Ichigi Ichie once again.
And I’ll be going again!
|Duck with Nori potesala
Ichigo Ichie's 2024 version isn't just good, it's captivating
Ichigi Ichie goes again! It was good (good enough for a Michelin Star) in 2023 and previously. The 2024 edition is a diner's delight as the Fenns Quay restaurant now has more choices, credit-card friendly prices and still amazing quality (and almost immediately a Michelin Bib). It's the kind of place I certainly want to go to again. Encore!!
It is the last Tuesday of a far-from-dry January. Quite early in the evening and the two sections of Takashi Miyazaki’s reimagined Ichigo Ichie Noodle and Natural Wine Bar are more or less full by six o’clock and the delighted staff tell us the weekends are even busier, so do be sure and book ahead.
The same staff are also welcoming, friendly and helpful. And we certainly needed a few pointers when it came to the choices on offer. That offer is in two parts, the A La Carte which has a handful of starters and then three sections of main dishes. One is headed Rice Dishes (Doburi). Two come under the Handmade Buckwheat Noodles title, one section cold (Hiya), the other hot (On).
These noodles are the stars here and you’ll have plenty of choices. Oroshi bukkake soba - grated mooli daikon, ginger, sobatsuyu in the Hot for instance, nanbun soba- Skeaghanore duck, hay leek, scallion in the Cold.
|Cantina Rallo's rosso and Original 7 Pale Ale
I have to admit though that we were captivated by the Specials Board, almost as expansive as the A La Carte, full of tempting dishes, even more enticing because there is a mix of small and larger plates, mostly designed for sharing. This second edition of Ichigo is much less formal and more fun. As it happened, everything we had came from the blackboard, leaving Takashi’s noodles for the next visit.
Local Ingredients, Unexpected Delights
Expect the unexpected. Tripe, an old Cork favourite, features and was given a flavoursome and palate-pleasing twist by Miyazaki. The “Tonchan” came with cabbage, bean sprouts, Fukuoka-style tripe stew, ginger and garlic (€13.50).
A beer by Original 7, the brewery based in the Franciscan Well in the North Mall, is available on draught here. Had to try that pale ale and it just so happened to be a perfect pairing for the tripe!
O’Mahony Butchers of the English Market supplied the beef for our next dish. The fillet came with egg yolk, Cucumber, Moyahsi, and Namul (€16.50). We were tipped off in advance that this was something like a carpaccio and so it proved. But the marinated beef, super tasty with all its accompaniments, was cut, not into thin rounds but instead into finger-sized strips, the better to take up the marinade! Delicious.
Our largest dish of the evening featured Skeaghanore Duck (€22.00). It arrived charcoal grilled with Hay Leek, grilled scallion, leaves, Sansho salt and an unexpected garnish of potato with Nori that went down very well indeed.
The delicious delights didn’t stop there. I’d say you’d find it hard to get a better apple dessert than his Matcha Panna Cotta with caramelised apple, lycee ice cream and hazelnut praline, our favourite, and we got the impression it is a staff favourite as well. Just two desserts were available and the Gubbeen Smoked Cheese Cake with Wasabi ice cream was impressive also, even if the apple stole the sweet show.
|Gubbeen Cheese Cake
This 2024 Ichigo Ichie doesn't lack drink options. A craft beer exclusive from Original 7, Beamish on draft, and an amazing, all-natural wine list curated by Le Caveau await. While the three Jura wines sit at the higher end, don't miss the house red and white from Sicily's Cantina Rallo at a budget-friendly €7.50 a glass. And there's much much more in between!