Osteria Da Mirco
Tastily Bridges Cork And Italy
There’s another Italian restaurant in Cork, Osteria Da Mirco in Bridge Street.
Some differences here though. Many of us know Mirco Fondrini from his 13 years at front of house in the English Market’s Farmgate Café. Some of you will know him also from Turner’s Cross as he likes the Cork City style of calcio.
And another thing. Mirco has stayed very much in touch with his home area of Valtellina in north-eastern Italy where he learned the trade (he is also a qualified sommelier). It is a great place to learn about food and wine and its influence is now clear to see and taste in Bridge Street.
An Osteria is a traditional Italian tavern that serves good wine and simple dishes and where you get a warm welcome. Genuine and genial, Da Mirco’s ticks all those boxes and more. Many Italian menus are long, most will have a big list of pizza options. That is not the case here. The menu is compact and there is no pizza. Short yes, but quality all the way.
Mirco’s love for Valtellina is particularly well illustrated in one of the starters, the Aperitivo Da Mirco. This platter consists of Tuna fishballs with aioli, pickled onions, tomatoes and basil, salami, three cheeses and “jam”, caramelised walnuts, and their own Focaccia. Not everything on the big sharing plate (15 euro for two) is from Valtellina but every little bit is full of flavour, the real thing.
Other starters (antipasti) include Bruschetta - with EVO and garlic; A Cheese board from Lombardy; and Tuna fishballs with aioli.
The wines too come from Italy, from all over the country. And include an excellent house wine, Madregale in both red and white, both simple and delicious and each at six euro a glass.
On now to the mains. While there is no pizza, there is pasta, their own. CL was tempted by a trio of Tagliatelle dishes, each available for two persons with a good reduction if you go that route. Her choice was the Tagliatelle al Ragú Bianco version (13.50). As the title suggests there is no tomato here! The vegetables have been cooked in the meat juices and she throughly enjoyed this moist and flavoursome plateful.
Hake was also on the menu. There is both a fish dish and meat dish of the day and they tell all about that at the table. Service is excellent here, friendly and efficient.
Mirco gave me a very encouraging description of their steak for the evening, but I picked the Roast Hake with red pepper coulis, served with oven roasted garlic and rosemary potatoes and a superb selection of Mediterranean vegetables (17.50). Superbly cooked and very appetising indeed. Another winner from the kitchen. Must go back for that steak sometime!
Like the rest of the menu, desserts are few but each is tempting. I was looking at the Cantucci i Vin Santo (Cantucci biscuits with the national dessert wine of Italy) but in the end we decided, being where we were, we couldn’t leave the Tiramisu (5.50) behind so we shared it and managed to finish this tumbler of deliciousness without a fight! A great finish and out then to Bridge Street and the Italian sun; not really but, after that well cooked, well priced meal, the Irish sun felt pretty good.
Osteria Da Mirco
4 Bridge Street, Cork