Grub Spy ‘This Cork restaurant has the Goldie touch’
So here we are, walking along Oliver Plunkett Street on a wet July evening, for what will turn out to be one of the most interesting evenings in ages.
Earlier on I had spent a few minutes online scanning Goldie’s intriguing-sounding menu filled with snacks, small plates and main courses. I needn’t have bothered since their menu is an ever-changing feast of meat and fish and some alluring vegetarian goodies.
Chickpea wafers, sea kale pakoras, roasted Ross chicken and roasted cauliflower with hazelnut burnt butter are just some of the lures on this evening’s bill of fare. Not long ago this new restaurant was an excellent little Italian coffee shop, now it has been transformed and fitted out with a bar, some tall tables and a comfy snug or two.
You can have your drinks and food at the bar counter, the food coming from a tiny, supremely well-run kitchen just at the counter’s end. And when I say tiny, I’m talking Hobbit-sized.
Food, however, is bold and creative and great fun. We start with snacks of potato-ey prawn crisps with a dollop of sour cream dip and a seaweed-y ripple — and two made-to-order chunky langoustine croquettes with Marie Rose sauce.
Both are so delicious we could eat them all evening. Next up is an heroic stack of freshly-made sea kale pakoras sprinkled with hot sauce and yoghurt, and a superb salt-cod brandade dip with pickled fennel and spikes of seaweed-y crackers. The deep-fried pakoras are crunchy and scrumptious and would grace any Indian restaurant menu. Ditto with the classic Provençal brandade.
Another classic dish is the steamed Gujarati Dhokla sponge cake.
The Goldie kitchen has a done fine job here, but it did need the smack of chaat masala from the carrots and the lime pickle to bring it alive. We also try the fried red mullet fillets with a pickle-y escabeche of carrot and turnip.
Thankfully all the delicacy of the fish hasn’t been mugged by the zingy escabeche. Both dishes are assembled with an imaginative touch and a sharp eye for vibrant colour.
The end results are truly delectable, the red mullet in particular a brilliant example of fish cookery. Main courses are ably assisted by a stupendous wodge of crushed baby spuds mixed through with scallions and seaweed, and two gorgeously roasted cauliflower quarters doused in hazelnut beurre noisette.
Marcel Proust may have gone on about his madeleines, but for me it has be Goldie’s basil ice cream, at least for this summer. It is silken smooth and melty with the crushed colour of mint and shamrock. It is a luxuriant nectar.
It makes sense when you serve fantastic food in a charmingly relaxed setting, word-of-mouth circulates and suddenly hordes of hungry Herberts come swooping down… and that’s exactly what’s happening here.
In these troublesome times, it is heartening to find a super-cool eatery bucking trends, clichés and enforced formulas. And isn’t it jammed — in a proper socially-distanced kind of way, of course.