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Thursday, October 26, 2017
Electric Fish Bar On The Double At Nano Nagle Pop-up
The Fishbar@Electric Presents “Plateau de fruits de mer” for One Night Only was the hook as the South Mall restaurant advertised their pop-up evening at the café in the gardens of Nano Nagle Place.The punters took the bait big-time and while it was still For One Night Only, a second sitting was arranged.
The original meal was down to start at 8.00pm on Wednesday last and the additional one, the one I attended, started at 5.30. Sell-out was the way it went these past few days at Nano Nagle as Taste Cork Week extended to meet Jazz Weekend and that augurs well for the future of the café. A permanent operator is due to be named shortly.
It was quite an occasion as Electric’s Fishbar took advantage to showcase a selection of local and seasonal shellfish and fish, served both hot and cold. There was also breads, a chowder to start with and a dessert. All that, plus a welcome drink (spirits and mixer) and music as well in a historic venue (starting a new lease of life) for a very reasonable thirty euro.
One thing about a full house is that people are closer together. And we got even nearer to the couple next door, pulling the tables closer the better to chat. And that made a lovely meal into a lovely social occasion as well. So big thanks to Margaret and Ted!
And big thanks also to Fishbar Chef Ray who put the magnificent platter together. The “platter” came in two tiers, a bit like an afternoon tea, but space was limited and the tiers was a terrific solution.
There were all kinds of delicious fish and shellfish in the display: mussels, calamari, oysters, crab-meat, salmon, prawns (both big and small), and more, enough to fill you up for sure!
Good service too, friendly and efficient, and a selection of drinks (some free) to wash it all down. Very enjoyable indeed.
Sunday, September 24, 2017
Oysters Galore on the Cork Gourmet Trail
How many did you eat?
“I had nineteen oysters last night,” claimed a London visitor to the weekend’s Cork Oyster Festival. And that “last night” was just the official launch. I’m still wondering how many she managed during the Gourmet Trail on the following day.
The trail visited five venues and some had up to three restaurants combining. There were so many opportunities to indulge in the delicious crustaceans she must surely have doubled the tally from the previous night!
|Gin cocktail in a cup at Cask|
And there were even more plates of the tasty oysters available at the after party as the various groups found their way back to the ballroom at the Metropole Hotel, the Festival’s headquarters. Oysters, more drinks and music. Well done to instigator/organiser Sandra Murphy and her crew.
Sandra was with our group on the trail and our be-hatted leaders were Kylie from the International Hotel and James from the Imperial. We were last to leave but our intrepid guides had us back good and early to join the after party.
|Sushi at The Met|
Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald had opened the festival on Friday night and the oyster event added to the terrific buzz around town as Culture Night drew the crowds. Guests at the launch were treated to oysters (included cooked versions) by Haven Shellfish and there was also some tempting sushi available with bubbles and wine and, of course, Murphy’s Stout from the sponsors.
On Saturday at noon, the ballroom was full but, after a Kinsale Gin and Tonic, we were divided into groups, met our leaders and headed off on the trail. More gin, part of a cocktail in a cup, at our first stop, the stunning Cask, just across the road. Lots of tasty bites here too and time also to begin to get to know our fellow trailers.
|Cornstore were displaying their Himalayan salt (used to age their famous steaks).|
Next stop was the Oyster Tavern, another lovely venue where I enjoyed an excellent meal recently. The oysters here were provided by the Electric Fish Bar, great spot to visit. The Oyster Tavern themselves came up with delicious sliders and bowls of chips.
Amicus were also feeding us with Tom Durcan beef, including carpaccio and teriyaki versions, and more, though their seasonal desserts, Kitchen Garden Rhubarb Fool and the Foraged Blackberry Fool, were irresistible.
Down the stairs then and out into the lane for another group photo before winding up Patrick St and visiting the Bodega where Rachel’s and Cornstore were also lining up with their offerings. The Bodega sushi (one pickled vegetable, another was smoked salmon) went down a treat.
|Sandra rallies her troops as the rain arrives|
Mike Ryan of the Cornstore - terrific dinner there recently - was the oyster “supplier” and he had a welcome variation called Angels on Horseback (the dish is typically prepared by rolling shucked oysters in bacon and baking them in an oven).
