Thursday, March 11, 2010

Shebeen @ Vineyard

I got the latest Whazzup the other day and I always check first if there were new restaurant listings...and surprise surprise...Shebeen is the latest addition to the restaurant world of Cork. Seamus O'Connell is the brain and chef behind this new venture and when you enter the Vineyard you will know that it can only be Seamus' new child.

The bar itself has nice features but they are not put in the right light. The little stools were homemade upholstered where the fabric doesn't fit properly. Comfy red leather sofas invite to snuggle in. The kitchen is open to the bar and Seamus just pops his head out and asked you what you like to order.

The best thing I encountered was the menu. It was actually a Marvel comic of superheros. I had the Ultimate X-Men. The menu was stuck into the middle of the comic (a pity really as I wasn't able to finish the story).

Shebeen has a great offer on at the moment: 2 course lunch for €10 incl. tea/coffee or dinner for €15. If you have ever eaten in The Ivory Tower you will know that Seamus' reputation as a chef is excellent (apart from being eclectic and chaotic at times - and I mean that with the greatest admiration) and the menu of Shebeen is a good sample of his talent.

He keeps the menu simple and short. Soup of the day was cannelloni bean or Moroccan Lamb Soup, pigs trotters with pickled cauliflower was taking the lead on the starter page closely followed by duck terrine and oysters with elderflower vinegar, pot of mussels in cider and the much loved Umera House smoked salmon.

Ever heard of Boxty???? It is a potato cake (I know it as a giant rosti) stuffed with different fillings like black pudding & apple, smoked mackerel & seaweed, Gubeen ham & aged cheddar, Irish cheeseboard & tomato.

The mains offer Irish old fashioned favourites like lamb shanks, Irish Stew, bacon & cabbage but he also offers ox cheeks (I made them once and my guests licked the plate) and Guinea fowl....desserts included iced Tiramisu, lemon & passionfruit tartlet, hot chocolate fondant, hot apple tart, hot spiced cake, selection of homemade ice cream and a market Irish cheeseboard.

I persuaded Linda to have our weekly lunch meeting in Shebeen and I think she loved the food although the service was quite slow and she returned to the office late (hope her boss didn't give her any grief). We both ordered soup (me of course the veggie one) and the soups were chunky, flavoursome and came served in an old fashioned soup bowl and a slice of bread on the side (the bread was so fresh that it crumbled when I tried to get butter in it.

We both wanted to try the Boxty and Linda asked for the black pudding filling while I asked for the cheesy version. The blue cheese used as filling was unfortunately overpowering everything else on the plate (next time I will ask him to leave the blue cheese out). We both wanted to try a dessert as well and Linda asked for the lemon tart which was advertised to come with raspberry sorbet but as he was out of the sorbet offered alternative ice cream. Linda opted for cinnamon. I asked for the selection of homemade ice cream and I asked for Bergamon, Praline and Cinnamon flavour. I love and adore homemade ice cream (ok ok ice cream in general) and the Bergamon (used in earl grey tea) was my favourite while the Cinnamon had a grainy texture but the flavour was great.

Will I go back??? Yeap - just hope they don't get too busy as the service was really slow. But quality-price margin was worth the time spent.

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