It's great to see Cork’s Metropole, one of Ireland’s most historic hotels, highlighting and supporting local businesses in its new menu. Suppliers from around Cork City and county and neighbouring areas are named on a map at the back of the new MET menu and include the likes of the Chicken Inn of the English Market, 9 White Deer Brewery (Ballyvourney), Caherbeg Meats of West Cork and Jack McCarthy of Kanturk, to mention just a few.
|New Head Chef Vasil Baci
The menu at the Met Bar and Restaurant has been designed by Head Chef Vasil Baci and his team who have been inspired by the wealth of fresh ingredients available locally. They have created a varied menu combining global dishes with the best Cork flavours including fresh meat, fish and cheese.
Vasil: “Locally sourced food is really important to me when I’m considering any menu and I think the customers like to see where the ingredients of their meal come from which is why we decided to include the map on the menu. Food and cooking are my passions and supporting small local suppliers and respecting the food is part of that. Our dinner and lunch menus have been designed to offer diners at the Met Bar and Restaurant a variety of tastes and flavours to suit every palate and we are fortunate in Cork to have such a wide range of suppliers on our doorstep.”
Vasil’s family originate from Greece and he lived in a number of countries before moving to Cork in 2005 where he became an executive chef in various restaurants in Cork City after studying culinary arts at Munster Technological University. He is passionate about using fresh local ingredients that are in season.
General Manager of The Metropole Hotel, Roger Russell said; “The summer menu at The Met Bar and Restaurant represents all that Cork food is renowned for - fresh and unique flavours which have been cooked with flair and passion by a team of dedicated chefs lead by Vasil Baci who brings over 20 years of experience to the kitchen. The Metropole Hotel has been feeding customers for more than 125 years and we are confident that people will continue to enjoy the experience with this new menu.”
|Fish Cake Starter
And that confidence is well placed, we decided after giving the new menu a try in the beautiful dining room, one of the most pleasant around, last week.
At first glance, you see Chicken Kiev, Baked Alaska, Fish and Chips, Burgers and so on. You could be thinking: what's so new here? But give Vasil a chance and see how his experience adds that little something extra and enjoyable to enhance your night out. And it is not just the kitchen. The team out front are both friendly and efficient, knows the menu and will answer any question you may have.
We were happy to go along with the flow and had a close look at the starters - they also have a selection of nibbles if you want a "small” start.
My pick, from a choice of eight, was the Local Crab Fish Cake Dressed baby leaves, mango & papaya salsa, lemon gel. The salsa and gel played key roles here and I enjoyed the quality and generous size of the fish cake itself. Thumbs up from the other side of the table also as CL loved her Wild Mushroom Croquettes with Irish cauliflower purée, vegetable crisps, pomegranate salsa. Again, the salsa and the crisps (parsnip) went superbly with the terrific flavour of the mushrooms.
|Baked yogurt dessert
Next up, CL had picked the staff-recommended Wild Atlantic John Dory that came with Lemon, caper & dill butter, greens, and new season baby potatoes. A beautiful fish, cooked with precision and again the little things, including the caper and dill butter, lift it to a different level. Superb.
But how could Vasil manage with Chicken Kiev? No problem at all, it turned out to be flavoursome and delicious with Café de Paris butter, smoked squash, wild garlic oil, broccoli and asparagus, toasted almonds. The chicken, the Chicken Inn are the suppliers, was gorgeous and the smoked squash also stood out. Quite a dish and well priced at 18 euro.
When it came to dessert, the decision was to share one and so Baked Alaska lost out in favour of the Baked West Cork Yoghurt with Poached rhubarb, honeycomb, West Cork whiskey syrup, and cinnamon sablé. A perfect finalé as it turned out, easy to dispatch and unexpectedly enjoyable. But by then, we had come to expect that from Vasil and his team.
|Ceiling and light fitting.
From a short but excellent choice of wines, we very much enjoyed the Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s Nelson and the Farnio blend of Montepulciano (70%) and Sangiovese from Italy’s Marche.
The Met menu can be found here.