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Great to get in out of the winter’s night and get comfortable in Amicus in Paul Street. We were rather early but the place was filling up. Soon we were comfortably seated at our table and studying the huge menu. We weren't aware they had an early bird as well but that menu was also presented to us and indeed we choose from it.
It seems the Early Bird is doing well for some restaurants around town. We passed the Strasbourg Goose about 6.30pm that Wednesday evening and they were packed! Obviously three courses for €20.50 is a good draw. Amicus at €21.95 for three courses is only marginally more expensive.
Amicus, who grow much of their salad and vegetables themselves at their southside allotments, source their meat and fish locally and they list The Chicken Inn, Ballycotton Seafood, Kay O’Connell’s, Fasnet, Durcan Meats and O’Crualaoi among their suppliers. They have a full bar service (wine, spirits, beers, cocktails etc) here but, aside from Murphy’s Stout, don’t seem to have any local beer on their list.
The Amicus operation in Paul Street is spread over three floors and they are going all day long with Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, even a takeaway service, available. Service on the ground floor was excellent, friendly, helpful and efficient.
This is the Early Bird starter selection: Soup of the Day; Selection of Bread and Dips; Bruschetta of Cherry Tomato, Feta and Basil; Spicy Chicken Wings with Garlic Dip; Nachos Covered with Tomato Sauce, Cheese, Guacamole and Sour Cream; and the Amicus Caesar Salad. I picked the Chicken Wings, quite a tasty and substantial opener, while CL enjoyed her Sourdough Bruschetta.
Believe it or not, there are no less than twelve options in the main course section,everything from a Cajun Chicken Salad to a Chicken (or vegetable ) Curry, including 8 oz sirloin at €3.95 extra. CL choose their Fish Cakes, served with Chilli Jam, House Salad and Wedges. This was a massive plateful!
Smoked Salmon Pizza
One of the options was a pizza and you could pick any from the main menu. I thought the Smoked Salmon (white pizza), consisting of Smoked Salmon, Sour cream, capers, caramelised onions, peppers and mozzarella, looked interesting. And so it proved. The onions and salmon were a cracking combination, very enjoyable overall.
Dessert menu: Sticky Toffee Pavlova, Chocolate Fudge Cake, Warm Apple Pie and Cream,
Mixed Fruit Crumble, Sauce Anglaise, Selection of Ice-creams. If you wish, you may have a glass of wine or beer instead of dessert or starter. Made a note to myself for the future to take the wine or beer and skip the dessert!
See some more photos, these by Billy MacGill....here
CORK GOURMET TRAIL
Captains Sylvia and Sandra
of pirates gathered in Cork City on Saturday. But their intentions were benign.
Make the most of the inaugural Cork Gourmet Trail was the
mission and it was accomplished with much fun, thanks to our merry captains.
call was to Soho in
mid-morning where a Pannier Champagne reception
was laid on. There was a pirate hat competition running and early favourites
emerged at the photo call. Champers downed, the gathering was divided into
three crews and marched out on to the streets.
by feisty captains Sylvia and Sandra, our crew wandered peacefully through the
side streets until we reached Greens by the
Waterfall where the host restaurant was joined by Isaacs and the
dishing up the grub. The grog, as was the case in all four venues, was sponsored
by Classic Drinks.
Next host was Electric, again
through the side streets including a stop in Oliver Plunkett Street and a song
which earned the singing pirate a meal out for two!
music at Electric where Pa Fitz entertained and where the high standard of food
was maintained by Jacobs, the
and Electric itself. Still one more food stop to go and that was at the
Cornstore where the providers were Amicus, Fenns Quay and Cornstore.
five o’clock, the different crews re-united upstairs at the nearby Bodega to
compare notes and the bounty – some restaurants, including Jacobs and Electric,
gave out meal or wine vouchers – and listen to the band. The quiz and costumes
winners were announced and the Bodega management offered everyone a free drink.
Pat Fitz at Electric
was a very enjoyable day and very encouraging for the organisers. Looks like one
that will be repeated. Personally, I enjoyed every moment, from that first
starter of Jack McCarthy Black Pudding with Apple Sauce by Isaacs to the final
Chocolate Mousse in a mini-cornet by Fenns Quay.
hard to sample everything; don't think it was possible. My favourite of
those that I did try out was the Chicken Balti with the French Morteau sausage
by Augustine’s. Isaac’s breaded lamb chop and Electric’s cold sea bass dish
were other favourites.
I was just one of many and others spoke to me of enjoying their particular
favourites and I heard that the Tapas type offerings of some restaurants went
down very well, the Boardwalk’s steaks were popular was were the Chinese
offerings of the Ambassador.
for everyone then and nice to see some chefs trying something different such as
the “Gravalaix of Tuna in a Nori seaweed” by the Rising Tide and the different
take on the Seafood Chowder by Greene’s who also had a terrific Beetroot Soup
on their table.
a word of praise to Classic Drinks who not alone kept the thirsty crews well lubricated
but also took the trouble to post up plenty of information about the wines and
varied the offerings from restaurant to restaurant, usually matching a red with
a white from the same area. In Electric for example, they had a Muriel Blanco
2009 along with a Muriel CVC Rioja 2006.
a big thanks to Classic, to Pannier, to all the restaurants and especially to the
organisers! Just picked up a message in a bottle down the quays and it reads:
Let’s do it all again next year!
