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If I had some Oscar statuettes handy last Wednesday evening, I’d have been handing them out to the crew at Oysters. Best restaurant! Best chef! Best of everything! No doubt I'd have got a few arguments from city rivals but their Market Menu, served every Wednesday, is brilliant and, with four beautifully cooked courses for twenty five euro, outstanding value.
Head Chef Alex Petit is a regular at the English Market and his well trained eye picks out the best available for this weekly treat. You won't have a choice here. But I learned a long time ago, in a small back street French restaurant where the menu had “selon jour” attached, that a no-choice list can be surprisingly brilliant. Besides, you waste no time going through the menu: the job has been done for you.
And that is the case here. As I sipped a Kir and tucked into the lovely breads, served with Lemon Butter and also scallop and herb mousse, we read the short list for last Wednesday's Market Menu and were immediately impressed. Even more so when a terrific amuse bouche - Smoked salmon and poached pear - arrived.
First course were Oysterhaven Rock Oysters, fresh and tangy and the best I’ve had in Ireland with a while.
Piano music was now drifting across the room and we had moved on to the wine, a pretty good glass of Illuminati Riparosso Montepulciano (€8.00), in readiness for the main course: 19 hour braised Irish beef cheek, squash fondant, wild mushroom, smoked beurre blanc. And served with a side dish of tasty potatoes. This was a brilliant treat, melt in the mouth stuff and some great flavours on the palate. It was worth the twenty five euro on its own!
Next up was Bellingham Blue Cheese, served with poached pear and raspberry dressing. This is an award winning cheese from County Louth, a fine full flavoured Irish farmhouse cheese, made from cow’s milk. Very good indeed.
We had a superb lingering finish with the Rosscarbery strawberries and Hibiscus syrup. This looked very tempting and delivered on that promise. The strawberries were cut into tiny cubes and that made us linger and drool all the more. Terrific finish to an excellent meal. Very Highly Recommended.
Oysters, under proprietor Donald Morrissey, is a great supporter of local producers and suppliers listed on the main menu include O’Connell Seafood, Seafood Cuisine (Skibbereen), David Busby (Fruits), Keeling Fruit and Vegetables, Waterfall Farm, Ballyhoura Mushrooms, O'Mahony Butchers, On the Pig’s Back, Max e’ Mattia Italicatessen, Michelle Wild Seaweed, Arbutus Bakery and Mr Darragh Brady The Clarion.
Every Tuesday Alex Petit, Head Chef at Oysters, takes a walk through the English Market on the lookout for ingredients that he’ll then transform into a magicial meal for their Mid Week Market Menu, four courses every Wednesday evening for just twenty five euro. The Frenchman turns out amazing food, indeed amazing value. Well worth a try and Very Highly Recommended.
The Menu has been running for a few weeks now and, last Wednesday (19th March) we, along with a group of suppliers and media, were in for the official launch. We were soon checking the menu, a set menu.
Let us start at the start: Tuna - Avocado, Radish and local leaves. This was cool, in more ways than one! It was delicious, the Tuna tartare and the accompaniments giving us a terrific mix of flavours and textures.
The main course was another delight: Carrigaline Lamb - young Turnips, Beetroot, Potato and Buttermilk. That description is a little understated. And not just because there were some tempting rustic potatoes supplied. The lamb was done two ways as you can see from the picture and it was the slow cooked portions that had people talking. Superb produce, superb cooking and superb presentation and that is what the Mid Week Market Menu is all about.
In these parts, we are used to the cheese course being a cool one. But not on this occasion. The Mature Ardsallagh Cheese Souffle was a warm delicacy, all the flavour coming up to meet you and then spreading a gorgeous sensation across the palate. It was served with Apricot, Walnut and Onion Chutney.
Desserts can often be the weak link in many menus but not here. Pineapple - Jasmine, Pomegranate. That was the simple description. Simple yes but superbly so, a refreshing light experience, a delight for the eye and the palate and easily accommodated by the stomach. If all four course meals were like this! If all cost twenty five euro!
Oystersis an independently operated restaurant in the Clarion Hotel (Cork)
Phone: 021 427 3777
Oysters opens its doors to everyone every Tuesday to Saturday evening between 17:30 and 22:00.