Saturday, May 8, 2010

Kenmare - Foodie Town Part 1

I can call myself quite lucky that I have foodie friends and that they are always up for some good foodie destinations. So Dianne and myself headed off to Kenmare last week and spent 2 wonderful days there. The main reason for the trip was that Manuela Goeb has opened her new bakery/cafe called the Breadcrumb Cafe in New Road in Kenmare. She operated her bakery shop since 2004 but was brave (or mad) enough to expand into a cafe. The colours of the cafe are fresh and vibrant. If you meet Manuela, you will see that the colours match her personality perfectly. Originally from Germany, she started her career as a nurse before learning the proper craft of bakery. Her focus is on the German way of baking - and let me tell you that German breads (next to French of course) are the best in the world. She also offers patisserie and cakes as well as light vegetarian lunches with no processed food in sight. Everything is made fresh on the premises. Her ware can also be bought at the farmers markets in Milltown and Dingle. I wish her all the success she deserves. When I am in Kenmare next time I will make sure to pay her a visit again.

When we said goodbye to Manuela, we decided to pay Packies a visit. Whenever I was in Kenmare before it was only during the day and this restaurant only opens in the evening. So this time there was no excuse. What a great decision. The menu had its focus on fresh fish and lamb and chicken. There was no red meat on the menu. It was hard to decide on the food as we wanted to try everything - but although the waitresses were very very patient with us, it was time to make up our mind. Dianne ordered the lobster salad with citrus salad. The lobster was perfectly cooked and came easily out of the shell, the leaves of the salad were crisp and fresh. The dish was served with homemade mayonnaise which will put Hellman's out of business. I went for the three cheese tartlet which was served with a lovely organic leaf salad. The pastry of the tart was a tiny bit overcooked and burned on the edges but the mixture of cheeses was just mind blowing. For mains I had the Dover Sole with baby prawns and brandy sauce - I proposed to the chef then and there (problem was that I said it to one of the waitresses who is engaged to the chef - ups). The best - and I mean the BEST - Dover Sole I have ever eaten. I asked it to be filleted and the chef done a great job. The fish was cooked on the bone, filleted and put back together with the prawns as a filling. The sauce was not overpowering but matched the fish perfectly. Dianne opted for Fillet of Cod with chili and rosemary olive oil. The fish was flaky, perfectly cooked and the oil was again not overpowering. We both stopped talking for a long while. The Pinot Grigio 2009 Garganega Venezie (€19.50) was a great partner for this amazing food. Champ and honey roasted vegetables perfected the meal.

For dessert we had Creme Brulee and Iced Coffee Parfait - Any French chef would have sold it in any Michelin starred restaurant. A nice glass of Prosecco ended an evening that we actually didn't want to end at all. We had a nice chat with chef Martin Hallissey who is not only a great chef but a nice fella as well. The food showed that here is a chef that shows respect for the produce he is using and lets the ingredients do the talking rather than changing its structure and naturally beauty.

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