Sunday, August 23, 2015

FLEMING's: a true family run restaurant in a park preserves fine French style fare in Cork, Ireland (8-12-15)

We moved westward for the next two nights to the city of Cork and chose FLEMING's located in the tranquil Tivoli section on Cork's east side in a 5-acre property that is not easy to find. We finally did and drove up a tiny road to a beautiful, if unkempt, old "Country" home still managed by the same couple (Michael & Eileen Fleming) for decades. Outside were herb and vegetable gardens used for the meals! The old wooden floors, chandeliers, and fireplaces remained giving an air of post-19th century upper class living gone sad, but the warm welcome we received and the food made up for the fraying d√©cor. Heavy curtains in the small dining room with 6 tables (that was full) with a small crystal chandelier and yellowing walls along with 70's pop music scared me at first, but Samuel was thrilled when the hot garlic bread with toasted sunflower seeds arrived shortly after we sat down. The wine list was short, but we found a tasty 2013 Pouilly Fuisse from Drouhin that was in great form and only needed a slight more chilling to suit our taste.

Samuel started with a gorgeous and huge plate of Spinach and Cheese Ravioli covered with huge swaths of fresh parmesan cheese; our hostess even brought another bowl of extra cheese for Sam to add more should there be a need.
Will had the Salade de Crabe (I loved that the names were all in French) featuring more tasty local crab with Avocado & Grapefruit. My Rable de Lapin Sauce Grain Moutarde was an excellent roast Stuffed Saddle of Rabbit with a light Plum Compote and an excellent light Grain Mustard Sauce. I marveled at the tenderness of the meat and the construction and traditional elegance of the dish; this came from a well trained French chef for sure, which is often not seen today.

Main courses were even more exciting and successful with Samuel going for his regular Filet of Beef here in a local Morel Mushroom Cream Sauce with a good dose of Rosemary. Will ordered fish, but for some reason I did not write down what he had. My Noisette St. Jacques was a revelation with fresh caught that day seared Scallops, but here for the first time in decades, the "foot" or roe sac, was attached to each and every scallop; what a treat. For those that do not know, this sac is usually removed as it cannot be eaten after more than a day or perhaps even less. I love the burst of flavor you get from this along with the tender slice of scallop and here it was in a Champagne Sauce with a hint of Balsamic for colore and a Seafood Pate with Caviar. OMG, this was one of the biggest hits and treats of the entire vacation. In the true family-style side dishes were brought and we had some bursting with flavor Baby Carrots with Cumin & Honey (from the garden I assume) and Potatoes of course.

Samuel could not resist the Hot Chocolate Fondant with Summer Berries and a huge cookie. Will and I split a superb warm Lemon Tart with Strawberries as well as one of those yummy big cookies as well. Serving it warm was novel and different, but it worked for sure, and the pastry could not have been better.
We fell in love with Flemings not mention Eileen and Michael.