That was excellent though I noticed quite few voicing a preference for the battered prawn version! Rachel’s had a couple (at least) of show stoppers, including a shot of Tomato Water and a shot glass packed full of lobster.
So back to the Imperial Hotel (for the second time in a couple of days) and they had help from Jacques and Arthur Mayne’s.
Loved that Medjool Date from Jacques plus the superb desserts by the hotel itself. The savoury bites by Arthur Mayne’s (Avocado mousse with prawn, Caprese Bites, and the Chorizo and Chickpea Ragu) were outstanding.
|Caprese minis by Olivo|
One more stop and soon we were enjoying Margherita time at the newly opened Tequila Jacks. The drinks were eagerly awaited and easily downed. Food too, of course, hot stuff by our hosts and some cooler bits from Olivo, the Italian restaurant at the Cork Airport Hotel.
Tacos Mechados, Roasted Chicken taquitos and Shrimp Rellanos were among the Jacks offerings while the cool bites from Olivo included a lovely mini Caprese and also a Parma wrapped asparagus.
More food anyone? No! A second round of Margaritas was coming to its conclusion and, suitably fortified, it was time to brave the rain and the wind that had arrived midway though the trail and traipse back to the Metropole.
And if you did wanted to increase you oyster headcount, there were trayfuls of opportunity to do. I did see the visiting London couple but didn't get a chance to check her final oyster tally!
The Prosecco and wine flowed (enjoyed a Rioja blanco, well maybe two!), and then a final chat or two before saying goodbye and heading to the taxi.
|Tasty dips at Tequila Jacks|
Once again, well done to Sandra and the crew and here’s to seeing you all and more in 2018!
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Deadly Dinner Deal at Electric Fish Bar
We had a choice of four specials to pick from, including Pan fried Cod fillet with smoked salmon and herb crust, saffron beurre blanc (normal price 13.00) and Whole White Sole with almond butter and parsley (1600). As it happened, the sole wasn't available and the sub was Sea Bass.
We selected and shared the other two. One was the Satay Prawns, spicy peanut sauce, chargrilled pak choi, mango and pepper salad (13.00). And the other was Salmon, Mussel and Hake Bouillabaisse, herb croutons, rouille and parmesan (15.00).
Five sides to choose from, including sautéed green beans, crushed baby potatoes, and baked sweet potato. All tempting but we were very happy with our picks, the Electric Fries with aioli and especially with the Winter Greens with butternut squash and pomegranate.
Total for the two specials and two sides, just 30 euro. Their wine list is described as simple but its is quite extensive. The whites for example cover everything from a Bosco Pinot Grigio (25.00) to the more sophisticated Pouilly Fumé Vincent Vatan (40.00). A few are available by the glass and I enjoyed my Jean de Roche Sauvignon blanc at 7.30 a glass. This also comes by the carafe (18.30) and the bottle (28.00).
All in all, a very enjoyable early evening meal at a good price with friendly service and, as you are upstairs, an interesting view over the south channel of the River Lee, Trinity Church to the left, St Fin Barre’s to the right (and we won’t mention the government block in the middle).
41 South Mall,
GPS Co-ordinates: 51.896204, -8.473414
Sunday, March 20, 2016
Fish’s Special At Electric Bar
Is é an t-íasc is fearr
Early on a Friday evening, Electric is the place to be. Take last Friday for example. Around six o’clock, the main restaurant upstairs is full and the bar, with live music, is also busy though not full, not yet!
One of my favourite parts of the South Mall restaurant is The Fish Bar. We were among the first in - well it was about five! We made our mind up quickly and went for all the specials. The meal was quite superb, not a weak link to be detected, not that we were looking for them, we were too busy enjoying our delicious platefuls.
Sipped an aromatic flavourful Tio Pepe Fino Sherry and took in the views up and down the south channel of the River Lee as we waited while the chef opposite prepared our opening courses.
|Bisque with amazing Rouille croutons|
Service, mainly provided by smiling “sociable” young people, is always excellent here, always time for a wee chat and a bit of local humour.
Soon we made our start. Mine was the Langoustine Bisque (€7.00), good and warm and packed full of flavour. And with an unexpected highlight on the side: toasted Rouille croutons. No shortage of garlic on this delightful spread and such a brilliant match with that supple soup.
