New Kids on the Block. #51 Cornmarket Street.
We took a knock. We go again.
David Devereaux and Anne Zagar, the young couple behind #51, are delighted to be back up and running at their new restaurant in Cornmarket Street. The enthusiastic pair and equally enthusiastic small staff had something of a false dawn back in March when Covid19 forced a sudden closure just a couple of weeks into their opening run.
Still, that youthful enthusiasm, backed by the solid experience they have acquired in various kitchens as they learned the ropes, is undimmed after their “second coming” as I found when we visited for lunch last week. We enjoyed it and said so. “Do come by again when we’ve expanded a bit,” I was told as I left! Can’t beat the youth!
While both are chefs, David has the Head Chef title here and “is the brain force behind our kitchen and the driving passion behind our ethos”. From the nearby north side, he began his studies in Cork which led to a scholarship in Johnston & Wales (RI, USA), an apprenticeship under Michael Fleming and a further stage in London’s Mayfair. David has been cooking around Cork for several successful years while always searching for somewhere to call his own and has found it in the Coal Quay, in what was previously The Parlour.
|Fish fingers like never before!|
Now at #51, he has a clear vision, using many local suppliers to create a dining experience that is “funky, fresh and professionally thought out. His cooking style is modern Irish with a special focus on seafood while also being a dab hand at a Lemon Tart every once in a while.”
Those local producers include O’Mahony Butchers, Ballycotton Seafood, Pana Bread, Kilbrack Farm, Annabella Farm, English Market, McCarthy’s Kanturk, O’Brien’s Free Range Eggs. And even more local is the nearby rooftop farm, now with the addition of their own hens!
They do everything in-house including curing their own fish. We got a sample of their rainbow trout as we left and it is superb. Do look out for that House Cured Rainbow Trout (more sustainable than salmon). You’ll see it in their Eggs Royale with Eggs and Hollandaise.
|Herbs at hand|
Anne herself has quite a distinguished CV as well. She trained at Ballymaloe Cookery School and studied French Patisserie at Le Cordon Bleu London. She was head chef at The Pavilion Garden Centre, owner-operator at Something Sweet, head chef and kitchen manager at Rachel's, and manager/coordinator at Hotel Isaacs Cork.
She’s well able to take a turn in the kitchen but last week she was out front, keeping an eye on and serving their customers both inside their little terrace and also at the tables now allowed on the wide pavement of the Coal Quay itself.
And she’s even got the mayoral nod of approval for her baking, particularly her scones which come in quite a few flavours: Blueberry and lime, white chocolate and cranberry, Cinnamon, pecan and toasted oats, and the traditional sultana.
You’ll get a terrific breakfast here but we were in for a spot of lunch, which they start serving about the 12.30pm mark when the menu goes up on the window. No menus handed out at present due to you know what!
The list may be short but is tempting, even includes a few of the egg dishes from the breakfast. We seriously considered the organic Farm Salad (tomato, local feta, potato, mint , cucumber and leaves). Another attraction was the Brisket, Pickled Onion and Celeriac Remoulade and also the Pork Belly with apple and red cabbage.
CL hit the jackpot when she picked the Beetroot, local goat cheese, pesto, pickled onion and organic leaf in a Ciabatta bun. Neatly presented, this is a superb dish, packed with local goodness and that bread is soft and tasty, the dish well priced too. Highly Recommended.
|Eggs Royale, with that trout!|
And I very much enjoyed another dish that comes into the Highly Recommended category: the crispy trio of fish fingers, superb cod as it turns out, comes with a delicious citrus salsa, and a well-judged amount of sweet curry in a beautiful soft bap. I had sticky fingers and a happy belly by the time I finished this easy-eating beauty, just the job for lunch in the summer-time.
Hopefully, David and Anne will be serving many similar platefuls before the summer departs. You’ll enjoy the happy youthful approach at this city centre venue and you know where your food comes from. It’s just a few yards from Patrick Street, so do look out for #51!
51 Cornmarket Street
Tel: 083 010 2321
Open Wed to Sun inclusive.