Back in January (Women's little Christmas to be precise), I went with Dianne Curtin to the Marmatiece in Bandon. Dianne writes for Food & Wine and she wanted to review that restaurant to highlight the damage done by the floods.
It was freezing cold and I promised to meet the female in-laws in Blarney but I wanted to see what the restaurant had to offer. I have been to Bandon a couple of times, firstly because this is where Dianne lives, secondly Urru is there (since Mallow has closed it's the only one left) and I do love the farmer's market. I passed Marmatiece a couple of times but never went inside. I liked the way it looked from the outside tho. So, when Dianne asked me along, I didn't hesitate.
We arrived quite early and only one other table was occupied (that changed by the time we left). We were greeted like old friends (and I assume Dianne is well known in Bandon) by Brendan McCormack and handed a glass of mulled wine which was simply delicious.
The menu was not overly long but had offers for all tastes from fish to veggies. The winelist included old world wines as well as new world. The house wine is either Tantehue Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon (safe enough grapes) which was priced €5.50 per glass or €18.95 per bottle. The most expensive wine was Ken Forrester Merlot from South Africa with €33).
I had my tastebuds dancing when I saw the menu. Normally restaurants are not very creative when it comes to vegetarian food, something I have painfully experienced myself but Marmatiece is a great exception from that rule. I ordered Leek, goat's cheese and almond tart - might not sound too adventurous but the pastry was light, crips and thin and the filling was just divine. For my main I chose Sweet Potato Roulade - wow, I was in love. Ligth, fluffy potato mixture (with a crunch) was revealing a onion and herb stuffing. Wilted spinach was the side which I didn't eat as I am not so keen on wilted spinach. I skipped dessert as I was running out of time (Blarney was calling).
Dianne had a lovely winterwarmer soup - Celeriac, potato and thyme soup with celeriac crisps (I knicked one and it was lovely). Prefectly smooth and creamy - the perfect soup. Her main was slow cooked lamb which came with champ mixed in with a bit of Stilton. This was one of the occassions where I wish I could eat meat. The meat was falling of the bone and the champ put a big smile on my face (friends have to get used to the fact that I pick of their plates ;-). Pour Dianne would have loved to try some of the desserts (especially as a sample dessert plate was on offer) but I had to head back to Blarney. But this will not be the last time I paid them a visit.
The restaurant is owned by two sisters, Michelle and Bernadette, who work in the kitchen. Michelle has learned her craft in Ballymaloe (not sure about Bernadette) and it seems she paid attention. The restaurant is located at MacSwiney Quay, Bandon. Tel. 023 8842715 and is open 10am - 5pm Mon to Fri, brunch 10am - 12pm Sat, dinner 6pm - 10pm Thu - Sat. Closed onn Sundays.