A sister restaurant to Padraic Frawley's great dining venue The Cornstore in Cork (see entry), the same stylish mix of quality, accessibility and buzz works equally well in his home city.
Steaks and seafood are the specialities, but there is much more to The Cornstore than surf’n’turf.
The location, on the attractively pedestrianised Thomas Street, is excellent and, like the Cork restaurant, the historically interesting building is a major attraction in itself - the stylish modern interior works well with it to create a lively old-meets-new atmosphere, and the 3-storey premises offers private dining and a smart heated smoking area as well as extensive bar and dining space.
This Limerick Restaurants range of menus offered is well thought out - with, for example, the 5-7pm slot designed to appeal to families dining out, when a very keenly priced set menu is offered, along with a special ‘proper food’ children’s menu.
Quality ingredients are the foundation for all menus, with locally grown organic produce used where possible – and diners can see the chefs at work preparing their dinner in the open kitchen, which is both reassuring and entertaining.
For diners on a serious night out the à la carte offers treats ranging from a choice of 10oz steaks, or lobster mornay (half or whole lobster) to a luxury version of surf and turf – but, for those who find all that a bit OTT, there are also plenty of subtler options including an attractive vegetarian menu.
While the range of dishes offered is wide, many customers come to the Cornstore especially foer their steaks - and no wonder, they certainly take their meat very seriously here. Not only are their steaks well sourced and expertly cooked, but this innovative group has even got its own in-house ageing unit. Specially imported Himalayan salt is used to absorb humidity in the ageing unit over a period of up to 35 days with the aim of producing exceptionally tender, flavoursome meat from top quality beef sourced in the Golden Vale.
This is hearty food and many will be tempted to skip dessert and head straight for the coffee and tea menu – but gorgeous desserts like lemon parfait with fresh strawberries and poppy seed tuile or flourless chocolate cake may be hard to resist.
An equally carefully considered wine list is arranged mainly by grape variety and, although not over-long, offers wines to match the various menus, in both price and style.
A high proportion of the wines (about 20) are offered by the glass, using the “verre de vin” system to ensure freshness, and cocktails are also available.
With its emphasis on atmosphere, quality and value, together with good service, Limerick is lucky to have the Cornstore.