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Monday, December 3, 2012
Seven Up for Fresco Bistro
They called it the Rebel Fusion Menu and Fresco Bistro made sure it lived up to its name. Based on the best of Irish ingredients, Chef Kash and his crew came up with a stunning series of dishes, some with a European influence, others with an Asian touch, all delicious and illustrating how the food revolution, inspired by our immigrants, has changed the plates of Cork.
And to cap it all, the wine pairings by the experts at L’Atitude 51 were spot-on, with wines from California, Australia and Europe. Must say too that the service here was excellent, the staff friendly and well informed on the dishes and the wines.
If pushed, I might say that the Brisket Tart and Sausage was my favourite course of the seven but, if pushed another way, I might go for that opening Cappuccino or indeed any course at all. Think I’ll just let the pictures do the talking here.
Oh, by the way, it looks as if Fresco Bistro, so hugely encouraged by the response to the venture, will be doing something similar on a regular basis. So, watch this space.
Ummera Smoked Salmon Cappuccino
A Cappuccino with a difference using Ummera Smoked Salmon and Ballyhoura Shiitake mushroom served with pistachio biscotti. "A brilliant blend, the salmon shining through."
The Wine: 2010 Clay Station (California) Viognier.
Criostoir's Rebel County Spiced Beef.
Spiced beef bon bon pasta accompanied with smoked bacon, cabbage roll and horseradish beurre blanc.
"A new way with spiced beef! And that cabbage roll was gorgeous."
The Wine: 2010 Casteliroig (Spain) Xarel-lo
O'Crualaoi's Beef and Ginseng Consomme.
Beef consomee topped with goji berries, venison wanton and quail eggs.
"Loved those little berries, the eggs, the venison, everything."
The Wine: 2008 Cat Amongst the Pigeons (Australia) Cabernet Sauvignon.
Murphy's Organic Salmon Teriyaki.
Mixed berry teriyaki of salmon on sobi noodles and a red miso brother, topped with shichimi togarashi.
"A brilliant super tasty dish influenced by the land of the rising sun."
The Wine: 2010 Temps de Flor (Spain) Xarel-lo, Muscat and Gewurztraminer
Ballycotton Jumbo Scampi
Pan-fried jumbo prawns with an Asian Salad tossed in a soy, garlic and thyme dressing with an Agar Basil Jelly.
"The prawns were brilliant here and that salad was special. The black cylinder is the Agar. Wasn't too popular!"
The Wine: 2008 Rosso di Montalcino (Italy) Sangiovese.
Criostoir's Brisket Tart and Murphy's Beef Sausages.
A tender brisket filled with quail's eggs in a tart, baked to perfection and accompanied with homemade Murphy's beef sausage.
"Yet another top notch dish. The pie was irresistible; terrific sausage and jus."
The Wine: 2008 Chateau Ventenac Reserve (France) Cab Sauv, Merlot and Syrah.
Mixed Berries Pulut
An Asian glutinous rice dessert with berries, served with egg and coconut jam, flavoured with screwpine leaf.
"Wasn't too sure about the rice when I saw this but it was fine with the berries providing a lovely contrast. That jam was yet another treat."
The Wine: Franciacorta Brut (Italy) Chardonnay and Pinot Nero.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Fresco Value and Variety
Spent a pleasant interlude yesterday in the Fresco Bistro and was once again reminded of the excellence of the place in terms of variety and value. With the college “populating” itself again, the restaurant was busy enough for lunch but deserves to be better known and better supported.
There is terrific value here, quality too of course, as one would not be much good without the other. Almost all the specials on the board were under a tenner. Just the day before, I had a very ordinary carvery Roast of the Day (Bacon) in a suburban pub; meat and veg were fine but the potatoes were rock hard and it cost €12.99. Not great quality and no great value there. That dish would end up at the bottom if put in competition against anything at Fresco.
The variety at the Glucksman restaurant was underlined when we got a plate full of hot tapas and two glasses of wine, all part of a discount scheme now reaching its conclusion. The tapas are not a regular item on the menu and we had to ring in advance.
We enjoyed a brilliant selection, all with an Asian touch: chicken, pork, beef, calamari, fish, prawns and more. They came with three brilliant sauces, sauces that didn’t come out of a bottle: Satay, Sweet chilli and Raita.
I had been looking at the dessert specials on and off during the tapas and couldn’t leave without trying. We picked the Mixed Berry Tart (€4.00) and Jamaican Rum Banana and Fruit Tart (€5.00). Had a half of each and, hours later, I’m still very contented!
So well done to Brian and Chef Kash along with their very pleasant and efficient staff. Keep up the very good work and hope to see you all again soon.
|Mixed Berry Tart|
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Fresco and the art of Food
Nicoise Salad Grilled marinated fresh ahi tuna that we enjoyed there a few months back but Brian tells it is the Teriyaki of Salmon Salad, another excellent dish that I sampled at the recent food fest in Fitzerald's Park.
So well done to Brian, to Kash and to all the lovely and helpful staff at Fresco Bistro and best of luck for the future. Oh, by the way. What does Art Taste Like? Just brilliant is the answer!
Friday, March 30, 2012
|Click on image to enlarge|
Fresco Bistro is a bright spot, almost hidden away in the tress of lower UCC and by the impressive bulk of the Glucksman Gallery directly above. But a spot worth visiting, as I found out when I called there yesterday. You walk into the Glucksman as normal and then go downstairs. This takes you to the Bistro and its floor to ceiling views of the college lawns and more importantly to some classy food.
Brian Casey, one of the principals, had invited me out to sample the meals and boy was I glad I took him up on it. Brian made another good move when serving us with soup while we waited. It was a Lamb Harira Moroccan style hearty lamb soup with chick pea, coriander, lemon, mint and tender lamb pieces (€5.00).
Eating and drinking in it as they say around this city but still light, slightly spicy, moderately aromatic and those little chucks of lamb were certainly tender. A brilliant combination even if the temperatures outside were around the 20c mark.
Quite a choice of main courses as you can see from the site but there are also a number of daily specials, marked on the blackboard.
CL choose the Nicoise Salad Grilled marinated fresh ahi tuna, on organic mixed leaf salad, tossed in a homemade tomato dressing (€8.95). Just superb, everything done to perfection. The salad, so nicely dressed, had a nice crunchy bite, but always a pleasure never a chore. Fantastic dish, fantastic price.
And I could say the same about mine: Seafood Risotto Risotto Cooked in a melange of seafood, fresh asparagus and wild mushroom €9.95. The colourful rice was packed with little pieces of fish, prawns, salmon and white fish and that fresh asparagus was a tasty contributor to the overall pleasure. Great stuff.
The good things continued with the desserts, both under a fiver. I thoroughly enjoyed my Flourless Chocolate Cake, lighter than normal. And CL was very happy with her Apple and Blackberry Tart. No mistaking the apple: real chunks by comparison with that ghastly goo that you see used in some other restaurants.
While I had heard good things about Fresco Bistro over the past few months, I must say I was surprised by the excellence of the dishes and the very competitive pricing. The location too is lovely, especially if the sun shines (there is an outdoor section). But, believe me, the food is so good, it is a place you can visit in any weather!