Sophie’s Tall, Dark and Handsome!
And The Food's Pretty Good Too.
|Pork Belly Salad|
It’s big, bright and, being on the 6th floor of The Dean, Cork’s newest hotel, Sophie’s Restaurant has some of the best dining-room views in the city. Big, because they can seat 150 here. Bright, because there is glass on three sides; on the western edge, the windows give you terrific views over the north west part of the city, right out to the distant County Hall. On the fourth side, you’ll see the crew busy in the kitchen. And the hotel is dark, on the outside!
And it is comfortable, with tables for two and booths for more. Quite a few of those booths are along the length of the western side which means more of you can enjoy the views. Designed by interior designers O’Donnell O’Neill, it is a stunning space for a variety of occasions.
|Smoked Pork Pizza|
Two terraces, close to completion, extend the restaurant space allowing for al fresco dining. Both, front and back, are covered and heated to allow you to get cosy and watch the sun set over the River Lee with cocktail (and they have quite a range here) in hand!
Of course, Sophie’s Restaurant would not be complete without their famous swings. Find them on the ground floor right beside the elevators. Snap yourself swinging before heading upstairs, just remember to hold on tight. Even if you miss the first pair, there’s another pair at Sophie’s entrance.
All very well, you say, but what about the food? A bit like the dress code: smart casual. Food in Sophie's (on the 6th floor) is enjoyable and excellent without being at all fussy or stuffy. Staff are a delight, informal and chatty but on the ball. All in all, an excellent experience, even if I forgot to try the famous swings!
I’ve seen the menu is billed as New York Italian and so Pizza is a large part of the menu, both for lunch and dinner. We were in for lunch and my choice of Pizza was the BBQ Smoked Pork, Pickled Cider Apples, Onion Jam (16.50). Enjoyed that very much indeed. It was a terrific combination of flavours and altogether well executed.
CL meanwhile was enjoying her Maple Glazed Pork Belly & Gubbeen Chorizo, Apple Salad (14.95), another well-chosen combination, even if she’d have preferred a little less fat in the pork. She had no problem though dipping into the Parmesan Italian fries (5.95); neither did I as we shared.
No local craft beers on offer, we were told, though they do have Lagunitas. The wine is interesting, including six on tap. Also, aside from the regular list, they offer a selection from an organic vineyard in the South of France and no shortage of bubbles either. CL went for the aromatic and crisp Richemer Picpoul de Pinet while my pick was the Marlborough, Stoneleigh Pinot Noir, each at 8.80 a glass.
As we enjoyed the wine, we picked our desserts from a short list. The warm and flavourful Blackberry & Apple Crumble & Vanilla Ice Cream (7.95) was one and the other was an equally satisfactory Raspberry Trifle, Vanilla Custard & Fresh Cream (also 7.95).
* The striking seven storey building, designed by Cork firm Wilson Architecture, forms part of the new Horgan’s Quay development, located moments from Kent Station. There’s also a bus service almost to the door. And no shortage of car parking, especially in the CIE facility next door.
* Art is a prominent feature across the building. The Dean are creative partners of IMMA, and aim to promote and support Irish art. The Dean Cork’s walls will feature over 400 pieces of eye-catching, innovative and inspiring Irish art from both established and up and coming artists and will be sourced predominantly from Cork and the Munster region.