Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Terrific Festive Atmosphere At The Cornstore. Food's Pretty Good Too!

Terrific Festive Atmosphere At The Cornstore. Food's Pretty Good Too!

Enjoyed my return to the Cornstore on Cork’s Coal Quay the other day. The place was as full as could be under the current regulations and the well-decorated and comfortable venue was all abuzz.

Those regulations included checking our covid certs and that was done at the reception desk, efficiently and quickly, and soon we were seated upstairs. We were in for the Christmas Set Menu. At €55.00 a head, you’d expect a wide choice for the three courses and that was certainly the case. If you want more of a choice, or perhaps you want just two courses, then check out the A La Carte.

As it happened, I had my eye on a Pork Belly mains as I had seen it listed on their website. But  it didn’t show on our printed menu. No bother was the reply from our helpful server. “I’ll arrange  that for you.” And he did, just like that.

And I went on to enjoy it very much indeed: Twelve hour slow roasted pork belly with Gratin potatoes, apple purée, red cabbage, crisp kale and cider jus. Quite a construction on the plate, the pork and Gratin neatly stacked, both sitting on a base of sweet red cabbage and in a wee “pond” of delicious jus. No shortage of that crispy kale scattered around and a generous dollop of apple sauce on top.

Glad I asked about it. Just a tip. Quite a few restaurants are under pressure and their websites, even Facebook pages, may not be updated as frequently as in the past. So if you are unsure about opening times or what menus are available at certain periods, then do make you reservation by phone and ask your question then to avoid any possible disappointment later on.

Anyway, back to the meal. Our other main course was the Confit Duck Leg, with sautéed baby potatoes, chorizo, Pak Choi, red onion marmalade and hoisin sauce. Another packed plateful. And another tip. Most of you will be familiar with the Hoisin which is a sweet, spicy dark red sauce made from soya beans, vinegar, sugar, garlic, and various spices, widely used in southern Chinese cooking. Might be no harm to ask for it on the side, just in case you don’t fancy the variation.

I had started with the Tandoori Monkfish Carpaccio that came with a lightly smoked mussel and lentil salsa, and pickled samphire. A superb combination of taste and texture. The lightly spiced monkfish was a delight, the plump mussels half-hidden in their shells, the vegetable crunch of the samphire. There was nothing at all redundant on the plate that went back with barely a trace of the colour! A dish I haven’t come across before and one I’d have no hesitation in trying again.

CL’s starter came crowned with a hefty piece of goats cheese. The Goats Cheese Crostini looked like a massive starter and the cheese came atop red peppers, fig jam, sundried tomato pesto, rocket and balsamic reduction but, massive or no, that plate was enthusiastically emptied, quite a recommendation!

They don’t note who produced the cheese but they do say: “We are committed to using all local produce, our chefs cook from the heart with a blend of the freshest ingredients as well as free range and organic produce that is in season. We have our own garden in Ballingarry Co. Limerick which provides us with garden to fork produce all year round.”

I was always going to have the Sticky Toffee Christmas Pudding and it hit the spot. Sweet, of course, yet lighter than anticipated. Our other dessert, the Hot Toddy Crème Brûlée, got the better of us and was not quite polished off, close though. Nothing wrong with it at all, very tasty, just a little too much after being so well fed through the other two courses.

* The Cornstore, who also have a restaurant in Limerick, have no shortage of drinks and are well known for their cocktails, it has quite a wine list and the best of spirits. With a full bar, you have quite a choice of beers as well though, disappointingly, the only stout on offer, according to our server, is Guinness.

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