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We first came across Chicken Cacciatore in Rossini’s in Cork, many moons ago. It is, we were told, the hunter’s dish, made with pieces of chicken and mushrooms. And while it may well be the hunter’s dish, there are many many versions across Italy and in Italian restaurants in Ireland.
We came across another during an evening meal in Rugantino of Sligo, a family run restaurant on the banks of the Garavogue River, last week. No little bits of chicken here. Instead, a massive half (breast, thigh and leg), appeared on the plate. No mushrooms in the sauce. Instead the chicken had been braised in a delicious braised tomatoes and mixed pepper sauce with mixed olives.
Saltimbocca is another Italian classic with regional variations. It is usually made with veal and this was the case at Rugantino. Two rose veal steaks were pounded with prosciutto and sage and sautéed in a white wine sauce.It was slightly salty, slightly woodsy (more so than the chicken), and entirely delicious. There were sides for both of us as we shared excellent fries and a garden salad.
We finished the gorgeous wine, a Sangiovese special of the month, before tackling yet another Italian classic: Tiramisu. Another with a million variations. The Sligo offering though was pretty close to the classic. Savoiardi, egg yolks, mascarpone, cocoa, coffee are the usual ingredients and they all seemed to be present here in a delightful finalé.
They offer about 17 starters here, excluding specials, and we covered most bases by ordering a selection of Cicchetti (Italian tapas), eight pieces in all. Delicious. We almost had a fight over them and indeed could have eaten another round. But there was a good meal ahead..
Shared starter plate
Lots of choices, as is usual in Italian restaurants, and that was even before we looked at the huge Pizza selection which comes from their state of the art set-up and seems to be very popular with take-out customers. If visiting, be sure and watch out for the specials. Tonnarelli with Lobster was a recent one!