It's with the simplest things on a menu that you see the effort a restaurant is prepared to invest.
Some places will offer you chicken liver pate and toast. In Raymond Whyte's restaurant, chef Stephen Lee will offer you “Jameson whiskey and East Ferry chicken liver pate with pickled cucumber, spiced Cumberland sauce, toasted Jack Cuthbert's country bread.”
Just thinking about the effort involved in sourcing and creating that dish gives you the measure of this fine restaurant: local chicken, local bread, local whiskey, local vegetables, brought together with the purity and culinary logic that Mr Lee brings to every dish he cooks. Raymond's is an understated, modest restaurant, except when it comes to effort and dedication, when this team over-deliver, big time.
Mr Whyte is a fabulous host, and he leads a wonderful team who create delightful food – Ballycotton crab and wild cod potato cakes with celeri remoulade and garlic and lemon aioli; the signature dish of trio of Ballycotton seafood with creamed spinach mash and a prawn bisque sauce; breast of chicken with brussel sprouts colcannon and a tarragon sauce; flourless chocolate and chestnut cake with chocolate sauce and ice cream. Everything tastes wonderfully clean and crisp – precise flavours that are well delineated and brilliantly delivered – and it is no surprise that Raymond's should have such a dedicated and loyal clientele, folk who know a good thing when they eat it.
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