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Electric Start to Beery Good Night Fish Bar Specials
Mackerel, Bisque and Plaice
You’ve got to hand it to the team at Electric. They got a great idea when deciding to turn the upstairs outside deck into an indoor fish bar. It’s one thing getting the spark but another thing altogether to turn it into a working reality. But that’s just what has happened here. It makes for a lovely visit every single time and I certainly enjoyed my hour or two here last Friday evening.
The menu keeps changing but the cooking and presentation is always good, often excellent, and you just got to love the informal service, smiles, chats and effortlessly efficiency. We sipped a gorgeous José Pariente Reuda Verdejo (used to be the house wine at El Bulli’s) as we studied the specials list.
We each started with a bowl of Lobster Bisque, served with rouille croutons. The bisque was of excellent quality, full of flavours and quite warming on a rather cool evening. By the way, the Fish Bar, despite all those riverside windows, is obviously well insulated (as you’d expect from the Electric team!) and was comfortably warm on the night.
Next we had three dishes to share, each at nine euro. Two were from the specials list: Steamed Mussels (with beer, chilli and lemongrass) and Tandoori marinated plaice fillets (with cucumber, tomato and mint raita). The third, from the regular list, was: Smoked Mackerel and Cherry Tomato Gratin (with Hegarty’s Cheddar, scallions, panko crumb).
Mussels are mussels, some will say, but this was a different treatment. Not that different but the sauce was enough to give a lovely little spicy lift, so much so that it was finished off with the spoon provided! There was some suggestion that the mackerel dish was a little on the salty side but it didn’t bother me as I loved both the textures and the flavours.
There was agreement about the Tandoori plaice fillets, all happy with this delicate and delicious plateful. The mild spice enhanced the fish and indeed, the raita, though excellent, was hardly needed.
At the counter of the Rising Sons
So it was a couple of happy punters that stepped out onto the Mall on the way to checking out some craft beer. First stop was the busy Rising Sons Brewpubon the Coal Quay. I’m afraid to say the average age jumped a fair bit when we entered the big lively space. We got a seat at the counter and ordered a tasting tray each, three small glasses of different beers for four euro.
They have a huge range of craft beers, and others, on draught, but I was interested in their own brews. The three that I got, from the six they produce a few feet away, were their seasonal Porter, the Steeple Hemp amber ale and the Mi Daza stout. The lady serving us gave us lots of helpful information on the beers.
Must say that I'm a fan of the Mi Daza which I’ve tasted in its various forms over the last year or two. Basically, it is a creamy old style Cork stout, “brewed with a traditional rich roasted flavour and hints of dark chocolate, imparted by a four malt extract and thrice hopped, leading to a unique taste and drinking experience”. One to stick with.
The just released seasonal Porter was our first sip and it went down well. It is somewhat lighter in body and flavour compared to the stout but a very pleasant drink indeed. The Steeple Hemp amber ale more or less ambushed the palate with the first sup. “Lots of hops” the lady said and she was right. It’s got a big body too and should be great with food. By the way, the palate soon got used to the hops.
Must go back soon and try their other beers, especially that Handsum IPA. Wonder does it live up to its name?
The Brewery Mezzanine at the Cotton Ball
Lots of good ale around nowadays and one of my favourites is the Kerry Lane Pale Ale available on draught at the Cotton Ball, our final halt of the evening. Started off here with their seasonal, the Indian Summer, which has enjoyed a long run this year. But I finished with the Kerry Lane and the pint just confirmed my already high opinion.
Actually, wouldn't it be great to see a tasting of the Kerry Lane, the Handsum and the Franciscan Well’s Chieftain in the one place? Are they all on tap in any one pub?