Sunday, August 23, 2015

GREENE's in Cork: a gorgeous city setting and great Irish cuisine to count on (8-13-15)

Samuel was quite exhausted from the full day of touring (Blarney, Cork, seaside and more) not to mention his Irish Stew for lunch, so he asked to stay in and ordered a burger for dinner. When the burger arrived before we left, I thought there was no way he could polish off the huge 1/2 pound Angus treat and the large portion of fries; I was wrong.

we arrived at Greene's close to downtown in the Hotel Isaac, but this is a separate venue from the mid-range hotel at the rear and as we walked down the alley corridor we saw a huge four-story waterfall cascading from above into a pond just outside the windows of the side of the restaurant. It was a cool, but pleasant evening and one lucky elderly couple had nabbed the only outside table opposite the fall. We later found out that this was not used and it was a special occasion for the owner's parents.

Our table was just one away from the window and the waterfall was a super touch. Local art covered the walls that ranged from Irish scenery to naked women and pigs; something for everyone. Tipperary Sparkling was poured and the amuse of Herb Yogurt with Tomato Espuma and Wild Garlic Powder arrived. It was tasty and a good omen for what was to come. The wine list was simple with six reds, 6 whites and a rose all available by the glass, 1/2 litre or bottle. The hostess/manager, Orsolya, from Hungary, was a dream and said we could taste any of the wines by the glass. We decided that the Prado Rey Verdejo/Sauvignon Blanc blend from Spain would be ideal with the oysters we chose to start with. We told our server, Artur, that we wanted to split a dozen, and he quickly ran to the tank to grab the 9 remaining mollusks; he declared the bar had been busy that evening with many drinkers and oyster eaters! They arrived some time later in a gorgeous presentation with Pickled Cucumbers, Pickled Carrots, Sea Asparagus & Fennel on top of each bi-valve. Will did not like this at all, but I loved the veggies on these very local West Cork Oysters.

Four breads arrived in the form of 2 browns, a wheat and a white; all the locally cooked fresh bread was always an enticement, though we tried to refrain, we could not.

Will started with the Cork Buffalo Mozzarella & Smoked Beef (Tartare style) Salad with arrived decorated with those colorful fresh edible flowers and sprouts (indeed, all the dishes here did as well) and Dattarino Toamtoes, Piquillo Peppers, Smoked Almonds, Basil, Olives and Pickled Wild Garlic Stems; a salad to remember and what amazing local fresh ingredients. My Duo of Orchard Farm and Ardsallagh Goats Cheese was an array of goat cheese beignets, textures of Beetroot (including espuma), Candied Walnut, Raisin Puree and Leek Ash (on the goat cheese) that impressed me completely.

Orsolya offered us a taste of Hunky Dory Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand which was overpowering and we settled on the Swallow's Tail (the wine names were all quite odd) Sauvignon Blanc/Chenin Blanc blend from Robertson South Africa that was not too complex and went perfectly with our main course (we both had the same) of Seared Hake Fillet & Seared Scallops (both from nearby West Cork) with Morteau Sausage, Sea Vegetables (including Sea Purslaine), a Roast Chicken Veloute (superb with the hake), Spinach and Confit Lemon (to squeeze on the fish). Lots of love, care and consideration went into this dish and it showed.

Of course, we were full, but decided to split a dessert we had seen at the next table: New Season Bushby's West Cork Strawberries which was an array of amazing fresh berries (perhaps the best ever save for the wild ones we had years ago in Scotland), Strawberry Meringue, Malted Milk Crumble, Strawberry Ice Cream, Strawberry Jelly, Strawberry Sorbet and Elderflower Gel. Quite tasty and again a paean to the local fruit.

We were grateful for the quiet night without Samuel, but he did miss the amazing waterfall and yummy food. To our disdain, her was awake on our return, but we all crashed quite quickly.