Grub Spy: It’s the business

Grub Spy Alan Kelly dishes the goods on Ireland’s tastiest dining destinations

The modern interior at Lishh

The seating area at Lishh

The fish cakes at Lishh

When it comes to locations for ambrosial breakfasts or scrumptious lunches, Industrial Estates and Business Parks are not places we usually associate with foodie hot-spots – nor is finding a nice pint in a nearby factory unit.

In fact when it comes to cuisinery of any description they are the last places you’d ever think of. I’m not just being condescending. It is unlikely you will ever hear the words ‘Industrial’ or ‘Business Park’ connected in any way with culinary terms like, say, Michelin Star or comfort eating.

LISHH South Douglas Road, Cork Four stars Food: €32; Drinks: €5.60

Knowing all that, and believing all that, is what makes an establishment like Lishh, a café and catering company in Dosco Business Park on the South Douglas Road in Cork, all the more interesting and important. And it most definitely is an industrial unit in a Business Park we’re talking about here, people. Even so, regardless of locale, what really counts is what they put on a plate. So off we trot to check it out.

Décor is unfussy, clean and modern, a smidgeen industrial perhaps, but happily it is ably crewed by friendly engaging staff. I am somewhat surprised to find the look of the place is not in the slightest off-putting, and it is certainly not off-putting for the succession of take-out callers. We soon find out why. Along with an appealing breakfast menu there is a short daily-changing lunch menu offering a range of familiar café classics: Ruben Sandwiches, Eggs Benedict, Quiche Lorraines and loads of other goodies to suit hungry diners in search of wallet-friendly lunch-time comfort grub. The Chicken Maryland looks the business. A greaselessly deep-fried Panko-covered chicken Kiev breast, a battered pineapple slice (why not also bread-crumbed?) a

portion of not-bad triple cooked fries and a tasty decent little salad. Not only does it make me smile, I thoroughly enjoy it all. Likewise a hunky pair of Panko-covered fishcakes prepared with chunks of salmon, cod and a buttery mash, with a tub of Marie Rose sauce, and a stack of crispy fresh salad leaves for company. Would have benefitted perhaps with a good heft of seasoning, but tasty and pleasing none the less. Sharing a slice of freshly baked orangy sponge cake with a blob of whipped cream proves exactly the right finale. A couple of robust full-flavoured coffees completes our unconventionally located – but plate-lickingly-good lunch.

Clearly there is a kitchen here with loads of experience and bags of confidence in what it sends out. It is not much attracted by the lure of a busy thoroughfare – which is noticeably evidenced in the pricing. I wouldn’t describe Lishh as a destination restaurant, but that’s not what it’s trying to be. It is, however, a place I will regularly call back to when a good lunch or a hearty breakfast is required. To be honest, I’m not sure if a set-up like this would work everywhere else in the country (which is a pity, because I believe our towns and villages would benefit from an operation like this) or is it really just another example of Cork city’s unique personality? But no matter how it’s described, Lishh has everything going for it.

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