The Club Brasserie
Good Food by the Lee
I could have been anywhere in France, the trees, their autumn colours highlighted by illuminated by the streetlights, swaying gently in the breeze, distorted reflections in the river, couples walking arm in arm on the pavement, good food on the table inside. But no, I wasn’t eating in a bistro alongside the Midi-Canal. And not in a restaurant by the River Vienne in Chinon. No, I was happily ensconced at a table in Cork’s delightful Club Brasserie.
And that food? Well, let me tell you. French words and phrases abound throughout the regular menu: Toulouse sausage, Mushroom a la crème, Duck confit, fondue, béarnaise and more. And yes, the Gallic influence extends to the cooking, deliberately delightfully so, but most of the produce is local, suppliers include O’Connell’s (fish), Shellfish del a Mar, O’Flynn’s, Bresnan’s, and O’Connell’s (beef).
Let Beth and chef Harold speak for themselves: “Our inventive menu changes regularly based on what is available locally and the emphasis is on fresh and delicious takes on modern classics. In this age of often unnecessarily fussy food, The Club Brasserie offers high quality, unpretentious dishes that are both comforting and delicious.”
Having studied the menu pretty well, we had a look at the specials board and took no time at all to make up our minds. Indeed, we agreed on the first two courses. Doesn't always happen. Having made the choices, we also agreed on the wine. The Hugel name is good and this Alsace producer didn't let us down with a lovely refreshing Pinot Blanc (Cuvée les Amours), very agreeable and dry, and it was to go very well with the fish on the main course.
I think you can often judge a restaurant by the small things, even if you drop in for no more than a cup of coffee. Let’s take the mashed potato last evening. It was impeccable, a splendid base for the layers on top: spinach, salmon and plaice, vegetables, all perfectly cooked. Unpretentious maybe but top class too.
The full description was Baked plaice stuffed with salmon, with julienne of vegetables, potato gratin, lemon and chive beurre blanc, all for €18.50.
We had also been very satisfied with the starter, a well balanced mix of flavours and textures, with the cheese outstanding in the mix: Roasted Pear and Pancetta Salad with Cashel Blue cheese and a honey dressing (8.50). Not mentioned was a good scattering of toasted walnuts.
Just one dessert (two spoons!) and that was light and delightful, a meringue roulade lemon curd and passion fruit seeds. A little bit different and a good finish to a fine meal served with a smile and a chat.
To read the menus or make a reservation click here