Fanfare for the Chef Cashman
The food served up in Augustine’s is fit for an emperor. Ancient rulers, even some modern ones, might have preferred a personal fanfare on entry. Perhaps there should be a fanfare, but for chef proprietor Brendan Cashman.
Augustine’s do, of course, make a fuss of you, but in a quiet unfussy way. Your coats are taken and hung in a proper cloakroom (and the correct garment is returned each and every time!). Then you are led to your table of generous proportions and also in its own generous space and with comfortable seating.
The floors are nicely carpeted, the various sections of the restaurant discreetly separated. A fit and proper place, and atmosphere, to enjoy some excellent food, a Cork treasure, and, from what some well travelled people say to me, a national one, a five star venue.
No rush, but no delay either, as the evening got underway. They were serving some lovely buns to nibble from as we checked the menus. Three types on offer, each excellent, and they were Sundried tomato, Black Olive, and plain.
Augustine’s is justly noted for its very reasonably priced Tasting Menu, six courses for just €25.00. This time though, we decided to go A la Carte. While we waiting for the starters, we enjoyed an Amuse Bouche, a shot of Chilled Spicy Tomato and Herb Gazpacho. That certainly woke up the sensors and we were ready for action.
I started with the Pan Fried Breast of Quail, with smoked Aubergine purée, Pane Polenta and Brunoise Provencale. (11.95). Looked well and tasted ever so well. Top notch for sure but I was still drawn to the other side of the table where CL was raving about her special: Scallops, apple, apple puree and breaded ham hock. Luckily, after 46 years, we are still inclined to share!
Now for the main event. I was delighted with mine: Foraged mushroom risotto with truffle, oak smoked Gubbeen cheese, and poached duck egg (22.95). This was the most perfect combination of sight, taste, texture and aroma. Almost forgot my little pot of creamy potato mash, an irresistible side to an immaculate five star main plate. Food heaven.
And CL was on Cloud Nine also thanks to the Oven Baked Fillet of Hake, with a tomato and chorizo sauce bialdi, Saffron Gnocchi and steamed mussels. (26.95). Luckily, I got a reasonably decent picture of that and you can gain some idea at least of how it looked. It tasted brilliantly as well.
Service all along had been top class with virtually every single need anticipated and all that without anyone leaning over your shoulder. We had our chats of course, a quick word or two with a busy Brendan and great to see Carol who was also very busy at front of house.
Quite an informative chat too about the wine, a wine that we enjoyed very much indeed: Chateau Haut Rian Bordeaux blanc 2010 (26.00). This is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon (which accounts for no less than 60% of the mix). A well balanced impressive wine with floral and fruity flavours and a fresh and persistent finish.
Our wine and our stay were now coming to an end but I wasn’t going to leave without trying dessert. In the end, we settled on just one (two spoons, of course) and that was the Tart Tatin of Spiced Plum with Vanilla Ice-cream (8.50). Perfection once again, a spicy yet sweet note to end a lovely evening on.
We’ll be back and we highly recommend it to locals and visitors alike. Tom Doorley has given us Corkonians permission to brag about this place. No need for anything loud really. Just let Brendan’s food do the talking.