Monday, March 25, 2013

Fish in the City: Oysters

Fish in the City: Oysters
If you like your fish, then Oysters is the place to go in Cork City. Here, you can take your pick of the fish from the nearby Atlantic, fresh as fresh can be and superbly cooked in their excellent city centre restaurant in the Clarion Hotel.

Called in there this week to try out the €35.00 set menu. There is also an A La Carte menu and that is the next target. One thing I like about Oysters is the cloakroom. Your coats are put away and you can relax and read the menu at the spacious table and in your comfortable chair or seat, the place beautifully lit.

They had a little Amuse Bouche for us: Tomato Gazpacho, a lively little shot of it, sufficient to wake up your taste buds. By now, we had settled on our choices and there are quite a few choices even on the €35.00 euro menu. We had also picked our wine, a carafe of Zimmer Riesling 2010 (€19.00) and we were also sampling some terrific breads and butters, one a combination of Fennell Seed and Thyme, the other a magnificent mix of Blue Cheese, White Fish and Sundried Tomatoes.

Soon, we were tucking into our starter. CL’s was probably the more enticing looking of the two: Duck (Croquette, Parfait, Beetroot, Pear, Candied Walnuts, Truffled Dressing, and Brioche). Superb plateful, some great flavours there especially the Candied Walnuts.

Mine mightn’t have looked that well but it sure tasted great: Swordfish - Ceviche, Mango, Avocado, Fennel, Lime Confit, Pistachio, Frisee Lettuce, Citrus Oil. A super thinly sliced cut and my fishy night was up and running. Surprisingly, they had no oysters available on the night! It can happen, I suppose. I remember a few years back, sitting at a sunny table on the waterfront in Baltimore and they had no mussels!

Anyway, that was soon forgotten and we were onto the soup course. Mine was the Oysters Seafood Chowder- Pancetta, Samphire, Potatoes and Light Bisque. Chunky bits and pieces of fish with all the other bits combining to give a really lovely combination. And much the same could be said about CL’s choice: Turnip and Parsnip Velouté- Chestnut, Cep Dust.

A nicely judged gap followed before the mains arrived. We had both picked the same one: Hake- Cep Agnolotti, Smoked Sausage, Oyster Mushroom, Samphire, Pine Nuts. Once again a superb combination of flavours and textures and it certainly looked well also. A side dish of potatoes was also appreciated.

Desserts selection

And now again an appropriate pause before the desserts arrived, along with a couple of glasses of a dessert wine from Jurancon: Chateau Jolys 2009. Mine was Chocolate - Tart, Salted Caramel Mousse, White Chocolate & Banana Parfait, Sherry. Excellent, no shortage of chocolate but not too heavy either. CL settled for Chef’s Selection of Small Desserts, quite a winning selection indeed, especially that Champagne Sorbet.

So that was about it. Soon we had our coats on and heading out into the cool night. The restaurant, thanks to two big groups arriving in, was reasonably busy for a midweek stuck between bank holidays but bookings were flying in for the coming weekend. Popular place by the sound of it.

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