Showing posts with label Tom Durcan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tom Durcan. Show all posts

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Return of the Oyster Tavern. Les Bons Temps Rouler.

Return of the Oyster Tavern.

Les Bons Temps Rouler.

I look at some of the old black and white pics in the new Oyster Tavern and am transported back to my days in Winkle-pickers (shoes), Slim Jim (tie) and DA (hair). But that “good old days” reverie soon evaporated as the delicious dishes arrived on the table. Some terrific food here now, well cooked, and well served by one of the friendliest front-of-house teams around.

The history of a tavern on the site dates to 1800. The new two-storey building owes it current existence to the Capitol development. It is comfortable - there’s even a lift - and beautifully decorated. 

The food menu, from breakfast to dinner, is based mainly on ingredients from the adjacent English Market, and the drinks menu, again illustrated with some of those old black and whites, contains a good deal of Irish craft beer and local spirits. Our opening drinks were a mix: a Chieftain Ale from Franciscan Well and a Hemingway Daiquiri.

Fish Hot Pot

We were in for dinner and studied the menu, all on one large card. They happily fill you in on the specials and help with any questions. For starters, we could have had Scampi, Chowder, Soup of the Day. And oysters, of course. 
Steak!

My pick though was Tim’s Ham Hock (€6.00), served with Hassett's sourdough bread and West Cork Relish. The ham was packed into a jar. There was a lot of it there and it packed a lot of flavour as well. And that West Cork relish was a tasty bonus, really good.

Meanwhile, CL was thoroughly enjoying her Caprese Salad (7.50): Toonsbridge Mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and olive oil. This has become a local standard and was top notch.
There wouldn't have been a blogger in the old Oyster.

Quite a decent wine list here too and I ordered a glass of Finca Florencia Malbec (8.00) to go with my steak. This was my second Tom Durcan steak in quick succession and again it was very impressive, tender and with outstanding flavour. The 8 ounce fillet (29.00) was cooked to order, and came with straight cut chips, English Market seasonal vegetables, Roast Shallots in a red wine peppercorn sauce. The included veg by the way, mangetout, broccoli and cauliflower, were also cooked to pin-point perfection, which is not always the case.
Hemingway enjoyed his daiquiris in la Floridita in la Habana in Cuba.
 The Bodeguita del Medio is just down the street.  
Muchas gracias to Mark Deane(ex Mayfield) for the pic.

CL choose the fish special, a Prawn and Mussel Hot Pot with chorizo (18.00). No shortage of flavour there and a warming dish you might well see more of as the autumn comes in. Other main course choices included Tim O’Sullivan’s Black Pudding Burger, Oyster Haven Mussels, Chicken Inn’s Supreme of Chicken, Warm Chicken and Bacon Salad, and a Risotto. There was also a lamb burger special.
Upstairs at the spanking new full-colour Oyster Tavern. (Oyster pic).
After all that, we thought it best to share a dessert from the short yet tempting list. Sherry Trifle was probably top of the list when the old Oyster was in its heyday and that was our pick and we enjoyed sharing the Sherry soaked sponge, raspberry jam, custard topped with Chantilly cream and served with a shortbread biscuit. All for a fiver. You might well have paid close to that back in the day!

The main restaurant area is upstairs though they do serve lunch in the downstairs bar. We had started early and weren't around to see the transformation that takes place later in the night. Then the plates are cleared away, and we were told there is a generational change as well, as the live music - you might even see a saxophonist on the counter - takes over. Oh, those awful Rock and Rollers! (Note to myself: Must try that sometime).

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Chef Greg Expands Brook Inn Repertoire After Kerridge Stage


Chef Greg Expands Brook Inn Repertoire After Kerridge Stage

The Brook Inn in Sallybrook (Glanmire) has recently been included in a couple of national guides but Head Chef Greg Murphy is not resting on his laurels. Every year he seeks to improve the offering and this year is no exception as he completed a stage* with Tom Kerridge of the famous Michelin two star “Hand and Flowers” pub in London.

Greg supports local suppliers including Tom Durcan, Gubbeen Smokehouse, Carrigaline Cheese, Rathcooney Fruit Farm Strawberries, and the Green Field Farm. And he is a big fan of the English Market.
Glazed Omelette

I met Greg when I was back in the Brook last week to check out the new menus and straight away noticed the Glazed Omelette “Tom Kerridge”, smoked haddock, with aged Parmesan cheese. Well, that was my starter and an excellent one it was.

