Aroi returned to Cork in some style with last Wednesday’s “soft” opening of their beautiful new restaurant in Carrigaline.
Don’t be fooled by the narrow frontage (just south of the bridge on the main street). When you walk in, you gasp at the high ceiling, the comfortable booths and the row of high tables. And more of the sparkling pleasing decor is revealed as you walk further into the long, narrow and high space and you realise they also have a large room upstairs (and more space outside when the weather turns warmer in the spring).
Aroi had a popular restaurant in Cork’s Huguenot Quarter up to a few years ago when a fire knocked them out. The Carrigaline outlet is linked to their Kilkenny
We were guests at the soft opening and it took us quite a while to read the extensive menu. They’ve got dishes from Thailand, Korea, Malaysia, Japan, Hong Kong, and Indonesia. Menu heading include nibbles, starters, soups, and salads. Mains include Signature, Rice, Curry, Stir Fried, Grilled, Wok Noodles. And yes they do desserts as well!
Sitting comfortably in our booth and sipping a couple of beers ( one Asian and one non alcoholic Italian), we finally made our choices.
My starter was the Kajang Satay, their “authentic recipe from the town of Kajang in Malaysia, Chicken thigh meat skewer marinated with local spice served with peanut sauce”. Three pieces of top quality chicken, along with the well-known sauce and some raw veg (including cucumber sticks) was quite a treat.
Our other starter was their Porpia Bpet Tod (Crispy homemade Duck spring roll served with sweet chilli). Another Asian gem, lifted by the sweet chilli dip.
All starters are reasonably priced, between six and seven euro. Most of the mains are under fifteen euro except for the signature dishes which range from 16.50 to 18.50.
The Teriyaki Salmon (€17) is Baked sesame-crusted Salmon Teriyaki on a bed of wok-fry Asian green vegetables, ginger, garlic garnished with pickled ginger. That was one of our choices. A lovely well-cooked piece of fish. The sauce came in its own little bowl so you choose how much you wanted yourself which is handy. Amazing how they (Asian restaurants in general) always seem to get these green vegetables spot-on.
The salmon came with brown rice while my bowl was full of jasmine rice. My main was Isaan style Crispy Roast Duck (14.00). This was Sliced half Duck cooked to perfection, bedded on top of those marvellous Asian green vegetables with tamarind sauce. Full of flavour and aromatic and very satisfying indeed!
Quite a satisfying occasion overall with the management and the new recruits getting to know the dishes and all doing very well indeed. Well worth checking out! They have room, lots of it and, at present, can seat somewhere between 120 and 140. And, genuinely, the food is excellent, well priced with lots of variety. And I almost forgot to mention, there’s a large selection of Asian Cocktails, no shortage of wine, plenty of beer and also the local Stonewell Cider.