Housed in a 250-year old listed building, this is a bright, busy restaurant with a welcoming atmosphere and simple decor enlivened by striking modern paintings. It is owned by Kate Lawlor (the head chef) and Pennapa (Pen) Wongsuwan, who manages front of house.
Kate's passion for careful sourcing of ingredients permeates her cooking. Although often influenced by the Mediterranean countries, everything possible is local and seasonal (suppliers are listed on the menu), providing the freshest possible foundation for food with an emphasis on flavour that is carefully cooked and presented in a pleasing bistro style. Lunch and dinner menus both offer plenty of interesting choices, including a number of vegetarian options (highlighted), while specials always include seafood sourced daily from the nearby English Market.
This Cork restaurants starters might include a sociable sharing antipasto plate (with aubergine caviar & herb oil dip), a Mediterranean fish soup with rouille, aoili, croutons & parmesan, and at least one vegetarian choice such as a wild mushroom mille feuille with Ardsallagh goats cheese.
While mains will always include a fish of the day and something imaginative for vegetarian guests, meat - specifically beef - takes pride of place here and char-grilled fillet steak "Wellie Style" is an enduring favourite, which comes with house cut potato chips and a selection of accompaniments that may include roast flat cup mushrooms, red onion confit, and a choice of sauces (béarnaise and peppercorn).
Tempting desserts may be accompanied by Baldwin's farmhouse ice cream, made by dairy farmer Thomas Baldwin in Co Waterford - it pairs moreishly with hot desserts like chocolate pudding.
A 2/3 course Supper Menu offers an appealing choice of about five dishes per course at a very customer friendly price.
Lunch menus are quite wide-ranging, offering a choice of full meals (or at least a hot main course) or lighter options such as soup, salads, oven baked sandwiches (alone or with house chips and salad)
An informative evening wine list is arranged by style ('crisp and light', rich and complex' ' smooth classic reds' etc); the policy is to offer variety at reasonable prices, with several by the glass - good value is a feature of both food and drink. Local produce is also to be found on the drinks list, which includes some craft beers and cider.
A comfortable outdoor seating area makes a pleasant extension to the restaurant, and recent renovations have enabled wheelchair access to the restaurant but not to toilets, unfortunately, as it is a listed building.