Poacher's Inn Tapas Night. Staggeringly good. Epic in fact.

For a good few years, this blog was all about food. I had lots of restaurant reviews and foodie pics and experiments like making sausages. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, I haven’t done much in that area for a long time. Whilst I’ve eaten lots of lovely food since then, I haven’t had much that was truly memorable. Until Friday night.

My parents were down for a visit and we planned to go to The Poacher’s Inn¬†with them and big sis, but when we went to book we were told the Tapas night was starting at 8pm and it was only a very limited menu before that. As we hate to eat late, we decided to go to Bandon’s other superb restaurant, Chapel Steps. We figured it wouldn’t be too busy around 6.30pm and we didn’t bother book a table. Boy were we wrong. They were jammed and didn’t have a table free when we arrived. Whilst it was a disappointment for us, I was thrilled for Siobhan and the team. They’ve got an absolute winner on their hands now.

So back to Poacher’s and not only did they have a table, they were happy to give us the Tapas menu early. I was chuffed! We ordered a clatter of plates for sharing. We knew we had to be out by 8pm and were relieved when the plates started coming thick and fast.

Not a single dud. Not one. Everything was gorgeous and lots of it was surprising. The tempura oysters with pepper sauce were a revelation. The sauce on the whole prawns was completely addictive. I could go on and on about the tastes but I think a few pictures are called for. Apologies for the rubbish picture quality. It was quite dark and I couldn’t find the option to turn on the flash as a light in the camera app on the phone.

Superb olives:

Local cheeses and meats (that pickled cauliflower was a thing of joy):

My favourite share plate. Everything on this was perfect:

Biggest surprise for those who thought they didn’t like oysters:

The incredible sauce. I need that recipe!

Beautiful brill with patatas bravas (best pickled artichoke ever):

By 7.30pm I think we’d tried everything on the menu. And then we had the desserts. That thing with the granita was the nicest sweet I’ve had in years. Seriously.

The others raved about this dessert too:

Rory told us that it was just a one-off experiment but can I implore Poacher’s to do this regularly? I know it had 5 chefs flat-out all night Friday so maybe once a month? And have it all night rather than the big-bang at 8pm? We haven’t eaten out much recently and it’s food like this that will get us out the door regularly.

When we first moved to Bandon, we were told that there were no good restaurants here because it was too close to Cork. So everyone went to Cork or Kinsale to eat. But Urru, Poacher’s and Chapel Steps have proven that was bullcrap and was just an excuse for mediocrity in the past.

If we get another couple of places of this quality in the town, it will become a serious foodie destination and rightly call itself the new gourmet capital of Cork.

Conor O'Neill

Tech guy who likes running slowly

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