On Wednesday 18th Bubble Brothers had a fabulous dinner planned in Les Gourmandises. Unfortunately, and due to no fault of anybody involved, cancellations rolled in over six days and we had to make the regrettable decision not to proceed with the planned event.
However as Enrique Garcia had come all the way from Spain as our guest speaker, we had to do something special to make up for the disappointment. Firstly he gave an impromptu presentation at The Winery in Clonakilty - a fabulous wine bar right in the heart of the town at Astna Square. Aidan Harte, the owner, has done a fabulous job and serves delicious tapas - Enrique was very impressed and loved the atmosphere.
Then he was thrilled to be able to give a talk to students at Ballymaloe Cookery School and was given a great reception (thanks to Darina and Colm). So with all his travelling, Enrique saw a good piece of County Cork!
One of the guests at the Pingon dinner was to have been Chef Brendan Cashman from Augustines Restaurant in the Clarion Hotel. He came to our rescue by accommodating Enrique, Billy Forrester and myself at his restaurant and agreed us join us for what turned out to be a fabulous dining experience. Augustines has recently received the award as ‘Best Restaurant in Munster’ from Good Eating Guide to Ireland as well as the ‘Best Chef in Cork’ from the Restaurants Association of Ireland so we knew the meal would be memorable.
We started with Mas Codina Cava Brut as an aperitif – a delicious cava with a lovely body and beautiful apple and toast flavours.
The meal Brendan suggested was a tasting menu and we commenced with pan fried Sea Bass on Black Risotto. This was stunning and paired beautifully with the Cuatro Rayas Verdejo which is full bodied and has beautiful herbal and nutty flavours combined with a delicious minerality.
Next up was Confit of Duck and Foie Gras Terrine with onion marmalade. This was such an elegant dish we immediately opted to try the Carramimbre Roble. This was a beautiful pairing and the structure of the wine more than complemented the dish.
The next course of slightly spiced cauliflower soup (mmmm!) was followed by the main of Onglet of Artisan Beef with pomme rosti, seared foie gras and truffled cauliflower risotto. A dish as sumptuous as this deserved both the Crianza and Reserva to compare and contrast. Both wines were stunning. The Reserva has increased aging in barrels with a higher percentage of French Oak rather than American Oak. This results in a very complex, and intense wine with fabulous concentrated fruit. The Crianza was equally good but the slightly lighter feel was evident and I felt that this was the wine of the evening for me.
We still had a beautiful cheese course of Mileens cheese with a spiced plum followed by a dessert of Summer Fruit Pudding paired with a honeycomb covered crème. Overall, despite the initial disaster, a fantastic evening was had and enjoyed by everybody.