But regulars needn’t worry. It is not all Kerridge. You’ll still have your steak, lamb, chicken and fish and other dishes for which the Brook is well known. There are a whole range of menus here including A La Carte, Set Dinner, Early Bird, Tapas, Breakfast/brunch, Finger Food and, this time of year, BBQ!
Hake

Tom Durcan’s spiced beef featured on CL’s starter, a superb plate that came with pickled Enoki mushrooms, baby potatoes, olive oil, pea cress and red cabbage purée. Looked well and tasted even better.

Quite a wine list here too, many of your favourite countries and varieties listed. I enjoyed a fresh and interesting Pecorino, an organic wine from Italy that matched well with the fish.

A grilled fillet of hake was my main course, accompanied by a spinach and basil velouté, charred lemon gel, mussels, brown butter gnocchi, and hazelnut. Well cooked, well presented and every ingredient played a role in a superb dish.
Dessert

CL’s pick was the Grilled breast of chicken, southern fried leg, leek, onion dressing, salt baked celeriac, purée Tarragon cream. The fried leg added an extra dimension to another excellent combination. By the way, there are a number of sides available and, yes, those Triple Cooked Chips are outstanding! 

After all that, we decided to share a dessert: West Cork Cream, with honeycomb and a champagne sorbet. Easy to dispatch and delicious! And a lovely end to a lovely meal. Excellent produce, top notch cooking and a friendly and efficient service from start to finish in a very comfortable room.
Chicken

The Brook Inn is easily found, on the road from Glanmire to Watergrasshill. It will be on your left, a well maintained building with lots of flowers at this time of year. There are a few parking spaces in the front while the main car park is at the rear. See the map here

* A stage (French word) is an unpaid internship when a chef works briefly (usually for a few weeks), for free, in another chef's kitchen to learn new techniques and cuisines.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

El Vino. Top Tapas. And Much More.

El Vino. Top Tapas.
And Much More.
Monkfish & Serrano
It was cold outside but that was soon forgotten as we joined the diners in the packed downstairs section of the El Vino restaurant at the Elysian in Cork last weekend. Mentioned the Elysian there as they also operate an El Vino in Douglas.

Great buzz downstairs. We were offered a table upstairs too but went with the happy noises. Upstairs would soon fill too. We were quickly seated and studying the menus. Lots of tapas here and they also double as starters but you may, of course, stick with tapas for the evening. We may well do that another time but some dishes on the mains section caught our eye.

Piquillo peppers
 Not easy to pick just two from the tapas list but we did manage it. My choice was the Crispy Fried Calamari, Arrocina Bean Stew, Chorizo, Squid Ink Emulsion (8.95). Delighted wth it. The squid was cooked to perfection and that bean mix (great texture, slightly nutty flavour) with the little bits of chorizo was a very tasty accompaniment. 

You come across these Roast Piquillo Peppers a lot in the Basque country and they were CL’s pick. Hers were stuffed with Goats Cheese, Chorizo, Bread Crumbs & Herbs, Rocket Salad & Toasted Almonds (7.95). We did share, of course, and it was  another perfect dish. And I'm sure there are quite a few more on that extensive list. Check it out here
Calamari
Time then for the main event, fish for me, chicken for her. Steak, Pork Belly, Hake and salads were also on the menu. CL’s Pan Fried Chicken Breast  was stuffed with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Mozzarella & Basil, and came with Mediterranean Vegetables, Ratatouille, Tomato & Pesto (17.95). The chicken was top drawer, delicious and moist and the Ratatouille was excellent in its own right as well as being a great match for the poultry.

Pan Fried Monkfish Wrapped in Serrano Ham, Crushed Baby Potatoes, Chargrilled Courgettes, Samphire & Romesco (nut and red pepper based) Sauce (25.95) was my pick, quite an epic dish, beautifully cooked (the ham spot on, moist and tender) and so well presented, probably the best dish of its type in a long time.

CL got those Crushed Baby Potatoes as well and we also got an included side dish of vegetables (including broccoli, carrot and sugar snap), again perfectly cooked. If the kitchen takes care of the minor things, then there’s a great chance that the bigger dishes will be good as well and that was certainly the case here.



Chicken & Ratatouille
 All the while we were sipping our white wines, a Pinot Grigio and an Albarino, and having the odd chat with our servers who were, without exception, friendly and efficient, all adding to the experience here.

We were each nearing the limit at this stage but couldn't resist sharing a dessert, the El Vino Baked Alaska (6.50). Glad we did as it provided a sweet end to a lovely evening.

Good too to see they they support local and include Brian St Ledger Fruit & Veg, Tom Durcan, The Chicken Inn, Kay O’Connell Fish, The Real Olive, Clona Dairy and Ardsallagh Cheese, among their suppliers. Very Highly Recommended.  

Baked Alaska

El Vino
The Elysian 
Eglinton Street  
Cork
Telephone: 0214318530