Restaurant Reviews. Food. Markets. Wine. Beer. Cider. Whiskey. Gin. Producers. . Always on the look-out for tasty food and drink from quality producers! Buy local, fresh and fair. The more we pull together, the further we will go. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Follow on Twitter: @corkbilly
Facebook: Billy Lyons
Kinsale’s renowned Good Food Circle seem to have backed a winner with their Restaurant Week. The place is abuzz as was Finns’ Table when we walked in there around 7.00pm last Monday. We hadn’t met Julie and chef John with quite a while so it was great to take the opportunity to eat, drink and chat in such a lovely and lively spot.
Julie had reserved the “Love Table” for us, knowing that we were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. So we sipped our Veuve Clicquot and soon we were tucking into two delightful mini-loaves from John’s kitchen, a treacle bread and also a potato bread, each different, both delicious.
So, what do they give you for your twenty euro? A choice of four starters and four mains, all really top class. One starter was Mushrooms on toast, crispy hen’s egg and Hollandaise sauce, another was Jerusalem Artichoke soup with honey, almond and rosemary granola.
Not easy to turn down either of those but I picked the Braised Irish Beef Brisket Croquet with celeriac remoulade and horseradish cream. The packed croquet was full of flavour, the remoulade and cream the perfect partners. CL spotted that the local mussels (from nearby Oysterhaven) were enhanced with coconut, coriander, ginger and lemongrass. Oh, the steamed bivalves have rarely been so well accompanied in a bowl.
Joseph Mellot wines from Sancerre - we would meet Olivier from the winery later on in the evening - were produced and much appreciated as the lovely occasion unfolded.
So what would we have for mains?The quartet on offer were all very tempting indeed. There was a Confit Duck Leg, slow cooked, with Rosscarbery black pudding, and cider braised lentils and also a Vegetarian Wellington (Uncle Tom’s Turnip, Sweet Potato and Bandon Vale Cheddar).
The Irish Lamb Tasting plate was CL’s choice: Roast Rump, Slow Cooked Neck and Braised Shoulder, with Fondant Potato and Jus. We swapped wines at this point with CL taking the Pinot Noir and I taking the Sauvignon Blanc. The SB proved a perfect match with the exquisite Seafood Bourride, a Provencal style fish stew containing lightly poached local fish and shellfish in saffron broth with garlic aioli and herbs, a delightfulmix of flavours and aromas.
I’ve often thought that it is the small things on your plate that can indicate a chef’s skill. And what caught our attention here, in the most delightful way, was the side of Mixed Garden vegetables. No exotic veg included but excellent stuff, superbly cooked and a pure delight on the palate. Still wondering what little extra magic he added here.
Fair play to the Finns. Since moving to Kinsale from nearby Timoleague about six years ago they have played a full role in the Good Food Circle, as indeed do all the members. Bookings have been brisk for this week’s combined venture and you may find it too late to reserve a place in some venues.
But two excellent courses for just twenty euro is well worth checking out. The full list involved is: Actons Hotel, The Blue Haven, The Bulman, Jim Edwards, Finns’ Table, Fishy Fishy, Man Friday, The Supper Club, The Trident Hotel, The White House, and The White Lady. The week opened on the 18th and closes on the 24th - no time to lose!
The big event for the Good Food Circle comes every October when the annual Gourmet Festival takes place. Dates this year, for the 43rd running of this famous and fun event, are 11th to 13th of October. And, believe it or not, bookings can now be made. Check "Kinsale Good Food Circle - 43rd Kinsale Gourmet Festival”for further info.
Before that though, the Good Food Circle will host the national Chowder Championships in April with a street food festival on the same weekend (6/7 April 2019).
Cast Your Vote in the 9th All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off on Sunday 7th April.Kinsale Good Food Circle want your help to find the best chowder chef in Ireland. A representative from each of the 32 counties will compete for the title of “All-Ireland Chowder Champion” at the annual All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off. Everyone attending the event will have a chance to vote for their favourite chowder-chef. The food festival in the streets will be held on the Saturday (6th).
It was seafood all the way at the new Seafood Cafe in the Blue Haven last week. And why not? After all we were on the Wild Atlantic Way. Not that there much wild about it on one of the best days of the summer. Naturally enough, by the time we arrived after a noon cruise around the harbour, the sunny outside seats were taken and we were accommodated inside. No hardship there.
Both the starters came from nearby Oysterhaven. Jamie’s Oysterhaven Mussels, a big pot of them for €9.95, were served with a garlic, white wine, parsley and cream (lots of it) sauce and garlic crostini. Very tasty.
For €6.95, I got the oddly titled Quarter Dozen Oysterhaven Oysters, served on crushed ice, with a Guinness shot, lemon, and seaweed soda bread. The Oysters, all three of them, were top notch, a taste of the Atlantic for sure.
By the way, my server suggested Carlsberg and Heineken when I asked for craft beer but a few friendly words later and I was sipping a delicious local pale ale from Black’s Brewery. Indeed, they have a bunch of craft beers here and also that gorgeous local cider by Stonewell.
On then to the main courses. I thoroughly enjoyed my Char Grilled Swordfish Nicoise Style with Green beans, fondant potatoes, mixed olives, soft boiled egg, sun blushed tomatoes, pea shoots. The fish was perfectly cooked and the rest of the dish added more texture and flavours. (Cost €21.95).
CL was happy too with her Jamie's Claypot King Prawns and Gubbeen Chorizo, with chilli and garlic butter, shallots, parsley and served with garlic crostini. Another good flavoursome mix here for €12.95.
Two Affogatos later and we were back out in the sunshine.