Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Chef Paul Flynn’s Signature Dish is Mrs Beaton’s Crab Crème Brûlée. It’s a good one!

Chef Paul Flynn’s Signature Dish is Mrs Beaton’s Crab Crème Brûlée.

It’s a good one!

“This will be on my headstone.”

So declared celebrity chef Paul Flynn as he introduced his “Crab Crème brûlée” dish on a February TV show (RTE Today). 

Forgot all about it until I sat down to dinner last week at Flynn’s usual base, The Tannery Restaurant, in Dungarvan. Got a lovely warm welcome and were soon seated upstairs. Friendly and efficient staff from start to finish. The Tannery is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year so well done to Paul and Máire who have made it in a destination restaurant.

The first thing I spotted on the menu was, of course, Crab Crème Brûlée, with pickled cucumber and cornerstone toast. Flynn spotted it a long time ago, in his days before the Tannery. He was then working at Dublin’s La Stampa and, during an idle moment, he was flicking through the 1861 edition of Mrs Beaton’s Cookbook and found this dish, a dish that, after seem tweaking and a change or two, has become his signature dish and one that is a permanent feature in Dungarvan.


After some delicious breads, CL made her starter choice and it certainly lived up to its billing. Just perfect as the crab, from the amazing Copper Coast, shines with its subtle accompaniments, a delicious and well balanced plateful. And an excellent starter.

I wasn’t a bit jealous though! My starter was also superb. It was called: Brioche bun, Coolea Custard, caramelised shallot. Wasn’t too sure what to expect but that cheesy custard was outstanding and in such magnificent combination with the shallots, all in step with the bun. Must be one of the best starters I’ve come across in a long while. Oh, by the way, I did get a few tastes of the crab and of course returned the flavour!.

Coolea custard in Brioche

Well if the starters were top class, our mains were well up the rankings as well. My choice was the Quail schnitzel, green peppercorn and wild garlic butter, seasonal vegetables. Needless to say, the schnitzel was spot-on but it was the butter that really elevated this to a celestial taste of culinary paradise. I reckon Adam’s better half would have tossed the apple has this set in front of her.

CL was more or less humming away as she enjoyed her Roast monkfish on the bone, Bouillabaisse sauce, fennel, wild garlic gremolata. Another well judged and expertly executed dish from the Tannery kitchen, every little bit playing an important role.  


They offer quite a drinks list here, including a full set of the excellent Dungarvan Brewery beers (in bottle). No shortage of cocktails either. We settled on the Domaine de Felines Jourdan, Picpoul de Pinet, as our wine. Great with fish but fresh and fruity and with no shortage of depth (after ten weeks on its lees), it paired quite well with the quail as well.  We finished off with Lemon Meringue, Velvet Cloud Yogurt sorbet and, for me, the Rhubarb “Baba”, mascarpone cream, ginger and almonds.

We stayed overnight in the comfortable Tannery Townhouse (around the corner from the restaurant) and were soon back for breakfast. The Full Irish featured of course but I was quite happy with the Baked Eggs (Nduja, tomatoes, cream and parmesan).

That gave me fuel enough to march into the Comeraghs for a stunning visit to the Mahon Falls. It was a magnificent blue sky morning, if very very cold. On the previous day, we took up an invite to visit a local cidery (Legacy) and then took in a stretch of the popular Copper Coast between Annestown and Bunmahon. 

After that, it was time for a pint and where better than at Merrys (just a few yards from the Tannery). Here I enjoyed some draught Wicklow Ale as we sat and relaxed, looking forward to Paul’s Crab Crème brûlée.

Also on this trip:

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