There is an easy conclusion everyone can agree on following a meal in 12 Tables: you would go back to eat Dave Farrell’s cooking.
In fact, you would go back tomorrow to eat this food, because Dave and Cat deliver good flavour in 12 Tables, a neat, welcoming and attractive room in Douglas, on the outskirts of Cork city.
Mushroom bruschetta shows their nous. This dish is beyond cliché at this stage, and usually arrives as a disappointing collation of supermarket mushrooms with dodgy bread. But when the 12 Tables kitchen fires it up with great wild mushrooms, Arbutus sourdough bread, punchy garlic and lots of scallions and Parmesan, then you remember why it became a cliché: it's a thing of simple, logical beauty, and deeply satisfying to a hungry appetite.
And it's the clichés where 12 Tables excels. The fries are great: salty, dry, the interior properly powdery, the exterior properly crispy. The ribs are sticky and sweet, and gargantuan in size. The burger with chorizo and avocado is balanced, but powerfully flavourful. This is modest cooking, but it majors on flavour, and it’s extremely focused on what people like to eat: chicken wings; chocolate brownie sundae; mac & cheese for the kids; beef 2 ways with roast potatoes; lemon tart.
One design element that makes the room stand apart is their decorous and sophisticated floral decorations. Dave’s family are florists, and the nuance and flush of colour the blooms bring to the room is just terrific.
12 Tables aims to please, and it does just that. It’s heartfelt, and full of charm. It’s a striver, and we like their striving. We’ll be back.