Ein Klein Nacht-Essen

I’m really hitting the limit of my thirty words of German. Until recently, my experience of German cuisine has been limited to halbe-hanchen mit frites, Curry Wurst and Kartoffelklösse. And ya know, when booze is involved, there is nothing better. But as I mentioned in my recent review, Otto has changed my view of German cooking forever.

Last weekend caused me to add several inches to my girth when the parents took me out on Friday and then they baby-sat on Saturday so myself and Catherine could go out.

So first the Friday and down for my second trip to Otto’s with big sis and the old pair. However bad the cab journey was the first time, this was ten times worse with pea-soup fog. By the time we got there, Fi was green around the gills. Otto kindly made her a cup of peppermint tea which did the trick. The food was, once again, fabulous. To start, I had three types of smoked fish - Salmon, Mackerel and Tuna. The tuna was particularly lovely and reminded me of sashimi. Da had the same and the two women had a selection of dips which looked yum.

Mains were pretty lovely too. My venison was a little rich for my taste but was cooked and seasoned beautifully. 4 x Pear and Plum compote rounded off a great meal. The brutal weather and early winter darkness meant we couldn’t go for a walk afterwards. All are talking about the return trip already.

On Saturday, Catherine and I took a cab for our second visit to Casino House in Kilbrittain. This is a far more formal setting than Otto’s and I guess they are aiming maybe for a Michelin star.

The starters were a goat’s cheese salad for Catherine and terrine for me. Both executed well but neither really overflowing with flavour. The polenta on Catherines added nothing to the taste and made the dish too heavy.

Mains were a trio of fish for me - Hake, Sole and Swordfish. Beautifully cooked and very nice but again just a bit too subtle. Maybe that ten years of smoking in my twenties has killed too many taste buds. Catherine had monkfish and found the sauce too heavy and cloying. Desserts were yum but the lack of a star choccie dessert got negative marks from Cath.

The service did give us a good laugh as we had a young girl who was on her first night and was struggling. She was very friendly and attentive but I had to bite my lip when she told me that my dessert consisted of a pear compost and pear sorbeT.

Maybe we were just unlucky with our choices but nothing leaped out at us. The last time was far more memorable. But I don’t want to sound overly critical because the cooking is done with great skill and the value is fantastic compared to Dublin. It is also a great spot for B&B to tour the area (as is Otto’s).

I’d recommend both to anyone who wants a bit of a treat. And the huge advantage they both have over restaurants in Dublin is the absence of poseurs. Both were full of “normal” people who appreciate good food.

Guten Appetit!

Conor O'Neill

Tech guy who likes running slowly

Bandon, Cork, Ireland http://conoroneill.com