The Many Pleasures Of Dining At Bunnyconnellan Coastal Restaurant
The pleasure of outdoor dining is hugely enhanced by experiencing it at the Bunnyconnellan Coastal Restaurant in Myrtleville, County Cork, less than 30 minutes south of the city. It has a splendid elevated coastal location. Watch the ships, the trawlers, the yachts as they enter and exit Cork Harbour with Roches Point away to to your left and the ocean just ahead. But it’s not just the view. The welcome, the excellent service, the good-bye, are all so friendly. And, very importantly, the food is splendid. There’s a new crew in the kitchen and their various origins, experiences and training are reflected in the menu. Mushrooms with your Turbot, Pineapple weed jus with your strawberries.
After the warm welcome, we were seated in the sheltered part of the verandah as the sunshine reinforced the blue of the expansive deep waters out-front. The team here are glad to be back working and, with that new multi-national crew in the kitchen finding their feet, happy to some degree that the return has not been full-on, so far!
Just one menu available these days but that will change as the country opens up next month. We found much to attract us to the venue just by reading the lists. We skipped the breads though they too had their attractions: High Bank Treacle and Murphy’s Soda Bread, for example, or the Gluten free Coolmore Honey and Buckwheat.
Five starters (not counting soups) included Dexter Beef tartare. My pick though was the vegetarian Tempura of Charred Tender Stem Broccoli served with Spring onion, Chive and Lovage Emulsion (9.90). Absolutely delicious, good and crunchy, and went well with the Mar de Frades Albariño that we had both chosen, mainly because of the fish dishes to come.
Indeed, CL had started with Pan Roasted Irish Calamari salad with fresh red chilli, lemon skin oil, blueberries, crispy baby gem lettuce (13.00). Our server had a message from the chef that the fish would not be in batter. CL was happy with that apt message and very happy too with the dish, ample in both quality and quantity. Personally, I think using batter with fish is overdone in Ireland although the worst example I came across was at a multi-course fish meal in Venice where all the local fish types were on the menu but every single course was “battered”, not the best way to get the flavour of the fish.
Time now to move onto the mains, of which there were seven on offer. I was very much inclined to try the South African Cape Malay Curry - one of chefs has come here, via many other culinary experiences, from South Africa. Maybe I’ll try it next time!
Turbot is a favourite fish and so I picked the Kombu Cured Turbot served with brown butter poached Kohlrabi, summer mushrooms, clam and tarragon cream sauce (27.00). It's been a great week for me with fish starting with Fred’s amazing Tuna and Prawns in the Oliver Plunkett and now this fabulous combination at Bunny’s. Quite a range of flavours and textures here and the overall combination was really superb, especially the pairing of mushrooms and fish, not forgetting the Kohlrabi (of which I have a handful growing in the garden!).
Meanwhile, all was quiet alongside me, as CL enjoyed her Roast Fillet of John Dory served with razor clam salsa, baby leaf spinach, crushed baby potatoes, and oyster emulsion. The John Dory has a somewhat firmer flesh than the Turbot and both were cooked to perfection.
|The view (just a small part of it)|
And in the case of Turbot, there was another message from the chef via our server to the effect that the fish would be cooked on the bone, the bone would then be removed and it would be served on the skin (which was not to be eaten!). They certainly make sure you know what you are ordering, in the nicest possible way.
And the green liquid with your strawberries. Pineapple Weed of course. Something exotic? No. Just extracted from a very common weed, also known as wild camomile! Full description: Fresh strawberries served with Elderflower Jam, Basil and fresh cream (8.60). Strawberries need little enough to accompany them and here it was the Elderflower Jam that played the key role in that regard.
|Tangy Lemon Curd served with Burnt Italian Meringue|
Our other dessert was the Tangy Lemon Curd served with Burnt Italian Meringue and Crushed Rosemary Shortbread (8.50). There were one or two other desserts along with an Irish Cheeseboard. But the Curd/Meringue and the Strawberries were each a very pleasant and acceptable finish to an excellent meal, desserts you could polish off without much of an effort!
By the way, it’s not much of an effort either for you to make your way to Crosshaven and Bunny’s. And, while there, why not reawaken the nostalgic feeling that many Cork people have for this seaside village. Take a stroll around past the ice-cream queues and the yachts and take a look at the line-up at the “merries”. All the colourful swings, the bumpers, the Waltzer and the horses Merry-go-round are still there but more likely to be used for private and corporate events these days. See the Pipers website here for details (especially if you have a birthday coming up!).
|Strawberries. See the green towards the rear.|
At this stage, I’d certainly prefer a Bunny’s meal to a bumpy ride!
* Did manage a quick word with Paul O'Brien whose family have been running Bunny's for 45 years now. In 1976, Paul’s parents, Paddy (who passed in 2010) and Sheila, took over the premises from Neill (known to all as Jock) and Mary Porteous, the only other family to have run Bunnys as a bar and restaurant.