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Kinsale’s Supper Club, in its new location at 2 Main Street, was buzzing when we arrived on a recent Wednesday. But no problem to the crew there who kept serving up delicious food with a smile.
Maybe we should talk about the drink first. Did you know that all the wines, including bubbles, are available by the glass? And there are some super wines on the list, ranging in price from six euro to over twenty per glass.
The Irish whiskey list is also striking. It’s a long one with well over twenty offerings from Teeling’s Small Batch to the Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve. And then they have cocktails galore, divided into Classics and House.
You might never make it past the bar. And that’s all part of the Supper Club, also a social club. Come in for a glass of wine, a cocktail, a beer or a whiskey and have a few nibbles with it, such as a few oysters (from nearby Oysterhaven of course!) to a Charcuterie Board.
The food menu is not as lengthy as the whiskey one but you do get a great choice, further enhanced by the fact that certain dishes (mussels, risotto, the charcuterie board) come in large and small sizes.
Coq au Vin
For my starter I was looking at the Crumbed Durrus Farmhouse Cheese with Roast Shallot & Cranberry Relish before going for their €8.00 Classic Chicken Caesar Salad (Crispy Cos Lettuce, Caesar Dressing, Garlic Croutons, Parmesan Shavings). Delighted with it, one of the best around. CL too was happy, having picked the Thai version of the Steamed Pot of Oysterhaven Mussels (9.00). The other style is Chardonnay, Garlic, Fennel & Cream.
Our wines were now being put to the test and each came up trumps. We had settled on the Guillemarine Picpoul de Pinet (8.10) from the Languedoc and the Rigal Malbec (8.10) from Cahors.
Time then for the mains and the high standard was maintained, the staff busy but going about the place with pace, precision and patience, always time to answer a query or check if everything was okay. And it was, all the way.
CL picked the Coq au Vin (18.00) and enjoyed the Kinsale version (as against the Dordogne version!), a superb Breast & Thigh braised in red wine with shallots and mushrooms, Baby Carrots, Truffle Mash. The mash, by the way, was outstanding. My sauce, a tomato and wild garlic seasonal one, was also outstanding in my Fish of the Day dish, a fresh as could be and generous piece of John Dory (26.50).
Dessert was offered. It comes in two series, the usual “solid” one and the less usual “liquid”. The latter included a Tiramisu Cocktail (Absolut Vanilla, Kahlua, Creme de Cacao, Butterscotch, Cream, Mascarpone), also a Lemon Meringue Pie (Absolut, Limoncello, Lemon Curd, Meringue).
We resisted and were tempted by the Apple Tarte Tatin but then spotted the Salted Caramel Crème Brûlée with Hazlenut Puff Pastry Swirl (7.00). We shared that beauty and were hardly a mouthful into it when we were thinking we should have ordered two! This is so good. They’ve put a fair bit of work into getting this right, we were told, and it is right, more than right, very highly recommended if you get the chance, as is indeed the Supper Club experience itself.
The demand for information on new restaurants is, as almost always, reflected in the most popular posts on this site. The list, by the way, is calculated on hits on posts published since 30th November 2015 and is ordered by the amount of hits. That makes the performance of Republic amazing as it was posted just a couple of weeks back. Not all newcomers though as the likes of The Farmgate Cafe and Bunnyconnellan demonstrates. And not all restaurants either as there is room too for the guerrillas of The Sharp Knife. And not all food either: Youghal's Munster Brewery makes the list.
Great to see the Supper Club up and running in Kinsale. It’s a friendly place with very good food too of course. And a terrific selection of cocktails. If you like your gins, they've more than a few here. They can take singles and couples and larger groups and, on fine days, they have an outdoor covered area available. And, at present, they are open seven days a week from 6.30pm.
You’ll notice on one of the blackboards that they support local producers and you’ll also notice a few specials boards around the place. Conveniently though, they have the specials listed on a page in the menu so you can spend a little time studying them. And the list, includes a highlighted pair of wines and also a special drink.
So okay. I’ll admit I started with that night's special drink. Bertha’s Revenge Gin with Poachers Tonic (with rosemary and orange) and, to make the whole glass sing, a little sprig of rosemary and a slice of orange were added to make the perfect mix. There was also the option of taking the excellent Kalek vodka instead of the gin. Next time! So local gins and local beers and cider too. Most of the beers come in bottle but you may have the 9 White Deer beers, Stag Ban and Stag Rua, on draught.
And the food. As soon as you begin to read the menu, you'll note that quite a few dishes come in small and large sizes and that can be very convenient indeed. CL choose the Duck Spring Roll, House Salad, Hoisin and orange sauce and was very pleased with it. And I was most impressed with my Herb Crumbed Egg, Asparagus, Smoked Bacon, Dijon Hollandaise. Very tasty indeed and that little bit different!
Onto the mains then and her pick was the pan-fried fillets of sole, chorizo, bean and tomato sauce and fondant potato, one of the evening's specials and a very special combination indeed.
My choice was from the regular menu and was Braised Beef Short Ribs with Sesame Crusted Sweet Potato, Pak Choi, Star Anise Jus. It wasn't on the bone by the way but a delight to dispatch. And one other tip, the sides here are brilliant and worth the few euro extra. I had the aubergine cassoulet, full of bright flavours and juicy to boot, a dish in itself and indeed a larger version features on the list.
Not that much room for dessert after all that so a decision was reached to share the Passionfruit and Lime Tart and its crème brûlée topping. The decision was amicable but we should really have had ordered two!
Service was excellent, not overly formal, nice and friendly yet efficient. And a discreet watch kept on the tables - your water was refilled promptly, the window was closed if you shivered (even before), they checked if a plate or drink wasn't going down well. So pro-active but not in an in-your-face way. So go in and enjoy yourself. You’ll feel very welcome here.
Some of you will be familiar with the Cork Street venue as this is where Crackpots were based.