Showing posts with label Les Gourmandises. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Les Gourmandises. Show all posts

Sunday, February 21, 2016

One Farmers Market. One Restaurant. Weekend: Douglas, Les Gourmandises

One Farmers Market. One Restaurant
Weekend: Douglas, Les Gourmandises
I took the opportunity at the weekend to get to the Douglas Farmers Market and also to revisit Les Gourmandises in the city centre.

The farmers market has now moved from Dunnes Stores car park to a new spot in the centre of Douglas village, on the plaza by Marks & Spencers. It is a compact location and the reports are good. It is open on Saturdays, from 10.00am until 2.00pm.
Old Millbank Salmon Pate - with some chunky bits added!
Some excellent stalls here, including the Rocketman, Badger & Dodo coffee, Ballycurraginny Farm vegetables (not forgetting their gorgeous Joe’s Farm vegetable crisps), Arbutus Breads, O'Driscoll's Fish from Schull, Old Millbank Smoked Salmon, Woodside Farm, Brendan's Burritos, Sonny’s Broth, West Cork Pies, Green Field Farm, Ballycotton Free Range Farm, O’Leary’s Mountain Lamb, Cloud Confectionery, Dingle Cookie Company, Volcano Wood-fired Pizza, Mealagulla Orchards, Barry’s Nurseries, Clothilde Compotes, along with some others. Guest stalls too feature.

O’Driscoll’s, no matter where you find them (Midleton and the Coal Quay are among their venues), are always popular. We often go for the popular fish but this time the red gurnard caught our eye. So that was the main course for Saturday. And we got our starter across the way from Old Millbank. They had a nice tub of Salmon Pate (with one that included a few chunks of the salmon as well!).
Red Gurnard at O'Driscoll's
Lunch too came from Douglas, a pot of that delicious aromatic Chicken Broth by Sonny (we added some noodles). It is a Vietnamese broth and the proper title is Phỏ Gà and was a recent Taste of the Week. Check it out here, if you have a chance.

The other main purchase was some shoulder of pork from Woodside for Sunday's dinner, the order to cook it low and slow. We got an unsolicited recommendation from another customer who thought it was fantastic and told us his 93 year old mother is thrilled with it as it reminds her of the real taste from a long ways back.

Some low and slow cooking too in Les Gourmandises on Friday night. Slow cooked beef, braised carrots, baby onions, and smoked Gubbeen lardons, with a delicious red wine jus, was my superb main course, with a side plate of sauteed potatoes. CL’s choice was also excellent: Braised lamb shoulder with smoked potatoes, braised onion and Savoy Cabbage.
We had a fine choice for starters. We had eaten some of them before including the excellent Prawns in Filo pastry with Mango jelly and Mango creme fraiche and the Roasted on the Bone Quail with coconut, cumin, basmati and apricots.

My pick this time was the Carpaccio (named after the Venetian painter) of Spiced beef, tomato, pickled and shaved parmesan while CL took the Castletownbere Crab Salad, brioche croutons, peaches and piccalilli. Both good but, next time, we may go back to the brilliant prawns and the quail!

Desserts again had no shortage of choice, up to seven, including a selection plate for sharing. No sharing this time though! My pick was the Warm Chocolate Fondant with butterscotch centre and vanilla ice cream. Pretty good. CL was delighted with her Caramelised Apple Tart with Five Spice and cinnamon ice cream. All good. No tea or coffee though, not at €3.65 a cup!
New location, in centre of Douglas
There is a good selection of house wines, all Old World, and all at €29.50 a bottle or €8.50 a glass. Haven't seen that kind of uniformity anywhere else! My glass was a 2012 Portuguese blend of Tempranillo, Castelao and Syrah, called Pinta Negra Tinta, nice and smooth with dark fruits. CL sipped happily from an organic wine, Fontana Bodegas from Castille (Spain), a 100 percent Tempranillo (2014).

There are quite a number of possible menu variations and you can get to try the excellent food here for less than the €47.50 (the cost of our 3-course menu). There is also a Prix Fixe menu and here you may have three courses (from a more limited selection) for €32.50. Most nights, maybe not all night, you will get tapas to share, two main courses and a glass of wine each for €39.50 for two people. Stay up to date on all menus and special offers by checking their Facebook page here.
Oh La La! Chocolat! 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Les Gourmandises. Vive la différence.

Les Gourmandises

That Bit Different.

