Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Beautiful flavours and delicious small plates at Nell’s Wine Bar. And a warm welcome too.

Nell’s Wine Bar: Beautiful wines and delicious small plates.

And a warm welcome too.

Nell's Wine Bar, one of two recently opened on MacCurtain Street, specialises in natural, organic and biodynamic wine as well as small plates. 

Some of these plates are an “expression of Cork’s local seasonality”,  others are not. We started our first visit with a little bowl of Fennel infused Nocellara olives (4.00) . These table olives are grown primarily in Sicily and have protected status in the European Union. And very nice they are too, slightly plump and soft. Not very salty at all and excellent with wine.

I should really say that we started with a very warm welcome indeed, especially from Aine who helped us with the wine. There is a huge choice here, everything from bubbles to rosé to orange, from white to red, and other drinks also.

Lynne Coyle who made
the Geal Albarino

She introduced us to Geal Albariño which is made on an artisanal scale by O’Briens Wine Director Lynne Coyle and the family owned Lagar de Costa winery in Rías Baixas, Spain. Most of these vineyards are very small and Lynne told us at a recent Albariño tasting that the Costa winery has 11 hectares and is regarded as quite large.

The wine was aged on lees in a single concrete egg for eight months bringing complexity and depth. Geal Albariño is dry, refreshing, and lightly textured with green fruit notes, a hint of white peach and a lingering salinity making it an ideal wine for seafood. 

Geal by the way is the Irish and Scottish (Lynne is Scottish) for bright. Most of you will have come across it in school; if you don’t remember, check out the pronunciation here. We took Aine’s advice and ordered a glass of the Geal (13.80). 

Alex Foillard is the son of the famous Morgon producer Jean Foillard and Alex is certainly making an impact in Beaujolais. Glad to pick his natural wine at Nell’s as it is an excellent match for pork products. It is just a straight out delicious wine, a terrific balance of red fruit and acidity and an outstanding smooth and accomplished expression of one of my favourite grapes, the Gamay (11.80).

Our food had arrived on two small plates. One was Saucisson & Coppa served with Nell’s own pickles (8.00). Coppa is a whole-muscle pork salume, dry cured, and typically sliced very thin as was the case here. 

The other plate was Fried Baby potatoes served with basil aioli and trout roe (7.50). Both dishes were very very tasty indeed with big thumbs up for the meat and those deliciously done potatoes. Small plates with big flavours.

They do desserts too, usually two on offer. Look out for the Salted honey ice cream with oats and poached rhubarb. An absolute treat, the combination really highlighting the humble rhubarb!

Next time, we may well start with the Garam Masala Almonds or the Savoury Cheese Doughnuts, continue with the Macroom Ricotta, Hegarty’s Cheddar and spinach dumplings and finish with Templegall with teabrack and whipped brown butter, though that Rhubarb would be well worth revisiting!

As you can see from some of the names on the menu, Nell’s are very much inclined to support local producers on the food side, including Hegarty’s Cheese and Macroom and they are quite proud that their herbs and edible flowers are supplied by Shannon at Mealagulla. Mealagulla’s apple juice, a favourite of mine, also features on the drinks list as do Killahora Rare Apple Ice-wine and Johnny Fall Down cider.

Aside from our two wines, they have pages of choices for you. Just one of three pages of red offers a Nero D’Avola from Sicily, a Tempranillo from Spain, a Syrah from the Languedoc, and a Romanian wine called La Sapata, just a small sample of what is on offer.

One of the white wine pages has a Verdejo from Spain, a Pinot Blanc from Alsace, a Vipava from Slovenia and an Assyrtiko from Greece.

Lots to choose from! It will take more than one visit.

Get your bookings in by messaging their Instagram  

 or Facebook page; food served until 10pm (from 4.30pm), Tuesday to Sunday.

No comments: