Sunday, January 19, 2020

Class Cuisine at The Glass Curtain. New Kid on the Thompsons Block

Class Cuisine at The Glass Curtain
New Kid on the Thompsons Block

The Glass Curtain has made an impressive debut on MacCurtain Street, the latest food outlet in the bustling area of Cork city, with something for every palate and wallet. And the buzz goes on - lots more to come. Much of it in the old Thompsons Building, once a key bakery for the city. 

Brian Murray’s Glass Curtain is one of the smaller developments in the cavern of a building. There is much more space being filled between the street back as far as Wellington Road. Another restaurant, a bar and a micro-brewery are coming soon as the Lynch family (who own the Cotton Ball brewery) continue the exciting development.
"Low Fashioned" on the right

But back to Brian and the Glass Curtain. He is very much  supporting local and indeed the craft beers on offer are from the Cotton Ball. They also have about a dozen tempting cocktails including one that I enjoyed on my recent visit. The “Low Fashioned” is a very tasty combination of Kinsale “Wild Red” Mead, Angostura, Demerara and Orange. 

Other local drinks featuring in the cocktail list include Longueville Apple Brandy, Blacks Gin and Kalak Peated Vodka. And one cocktail that you may well fancy, some of you for nostalgic reasons, is the Turkish Delight (Lychee liqueur, rose, orange blossom and soda). Those of you who remember Thompsons in its prime probably know that Hadji Bey Turkish Delight was made across the road. Quite an extensive wine list also and spirits too. So that’s the drinks. What of the food? 
Pic courtesy of The Glass Curtain.

Those of you on social media will have seen the Glass Curtain publish their first food pic (above) in mid January. In the comments, chef/owner Brian said “the menu has been a living restless thing since we opened last month. Changing daily, still defining our style and still a lot of work to be done. Here’s one our guests and ourselves have taken a real liking to: the tandoori monkfish, chargrilled, with roast cauliflower, mussels, saffron and baby leeks.” 

As it happened we were in the evening the photo was taken and one of our mains was that very dish and we gave it a big thumbs up. Don’t think there’s too much work to be done on this one, aside from seasonal variations of course!
Pork and cabbage and "gravy", but not like Granny's

My mains that evening was based on a collar of pork. You don’t see this very often on local menus. More’s the pity as it’s absolutely delicious. And the Glass Curtain version was even more so. Pork collars are a familiar item in Europe and because of their intense marbling are used to make traditional sausages such as coppa. 

The collar is cut from the shoulder portion that runs from the neck to the tip of the loin. Bord Bia have a recipe on their site here and say that the cut is very good value and that leftovers can be used in pulled pork sandwiches.

Brian, who cooks with “a lot of love and a little fire”, declares on their website that “flavour is our holy grail” and he certainly got that spot on with this dish, the umami of sauce an outstanding factor. The menu description is: Pork collar, miso, grilled winter cabbage and peanut rayu. Tender and delicious. Go for it!
Hake starter

Starters here are called Small Plates. CL enjoyed her Confit Hake, house XO sauce, and grilled broccoli, while my Cured red gurnard in roast onion dashi also went down well. That dashi was probably the star and I asked for a spoon to make sure I didn’t leave one delicious drop behind.
Gurnard and dashi. Should have had a sake with this!

Just three desserts on offer and, while our shared Honey Custard Tart (with nutmeg and fresh cream) was not quite on a par with the earlier courses, it was nonetheless polished off. Perhaps you may prefer the cheese offering: a selection of Irish cheese, Peter’s Yard crackers and honey.

The place itself is comfortable, seats about 35, and the service is excellent. Some seats will give you a good view of the open kitchen. We were absorbed when they started cooking their Beef Chop. This “monster” is about three  inches thick, I guess, and is for sharing. It is 35-day aged and they grill it on the bone. You may need one of the side dishes here, perhaps the  Smoked Heritage Potatoes with Beef Dripping! 

Thompson House
MacCurtain Street
Tel: (021) 451 8659

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