Meanwhile, CL was silently (there were a few oohs and aahs!) enjoying her Haddock Koftas with grilled pita bread and lemon aioli (€10.00). I managed to “steal” a bite or two and could see that she too was on a winner.
As she was on her main course: the Prawn scampi with lime, chilli and panko crumb, remoulade sauce (€14.00). A lovely light crumb with the prawns cooked to a tantalising tee. Absolutely top class - we shared these last two dishes.
Mine was Pan-roasted Turbot fillets, parmesan and herb crust, rocket pesto (€15.00). Haven't enjoyed this delicious fish as much since I had it in Nerua in Bilbao, a top 100 restaurant worldwide. The Electric effort was positively exquisite, all the elements, not least that delicious complementary crust.
If you don't see anything on the Specials - though I'm sure you will - you’ll have some terrific choices too on the regular menu including non fish dishes such as Hoisin Beef. You could start, for instance, with some oysters and there are a couple of Fish Platters for sharing. then there is Seared Sashimi Tuna, Pil Pil Prawns, and so on.
Some decent bottles of wine, and glasses of course, available too, including Tin Pot Hut’s Pinot Gris and Paddy Borthwick Paper Road Pinot Noir, a handy New Zealand double! And there is a bar downstairs, so you’ll be spoiled for choice if you want beer, bottle or draught; my favourite here would be the local Chieftain IPA by Franciscan Well. Lots of other drinks too including Kir Royales and Mimosas.
All in all, it's a great spot and Very Highly Recommended!
41 South Mall, Cork, Ireland
[T] +353 21 4222 990
Sunday, October 11, 2015
The Rising Tide on a High
Winners of Kinsale Chowder Cook-Off
Winners of Kinsale Chowder Cook-Off
|Winners: Sandra and Craig of the Rising Tide|
It was the first chowder that we tasted and we knew it was a good one. The Rising Tide's Sandra Murphy, with Head Chef Craig Guiney alongside, greeted us with a big smile and that smile got even bigger later on when the Rising Tide were declared the winners of the ‘Cork Heat’ of the All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off.
This hugely popular competition, sponsored by Clóna,was the opening event of the Kinsale Gourmet Festival, and was hosted by the Kinsale Good Food Circle at Acton’s Hotel last Friday.
Quite a few strong contenders emerged as we made our way around the room. Quinlan’s Seafood Bar were making their debut here and confidence was high as they been crowned Supreme Champions for their fresh crab-meat at the recent Blas na hEireann Awards in Dingle.
|Cornstore (left) was busy as was Clon's Richy|
The White Horse Bar, from Ballincollig, was one of our first calls - we had arranged a “date’ on twitter. Cockles were in the mix here and it was gluten free. Indeed, I’m told the popular restaurant takes good care of people looking for gluten free. So there’s a tip for you.
The Electric Fish Bar featured mussels in their chowder and that too tasted as if it would be a contender as did Ricky's from Clonakilty, also offering mussel in their bowl. Ballycotton Pier 26 had one of the more colourful offerings, smoked fish in the mix, while the Pink Elephant had prawns.
The Poacher’s Inn had another good one with Star Anise among the flavours while runners up Bastion featured Saffron (which went down very well with CL). Ballydehob’s Budds emerged as a place to watch. Their regular chowder was good and they also had a vegan one on hand. They make great use of seaweed and their seaweed butter was a very tasty example indeed.
|A warming chowder from the White Horse crew|
Graeme Campbell, executive head chef at the Celtic Ross, had recruited the formidable Sally Barnes and they had another excellent chowder, accompanied by some of Sally’s smoked mackerel paté.
Actually, quite a few of the accompaniments were tasty. Didn't taste all the brown bread available but I thought the one from Nine Market Street in Kinsale was outstanding. Perhaps the top “side” was the drink offered by Cornstore, a Jameson Black Barrel, basil and rosemary infused whiskey sour. Thanks to local brewer Sam Black for the heads up!
Cornstore were the holders and they made a terrific effort to make it two in a row with an excellent chowder containing smoked haddock, mussel chowder, bacon and dry sherry and a vegetable mirepoix.
|Budd's of Ballydehob and their vegan chowder (smaller pot)|
The line-up in the Kinsale Suite at Actons featured: Cornstore Restaurant, Budds Restaurant, Ballydehob, The Rising Tide, Glounthaune, The Fish Bar at Electric, Cork City, Bastion of Kinsale, The Pink Elephant, Kilbrittain, The White Horse, Ballincollig, Richy’s Restaurant, Clonakilty, Poachers Inn, Bandon, Pier 26 Restaurant, Ballycotton, Celtic Ross Hotel, Rosscarbery, Quinlans Seafood Bar, Cork City, Nine Market St, Kinsale and The Speckled Door, Old Head.
