No. 5 Fenn’s Quay
A couple of week’s ago, Patrick (my hubby) and Smith (our 16 month old bundle of pure and utter joy) took ourselves to Cork City for a three night staycation.
We’re no strangers to Cork but like to try different restaurants when we visit. High on my agenda (I do the foodie research thing in our family … who’d have guessed!) for dining out on this visit was Fenn’s Quay on Sheares Street. It’s pretty much in the heart of Cork City, so we left the car parked up and walked there.
Owned and run by renowned Head Chef(ess) Kate Lawlor, Fenn’s Quay has been awarded numerous titles from McKenna’s Guide ‘Best in Ireland’ to Georgina Campbell’s Guide ‘Just Ask Restaurant of the Year”.
Hot Press even featured them as one of Ireland’s Top 10 Brunches (it’s on my list for our next visit). That’s TOP 10 in IRELAND!
So with recommendations like those above, and the fact that Kate only cooks with fresh, mostly seasonal, local and Irish produce, I knew we were in for a good dining time.
Add to that the fact that Fenn’s Quay opens at 5pm for early dinner and my heart was already warmed.
Restaurants opening for dinner at 5pm means this to me – Before I became a mother I loved to dine in restaurants with my husband. Since I’ve become a mother, I still love to dine in restaurants. However I now love to dine in restaurants with my husband and little son. When a restaurant opens at 5pm, I get to enjoy dining out with my family. It isn’t too late when our meal is served, nor is it late in the evening when our meal is over. We get to keep with our son’s sleep-time routine, and most times have left before the romantic dinner for two guests have arrived. Okay rant over … back to Fenn’s Quay …
We were greeted in the restaurant by Alan, who kindly offered to seat us to the rear of the restaurant to give us a little more room if we wanted. We agreed and were delighted as we had the area to ourselves as the restaurant began to get busier in front.
A highchair was provided, fresh crusty bread served and drinks ordered. Patrick opted for a cider to go with his choice of starter and main course choice. I chose a glass of Malbec.
For our dining experience Patrick and I decided to go for the “Three Course Early Dinner for €25.00” We ordered the Soup of the Day, Sweet Potato for Smith with some mashed potato.
To start Patrick ordered the Pork & Onion Bonbon, Rosscarbery Black Pudding & Apple Sauce. The presentation gave a rustic feel to the dish. The pork bonbon’s were meaty and succulent, pared perfectly with the apple sauce and added goodness of Rosscarbery Black Pudding.
For my starter dish I chose the Ardsallagh Goats Cheese Twice Baked Soufflé with Kohl Rabi Salad. As a cheese lover, I was not disappointed. The soufflé was light and fluffy on the inside, the flavour of goats cheese speaking for itself with the addition of the kohl rabi and beetroot salad.
Smith devoured his Sweet potato soup, and also enjoyed tastings from both Patrick and my main dishes. The boy knows good food when he tastes it, says one proud Mammy.
For Patrick’s main course, he ordered O’Mahony’s Collar of Bacon with Cabbage, Spiced Walnuts & Parsnip Purée. Neither Patrick nor I are fans of walnuts in their normal state, however with their spiced flavour and the flavours of this dish we were converted. The bacon was tender, the cabbage soft but not overly so, the purée bound all the flavours together and Patrick was a happy diner. Bacon and Cabbage was always his favourite dish as a child.
For my main dish I ordered O’Mahony’s Feather Blade of Beef with Pickled Ballyhoura Mushroom & Onion Purée. I never really thought of myself as a pickle lover but I’m witnessing more of it of late. If you ever decide you don’t like pickled dishes, then let Fenn’s Quay change your mind as you order their Pickled Ballyhoura Mushroom & Onion Purée. Of course you’d be better off ordering the whole dish because you won’t want to miss out on the deliciously juicy flavours of the Feather Blade of Beef. The talent of making a shoulder of beef (albeit the fact it’s from a quality supplier) taste that expensive is the reason Kate Lawlor is top notch and took over Fenn’s Quay in 2008.
I posted a photo of Patrick’s dessert choice of Mimi’s Cork Dry Gin & Tonic Dessert not too long ago on Instagram and here is what I said “Yesterday evening Patrick said his dessert of choice was one of the best desserts he has ever enjoyed. Today he mentioned it again. That’s the sign of a great dessert!” After he saw the photo again as I worked on this post, his words were “I’d love that now” So I really have nothing more to add to this delicious, refreshing dessert.
For my dessert I ordered, Vanilla Carrageen Moss with Seasonal Fruit & Baldwin’s Ice-cream. I was intrigued to taste the Carrageen Moss, it’s a seaweed by the way. The way it was presented was simple. The combinations of textures crumbled, melted and dissolved in my mouth, all delicious, with a strong double espresso my dining experience was made.
We really enjoyed our dining experience at Fenn’s Quay for it’s food, service and great value and I highly recommend you visit. We look forward to returning (got to try that brunch!)
As we dined early, at about 5pm, midweek, we didn’t feel the need to book, but I wouldn’t take chances otherwise.
Alan who greeted and served us also made us feel very welcome and was attentive throughout our stay. When it was time to go we faced an early evening downpour of rain. Without Smith, Patrick and I probably would have jumped at the chance to walk romantically in the rain, stopping off at a pub on our way back to the hotel. However with Smith by our side it was a different story. Not only did Alan help to organise a taxi but Kate herself confirmed the booking. How’s that for service! My only regret was thanking Kate for the call and not our fantastic meals … I suppose I’m doing the later now though.
If you just can’t wait to get to Fenn’s Quay you could always try your hand at some of Chef Kate Lawlor’s recipe’s yourself by means of her online Fenns Quay Recipe Book. I know I’ll be trying my hand at a number of dishes – but don’t hold your breath for blog post updates on my creations.