Taste of India on Cork’s Left Bank
For a hundred years, from the late 18th century, Cork exported butter to the world (including India), the merchants building quay walls to facilitate the trade. Yesterday, facing one of those walls and just a few hundred yards from the former Butter Exchange, I enjoyed the cuisine of South India in a tiny restaurant called Iyer's.
Gautham Iyer opened the restaurant in December 2012 and, aside from a few weeks out of action due to a broken leg, has has not looked back since. The customers have come regularly, the reviews have been good and of course all that is because the food is excellent and the prices are very keen indeed.
The menu is entirely vegetarian and, yes, there is spice. Some people are wary but the spice is not at all extreme and, indeed, if things are not hot enough for you, you are encouraged to ask for their pickle! Everything is prepared freshly on site, leading to long working days for the owner-chef.
Aside from a visit to a local Indian supper club, I know very little about Indian cuisine. Maybe you're in the same boat so here is a little Wikeipedia guide to what you may expect at Iyers. These are items such as the Vada, Samosas, and Dosas.
Iyers has all these and also some more substantial rice dishes. Best advice I can give is to go in and try them! The menu, on a big board behind the counter, changes regularly.
We started with a Masala Vada and also a Samosa (a pastry, normally triangular with a savoury filling). These were served with two sauces or dips (each on a small dish). One was Tamarind (Imli), the other Green Chilli. Both the Vada and the Samosas were very tasty, crunchy and savoury and nicely spiced and, no, we didn't ask for the pickles!
|Dosa, with chutneys and bowl of Sambar.|
Gautham came out from from time to time to see how things were going but, in any case, service was friendly and informative and there was no shortage of water. In addition, they have a range of drinks and I went for a lovely looking and great tasting Mango Lassi while CL picked the refreshing Apple & Mango Juice.
On then to our dosas. You may get a Plain Dosa but ours were the Masala and the Onion. Again we were sharing, so they held the second one back until we were finished with the first. Each was served with fresh chutneys, one tomato, the other fresh coconut. Really loved that coconut and we both preferred the Masala filling to the Onion. With this dish, you also get a bowl of Sambar (a kind of soup, changes from day to day).
The Dosas may not have looked that mighty large but we were quite full by the time we finished them. Well, maybe not quite. I had spotted a gorgeous looking cake on the counter on arrival. This was Banana, Mango and Coconut and it was absolutely delicious. The Pistachio and Rosewater Cake may not have looked as well but that too was a delight. All the baking is done by Caroline, Gautham’s wife.
|Pistachio and Rosewater Cake|
Just across the bridge from the Opera House, the restaurant is out of the hustle and bustle of the city centre but still quite close. On Wednesday, it was busy when we arrived at 2.30 pm and the few, very few, outside spaces were taken up.
The south-facing aspect and the nearby river gave an almost Mediterranean air. On days like this, Gautham wonders if he could expand to the larger footpath at the other side of the road but knows that sometimes if you get too big, that compromises may have to be made and you might well lose some of your integrity, a route he doesn't want to take.
For now, small and all as it is, let us enjoy this fabulous corner of South India on the banks of the Lee. Very Highly Recommended.
|Banana, Mango and Coconut Cake.|
087 640 9079
Tue - Wed: 12:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Thu: 12:00 pm - 5:30 pm, 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Fri - Sat: 12:00 pm - 5:30 pm