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The Cronin sisters at Blarney’s Square Table are pure Cork. When they have something to say, and they often do, it is straight up. Just like the produce they use. Honest to goodness top class stuff, raised and grown locally. They’re not shy about emphasising where their meat, their fish, their veg, comes from. They are rightly proud of it and have a long list at the back of the menu so that you can look for yourself.
So call out to Blarney, to the champions of local. Study that menu and order and then you’ll have all the proof you want on your plate. Because, the twins, Martina and Tricia, are also well capable of handling all that beautiful produce and of serving well cooked and well presented dishes that wouldn’t be out of place in a top restaurant. What am I saying? This is a top restaurant, right on the edge of the village green in Blarney.
And this dinner of champions won’t cost you the earth. Especially if you go for the Early Bird which is available on Wednesday and Thursday 6pm to 9pm, Friday and Saturday 6pm to 7pm. 2-courses €26.75, 3-courses €31.
I took my own advice last Thursday and called to the Square Table which is looking very well following its renovation and small expansion early in the year. We got a great welcome as always and were soon studying the menus plus the specials. The local Old Butter Road Food Trails Festival kicked off in earnest the previous weekend but, because of the reliance on local produce, the area around Blarney is always well represented on the Square Table menu.
Kanturk’s Jack McCarthy is a member of the Old Butter Roads and you’ll see his name on the menu. As it happened we gave the Early Bird a trial spin and CL’s starter was a delicious McCarthy’s Black Pudding and Puff Pastry Roll, with house piccalilli and apple purée. Perfect.
The Crispy Egg with Ballyhoura Mushrooms and Hollandaise is also a regular on the menu and I was very happy to renew acquaintance with it. The Early Bird was off to a flier and the standard stayed high right to the finalé.
My main course was O’Connell’s pan-fried hake, buttered leeks, celeriac purée, pickled Ballyhoura Mushrooms. It was exquisite, perfection on a plate, as we’ve come to expect here, their high standards never seem to drop, amazing consistency meal after meal.
West Cork Chicken
I just kept saying perfection to myself and CL was also humming across the table as she enjoyed her West Cork Chicken, Cauliflower purée, Wild Garlic, Coolea cheese. And another thing I keep saying is to keep an eye on the small things in a restaurant as they can tell you a lot. Take the sides here, for instance: mashed potato, carrot and kale, sweet potato and turnip purée. They too were top notch, you could have had a lovely dish with just those on their own!
Time then for dessert; again we decided to share. The Crumble of the Evening (caramelised apple and rhubarb) with Featherbed Farmhouse Vanilla ice-cream was our pick. The crumble topping was light and lightly applied while everything underneath was full of soft and softer textures and delicious flavours with a touch of sweetness. Another Square Table meal made with skill and delivered with a smile. Why wouldn’t we come again!