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Monday, October 7, 2013
Chart House is Tops
The Chart House in Dingle was the destination on Friday night. It had been a fabulous day in the beautiful peninsula and the meal here rounded it off superbly. We have eaten in some really excellent restaurants this year, from Donegal to Limerick, from Cork to the Loire, and I’m happy to say that The Chart House is one of the very best.
It is a lovely small restaurant where you get a terrific welcome from Jim McCarthy and his friendly knowledgeable staff. Some walls have exposed stone and some are hung with quality artwork, including at least one large scale piece by local artist Liam O’Neill.
Much of the produce used is sourced locally and you can see that marked on the menu. And if it is not from Dingle or its environs, it won't have travelled too far. There is something refreshingly light about the meals here; you leave the table feeling pleasantly full but not stuffed and you’ll have enjoyed some really flavoursome dishes.
My meal started with the Ham Hock Spring Roll with sun-dried tomato and poppy seed orzo, remoulade mayonnaise. Had been doing a lot of tasting on the previous day for Blas na hEireann but this alluring plateful fully revived the taste buds.
CL was also delighted with her Chart House Salad of maple dressed leaves layered with air dried ham, cantaloupe melon, toasted hazelnuts, spring onion, cherry tomatoes and grated parmesan. A delectable combination of textures and flavours.
I’m a big fan of Spanish white wines and, was delighted to see a blend of Verdejo and Viura on the list. The Rueda Esparanza was crisp and refreshing, with delicate floral aromas, and really fruity. Absolutely delicious!
Back to the eating now and the main course. The Pan-seared Hake was CL’s choice and that was served with a chorizo and chickpea stew, asparagus and rosemary butter. Another engaging combination of textures and flavours.
I went for the Tenderloin of Pork with sautéed summer cabbage, dauphinoise potato, apple purée and thyme juice. The pork was delicious and tender. Jim told me it had come from a new supplier in Kilgarvan and he was delighted with this find. So was I!
I have become a little wary of desserts recently, mainly because you get much the same offerings in most restaurants. But not here. Mine was Poached Pear with warm gingerbread, vanilla ice-cream and butterscotch sauce. CL picked the Warm Rhubarb Crumble with Blackberry Ice-cream and a little jug of sauce Anglaise. They make their own ice-cream and are rightly proud of it.
We certainly enjoyed the desserts and the meal overall and so took note when Jim told us to be sure and call on the following day as he had some good things for the Dingle Food Festival Taste Trail. We sure did and he sure had. And the word had gone around the town as the queue was long but a taste of that Blackberry ice-cream while we waited was a lovely wee bonus.
Well worth a visit and very highly recommended. For post on the Dingle Food Fest and the Blas Awards, please click here.