Running a restaurant takes some bravery. But changing an already successful restaurant to suit changing customer needs takes an even firmer type of valour.
So hats off to Beth Haughton and Harold Lynch for closing Club Brasserie in Cork last September and reopening it as Dockland.
The new room is really rather wonderful, with its parquet wooden floor, green leather banquettes, cleverly partitioned at one point by a colourful kilim, attractive bentwood chairs, and bar tables that look like oversized schoolroom furniture.
White globes of paper pendant lampshades add a sense of drama to the ceiling – like so many white balloons, and the room benefits from the light from its large streetscape window. A 1950s style bar runs the full length of the room, and from here they offer their famous Bloody Mary menu.
The food has changed as well, with an all day menu that leans towards the city’s new found appetite for the non-stop brunch-type food. Docklands specialise in what they call “All Things Bread”, so there’s pizza, toast, burgers, and flatbreads. Casual right into the evening, the menu also features small and full plates, fishcakes, fish and chips, steaks and lots of sweetness to round it all off.
The entrance to the restaurant has been converted into a shop - where their dhals, soups and sandwiches are available to take away, a vital option for all the nearby office workers.
The food is great, and the room is great, and Docklands is an impressive response to listening to the customer, and responding to changes. There is no standing still in the restaurant world, and Beth and Harold have proved that daring to change and update is a step worth taking. Twenty-three years on, their restaurant is fresher and brighter than ever.