All Calm and Comfortable in Cornstore "Comeback". And Well Fed Too.

All Calm and Comfortable in Cornstore "Comeback"
And Well Fed Too. 
Up and running at The Cornstore

You almost pass the hand sanitiser station on the way in. You almost reach out a hand to shake that of a staff member friend you haven’t seen in a while. This new normal takes a bit of getting used to -  just a little bit. At least that’s the way it was last Thursday as Cork’s Cornstore made a pitch-perfect return after the long days of the lockdown. 

The restaurant's crew, even behind their face shields, played a blinder, exhibiting a smiling calmness and courtesy all evening as they got it up and running and made us all feel at home. Terrific service, the usual high standard of food and drink, plus very comfortable spacing between customers, had us all relaxed in no time, not that we were in any way apprehensive as we walked into the splendid Cornmarket Street venue. 

We had booked and were soon shown to our table. Of course, we also had a look around, at least in our immediate vicinity. There was a table to our left and that looked about the right distance away - I wasn’t doing any measurements, no interest in 1.9m or 2.1m. The one to our right was much closer but there was a more than adequate glass or plexiglass panel between us. 

The middle row of tables in that section has been removed. All the available tables were soon filled, a lovely buzz of conversation gradually built up as we were ordering from a pretty comprehensive new menu. There was a time limit on the table but never once was there a sense of being rushed, quite the comfortable contrary actually.

While it was our first night out since early March, we weren’t about to go all out as we still had a private engagement later on. And so we decided to share the starter. The Spicy Chicken Wings is  a tradition here and we could see why as we got our hands good and sticky with the superb celery and blue cheese dip that came with the tasty wings (11.50). 

Starters range from Goats Cheese Crostini to Prawns Pil Pil and include Duck Liver Parfait, Burrata, Classic Mussels, and Fillet Beef Carpaccio. No shortage of choice. And that choice continues through the mains which feature their renowned steaks plus a daily fish board and much more. 

I was looking hard at the Classic Fillet Beef Stroganoff before switching attention to the steak, all sourced from local suppliers and all their steak cuts have been dry-aged with Himalayan salt. My choice was the 8 ounce Fillet (€21.00), a perfectly delicious piece of meat and perfectly cooked to order. No less than six sauces available and I went, for a change, with the Field Mushroom and Jameson Whiskey one, a gem.
Exterior of the Cornstore (from last February)

CL was tempted by the Oven Roast salmon before settling for the Confit Duck Leg. She got quite a plateful as the leg came with sautéed baby potatoes, chorizo, pak choi, red onion marmalade and hoisin sauce. You could see the kitchen made quite an effort with this one and she enjoyed one of the best duck confit dishes we’ve come across in a long while. They offer quite a list of sides here, everything from Proper Chips to Blackened Cauliflower Mornay to Grilled Asparagus (from 4.00 to 5.50).

And do take a look at the Pizza section. We got a tip on this but a little too late on this occasion. Maybe next time. And the pizza will come in handy too during the late weekend nights when the Cornstore hosts The Night Lounge (from 10.30pm). They range in price from 15 to 19 euro. 

We did see, from a nearby table, that they are massive. Here’s two descriptions, just to give you an idea. The Farm (16.00): Goats cheese, poached baby pears, roast peppers, toasted pecan nuts and whiskey maple syrup. The Ploughman (18): Pulled Pork, Parma ham, olive oil, mozzarella cheese, with fried pickles and Dijonnaise sauce!

Cornstore Cocktails have always been excellent and they list a few on the main menu including the Irish Penicillin (Jameson, Connemara, craft diner liquor, honey and fresh lime juice). 

No shortage of red and white wines, plus sparkling  of course. We two settled for the beer though, thanks to our server who came up with a couple of bottles of the excellent Kinsale Pale Ale from Blacks Brewery in Kinsale. I love to support local and there’s no hardship in this case as the KPA is really top notch.

And, speaking of top notch, well done again to Mike and his team in the Cornstore on a seamless superb return to action in the kitchen, the bar and front of house. Thanks for looking after us all so well in what was a very pleasing and comfortable experience all round. A bientôt!