Dining On the Banks. Excellent River Lee Hotel Experience.
Friday evening and we are shown to our riverside table in the aptly named Weir Restaurant in the city centre River Lee Hotel. We are early but soon the large comfortable room fills up; the nearby bar is already full of groups, large and small, enjoying the food and the drinks. Our menu is promising, from regulars such as Roast Supreme of Skeaghanore Duck to specials like the Ballinwillin Wild Boar Chop.
We meet some of the team, including Head Chef Shane O’Sullivan (sometimes it pays to turn up early), and we are left to make our choices. A glass of ruby red fruity French Merlot (Croix des Vents) and CL’s vibrant New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (Ribbonwood) are sipped as the choices are made.
Great to see so much local produce on the menu and I go for the Panfried Castletownbere Scallops in Lemon foam with a seafood cracker. It is superb. The scallops are as fresh as can be and the Lemon foam, not just for show, plays a complementary role. The other starter, perhaps more substantial, is the Chicken Liver Pate, with Foie Gras and Rosemary Butter, pickled apple chutney and walnut bread crostini, quite an engaging mix of textures and flavours and is also very well received.
The sun gets low to the west and the restaurant team pick the right moment to drop the window shades and so diners continue in comfort. Service here is friendly and knowledgeable, all eager to help.
I get something of a surprise when my main course arrives. The day’s special, the Wild Boar Chop, is rather large! But not to worry, it is dispatched with some pleasure, aside from some of the opulent fat that is left on the plate. The chop is served with steamed asparagus, beetroot puree, sweet potato chips and an amazing warm rhubarb relish. Ballinwillin House is a country house, (with a Hungarian counterpart), near Mitchelstown. Check it out here .
CL often goes for seafood and her mains choice was no exception. Her Grilled Castletownbere Langoustines, the chef’s June Seasonal Signature Dish, was accompanied by a Pea, Asparagus and Seafood Risotto and finished with Iasc Seafood Butter. Another top notch dish.
They serve a great Cork cheese board here but we went for the sweet stuff! And enjoyed it, every bit. My dessert was the Raspberry Tiramisu. Raspberries also featured on the other dessert, the Baked Alaska, one that you don't see too often nowadays. Both were excellent and it was two happy diners that headed off down the sunny street.