Last night was Banquet Night in the Church Restaurant in Skibbereen as part of the food festival. The Church Restaurant was destroyed a few years back by an arsonist but beautifully restored. The stained windows are simply amazing, the original features maintained and/or restored. Dark wood give the white walls a lift and the big chandeliers give the whole place a feel of Belle Epoche.
The food was outstanding. Chefs from several restaurants in Skib came together and created a great menu.
* Medley of West Cork Seafood with seasonal leaves or
* Crispy Skeaghanore Duck Spring Rolls with Asian dipping sauce
* Cream of Cauliflower with a smoked Gubbeen Cheese Croute or
* Basil Sorbet
* Roasted West Cork Lamb on celeriac mash with red wine & rosemary jus or
* Pan seared hake on Risotto with sundried tomato pesto
* Assiette of Desserts
I ordered the seafood - which was just sensational. I normally don't like mackerel but the pate of smoked mackerel was just out of this world. Gravax Salmon was lovely as well and the crabmeat timbale was fresh and not too 'fishy'.
The basil sorbet sounded weird - so of course I had to order it. Refreshing, sharp and absolutely yummy....great stuff. I kept spooning from Dianne's soup and have to say, it was creamy, peppery and not 'cabbagy' at all. Lovely soup.
I love hake and it is a fish that is easy to prepare. Pan-frying is the easiest and safest method - and it was a lovely fish. The risotto was nothing to write home about and I left it behind (slightly undercooked and greasy for some reason). I would have liked a bit more of the pesto as the fish on its own was a bit on the dry side.....
....but the desserts made more than up for it. It was a big plate of different elements of which the cake was the best part. Sponge layers with vanilla creme and chocolate ganache....a poem on a plate. I dropped Dianne off in Bandon on the way home and fell into my bed at 2am with a big smile on my face...