Breton Night At The Celtic Ross
Ancient East Meets Wild Atlantic Way
We expected good things aplenty when guest chef Eric Thezé from La Bohème in Waterford and host chef Alex Petit of the Celtic Ross teamed up at the West Cork venue to present a Brittany Tasting Menu as part of A Taste of West Cork festival. And good things was what we got!
Both chefs are from Brittany and while the vast majority of the ingredients were local, from West Cork itself, it was no surprise that the two brought in some superb vegetables from their homeland. Many of you will have driven through Brittany from the ferry port at Roscoff and will have seen the fields of artichokes.
And the artichokes featured in our first dish, the Mise en Bouche: Coquille St. Jacques, Roast Purple Artichoke, cauliflower purée and smoked lardons. Manager Neil Grant said he “allowed” Eric bring the scallop from Kilmore Quay but the artichoke was probably the star of the plate, its gorgeous mild flavour a perfect foil to the scallop and part of an excellent combination.
Again, many of you will have tasted another Breton speciality, the Buckwheat Galette. Our starter was packed with a generous amount of smoked salmon, with leeks too and topped with a lovely Chive Créme Fraîche. We were up and running, enjoying the food and a glass of wine. The wine was all French and I must say I was surprisingly impressed with the Les Folies Landiers Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, a Sur Lie version, dry and fresh.
Now it was time for the fish course: Roasted Monkfish on the bone, Mussels, Coco de Paimpol, Armorique bisque. What a superb dish. The perfectly cooked fish, the creamy beans and the rich lobster sauce. Wow!
And more richness to follow as the meat arrived: Duo of Irish lamb, rump and croquette, sel de Guerande, sauce Paloise, Jerusalem artichoke two ways. The Paloise is exactly the same as Béarnaise but you use tarragon instead of mint and the salt comes from near the small walled town of Guerande in the south coast of Brittany. Again, it all came together so well.
We were happy punters in the Celtic Ross but there was still one final treat to come: Sablé Breton (a Breton shortbread), Rosscarberry strawberries, salty caramel ice cream, Crème de Cassis Liqueur. I don’t think I need add to that, a very lovely end to a smashing evening that had started with a kir based on the local Stonewell Cider. If you’re coming to the East Cork Festival next September, do watch out for this event.