Delighted With Catch
At Quinlan’s Seafood Bar
Enjoyed a terrific fish lunch, squid and prawns the highlights, at Quinlan’s Seafood Bar in Princes Street (Cork) last Tuesday (15th Feb 2022). Not the best of days weather-wise but certainly a cracking meal in a beautifully renovated and expanded premises which now has another entrance on Oliver Plunkett Street to add to the existing one. And, of course, a restaurant with quite a few outdoor tables, well covered, for when the weather improves.
The family seafood business is based in Caherciveen, Co Kerry. Kerryfish was started in 1963 by the father Michael Quinlan and has now been passed down to the second generation of Quinlans, Liam, Ronan and Fintan. And expansion is always on the agenda here and they have shops and restaurants all over Kerry and beyond!
I was surprised on arrival at about 1.00pm to find the “old” part of the restaurant pretty full for Tuesday lunch. But soon they found a table for us - lovely staff here - and there was no delay in bringing the lunch menu. You’ll find much the same dishes as part of the evening offering but it is an expanded one and do watch out for their seasonal offers. Lobster and Black Sole specials were available in recent weeks.
Their own fresh fish is the basis of what they offer and they handle it very well indeed. I found it hard to get past the list of tempting starters. In fact, I didn’t, as quite a few of them are also offered as main courses. Fish and chips are also on the menu but in Quinlan’s you get a choice of fish. The plaice was off on our visit but we could still pick from Whiting, Haddock, Cod, Hake or Goujons to go with the chips.
I started with Dingle Bay Wild Squid (deep fried locally caught squid "served with our famous homemade sweet chilli jam"). You also get a well presented salad, all for 10 euro. It was probably the best squid I’ve ever tasted, soft and easy to eat and no hardening at all from start to finish. And yes that Sweet Chilli Jam is every bit as good as they say.
CL was meanwhile enjoying her Thai Fish Cakes (cod, salmon, spring onion, coriander, chill in a Panko Bread Crumb, served with salad and Asian aioli) . A pair of really high class fish cakes (€9), beautifully and moderately spiced while the Panko and aioli were also perfect.
That starter list is full of good things, including chowder, sandwiches and hot dishes. None much hotter than the Sizzling Deep Water Atlantic Prawns (fresh Atlantic prawns in olive oil, chill and garlic, served with sourdough) and again there is a salad on the plate as well. The starter version is €12.00 and the mains (my choice) is €18.00.
It is a cracking dish enhanced by that flavourful and moderately spicy liquid. Having enthusiastically extracted every single one of the prawns, plump, slightly crunchy and sweetly juicy, I continued the enjoyment by dunking the sourdough and mopping up the juices. Just one tip. Don’t dive in the minute it arrives, count to ten, at least. It really is sizzling!
Our other mains was the Pan Fried Fillet of Salmon and that came with Lyonnaise Potatoes, Asparagus and Basil Pesto (18 euro). The fish, a very generous serving, was spot on, well cooked and the dish neatly presented.
Of course, they do desserts as well but having fed so well on the earlier dishes, we declined on this occasion. They have a selection of wines and beers and lots more in the bar (in the new section). If you want to go fishing in Cork, you know where to go now and you won’t be alone in this popular venue.