My first impressions on entering Paul Street’s Amicus, after a long absence, were good. There was a jolly welcome and we were escorted to our lunchtime table upstairs. Seating was comfortably and the place looked good and clean.
The service was friendly and smooth throughout and we were asked if everything was okay two or three times which is about sufficient.
The food was excellent. I went for the specials, I often do. Started with a Celery and Bacon Soup, a hearty bowl of freshness with plenty of tasty bits in there.
Picked the main course off the board: Lamb with vegetables, garlic and rosemary mashed potato and a red win jus. Everything here was spot on, particular the vegetables which were cooked to a t, indeed a degree or two better than in a recent dish at Market Lane where they were a touch too hard.
They really have a huge menu here, huge choices and some bargains to be had. The drink list is also extensive and they sell red wines by the glass. I picked the De Gras Cabernet Sauvignon and this deep red medium bodied Chilean was great value at €4.95.
The bill for two (2 starters, 2 mains and 2 wines) came to €42.80. Would be quite willing to go back there again for an evening meal.
Got a comment recently from Mel who included Jacques in a short list of his favourite restaurants. It is on mine as well.
Was in there last night and had a gorgeous meal. I chose Brill on a bed of greens with a hollandaise sauce. Absolutely worth the wait, a magnificent combination. There was no doubt that the Brill was the star of the dish, the sauce there to offer appropriate support.
A few days earlier, I had been in Amicus and made the mistake of ordering the Trio of Fish without properly studying the menu. It was smothered in the rich creamy sauce. The haddock wasn't too bad but the other two (salmon and sole) were anonymous. The advisor had Sole with a Butter sauce and her fish and veg were all swimming in the sauce.
In Jacques, they do it properly as they respect the main ingredient. Last night, the Advisor’s main course was an absolutely spot on Monkfish tempura. The fish was gorgeous in a very light batter. Again the fish was the star, the batter the support
Desserts are top class also in Jacques. Last night, I had the most divine Bread and Butter Pudding, with winter fruits (raisins and apricots mainly) sumptuous, scrumptious, while the Advisor had her favourite raspberries with vanilla pod ice-cream.
Wine was an award winning Sauvignon (Luc, I think) from the Beziers area of the Midi. It is the current house wine and costs €22.90. Enjoyed it. Enjoyed the evening.
The lively Amicus restaurant, in its relatively new location in Paul Street, is about as central as you can get in the city. It has an extensive reasonably priced menu and produces good food. It doesn’t do reservations and sometimes you have to wait for a table.
Our latest visit started for me with a bowl of Moules Mariniere (dear enough at €10.00), with the traditional white wine, garlic and onion sauce. The cooking time was obviously spot-on and they were very tasty, though I could have done with a piece of bread. The Advisor began with a small bowl of Olives (€3.00). These too can be recommended.
On to the main course, where I took a chance and went for the Roasted Vegetable Salad. It consisted of Courgettes, Aubergines, Peppers and Onions, laid on a bed of couscous and baby spinach and served with a few splashes of organic yogurt and pesto. There was quite a plateful. The spinach and couscous bed worked very well and I enjoyed the peppers and the onions but I must admit I found the Aubergine and Courgette fairly soggy and therefore heavy going.
The Advisor went for the Sicilian curry, the chicken version. That was served in its own bowl and accompanied, on the main plate, by rice, relish, etc. All nicely presented and a treat to eat.
We felt we had room for dessert but none of the seven on the list was very tempting so we gave it a skip and finished off the wine. The total bill came to €59.00, plus tip.
That wine was probably the highlight of the night. For €19.00, we got an organic Montgras Soleus Sauvignon Blanc from Chile. This is a top class wine that belies its price tag. It is refreshing with a strong herby flavour that lingers. It also comes with a 14% kick.
Maybe our Irish waitress was new to the job. She certainly didn't have any great knowledge of the menu. For instance, she was asked what vegetables accompanied a certain dish and her reply: “Peppers and things”. Could do better!
While Amicus is certainly a place to go to, there is one section within the place that you should try and avoid. That is around the entrance area. We have been there once or twice and felt the draughts. The entrance is screened off by big glass panels and there are tables right alongside. The trouble is that there is a small gap, running the full height of the panels, and the draughts get through there and make life uncomfortable (the big glass window onto Paul Street doesn’t help either). So if your waitress is taking you to a seat in that area, ask for a different table.
Ironically, having said all that, right outside is the smoking area and there, in a chilly September evening, the dedicated puffers, some in lightweight sleeveless tops, are enjoying themselves with no worries about draughts. It takes all kinds! Amicus now have a Tapas bar in full operation upstairs and I look forward to paying a visit there and see how it compares with Boqueria in Bridge Street.