Social Eating Events Begin in Style at Samphire!

Social Eating Events Begin in Style at Samphire!
Eoin takes on the carving duty at this table! No bother to him.
Last Friday’s Dinner Table was the first of the Samphire Social Eating Events in the Garryvoe Hotel. And, judging by its success, it won’t be the last. Indeed, there’s quite a list organised already. So get your friends together for a dinner party with a difference.

You’ll have six or eight or so at a table and all the food comes out on platters for sharing, lots of it. And very good food too, the best of local produce sourced and cooked to perfection by Head Chef Kevin O’Sullivan. Nothing too fancy but dishes that are simply superb served in an causal fun atmosphere with a little jazz in the background. And some events have wine included (Le Caveau wines were included last Friday) and there is a whiskey special coming up too. See the list at bottom.

After a drink at the beautiful bar, we were seated with our companions and the starters were served. We hardly knew where to look as a series of the restaurant’s favourites arrived at the table: deep fried calamari, skewered prawns, goats cheese boules, venison terrine, chorizo, cured ham, pickled veg, also a selection of breads.

And then there was wine, one red and one white. The white was Cuvée Marine by Domaine de Menard in Gascony, a delicious blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Gros Manseng and Columbard. The red was the Gran Cerdo Tempranillo from Rioja in Spain complete with a cartoon label that featured a greedy pig (standing in for the bankers that didn't support the vineyard in its hour of need) eating a big bunch of euro. Good cartoon and excellent wine too. The wines were introduced before each course by Pascal Rossignol and Colm McCan of Le Caveau.

The meat for the main course was Roast sirloin of Prime Hereford Beef with a magnificent red wine gravy. And here the fun came in as a volunteer was needed to slice the beef. We had one in Eoin and he did a great job indeed. No need to cut the fish which was Baked Cod en croute with samphire, lemon and chive beurre blanc. Needless to say, they were served with all the trimmings, beautiful veg and excellent roast potatoes too.

And the wines were gorgeous as well. The red was Carmin Brilliant “Clos de Caveau” from Vacqueryas in the lower Rhone, its unusual wrap-around label designed by Karl Lagerfeld. A great label and a great wine too. The white wine was the Chateau Turcaud Cuvée Majeure from Bordeaux, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris. This is named after the local abbey, a big tourist attraction (the vineyard is just alongside), and is well worth seeking out.

The place was packed and there was a great buzz in the lovely Samphire, opened early this year. Time now for dessert and time too for another volunteer. First though there were gasps all round as the Baked Alaska arrived and more as it was flamed. When that died down, Elke took up the knife and dished it out in generous slices. And then a bit of a hush as we tucked into the soft sweetness. Oh my.

What would the boys from Le Caveau come up with? They offered a choice of two. One was the Corte Alta Prosecco from the Veneto but the one that really caught my attention, indeed the attention of the table, was the Alain Brumont Gros Manseng Doux from the south west of France, a lovely non-cloying sweet wine, the palate coating sweet fruits balanced by a fresh acidity. Perfect. Not too often you get two beauties from Gascony on a wine matching. Just goes to show that Pascal and company are expert at seeking out these little-known (and well priced) gems. 

Next up in the Social Eating Series:
November 4th - A Jameson Whiskey Night, with full dinner and music and more. Check here 

November 25th - Game Night. Longueville Cider, Le Caveau wines, and no less than five courses. Details here

December 15th - Christmas Masquerade Supper, a dinner party with a difference. Fun with a full meal and drinks included. Find out more here