|Clockwise, from top left: A table, pork, melon, waiting area,|
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Thursday, January 3, 2013
Comfort at the Barn
Walk into the Barn in Mayfield and you’d think you are in a four star hotel, such is the comfort in the waiting area. After the warm welcome and with your coats taken to the cloakroom, you are seated, the menus are supplied and you may have a drink as you study.
The carpeted comfort continues into the very spacious dining room. On a recent Christmas visit, we were taken to a table, near one of the fires. Aside from the fact that I got a slightly sloppy pint of Murphy's, the friendly service was of a high standard and, more importantly, so was the food.
I was very happy with my starter: their very own Smoked Salmon, with garden salad and vanilla infused dill oil. The other starter, Melon and Fruit Platter with a Passion Fruit Reduction and Red Wine Reduced Fruit Coulis, was also well received and dispatched.
I gave the Savoury Stuffed Turkey Roulade a skip and instead picked the Crispy Roast Duckling, with Plum Jam, Beetroot Confit, Glazed Sweet Potato and Port Reduction. The duck was perfect and overall it was quite a combination.
No complaints either from the other side of the table where the mains chosen was the Savoury Apricot and Raisin Stuffed Pork Fillet, with Mushroom Ragout and Spiced Apple Chutney. This was better than I expected, really tasty indeed.
No shortage of well cooked vegetables (not too hard, not too soft) on the side. So we were well fed. So well indeed, that we had to resist dessert even though a laden trolley was rolled to the table but we just had to say no, regretfully!
The Barn, 30 years on the go, is one of those long established restaurants that we take for granted. The standard is as high as ever. Its reputation was enhanced recently when it was chosen to host the very prestigious gala dinner for Ireland’s first convention of all the health ministers of the European community.
I walk that way quite often and, ministers or no ministers, the Barn always seems to be quite busy. A very good sign indeed.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
I enjoyed a lovely meal at The Barn last evening. For over thirty years, the venue, on the Mayfield to Glanmire Road, has been a fixture on the Cork dining scene. And that kind of longevity doesn’t happen by chance.
This is a comfortable place, starting with the ante-room where you may take a seat and check the menu while sipping an aperitif. The coats are put away neatly in the cloakroom and you are led along the carpets to your comfortable chair as the live music from the piano-man fills the room (not especially for your entrance, of course).
Service too is excellent, leisurely but not laggardly. For instance, when the main course was being served to our group (4), three people, maybe four, appeared with the dishes and, within a few seconds, all four of us had our main plates, along with the side plates of veg, in front of us and the water had been refilled without our asking for it to be done. And all done with a little chat and a big smile!
But all this comfort and service, even the piano-man, would count for little unless the food is good. And it is. It has of course moved on quite a bit from the early days of The Barn and now you see words like wasabi, tapenade, hummus and pork belly on the extensive menu.
All four of us were very happy with the meal. After some nice breads, I started off with the Crispy Pork Belly with Sour Cherry and Plum Chutney and Caramelised Red Onion (about €7.50, forget the exact price). Absolutely top class, done to a T, and the chutney was so moreish (even though I got two decent scoops of it!).
Then on to the piece de résistance! This was the Tapenade crumbed Cod Fillet, with Chablis Sauce and Spiced Mango Chutney (€21.50). Quite a decent sized piece of fish and there was also a side dish of nicely done vegetables (potato, carrot and creamed broccoli). Must say I really enjoyed it, the combination on the main plate was gorgeous. Quantity and quality was spot on here and left no desire for anything else, though I did look longingly at the famous dessert trolley that we passed on our exit!