Enjoying the Cornstore’s Summer
Of Aged Beef, Seafood and Cocktails
Cork’s immensely popular Cornstore Restaurant, on Cornmarket Street, is flying high this year, powered by four “engines”: Aged Steaks, innovative Seafood dishes and a whole squadron of cocktails (led by the special infused mixes). The fourth engine is the service team, smiling, chatty, friendly and efficient.
Got a great chance to try it out when I won one of their recent photo competitions and the prize was a full dinner and cocktails. Got a terrific welcome from Sarah and her front of house team.
First, to the cocktails. My opener was the Cornstore Whiskey Old Fashioned: Plum infused whiskey, angostura bitters, orange peel, and plum jam. Loved it but wasn't quite ready for the concentrated shot of whiskey when I ate the plum at the end!
Later on, I absolutely enjoyed the Cornstore Rum Old Fashioned: Apricot infused Rum, vintage port, angostura bitters, orange peel and apricot jam. The Port and Rum worked a treat in combo and, taking my time on this occasion, that apricot at the end proved very enjoyable indeed.
CL’s opening cocktail was one of their “Luxury Cocktails”, a Taiwantini: Hendricks gin, lychee liqueur, cucumber syrup, fresh lime juice, topped with Prosecco. A very cool cocktail indeed, refreshing and, like most of them, easy-drinking!
On manager Mike Ryan's recommendation, she stayed on the luxury loop for her second one, the Balsamicotini: Grey Goose, fresh strawberries, balsamico, fresh basil, fresh lime juice, cranberry juice and strawberry syrup. Another superb combination, so well mixed by Stephen at the bar as we watched in wonder!
The food was absolutely outstanding and it seems to me that the dishes produced by the Cornstore chefs are just getting better and better. Take mussels for instance. They have three takes here and the top one is the Full Irish: a very successful pairing indeed of the mussels and black pudding. Could hardly believe how tasty this proved, helped by the addition of craft cider and chive cream.
Jack McCarthy’s black pudding is also used with the Pan Seared Wexford Scallops but CL went for the delicately delicious Scallop ceviche with baby potato, caper and shaved fennel salad.
Jack’s black pudding is one of the many ways in which local produce is used by the Cornstore. Indeed, they buy local as much as they can and the scallops for instance come from the Amber Mist trawler in Wexford’s Kilmore Quay while the mussels that I so enjoyed are supplied by Kinsale’s Jamie Dwyer. Oh and by the way, it isn’t all cocktails here as you can also choose from a range of local beers by Eight Degrees and Dungarvan Brewing and Stonewell craft cider is also available.
|Sorbet still life.|
Back then to the main courses. CL spotted a fish dish on the specials: Pan fried John Dory with Queen scallops, sautéed potatoes, organic leaves and a saffron and garlic aioli. The fish was flawlessly cooked on the bone and was totally delicious.
Earlier in the summer, the Cornstore announced that they were aging their own beef and using Himalayan salt in the process (28-35 days is the period). Still plenty of beef left and I picked the simply grilled Fillet, served with mushrooms, onion fricassee, vine roast cherry tomatoes and a foie gras and truffle butter.
It is “the best tasting steak we can produce for our customers”. I think it is the best tasting steak I’ve ever had. Now, I’m told that their Tomahawk cut (for sharing) may be even better. Next time!