Schnitzel seems to be having a moment on menus. Excellent example at Jacques
Schnitzel seems to be having a moment on restaurant menus. I came across the dish, which may be of Austrian or German origin, in Harrow^ in Killarney in March, in Westport’s Pantry & Corkscrew^^ in April and last week at Jacques in Cork. The first two were pork while the Cork version had chicken.
Veal and other meats (even turkey) may be used. Early last year, in The Tannery, they served a Quail schnitzel (with green peppercorn and wild garlic butter, seasonal vegetables) as a starter.
They have five on offer, two white (well, one of those is an ”orange” Grüner Veltliner), two reds (a Tempranillo from Castille and a Sangiovese from Montepulciano. And there’s also an organic, Low Intervention Blanc De Blanc Frissant by Maison Idiart of Provence.
From the tap, we enjoyed a Spanish white, Verdejo by Los Aljibes, crisp and balanced, tropical nose and lingering finish. Easy drinking and good with Snitzel! Before all that we had a warm welcome from Jacque herself and her staff (including one of our own third generation), so we felt very much at home, as we always do here.
Back to the Schnitzel. I've rarely seen it on an Irish menu previously but Schnitzel is tenderised meat covered in breadcrumbs and fried until golden and crispy. That’s the basic description but the word could well start quite a debate if you have a German and an Austrian talking about it!
The Jacques dish is Chicken Schnitzel, White Cabbage, Pickled Vegetable, Rustic Potatoes, with "My Goodness" Red Cabbage and it is delicious, made more so by the inspired accompaniment of crunchy cabbage, the tang of the pickled veg and that gorgeous Red Cabbage by My Goodness. Lots of flavours, a great piece of chicken and some very pleasant, crunchy veg. A long way from some of the examples I got while staying at 3-star country hotels in Austria about 20 years ago, pork everywhere and most of it tough.
CL also had a mid-European touch in her mains: Seared Castletownbere Scallops, Cauliflower, Sweet & Sour Onion, Nuts, Caherbeg Blackpudding, Raisins, Crispy Rosti. Not exactly the same Rosti as you'd typically get in Switzerland but a good one and the by now classic combination of scallops and black pudding (both from West Cork) came up trumps again.
And I would finish with another West Cork classic: Bushby Strawberries, Vanilla Ice Cream, Elderflower, and Praline Crumb. Hard to beat Bushbys when it comes to top-quality flavoursome strawberries and, by the way, the Jacques serving is generous. And, at the other side of the table, CL was humming away as her Boozy Tiramisu vanished off the plate!
We had started well also, CL with Arancini Balls stuffed with Toonsbridge Scamorza & Beef Cheek, Tomato & Pepper Salsa. We met Toby from Toonsbridge at his stall in Midleton the following Saturday and picked up some more of his fabulous produce (including fresh pasta and a Garlic Scape & Parsley Pesto).
|Artichoke & Beetroot starter
My starter at Jacques was the marvellous Artichoke, Lemon, Tahini, Roast Beetroot, Mushroom stuffed Aubergines, Crispy Spiced Chickpeas, a stunning assemblage of top-notch produce, more or less the theme for what would follow for the rest of the meal.
Top-class food and an efficient and friendly crew taking care of us!
^Schnitzel at Harrow, Killarney. The full description is Pork Schnitzel, Celeriac Purée, Herb and Parmesan Dressing, and Celeriac Slaw with Jus. A hearty flavoursome dish to watch out for if you visit.
^^Schnitzel at Pantry & Corkscrew Westport: Herb Crusted Andarl Farm Free Range Pork Schnitzel, Pancetta & Parmesan Cream, Potato, Fennel and Butternut Hash. Crispy and tasty, full of flavour and texture and the potato and sauce enhanced the whole dish. A big thumbs up for this one.