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Greenes Restaurant, Cork

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The great thing about Bryan McCarthy’s cooking is the fact that despite all the on-trend techniques, ingredients and styles involved in his food – strawberry textures; black cabbage; black pudding dumplings; pickled beets; sea vegetables – there is never any doubt that every plate he sends out in Greene’s Restaurant, on Cork’s MacCurtain Street, is his, and his alone. He follows fashions, and is right up to the minute with cheffy goings on, yet his food manages to remain very personal, and timeless.
He creates a weave of ingredients on the plate – feather blade of Hereford beef with carrot purée, kale, Paris mushrooms; caramelised shallot jus and pickled beetroot is not untypical – and the final picture he has in his head of how the dish should eat is never lost sight of. His goal is always the harmony of the things on the plate, plus the fact that the plate should be pretty as all get out.
This means that his food is pure fun to eat, as you wander in and around the tastes and textures – that note of chocolate and elderberry with the Skeaghanore duck; the smoked almonds with Macroom mozzarella and smoked beef; the seaweed gel with char-grilled tuna – and it means every forkful offers a new surprise, some other little riff that this ingenious chef has buried in the mix.
With cooking of this stature, it’s no surprise that Greene’s is such a success story, for this is one busy, busy restaurant. It’s a pretty room, formally set with good white tablecloths, and the news that the bar and reception are to be made over sometime soon is good news indeed, for at present it’s a zone that is neither one thing nor another. Mr McCarthy deserves a fab bar conjuring up great aperitifs, before everyone moves on to this statuesque cooking.

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