Monday, February 3, 2020

Jacques. Perfect. Since 1980.

Jacques. Perfect. Since 1980.
Cod Fritters

Jacques, started by two sisters in 1980, quickly hit the culinary high notes and has remained top of the Cork charts. Also in the 80s, Fairground Attraction had a big hit with It’s got to be perfect. It could have been a tribute to the Barry sisters, Eithne and Jacque.

Too many people take second best
Well, I won't take anything less

We certainly knew we were on to a good thing when we headed to the venue recently. Not too sure which door we’d take though. Jacques are a bit unusual. In 1980, you entered through the door at 9 Phoenix Street. In recent years, they extended to Oliver Plunkett Street and the main door is at No. 23. Take either. Behind each is a warm welcome and excellent food. And drink.
Smoked Duck Salad

There’s a full bar here, with pints of Murphy’s and Heineken. You’ll also find craft beers, including those from the Cotton Ball, a local brewery, and local ciders Stonewell and Longueville are also supported. Irish spirits of course, including Bertha’s Revenge and Kalak. As are a variety of local food producers such as Skeaghanore, Toons Bridge, Ardsallagh, Ballinrostig Cheese, Goatsbridge, and Knockalara. Kilbrack Farm.

Cheers! Negroni
One thing I noted about the dishes at Jacques is that you get plenty of greens and veg on your plate. Unlike some places where you’d be lucky to get a see through sliver of carrot or a mini-cube of beetroot, too tiny for the tines. Kilbrack Farm are among their greens and vegetable suppliers and the produce is terrific. And just because they are generous with the veg, doesn’t mean they skimp with the meat or fish.

My mains is a perfect case in point: Fresh wild tranche of Turbot, hollandaise, green beans, olives and crispy potatoes. That tranche was really big, beautifully cooked, fresh and full of flavour. And the experience was enhanced no end by the sauce, potatoes, the olives, and the greens (which included more than the beans).  

CL, disappointed that pheasant was off the menu at another restaurant recently, finally got her bird here: Roast pheasant wrapped in pancetta, potato and cranberry cake and red cabbage. Seasonal, savoury and a perfect (that word again) fit for a coolish January night.

One of my favourite cocktails is Negroni. I don’t always have the three ingredients handy at home so when I saw the mix of Campari, Vermouth and Gin, offered at the head of the menu, I ordered it and I was off to the perfect start. There’s a multi-page wine list here with a page of “pouring wines”, each by the glass. CL picked the Poggio Alla Luna Chianti (DOCG), aromatic, fruity, good acidity, and an excellent match with the game.

We were in early enough for the Early Bird but stuck with the main menu. Some great choices here, both of mains and starters. And we began with two beauties. CL’s was the Smoked Skeaghanore Duck Salad, Toons Bridge Mozzarella, plum dressing and spicy granola. Can’t recall seeing Mozzarella with duck before but it was a treat. 

I think mine was even better though! The Cod and Celeriac Fritters, with a Lime and Chili Dipping Sauce, is new to the menu but it is such a perfect combination of textures (there are some leaves there too) and flavour (that sauce is perhaps the catalyst) that I reckon it will be on offer for a long time to come.

We had been in quite early- the restaurant was getting busy but the level of service had never dropped. They don’t hang over your shoulder or anything like that but every now and then, there is a gentle query to see if everything is going well. “Perfect,” I replied each time!

Tel : +353 (0)21 4277387        Email :      
 Address : 23 Oliver Plunkett St, Cork

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