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Fenn's Quay, reviewed by Eamon Barrett

All the best places to eat, shop and stay in Ireland. A local guide to local places.

Mistaking Lapps Quay for Fenns Quay presented the perfect opportunity for a crisp stroll accross Cork City, resplendant in all it's Christmas lit glory.Tucked away just off Washington St, 5 Fenns Quay is warm and welcoming when myself and eldest nephew arrive. It's small and cosy and nicely lit - we feel instantly comfortable at our little table. There's an early bird, an a la carte and a wine list, all brought on colour coded clipboards. The waiter knows his stuff and talks us through menu changes efortlessly. Bread arrives in a terrcotta flower pot and water is refilled throughout the evening. I opt for a spiced pumpkin soup with mixed seeds for starter, a lovely warming soup served in a perfectly judged portion size. From the mains, the advertised 'Slow cooked Durcan's lamb neck with lentils' has been replaced with a collar of bacon, 'Posh bacon and cabbage' the waiter refers to it as. It comes with perfectly cooked sprouts - which have been slightly caramelised - and some chopped walnuts. I'm advised that the smoked Gubbeen mash will be a great acompaniment and so it proves. The whole dish is just delicious. The rounds of bacon collar just fall apart as soon as a fork touches them, the shredded cabbage and sprouts, with the smokey cheesy mash, all meld together to make a dish I really don't want to reach the end of.I should add this plate of food is just €15.00! A glass of white Rioja, suggested by the brilliant waiter, is perfect with it. Nephew opts for a fillet steak, never a dish to get excited about - though he has the decency to order it medium rare. It's a good piece of meat and perfecly cooked. On the menu it's described as being 'Wellie Style' and this means there are mushrooms wrapped in pastry served on the side - the whole thing was devoured so quickly by my student nephew that's about all I can tell you about it! I believe he had some house cut chips with his steak - there certainly was an empty bucket on the table at the end.

'Dessert?? Era go on so!' says the menu. Era, we will. Nephew opts for Vanilla Carigeen Moss with seasonal fruits, pears as it turns out. It's delicious, really expertly created and it's fun to watch nephews face as I explain it's seaweed. My own dessert is 'Mimi's Cork Dry Gin and tonic' - a delightful desert that had me smiling from the moment it arrived. A layer of clear jelly is flavoured with Gin which is then given a layer of lemon curd and finally a tonic sorbet on top. It is gorgeous and fun. A good coffee finishes off the evening.

Fenns Quay is a super restaurant with honest and creative cooking, using good ingredients and with really good staff. Right now, adorned with twinkling lights, a haven from the crisp Cork air, it just seems like the perfect place to eat. The bill for one starter, two mains, two side orders, two desserts, a glass of wine and a coffee was a very reasonable €70.00.

Eamon Barrett

http://fennsquay.net

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