In a dream riverside location, this restored end of block Art Deco building was formerly a bank and it makes an impressive backdrop for one of the most exciting developments Cork has seen in recent years.
With views up river to St Fin Barre’s Cathedral and down river along Georges Quay it’s a lovely setting at any time, but especially in summer when customers can spill out onto the paved area around the WW1 memorial (effectively a small park) and a large first floor balcony on the river side of the building – and at weekends there may be live music outside, adding to the atmosphere.
The interior is bright and very appealing, with bags of style; there’s lots of rich wood and well designed lighting – and windows on three sides not only bring plenty of light but they create an outward looking mindset which is key to the ambience.
The ground floor is given over to the main bar area and, upstairs, the very attractive first floor restaurant has a big balcony with a retractable cover overlooking the river. But the best thing about Electric is the friendly, buzzy atmosphere – there really is energy in the air here - and the stylish, ingredients-led, value-conscious food.
Opened in 2010 by Tastefest Cork founder Ernest Cantillon and Denis O’Mullane, owner of the excellent Café Gusto and Liberty Grill (see entries), this was a seriously good team, who knew their business well and it gave them a great start, despite the recession.
There’s a commitment to local, or at least Irish, produce, with most of it coming from the English Market and keeping the menus seasonal. Good cooking is in the modern bistro style, with simple, un-cheffy presentation allowing the food to speak for itself.
But it’s not just ‘the usual’ menu. As well as stylish renditions of a wide range of popular dishes, there may be some surprises – a starter of crispy fried tripe with mint, lemon and chorizo (€8), perhaps, or an unusual summer fish dish such as blackened cod with miso, sea vegetables and mussel vinaigrette (€22).
No matter what time you drop is there will be something to tempt you. Freshly baked scones and pastries are ready for the first customers of the day at 10am, followed by interesting lunches (bar menu daily, restaurant option in the second half of the week), while evening menus are offered every day in both the bar and restaurant.
There’s a limited but well-chosen collection of house wines (by the bottle, carafe & glass), also a ‘vintage’ wines list with interesting notes. All are moderately priced and a small plates menu with Basque-inspired ‘pinchos’ is available from 5pm, allowing people who drop in for a glass of wine to enjoy a tasty nibble with their tipple, and there are also cocktails and craft beers as well as all the usual drinks.
Electric is a great spot and, although the clientele tends to be mostly youngish, it appeals to all ages.
*Inspired by the simple seafood cookery of Spain and Portugal, the Fish Bar opened in 2013 - a great addition to an already great food offering, since joined by The SugarCube creperie.