Come to Table.
The café in Brown Thomas Cork
If you are in Cork City centre outside Brown Thomas and someone asks you the location of the restaurant in this store - there are two possible answers. If the visitor is from the US, Table (the name of the restaurant) is on the third floor, if he or she is from the UK, Table is on the second floor*. No confusion though about the quality at Table; it is excellent as we found out at a recent lunch.
We were in for lunch. After a smile and a welcome, we were shown to our table and the menu handed to us. It was headed Brunch but all the dishes listed were lunch items - no Eggs Benedict or Smoked Salmon and Eggs.
It was quite a tempting selection in any event, soup or chowder to start with (if you wished), then lots of salads, a more substantial cod dish, chicken supreme also, there were a few veggie options (including a sweet potato and red lentil dhal), a Bacon Cheeseburger plus a Tex Mex Chicken Burger.
I had put my eye immediately on the Salmon Nicoise, Marinated Green beans, Baby Potatoes, egg, crispy croutons and green leaves. And, after a hesitation or two, that was what I ordered. Very happy with this large plateful of tasty fish and veg (those green marinated beans were a standout).
CL picked the Falafel and roasted Mediterranean Vegetable Salad, lemon tahini dressing (vegan). This dish had just been added to the menu and our friendly server told her the chef would be looking for feedback. And he got a good one. Another dish packed full of flavour and not a little colour. The Kemp sisters, owners of the café, are indeed noted for light and colourful dishes, just like the modern art prints around the walls.
We took up the option of having a cup of soup with the mains. The soup of the day was Sweet Potato and Coconut. It was really top notch and so too was the brown bread that came with it. They have a short list of wines here, some bubbles too. But we went for the juices and got two very good ones indeed. CL had a generous glass (all portions are fairly generous here) of just squeezed orange juice while I hit the jackpot with a bottle of Rhubarb and Ginger Lemonade (produced by Limerick’s Wild Orchard).
Finished off with a cup of coffee and a Apple and Cinnamon Crumble with Vanilla Ice-cream from Featherbed Farm. Again that dessert was quite large; more importantly, it was also top notch, the real thing!
Table is run by sisters Peaches and Domini Kemp, who started off their joint food business about 20 years ago with “one employee, one small van and a helluva lot of prayers”. Their first venture was to introduce bagels to Ireland. More recently, they are also to be found in stores such as Brown Thomas, under the Little Museum of Dublin in Hatch and Sons, and in the Irish Museum of Modern Art. What a long way they have come!
19 Patrick Street
021 480 5555
* Apparently, the Americans start counting from the ground floor while the UK and Ireland start from the floor above the ground level. But, with the globalisation of the English language, there’s bound to be some confusion.