Thursday, February 13, 2020

Taste the Place. Superb Dinner in the Limerick Strand Hotel

Taste the Place. Superb Dinner in the Limerick Strand Hotel

Tom Flavin
Taste the Place is the name of a menu at the Terrace Restaurant in the splendid Strand Hotel in Limerick. The comfortable dining room overlooks the Shannon and it is here that Executive Head Chef Tom Flavin and his culinary team put a huge emphasis on fresh, seasonal and local produce; the produce is carefully sourced from over 40 local suppliers. “Our ethos is to champion local produce where possible in all our menus”. 

We made our choices exclusively from Taste the Place and enjoyed every single bite of a meal, confidently cooked and presented. Add in excellent service from start to finish, even a chat with the accomplished chef himself, and the visit turned into an occasion to savour and remember.

The first name I spotted on the menu was Mulcahy’s of Ballinwillin and knew straight away that I had my main course sorted. The Mulcahy Wild Boar belly came with a Rigney’s Free Range Pork Sausage and that too was a gem, packed with texture and flavour. Also on the plate were O’Brien Mature Cheddar Colcannon, Urban Farmer Beetroot and Attyflin Estate Apple Jus. Quite a celebration of the best of local and also a demonstration of the skill on the kitchen. I'll certainly be looking out for Rigney's produce after this!

Across the table, CL was enjoying her fish of the day: Whiting, with a creamy risotto (including various finely chopped veg) and a drizzle of beetroot sauce. Amazingly, you rarely see this delicious fish, related to cod apparently, on restaurant menus. Cooked perfectly, as was the case here, it is excellent, is light, firm, lean, sweet and delicate.
Wild Boar, Sausage

We had stopped at the bar on the way in and glad to see that they had ale by the local Treaty City Brewery on draught. Enjoyed that at our leisure while keeping an eye on the Ireland v Wales U20 rugby international on the big screen over the flickering flames of the modern fire. Outside, the leaves were shaking as the edge of storm Ciara began to make its mark. 

They have a very extensive wine list in the restaurant. Our picks were the Havalos Malbec, aromatic, rich and lush from Argentina and the Rabbit Island Sauvignon Blanc, typically New Zealand, crisp with lively acidity that makes an immediate impression on both nose and palate. 

Both of our starters came from West Cork, well one from the ocean. CL’s choice was the Castletownbere Squid Calamari with chilli butter. Perfectly cooked and the butter certainly enhanced it.

I have a great fondness for all things from Skeaghanore Duck and the Strand’s homemade liver paté, with sourdough croutons, Cumberland sauce and a striking pickled cucumber, just reinforced that fondness.

Having enjoyed two compelling and courses that masterfully showcased the sense of place, we were feeling quite happy and not all that keen on round three. But once the dessert menu arrived, resistance melted. My Caramel Bavarois, plum compote and coconut, was colourful, delicate and heavenly while CL’s highly recommended Oreo and White Chocolate Cheesecake was rich and smooth. 

Time then to say thanks to the staff and head to the comfortable bar for a nightcap!

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