The winner will represent Cork at the All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off in Kinsale next April, and subsequently travel to Newport, Rhode Island to be part of the Great Chowder Cook-off in June, 2017.
Monday, November 10, 2014
Electric Start to Beery Good Night
Fish Bar Specials
Fish Bar Specials
|Mackerel, Bisque and Plaice|
You’ve got to hand it to the team at Electric. They got a great idea when deciding to turn the upstairs outside deck into an indoor fish bar. It’s one thing getting the spark but another thing altogether to turn it into a working reality. But that’s just what has happened here. It makes for a lovely visit every single time and I certainly enjoyed my hour or two here last Friday evening.
The menu keeps changing but the cooking and presentation is always good, often excellent, and you just got to love the informal service, smiles, chats and effortlessly efficiency. We sipped a gorgeous José Pariente Reuda Verdejo (used to be the house wine at El Bulli’s) as we studied the specials list.
We each started with a bowl of Lobster Bisque, served with rouille croutons. The bisque was of excellent quality, full of flavours and quite warming on a rather cool evening. By the way, the Fish Bar, despite all those riverside windows, is obviously well insulated (as you’d expect from the Electric team!) and was comfortably warm on the night.
Next we had three dishes to share, each at nine euro. Two were from the specials list: Steamed Mussels (with beer, chilli and lemongrass) and Tandoori marinated plaice fillets (with cucumber, tomato and mint raita). The third, from the regular list, was: Smoked Mackerel and Cherry Tomato Gratin (with Hegarty’s Cheddar, scallions, panko crumb).
Mussels are mussels, some will say, but this was a different treatment. Not that different but the sauce was enough to give a lovely little spicy lift, so much so that it was finished off with the spoon provided! There was some suggestion that the mackerel dish was a little on the salty side but it didn’t bother me as I loved both the textures and the flavours.
There was agreement about the Tandoori plaice fillets, all happy with this delicate and delicious plateful. The mild spice enhanced the fish and indeed, the raita, though excellent, was hardly needed.
|At the counter of the Rising Sons|
So it was a couple of happy punters that stepped out onto the Mall on the way to checking out some craft beer. First stop was the busy Rising Sons Brewpub on the Coal Quay. I’m afraid to say the average age jumped a fair bit when we entered the big lively space. We got a seat at the counter and ordered a tasting tray each, three small glasses of different beers for four euro.
They have a huge range of craft beers, and others, on draught, but I was interested in their own brews. The three that I got, from the six they produce a few feet away, were their seasonal Porter, the Steeple Hemp amber ale and the Mi Daza stout. The lady serving us gave us lots of helpful information on the beers.
Must say that I'm a fan of the Mi Daza which I’ve tasted in its various forms over the last year or two. Basically, it is a creamy old style Cork stout, “brewed with a traditional rich roasted flavour and hints of dark chocolate, imparted by a four malt extract and thrice hopped, leading to a unique taste and drinking experience”. One to stick with.
The just released seasonal Porter was our first sip and it went down well. It is somewhat lighter in body and flavour compared to the stout but a very pleasant drink indeed. The Steeple Hemp amber ale more or less ambushed the palate with the first sup. “Lots of hops” the lady said and she was right. It’s got a big body too and should be great with food. By the way, the palate soon got used to the hops.
Must go back soon and try their other beers, especially that Handsum IPA. Wonder does it live up to its name?
|The Brewery Mezzanine at the Cotton Ball|
Lots of good ale around nowadays and one of my favourites is the Kerry Lane Pale Ale available on draught at the Cotton Ball, our final halt of the evening. Started off here with their seasonal, the Indian Summer, which has enjoyed a long run this year. But I finished with the Kerry Lane and the pint just confirmed my already high opinion.
Actually, wouldn't it be great to see a tasting of the Kerry Lane, the Handsum and the Franciscan Well’s Chieftain in the one place? Are they all on tap in any one pub?