She's taking the mickey, right?
You are in an Irish hotel, at a lovely Irish wedding, and the waitress has just asked you the unthinkable question:
“And how would you like your lamb cooked?”
She has to be taking the mickey, right?
But here's the thing: the waitress isn't winding you up. If you make the choice between monkfish and lamb for the main course, she asks in all sincerity how you would like the meat to be cooked. She even – get this – asks if you would like it “Blue?”
“Rare”, you say. And when the dish comes to the table, with a little pennant atop it with “rare” written on it, the meat – Slaney Valley lamb – is cooked to just-pinky perfection. It is tender, and delicious, and perfect.
Okay, so something is happening here, and do you know what it is? It is the simple fact that the Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa hotel, just outside Clonakilty in West Cork, is setting itself super-high standards. And it is hitting those standards: bang!
It's as if someone affixed a turbo-charger to the hotel a while back, and everyone in the team signed on for the ride.
Hotels tend to coast at weddings. They get the food out, as a prelude to the drinking and the dancing, and no one remembers what they ate. But Inchydoney is different. It wasn't just the lamb that was perfectly cooked – so was the monkfish. Even just thinking about the attention needed to get dozens of dishes of monkfish out to the room without the fish being severely overcooked sets the mind whirling.
The smoked salmon starter was excellent, and so were the quartet of chocolate desserts.
Razor-sharp cooking at a wedding: who knew?
All that, and some of the best waves on the south coast. We'll be back to Inchydoney Island soon as we can.
Incheydoney Island Lodge & Spa, Clonakilty, West Cork T: 353 23 8833143 www.inchydoneyisland.com