Greenes on the Victorian McCurtain Street in Cork has long been a gem on the Cork food scene. The location, tucked away in an alleyway including a waterfall makes this restaurant a lovely getaway from the bustling city outside.
Far from nestling on its laurels , executive head chef Bryan McCarthy, is constantly re-inventing new dishes, using the finest of ingredients. Fresh seaweeds, beautiful fresh fish, slow-braised beef, and foraged wild herbs make the menu a mouthwatering journey through the best of the Irish landscape.
On our recent visit, we chose an early arrival on a Tuesday. Arriving at 6:30pm, we were greeted by a very cheerful waiter, handing us the menu and explaining the specials of the day. We started off with a lovely crisp prosecco while reading through the menu. Before we were asked to order, we were served an amuse bouche of lychee & lime flavoured milkfoam, topped with macha tea powder. The texture floated in the mouth for just a second with the flavours lingering slightly longer - a wonderful touch with a promise of things to come. We opted for the Pre-Theatre Menu for €32.50 for three courses. Starter, Main & Dessert had four options each and it made the choice very difficult indeed, as everything on the menu just sounded delicious. In the end, Mr T ordered Mackerel & Crab with beetroot textures, Dillisk Seaweed, Squid Ink and Nasturtium leaves. The result was almost a piece of art, served on a ceramic board that gave the impression of a seaside beach on a stormy day. The crab was zingy fresh with the addition of some citrus, the mackerel just perfect and the beetroot cut nicely through the richness of the mackerel. I ordered the Goats Cheese platter – a simple name for a beautiful dish. Breaded, deep-fried tender goats cheese balls went nicely with the pear puree, the slices of fresh apple were a perfect partner for the matured ash-rind goats’ cheese and the walnut and golden raisins added a nice earthy note. The selection of mains had something for everyone, fish, beef, chicken and a vegetarian mushroom risotto. I convinced Mr T that he would love the slow-braised Feather Blade of Beef, which has become Bryan’s signature dish and you can be sure that this dish is always on the menu (and rightly so). The beef was succulent and fell apart so softly that a knife was obsolete. The dish came with earthy pearl barley, onions, greens and a beef tea. My Hake Filet was perfectly cooked and came with sea vegetables, pickled seaweed, smoked sausage and a delicate veloute. The single components of the dish were a match made in heaven. Moving on to the desserts, the choice got even harder. In the end, Mr T lustered after the Chocolate Peanut Cremeux Tart with barley, salted caramel and was a picture perfect dessert. The smoothness of the chocolate mousse was like silk teasing your taste buds. I couldn’t resist the Gorse Flower Set Cream Pudding – a pannacotta style desserts with citrus textures, pistachio crumble and edible flowers. The pudding had the perfect ‘wobble’ and a lightness to it that made it a perfect ending to a beautiful dinner.
Service was prompt, not invasive and extremely efficient and always with a smile. The wine list was an interesting mix of different grapes and countries with a good selection of wine available by the glass or half carafe. We opted for a glass of Sauvignon Blanc from France, which was a perfect match for my hake.
Withgreat location, friendly service, excellent food devoid of unnecessary fuss – I conclude that Greenes has it all.
Greenes Restaurant, 48 MacCurtain Street, Cork City, Co. Cork, Ireland
Phone: +353 21 450 0011
Photo credit: Bryan McCarthy