Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Review of Man Friday

Location: Kinsale, Co. Cork
Price Range: ***
Service: *****
Type: Irish/Contemporary

Bucket List: Certainly
Mmm Rating: 4.0 (the bread was good but unimaginative- and on the table when we arrived- didn’t like that. A draught was present on occasion and the dining area was a bit too homely for an upmarket experience)

The reputation of Man Friday precedes it in Kinsale and beyond; it is arguably the town’s most famous restaurant, and is known for the quality of its food and service.  Furthermore it was also the site where Matt’s parents got engaged!  While visiting the picturesque Cork town last week we heard about their 3-course deal for €25.  Never ones to pass up a special offer, we decided to check Man Friday out for ourselves to see if it lived up to its reputation.

First Impressions:
The restaurant is by the sea, in an area of Kinsale called Scilly.  The first impression for me was one of romantic mystery, as we proceeded under an arch and down stone steps to reach the entrance.  Once we reached the doorway it almost felt like we were entering through the back door of the eatery though!  Inside, a friendly maitre d’ led us to our table.  Considering it was a Monday night in November the place was surprisingly busy.  Our €25 menu featured 4 starters, 5 main courses and 3 desserts, and the main a la carte menu displayed much variety.  We nibbled on tasty brown soda bread while waiting for our starters, trying hard not to succumb to the carb temptations which had triumphed on our recent visit to The Brown Bear in Kildare (a.k.a. the restaurant with the best bread in the world). Oh, and we liked the butter.  It had a Man Friday seal.

Matt got Seafood Chowder for his starter.  We were very impressed with the fact that, despite it not being on the €25 menu, he was able to swap the chowder in without any problems, and at no extra cost.  Matt was very happy with this proper seafood chowder complete with “real chunks of fish,” which wasn’t dependent on lashings of cream or vegetables to bulk it out.  I, unfortunately cannot comment on this fishy delicacy because, as I’m sure you will discover as you get to know me and my weird taste buds, I am not a big fish fan.

I ordered the Chicken Liver Pate, which was served with Cumberland sauce and thin crunchy slices of toasted bread.  It was yummy pate and the sauce complimented it beautifully.  Even the side salad which garnished the dish was tasty.  Starters were a success!

Main Courses:

I got the “Fillet of Chicken Breast stuffed with Spinach, feta cheese and pine nut stuffing served with sun dried tomato fondue.”  And it was amazing.  The flavours and textures blended so flawlessly that I wanted to savour every mouthful.  There was no way I was leaving any of that dinner on the plate (or for Matt)!!

We didn’t order any extra side dishes but four sides came included with our meal – ***winner, winner, chicken dinner!*** These consisted of a bowl of chips, some pureed carrot and parsnip, a tray of fine green beans and a bowl of garlic cheese potatoes.  My mouth is watering just thinking about the spuds, which were a delicious accompaniment to our meals.

From the 3 featured desserts, Matt chose the shortcake meringue nest served with vanilla ice cream and hot raspberry sauce, which was fantastic.  The meringue was, in Matt’s words, perfectly dry and crunchy on the outside and sweet and chewy on the inside – nice.

I ordered the trio of homemade ice creams which came served in a biscuit basket.  They were scrumptious.  Creamy but refreshing, just like an ice-cream should be!

Service was provided with a smile throughout our meal and we were given complimentary homemade sweets after dessert, which was a lovely touch. 

The restaurant was cosy and welcoming – we commented during our meal that it felt like we were having dinner in someone’s living room!  However, we did feel a bit of a draught at a couple of points during the evening (having said that, it was November and the weather was stormy, so it may not be an issue at other times of the year).

We spent €63 on 2 starters, 2 main courses, 2 desserts, a half bottle of wine and Matt’s patented Jameson with a dash of lime.  Bargain!

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