Tuesday, February 20, 2024

KOTO is marching on in the Carey's Lane building that has long been in the family

KOTO goes marching on in the Carey's Lane building that has long been in the family

Hake Sambal

KOTO, a very good Asian restaurant, has clocked up over six years in Carey's Lane in the centre of Cork City. We confirmed its well-being last Friday over an excellent lunch in a building where the Hamidi family has a long tradition and is now led by Jeff, son of the owner of Gambieni's, the name when we visited many years ago before this area of narrow streets was collectively named the Huguenot Quarter

While sitting there last Friday, we remembered those occasions in the building,. We were regulars here for their Italian cuisine, counting Pollo ala Piccata (light tangy lemon sauce) and Pollo alla Romano (a tomato-based sauce) among our favourites.

Plenty of chicken here now also but under a different cuisine. Jeff opened Koto as an Asian restaurant in 2017 and now has a solid 6 years behind him.  Gambieni’s itself had been temporarily replaced by the popular Aroi, also Asian cuisine, but an unfortunate fire was one factor in halting Aroi’s Cork stay. Up to eight diners and 10 staff had to be evacuated from the building on a dramatic day in September 2015.

A huge range of choices here nowadays, also so much variety, and that includes catering for mainstream diners, vegetarians, vegans, allergen and gluten-free (just ask). 

You are probably familiar with the hot pepper rating that KOTO and others use as an indicator of heat in the dish, going up to as far as three. In fairness, if you order something really spicy, the staff here will advise you (just in case you haven't spotted the multiple peppers) and can have your dish adjusted to your preference.

They have curries, stir-fries, noodle dishes and more, all with choices of different meats or none and there is also a very attractive lunch deal.

Curries are popular here (KOTO pic).

Cocktails galore
KOTO pic
Last Friday looked like a very busy day for restaurants and cafes in the city centre and there were quite a few queues and Quinlan's Fish even had an early waiting list.

I had a call to make in Waterstones and so KOTO, just a few steps away, came to mind and we were glad to get a table here, just had to wait a minute for it to be set.

   I was, at that point, looking for something big rather than small and so I picked the Eight Hour Brisket (21.40), a superb dish of 

Slow-cooked beef brisket, spicy chilli jam (this toned down on request) and oyster sauce, mixed veg, plus Jasmine Rice.  Other rice options include Healthy Brown or Egg Fried. An amazingly satisfactory dish, full of aromas, flavours and textures, moist and delicious, with the last bite as good as the first.

And there was no shortage of oohs and aahs from the other side of the table where CL was over the moon as she tucked into Sambal Hake (22.50). This beauty consisted of Roast wild hake marinated in chilli jam and turmeric, baby potatoes, vegetables, coriander, and lime. She may well order the same the next time we call and you can take it there will be a next time.

Very Highly Recommended.

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