Where's the Beef?
Ten of the best in Cork City
(beef round-up for 2022/23)
|Impressive steak salad at Liberty Grill Aug 22|
Cork City has had a long, and continuing, history in beef. Such was the scale of the trade here in the 18th century that it was known as the slaughterhouse of Ireland.
And it wasn’t just Ireland. In 1756, France and Britain were at each other’s throats in the Seven Years War and “the Great Ox-slaying city of Cork” emerged as the Royal Navy’s preferred supplier for beef, pork and butter.
So where’s the beef now? Let me take you on a lunch-time tour of the city and check out what is on offer. Some terrific beef-based dishes in Liberty Grill, Market Lane, Nua Asador, Oliver Plunkett, On The Pig's Back, Sketch at The Imperial and Woodside Farm, Bella Napoli and L'Atitude 51and all were enjoyed over the past few months.
We’re starting with a beauty at Liberty Grill on Washington Street: a seared beef salad (vodka and chilli marinated fillet strips, chargrilled on leaves with balsamic onions, rustic potatoes, red peppers and toasted pecans) was outstanding, a highlight being the palate pleasing combination of the meat and balsamic onions. A terrific dish for €15.50.
|Market Lane: Korean bulgogi steak sandwich|
Now (a different day, of course!), it is the turn of Market Lane and their superb Korean bulgogi steak sandwich on sourdough baguette, chilli, sesame and soy marinade, carrots, spring onions, lime mayo and with a helping of excellent house chips (€16.90). The marinade is key here and the kitchen certainly did it well and the meat was top quality; the sourdough was moistened as well and they all worked so well together, enhanced by the crunch of carrot strips and the onions, the salad leaves and those very tasty fries. A terrific dish and well priced.
|Picanha Steak by Nua Asador May 2022|
We make a visit to the Marina Market and the Nua Asador stall where Chef Victor Franca, in partnership with Tom Durcan Meats, serves up, without gas or electricity, just fire, the best of Irish beef in a Brazilian style. You’ll really enjoy the Picanha Steak with sourdough bread, grilled baby potatoes, chargrilled onions, Farofa, and Chimichurri Sauce (13.00).
|Oliver Plunkett's Seared Steak Sandwich July 2022|
It was a visit to the Oliver Plunkett that started me on this beef trail. Here’s why: Seared Steak Sandwich was worth every cent of the €18.95. Four generous slices of beef wrapped in Garlic Ciabatta, with a red onion and Smoky Bacon Jam, Pepper Jack Chips, Brandy Pepper Sauce and a Little Salad.
I wasn’t letting go of this, clinging on until the last bite. It was sensual, an enthralling mix of textures and flavours. The steak was ace, cooked to perfection and so easy to slice. And then the enhancement, that garlic ciabatta, the onion and the bacon jam. The Brandy Pepper Sauce was another major player on the palate, deeply enticingly enhancing everything else. The salad too was perfect and then those Pepper Jack Chips, cheesy, tasty, delicious.
|On the pig's back with Bourguignon Beef Baguette Oct 2022|
Next stop is Douglas to visit On the Pig’s Back and enjoy their Bourguignon Beef Baguette: Braised Beef Brisket, Mushrooms, Bacon and Pearl Onions on Toasted Arbutus Baguette with Red Wine Jus. Just five-star lunch-ing, spot-on for the cool day, quite a warming ensemble, robed deliciously in the red wine jus. Love the French touch!
|Delicious steak at Sketch Oct 2022|
Here we are in Sketch, the bright and airy dining room in the lovely Imperial Hotel, a room where new executive chef Ali Honour is making her mark. There was a group of us and the Steak Sandwich (6oz Sirloin, Onions, Garlic Butter, Focaccia, Lettuce, Tomato, Fries) for €19.00 proved very popular, ordered by three of the seven adults. The meat and the Focaccia were absolute top notch and all three were well satisfied.
|Beautiful! Beef Burger by Woodside Farm Oct 2022|
Alphabetically, Woodside Farm is our final destination and they are found every Thursday in Mahon Point Farmers Market (and at other markets on other days). They are perhaps best known for their magnificent free range pork but they also do a highly rated Beef Burger and serve it with relish and salad in a lovely bun, for 8 euro (if I remember rightly). Superb meat and great value.
All their offerings are cooked and filled in front of you, and there's a chat as well, as the salads and relishes are added. And, if necessary, they even provide a tailor-made insulated envelope to take your purchases back to the office or home.
|Bella Napoli Dec 2022|
Bella Napoli came up Rigatoni with Ragu Napoletano with six-hour braised beef in an onion and tomato sauce served with rigatoni pasta and bruschetta (17 euro). I hit the jackpot here. This was beautifully cooked, the quality of the beef was top class and plenty of it as was also the case with the ragu. Very happy with this one.
|L'Atitude pic Dec 2022|
Slow-Braised Beef Cheeks, Celeriac Mash, Spiced Pickled Cranberries (a cool inclusion) was one of the highlights of a recent visit to L'Atitude, a superb dish in an impressively expanded menu and well worthy of inclusion here. More details at https://www.corkbilly.com/2022/12/wine-and-dine-at-latitude-huge-choice.html
* All these dishes enjoyed relatively recently but remember that menus and chefs change.