Guinea fowl

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

Les Gourmandises suppliers include:

Meat – John O’Flynns & Sons, Marlboro Street
Fish – O’Connells, English Market
Shellfish de la Mer – Castletownbere, West Cork
Moynihan butcher, Grand Parade, English Market
Smoked Gubbeen smoked house . Gubbeen
Caherbeg free range pork , Rosscarbery, West Cork
Cheesemongers – Iago
Poultry, Moynihan , English Market
Bread – The Natural Bread Company

Les Gourmandises
(021) 425 1959

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Les Gourmandises the big winners at Munster Restaurants Awards

Top Restaurants in Munster Announced at Santa Rita Irish Restaurants Awards

The Munster Regional Final for the Restaurant Awards 2012 sponsored by Santa Rita / Sunday Independent Life Magazine took place in The Imperial Hotel, Tuesday 3rd April 2012.
Speaking at the awards last night, Adrian Cummins of the Restaurants Association of Ireland said
Since their inception, the Irish Restaurant Awards have cast a spotlight on Ireland’s hottest restaurants and chefs. They have become a byword for quality, class and achievement… The awards everyone wants to win. As a testament to their success, the entries have doubled since last year, with 5,000 nominations made for Ireland’sfavourite Restaurants, Chefs, Gastro Pubs, Hotel Restaurants and Local Food Heroes throughout the Country.
We celebrate the award winning cuisines and the great restaurateurs and chefs who have brought international recognition and accolades to the Irish restaurant scene.  We are the economic engine rooms in every town in Ireland, creating and maintaining much needed local employment.  Our industry has annual sales in excess of €2 billion and we employ 64,000 people.  In fact, we are the largest employer within the Irish Tourism Sector. And tonight, everyone is a winner’.
It was great to see  over 240 restaurateurs attend  the awards in the Ulster region this year., we look forward to seeing all of the Ulster County Winners in Dublin on the 14thMay 2012 where Regional and All Ireland winners will be announced’.
Nominations for the awards were made by readers of the Sunday Independent Life Magazine and members of the Restaurants Association of Ireland. All nominees are then assessed by Regional Judging panels, made up of Industry experts across the region.  Votes from the Consumer, Members of the Restaurants Association of Ireland and the Regional Judges are independently assessed by KPMG who give us our County Winner in each category.

All County winners will now compete for the Regional and All Ireland Title which will be announced at the Irish Restaurant Awards in the Burlington Hotel Dublin on Wednesday 14th May . 
There are 3 components to phase two of the process. Each element is independently assessed by KPMG.
1. Mystery Guest Visit (35%) This component of the awards is conducted by Prism Consulting headed by Hugo Arnold, independent food writer and consultant. ( All County Winners receive a mystery guest visit throughout the month of April.
2. National Awards Academy (55%) Our National Awards Academy is made up representatives from each of the regional judging panels and will meet in May to Judge the County Winners.
3. Menu Judging (10%) All County winners and the Dublin Shortlist in each category are asked to submit a copy of their food menu and wine list for judging.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Les Gourmandises. 1er classe!


Les Gourmandises - 1er classe

It wasn’t a full house but the chef played a blinder at Les Gourmandises on Friday night. In terms of execution, presentation, taste, creativity and innovation, this was a masterclass, a feast for the eye as much as for the mouth. Exquisite.

CL is not really a Risotto person but her starter (Tomato and Basil Risotto, goat cheese beignet, olive oil and parmesan) captured and captivated her: “one of the best starters ever”. Tomato and Basil are a terrific combination and that came through here. Looked well and tasted really well.

I picked one of the specials: Prawns (shelled) in Filo Pastry with Mango Crème Fraiche and Mango jus. I’ve often had prawns in pastry before but this was in a class of its own. Five or six juicy prawns, all perfectly cooked, stood in the “pond” of gorgeous mango, one of my favourite exotic fruits. Used my hands all through the delicious demolition.

Monkfish Beignets with aubergine puree, tomato chutney and parsnip crisp was the main course that we both ordered. Served on a slate, it looked great. And rather substantial too as you can see from the picture, with three small bowls of beignets and puree and a dish of sautéed potatoes (each not much bigger than a marble) on the side.

Substantial or not, the slate was cleaned. Again, the fish was cooked to perfection and matched so well by the aubergine. By the way, those parsnip crisps weren't just for decoration! A lovely dish.

Now on to the dessert, where we took the sharing plate (sharing slate, really): Coconut panna cotta, Mango posset, chocolate gateau and chocolate crème brûlée. Perhaps a little too much chocolate for us at the end of a gorgeous meal but all perfectly done and very enjoyable indeed.

We picked from the €45.00 menu: three courses and also tea or coffee. We could have had two courses (without tea or coffee) for €38.50. There is an excellent wine list here, dominated by French producers. Just had one glass (7.00) of an un-oaked Beaujolais Chardonnay, Domaine des Nugues. Don’t think I’ve come across it before and it went very well indeed with my monkish.

