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If you choose Les Gourmandises in Cook Street, Cork, then you choose something different. Sure the produce is local but you rarely get Guinea-fowl on a local menu. Poached clementines on the dessert list? Service, cooking and presentation is top notch, always that touch of class. Vive la différence.
As you gather, I like the place. I’d like it even better if it didn't have the schoolroom look, those long neat rows. Would love to see a screen or two, a few tall plants maybe, just to break those straight lines (which probably have their advantages for serving). Forgot all that though as we studied the menu and got the extra information about the evening's specials.
That guinea-fowl was one of the specials and an excellent dish. It was served with lentils, black pudding, caramelised walnuts, potato fondant and pureed beetroot. Absolutely superb flavours and so well cooked. As I said, Guinea-fowl is pretty rare on local tables but I did enjoy it last year in Ballymaloe and in the Mustard Seed the year before that.
There were some nine main courses to choose from and mine was the Roasted fillet of cod, smoked white beans and braised chicory. Nothing wasted here, all three main elements combining well. I was especially pleased with the smoked beans though and, of course, that cod was so fresh and so easy to digest.
My starter was also something of a special: Goat’s Cheese mousse, with beetroot and walnuts. I know that you often get beetroot with goats cheese but this was pickled and lifted the dish. Very enjoyable though I must admit I was a little envious when I looked across the table and saw the Dublin Bay prawns served with mango crème fraiche and mango jelly. I got a wee taste, enough to confirm CL’s enthusiastic endorsement.
Desserts often follow a similar pattern but not here, so we took the sweet plunge. Poached clementines, star anise, caramel, gingerbread ice-cream for her, Fromage frais with fresh apricots, and Madeira biscuits for me. No regrets. Au contraire.
The three course price, including tea or coffee, comes to €47.50 each; wines are a stiffish €8.50 a glass. There are quite a number of possible menu variations and you can get to try the excellent food here for less. Some nights, generally early in the week, you will get tapas to share, two main courses and a glass of wine each for €39.50 for two people. Recommended. Stay up to date on all menus and special offers by checking their facebook page here.
Clementines (left) and, right from top, Goat's Cheese,
Prawns, Apricot dessert