Restaurant Reviews: County Cork

We got back on Sunday from a week in County Cork with friends…

Dinty’s in Union Hall
A tiny, simply decorated, casual pub restaurant on the harbour in tiny Union Hall, the setting belies the excellence of the food. On the first night several of us had deep fried brie as a starter – two tranches per serving, each one the size one would normally buy for a cheese board, about 6 inches long and utterly delicious. The other half of us had crab claws in garlic butter served with brown soda bread. So good I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. For mains two of us had the smaller seafood platter each – so large I couldn’t finish even half and had some of the leftovers for dinner another night – my plate was piled high with a huge mound of fresh crab meat, a pile of succulent king prawns, another of crab claws, 3 smoked mackerel pieces, 2 hot smoked salmon pieces, a mound of regular smoked salmon, several pieces of regular cooked salmon fillets… Others had the fish pie, the very tender and generous sirloin steak and the breadcrumbed plaice – a serving of 4 large fillets – 1 alone a normal perhaps slightly small serving, 2 a generous main meal, 3 already excessive and 4 too big even for 2 to share! With (limited) drinks, the bill was less than 35 Euros per person and well worth it. We went a second night and many of the same dishes were enjoyed as well as a generous chicken wing starter, some tasty breaded mushrooms and a T-bone steak (though second time around, we knew to share some of the dishes as they were just too large)!

Max’s Wine Bar in Kinsale
Recommended by someone on the BBC Food Chat board, this was a very elegant and adult place, the opposite in decor and style of food to Dinty’s. Four of us enjoyed a fantastic lunch there. The brown soda bread was as good as that at Dinty’s. My dublin bay prawn salad very tasty (though I did pick the celery out), my foie gras (second starter instead of main) the equal of any I’ve had in France, freshly sauted, served with a port or sherry sauce on a small bed of tagliatelle. The saffron monkfish special one friend had was beautifully cooked and presented. The omelette and saute potatoes Pete chose were also very well executed as was the creamy chicken pasta chosen by our other friend . The chocolate orange gateaux (we ordered two between us) oozed hot liquid centres which went well with the vanilla ice-cream. The cheese plate was delicious too. With wine the bill was only just over 30 Euros per person. Oh and for those who like dessert wine, the taster glasses are plenty big enough – you won’t need the full glasses, as we’re glad the waitress advised us. Fantastic meal, would go back in a heartbeat.

We also ate well elsewhere in County Cork enjoying simple home-made lasagnes, a delicious crab mornay, gubeen cheese crumbed and fried, seafood chowder, sandwiches, ice-cream and snacks in various cafes, pubs and restaurants.

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