The Sultan of Penrose Quay
|Baba Ghanoush (Spicy Aubergines),|
There is a little piece of the Levant on Penrose Wharf, right opposite the bridge, and here you can have Kafta, Shish, Kebab, Couscous, Shawarma, Moutabal, Falafel and more meals from that area of the Mediterranean.
This Lebanese restaurant, called The Sultan, has been open for about five months, with one entrance on the quay and another at the rear but do be aware that the car park in the complex closes early in the evening. In any event, there is a surprise if you enter by the quay as right in front of you is a Shisha Lounge complete with pipes and there too is a display of spices and herbs that they used in the cooking.
The spices, by the way, are not that hot. “Think of our spices as flavours. They are not very hot, we do not use chilli, for example.” Indeed, if you really want to find out more about Lebanese cooking, The Sultan runs cookery courses every Sunday. They also do takeaway and are to be seen at food festivals (they sold out in Midleton last Saturday week).
But we were there to eat in the very well appointed alcohol free restaurant. It is clean and bright and well lit with very comfortable tables and seating (including high backed leather chairs).And if you want help with the menu, it is readily available from the very courteous staff.
We worked our way through the pages of the menu and they pointed out to us that we could take the Early Bird which gave us two courses for just €16.95 and that saved us a few euro. We were indeed early and so too were quite a few others and the place was more or less full by about seven on last Saturday night.
CL’s starter was the Moutabal which is Smoked Aubergine mixed with Tahini Sauce, Lemon Juice and Olive Oil and served with Lebanese bread. My Baba Ghanoush (Spicy Aubergines), a paste of smoked aubergines mixed with fresh pepper, parsley, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil and again served with Lebanese bread. Two really palatable dishes, full of light and delightful flavours, and much more substantial that I thought at first sight.
Very happy also with my main dish called Lamb Shish (13.90). This was grilled lamb cubes marinated in lemon juice and mixed spices, served with mixed salad, parsley, onions, tahini sauce on top and Lebanese bread. Some terrific flavours again, nothing very spicy, and that thin bread was a perfect foil.
The other mains was Chicken Kafta (12.90). This consisted of grilled minced chicken, sweet peppers, garlic and special spices and was served with mixed salad, garlic sauce on top and, of course, Lebanese Bread. This surprisingly was probably an even bigger dish than the lamb. Lots of it there. I took a few spoonfuls of the chicken mix and it was really satisfying and very much enhanced by the blend of peppers, garlic and spices, again overflowing with flavour, but nothing even approaching extreme.
And before we left, we had a surprise when a small plate of their Baklava was delivered to the table, the layers of filo pastry are filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey. That sure left a sweet impression as we left the Sultan.