Monday, March 9, 2020

Outstanding Dinner in Celtic Ross Kingfisher Restaurant

Outstanding Dinner in Celtic Ross Kingfisher Restaurant
Dome of delight. Irish Coffee Mousse.

There are some very accomplished chefs working in hotels and quite a few of them, Kevin O'Sullivan at the Garryvoe, Gemma Murphy at The Maryborough, Ciaran Scully at The Bayview and Stuart Bowes at Barnabrow are local examples that spring to mind, seem to fall under the radar, especially by comparison with their counterparts in standalone restaurants. I am thinking of this the other night in the Kingfisher Restaurant an the Celtic Ross where Executive Head Chef Alex Petit and Head Chef Shane Deane are offering their amazing West Cork Spring Menu.

It is short and tight, packed with local produce, and executed with top notch skill. The result is a meal that you’d be lucky to find in well-known standalone restaurants around the country. And not just one meal. Because, while the menu is short, there are enough combinations to enticingly engage you and your palate over multiple visits!


There are two evening menus in the hotel, one for the restaurant, one for the bar. We were heading for the restaurant and so picked from the West Cork Spring Menu 2020, which offers two courses for €31.00, three for €36.00.

Water, breads and the menu are quickly on the table and are soon followed by a pork based Amuse Bouche. They have a well balanced wine list but we hold off until we’ve chosen the food and we do that reasonably quickly. CL picks a red wine, a velvety soft and flavoursome Ciu Ciu Bacchus, Montepulciano, from the Marche in Italy. I’m on fish with different sauces for the night so take a punt on the rich Little Rascal Chardonnay from Victoria in Australia, a little cold at the start but soon warms up and blossoms into a little beauty as they might say down under.

This menu is available from Thursday to Saturday evenings and has four choices for each course. My starter is a good as anything I’ve eaten anywhere on the island in recent years. Poached monkfish in saffron with Beluga lentil caviar, fermented lemon aioli, charred Waterfall Farms broccoli, and radish. An amazing combination, pleasing to the eye, the palate and further down!

And CL feels much the same about her Sally’s smoked haddock Scotch egg - I reckon you’ll know Sally the smoker! It comes in a leek soup, curry oil, pickled golden raisins, and crispy leeks. Another imaginative combination! Other starters on the menu were Skeaghanore Goose Liver Parfait and The Waterfall Farm Carrot Dip.

We’re on a roll now. And the high standard continues. My mains pick is Pan Roasted Cod (bouillabaisse, local wild garlic gnocchi, cavolo nero, saffron rouille). All the elements are spot on, each playing a part. Put them all together and you have a symphony of flavour sensations in the dish and it also looks well. Probably dish of the year so far!

Our other main course was Confit Drimoleague Lamb shoulder with puffed barley, carrot purée, charred pointed cabbage, reduced braising jus. The kitchen is playing a blinder here, scoring every time with delicious well-presented dishes. Other mains courses are Salt Baked Celeriac and Duo of Rosscarbery Sirloin of Beef and Featherblade.

Warm Orange marmalade pudding 
Time now for the boys to step back and allow Pastry Chef Alicja Samulik take the spotlight. Her new Irish Coffee Mousse is amazing, the perfect amalgam of white chocolate and Irish coffee, dark chocolate and hazelnut biscuit, honey and oat tuille and so much more.

We share that gem and also the equally delicious, if in a  different way, Warm Orange Marmalade Pudding with five spice créme Anglaise and rhum raisin ice cream, all excellent ingredients but superb in ensemble. Thumbs up all around for these two. Also available are Baked Lemon Tart and a West Cork cheeseboard that features Vintage Carbery Cheddar, Gubbeen, and Milleens.

As you can see, they’ve got quite a team assembled in that kitchen, and the results on the plate are up there with the best of them.

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