of Bailey’s cheesecake – these prices mean the green, green fields of home come with a very affordable price tag. Sunday roasts are served from 1:30pm on Sundays. Do WhatsApp ahead to avoid disappointment.
A Proustian revocation of childhood
Sure, I love Spanish food and Valencia has some world-class restaurants but as a Londoner with Irish parents, the full Monty breakfast and the Sunday roast sing to me of past lives, conjuring up visits “home”, as my parents always called Ireland. The dark, mutinous Shannon waves, to quote James Joyce, that leaked into fields not half a mile from my mother’s birthplace, creating boggy fields. Or the broad, majestic Shannon, as the sadly passed poet Shane MacGowan wrote. The peat fire burning in a relative’s farmhouse range, sending its warm, smoky smell across verdant fields. The evocative lowing of cows nearing milking time. The pealing of a country church bell at dusk. And comfort food being prepared in an open kitchen for when we came in from the fields. Heaven. And thank you to Metropolis for provoking my nostalgic reverie…
• Metropolis Bistro, Carrer de Cuba, 48, 46004 Valencia; +34 648 69 75 74