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Son of a Bun, the new bright and airy burger place in McCurtain Street, know their beef, their key ingredient. Niall O’Regan, who launched the venue last night, told me he is from Bandon and the beef comes from an Irish Aberdeen Angus beef herd near the West Cork town, via butcher Dan Maloney who has his own abattoir. It is minced onsite in Son of a Bun everyday.
“The Son of a Bun motto is simple: sourced locally, minced daily and cooked pink. We believe that pink is the best way to serve a burger – and we guarantee that once you taste our burgers, you will feel the same way too,” he added.
And it makes for a brilliant burger, one that is served pink (unless of course you state otherwise). It is moist and tender, full of flavour and absolutely delicious, no two ways about it.
And it is flipping big! Niall’s wife Amanda took us through the menu as the guests gathered and the music played under the ceilingless roof. There are almost a dozen burgers on offer: the Cheese, the Stack, the Chilli, the Black, the Skinny, the Veggie and so on, most at under a tenner.
The mighty Rebel
“Everything on our menu - our sides, fries, dips and chips – even our desserts are all homemade and prepared fresh every day. We think that it is important to know that everything is carefully selected which is why our beef and chicken are sourced locally and our eggs are all free range,” she said.
CL couldn't resist the Son of a Bun Burger. This is the CV: six ounce hamburger, cheddar cheese, smoked streaky bacon, shredded iceberg, tomato, crispy fried onions and SOB sauce. Mega and fantastic, especially when you add a pot of skinny chips!
Me? Well I spotted the Burger of the Month and went for that. This power-packed Rebel is armed for the teeth with that sensational 6 ounce burger (pink, of course), American cheese, pickles, crispy fried onions, streaky bacon, jalapenos, and mayonnaise. And on the side, a dish of chunky cut chips. Mega stuff. Not a crumb of mince, of anything, left on either plate.
They have a few small things to nibble while you wait including Nachos, chips and dips, and the bowl of mixed olives (three different types) that we choose. And they have a decent selection of salads and sides as well, something for everyone.
Guilty, as charged!
And if you’d like a pint of craft beer with your burger, then you've come to the right place. We enjoyed draft Franciscan Well, Chieftain for me, Rebel Red for her but they have even more in bottles (including Stag Ban and Black Lightning) and I also noticed bottles of Stonewell cider there.
Now for the guilty part. I'd better confess. We each ended up with a massive Knickerbocker Glory, layer after layer of cream, ice-cream, fresh fruit, fruit coulis and the cherry on top. Sweet dreams after all that!
Niall and Amanda established their first restaurant, Niall’s, in Bandon in 2002. That was followed by the opening of the Coffee Pod on Lapps Quay, Cork in 2006 and by the Coffee Pod on Winthrop Street, Cork in 2007.
Amazing how McCurtain Street has gradually emerged as a food street, established restaurant stars such as Greene’s and Isaac's and everything from coffee shops and tea shops, to subways and ethnic, and now the Son of a Bun, the new kid on the block, a beautiful noise emerging from where the famed Crowley’s Music Shop stood for decades.
Coqbull, Cork's latest city centre dining option, is just six weeks up and has hit the road running. Spanning a speakeasy kind of space, booths and all, not to mention galvanised iron and milking parlour lights, between Academy Street and French Church Street, the French quarter venue is already a hit.
They were so busy on Friday night I couldn't get in to taste that sweet tea chicken, but no bother this Tuesday at lunch-time, not that it was slack, far from it as a steady flow of punters streamed through the door, doors I should say, as it has entrances on both streets.
Chris is the manager here and he has an excellent staff. Great courtesy and efficiency out front and no lack of talent in the kitchen. Did you hear me say sweet tea chicken? You sure did. Like in your great grandmother’s day, the chicken here is marinated in sweet Barry's tea and is all the better for it as we found out when we sampled, delighted with its superb texture and flavour, not to mention the spot-on cooking.
But we were here for the bull! Oh and the beer, of course. I’m quite a fan of Black’s Brewery (Kinsale) and of their ales in particular and so was immediately interested when I saw their Session on the list. Noted it was just 3.5% ABV. It might be a little shy on the alcohol but no lack of flavour and it is blessed with a well judged balancing bitterness. Quite a beer. One to note for a session for sure!
Burgers are made in house from prime cuts and 100% traceable from local Irish beef.There is quite a selection (most at €10.00) from Bacon Bull, Chilli Bull, Forest Bull, even Bunless Bull. My choice was the Supreme Bull (12.50). I had spotted my favourite Cashel Blue cheese in the mix here and the other ingredients were bone marrow and crisp onion. And fries of course!
CL picked the Bacon Bull (10.00), the bull here reinforced by bacon, cheddar, onion and Coqbull sauce and she had no bother in dispatching that tasty combination. Mine too was superb and, after the beer, I was beginning to feel full.
But we weren't leaving without dessert! They have a short but tempting list. And the sweet things that we finished with were the Coqbull Strawberry Crush (for me) and the Banana Split. Very enjoyable indeed.
It is not all coq and bull here. You may have various salads and also Slow Roasted Pork Ribs at lunch-time (12.00 to 2.30) and later, when the main menu kicks in, the choices increase.
Many craft beers and ciders are available by the bottle and some mainstream (Heineken and Tiger) available on draught. House wines start at a fiver a glass and they also carry a range of Fentimans soft drinks along with a couple of Moqtails!
The Cornstore and Executive Chef Mike Ryan seem to be on a winner with this offshoot and I’ll be back soon to check out the evening menu and the atmosphere behind the galvanised iron and under the milking parlour lights, all rather appropriate considering the restaurant’s title!