Though I wouldn’t particularly like to be seated in the middle row, Les Gourmandises is generally quite a comfortable restaurant, with decent seating and well set tables. Service is pleasant, with a smile, and also with information freely volunteered to help you make a decision with your order.

Local suppliers include: Meat - John O'Flynn's & Sons, Marlboro Street
Fish - O’Connell’s, English Market
Shellfish de la Mer - Castletownbere, West Cork
Love Fish - Ballycotton, Co Cork
Springfield Organic Vegetables - Tipperary
Cheesemongers - Iago, English Market

Monday, September 12, 2011

LES GOURMANDISES: Premiere classe


With recent Food & Wine kudos for both the chef and the sommelier, you’d have thought we were on a good thing when we visited Les Gourmandises at the weekend. Well, we were but we knew that even before the awards were announced as this Cook Street restaurant is, and has been for some time now, one of the very best in Cork.

Started with the Les Gourmandises tasting plate: Parsnip Soup, Black Pudding with Foie Gras and breaded John Dory with green puree. The Parsnip soup was delightful; the Black Pudding outshone the Foie Gras while the fish was spot on. A good start is half the battle.

Next up for me was the Roasted duck leg confit with confit potato and cherry. A beautiful piece of duck, so well cooked. It also looked fantastic, a tempting light colour, and it fell away from the bone at the slightest touch. Tasted as well as it looked, much better than similar efforts I ate in the Dordogne in the summer of 2010.

CL was also very happy with Fillet of Cod with Celeriac and Apple puree and mushrooms. The fish and puree combination was top class, every little bit welcomed onto the palate. We both got a side dish of sautéed potatoes, shaped into small globes, not much bigger than marbles (or glassy alleys, as we say around here).

We each had the same dessert: Red Berry Jelly and Lavender Panacotta, with a Lemon Madeleine. I’ve had some variation of this here previously. It was fresh and lively, a really smashing way to finish off a meal, the combination of sight and taste sending two happy customers on our way into the night.

We were on the Prix Fixe menu which is priced at €27.50 for two courses, €29.50 for three. Do the math and you’ll see that the dessert cost just two euro! Two glasses of Lombeline wine, one Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire, the other Syrah/Grenache from the Gard, brought the bill to €72.70.

No complaints with the wines, each was excellent. The following day, by chance, I spotted that The Wine Store sells the Sauvignon Blanc for €10.99 a bottle. The glass at Les Gourmandises is priced at €6.85. The Bridge Bar and Grill in Dublin internet site lists their glass price at €7.00, their bottle at €24.00. These would all seem to be rather large mark ups.

And the other thing about Irish restaurants selling wine by the glass is that you are rarely told how much wine is your glass, whereas in some European countries, Austria for example, you have the choice of one or two decilitres and, in some cases, the glass is marked.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Les Gourmandises

Les Gourmandises 

Delighted with my most recent visit to Les Gourmandises . Fine French Dining is printed on their card and it is no empty motto. They live up to it. Making your way through the courses here is an exercise in delicacy.

If you find yourself in

Friday, October 23, 2009

Les Gourmandises Restaurant in Cork

Different Class

Chocolate Brownie on a slate doesn’t promise much as a dessert but you should try it at Les Gourmandises Restaurant in 17 Cook Street. In fact, you should, I should, try everything at this different class establishment as there are pleasant ambushes in every course.
My starter last evening was mackerel on a red onion bed along with a goat’s cheese panacotta. The advisor had a tasting starter, samples of chicken liver parfait, prawns in filo and a cup of parsnip soup. Besides we both drew from the delicious fresh breads. A very promising opening.
Main course for me (like my starter) was the chef’s recommendation: ham hock moulded to a cylindrical shape, standing on a disc of smoked ham which in turn stood on a bed of Savoy Cabbage, the sauce being apple purée and sage. Well and originally presented and beautiful to eat.
The other main course was another brilliant dish: bream with aubergine purée and a cherry tomato and sage sauce. Gorgeous.
We each had the chef’s recommendation for dessert: a rice pudding, served with, on the side, caramelised banana and that smashing Chocolate Brownie! Just the thing to finish off a smashing meal and put you in the mood to call again.
There is decent selection of wines by glass, half bottle and full bottle. We compromised on the Puilly sur Loire, a crisp refreshing tingling Sauvignon Blanc with a mineral hint. Just the job!
By the way, quite a few of the meals are served on a slate which enables the chef to use his presentation artistry! And he does!
It doesn’t come cheap – three courses cost close to forty euro although there is a market menu for thirty euro.

Check out my review of Les Gourmandises Restaurant - I am cork - on Qype