Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Killarney’s Yew Tree. Emphasis on Seafood. Mungo and one-eyed rabbit Sushi harvest their seaweed.

Killarney’s Yew Tree. Emphasis on Seafood
Mungo and Sushi harvest their seaweed.
Scallop Starter

Mungo Murphy lives in the West of Ireland on bogland by the sea. He lives with his one-eyed rabbit called Sushi and a tailless cat called Parnell. You may read these details on the menu at The Yew Tree, the main restaurant at the five star Muckross Park Hotel on the Muckross Road in Killarney.

Mungo is listed as one of the many west coast suppliers that head chef John O’Leary relies on. Mungo is a seaweed forager and his presence on the list indicates a leaning towards the sea on the menu. From the mackerel Amuse Bouche, fish features strongly here. But don’t worry. Duck and beef were also available during our recent visit.

And, after that tasty mackerel, I continued with Suckling Pig Belly, Baby Vegetables, Apple, Alsace Bacon. Looked well on the plate and tasted even better, even the apple was amazing. CL’s Scallop with Chicken Wing, Peas, Wild Garlic, Lardo, Truffle Crumb was another well executed well presented treat. Other starters included a Country Style Terrine, Foie Gras, Wild Mushrooms Veloute and a Herb Ravioli.
Suckling Pig

There is a huge wine list, lots of expensive stuff included, some available by the glass and others by the half-bottle. I continued on my Muscadet revival with a Domaine de la Chauviniere Muscadet Sur Lie, Loire, France, 2016. Great intensity on the palate and a decent finish and a good match with the fish. There are wine pairing recommendations under each dish but no sommelier, at least not on the night we visited.

Now, we were on to the main event. CL picked the Wild Halibut Smoked, Razor Clam, Oyster and Vermouth, Lardo. Faultlessly cooked and well presented, and well finished off too! I was equally happy with my Turbot Fillets, Baby Gem, Burnt Lemon Gel, Soy Emulsion. The other fish dish on the night was Cod with Herb Gnocchi, Cauliflower, Pine Nuts, Chervil. 

I often look to the smaller elements in a meal as I think they give a great indication as to the standard of the kitchen. I already mentioned the apple with my starter. Another example came in the vegetable served with the mains. Not your usual winter root vegetable. But cauliflower, cut thinly in cross-section  (think carpaccio),  and roasted with pistachio nuts. Amazing textures and flavour.

The non fish dishes were very tempting. One was Duck Breast, XO Turnip, Polenta, Cabbage, Orange, Jus. And the other was Beef Fillet, Tongue & Cheek, Bone Marrow Brulée, Mustard, Beef Sauce. By the way, a separate vegetarian menu is available “with a choice of delectable options”.

John O’Leary's desserts are very tempting indeed though we could only manage one between us but the Rum Spiced Pineapple with Cocoa Nib Tuile, Green Tea Crumble, Mango & Passion Fruit Sorbet was a beauty. 

Next time, I think I’ll try the Chocolate Textures, maybe the Blood Orange Cremeux, perhaps the Artisan Cheeses (West Coast Cheese, Crisp Bread, House Preserves). Oh, too hard to make up my mind. Better wait until the night.

The award winning Yew Tree is located in the original Victorian lounge at the hotel. It is a beautiful room, comfortably appointed. Service while friendly and warm lacked a bit on the language skills. Took one server some time to think of the word mackerel and in another instance the French was used for cauliflower. Early in the season yet, so time to improve for the busier nights ahead in this inviting place.

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