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The New Yorker at the Cork International Airport Hotelis one of the most stylish restaurants in the city and also one of the best. Comfort and service levels are very high here and so too is the cuisine under Hugh Bailey and Stuart Dardis.
The restaurant and bar area is very spacious and that means room to stretch your legs and relax as you study the menu, a menu refreshed by daily specials. I started with one of the regular items: a superb assemblage of Cork's Own Spiced Beef, dressed leeks and shavings of Hegarty’s Cheddar. Looked well and tasted even better.
The other starter was one of the specials: A Tian of crab with Pineapple and chili salsa and avocado and creme fraiche. One of the best crab dishes I've come across recently. Other starters included Oysterhaven Chowder, Goat Cheese Tart, Crispy Duck Spring Rolls and Classic Caesar Salad and a selection of Manhattan Salads.
On to the mains then and again there was a very good choice. Lots of local fish on the South Street Seaport section of the menu including Fish and Chips and the suggested drink here is the local Stonewell Cider. However, we bought from the Meatpacking District and bought well, I might add!
Tian of crab
For me it was the Char grilled Angus 8 oz steak (25.50) with roasted tomato, braised field mushroom, glazed shallots, chunky chips and a choice of sauces. Perfectly cooked and totally tender, this was just what the doctor ordered. Fitted the bill perfectly after a “hard” works reunion the night before!
The other mains on the spacious table was the Lamb Shank Tagine (16.50) with couscous, mint yoghurt and pomegranate, another superb dish.
Desserts, aside from the cheese plate, are all 5.75, and the two that we enjoyed were the Wild Berry Vanilla Baked Cheesecake and the Lemon Meringue Pie with Mango Foam.
The wine, their Wine of the Month, was the J Moreau et Fils Pinot Noir (2012) described as a wine “which is easily enjoyed on its own or with a wide variety of foods from fish to chicken, pork and red meats”. Worked out very well for us, very enjoyable.
After the meal, we were given a tour of the hotel by Avril Ring, the Food and Beverage Manager. The new owners are certainly making a big impression and, if you are a local like me and haven't been here for a couple of years, I’d certainly recommend a visit.
If you are coming to stay in Cork, then the hotel is well worth considering as it is well placed for city and, with the South Ring Road close by, for East Cork, and especially for Kinsale and points further west. Check out the packages (family, golf, fly/drive etc) here.
The ground floor lobby is really bright and welcoming. If you're waiting for someone to arrive or maybe relaxing after a meeting, sit back in the comfortable seats, and there is no shortage, read the paper or admire the decor. And if you're there on Friday night, then you’ll have live piano music.
The lobby used to be upstairs but is now much better placed to welcome guests. Other changes for the better include a new private function area, a carvery and a breakfast room, all with a built in flexibility that allows management to enhance the services to customers.
That same flexibility applies to function (weddings, banquets) and meeting rooms (conferences). The rooms can cater for anything from two people to three hundred and fifty.
These rooms also illustrate a shift in the image of the hotel. From the outset you knew you were in a airport hotel with many reminders of life in the air around the place and much of that remains.
The new theme though is cities, hence the New Yorker. Many of the rooms are now named after individual cities. For instance, one of the smaller meeting rooms that we saw was Dubai and that had a picture of one of the rather unusual buildings for which Dubai is famous.
And, if you've arrived from a city centre hotel in Paris or Rome, you won't believe the amount of space you'll have in your bedroom. They have 140 of them, ranging from standard to large family (two bathrooms, one for the teens!). And the younger kids are really well catered for. There have their own cinema and a lovely play room.
And if you're here for a month's work (maybe in the Airport Business Park) then check out the four apartments. Massive and home from home!
All in all, the new investment is showing up well. The investment is not just in bricks and mortar. All the staff we have come across seem proud to be part of the team and are looking forward to the future, secure in the knowledge that more investment and improvement are on the way.
Already it is one of the leading hotels in the area and I would certainly recommend a visit to check it out. And do have a bite to eat while you're there!