The Daily Spud

...there's both eatin' and drinkin' in it

West Cork Story

“Why would you want to be anywhere else?”

Looking out at the view, I couldn’t help but agree with Adam Medcalf, head chef at Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa. The graceful sweep of West Cork coastline at Inchydoney is not a sight that you would tire of easily.

West Cork Coast

Around Inchydoney

I was in Inchydoney as a guest of the resort, invited to sample their new West Cork menu (yeah, it’s a dirty job…). Except, as Adam – who has worked here for over five years – will tell you, the West Cork nature of the menu is not really that new. From farmhouse cheeses, locally grown vegetables and Clonakilty black pudding, to fish and meats, both fresh and smoked, anyone looking to source high quality, locally produced food in West Cork is spoiled for choice. The restaurant at Inchydoney has always taken advantage of the bountiful raw materials within arms reach. It would have been rude of me not to get stuck in and see what exactly they made of those raw materials.

Dinner, in other words, was served.

Inchydoney bread

Let there be bread

You know you’ve embarked on a fine dining experience when additional, unordered courses start to appear on your plate. In this case, proceedings began with an amuse bouche consisting of a claw which had parted company from its parent crab.

West Cork crab claw

West Cork crab claw

Not so amusing for the crab, one supposes, but I thank you crab for your sacrifice. It was well worth it.

In between courses, a palate-cleansing white port and rosemary sorbet was possibly my favourite bite of the evening.

White port and rosemary sorbet

White port and rosemary sorbet

As for the principal courses, they arrived beautifully presented and artfully deconstructed. I am always tempted, in these situations, to nibble at each carefully presented mound in turn but, if the chef has done his job well, the amalgamation of separately presented edibles into a single forkful is always greater than the sum of its parts. That, by and large, was the case here.

Dinner at Inchydoney

Dinner at Inchydoney:
starters (top): dressed local crabmeat (left) and Ardsallagh goats cheese parfait (right)
main courses (middle): pan fried hake with smoked salmon and scallion risotto (left) and roasted pepper and potato herb gnocchi (right)
desserts (bottom): iced vanilla parfait (left) and hot chocolate fondant with pistachio ice cream (right)

Truth be told, I could probably have dined exclusively on the West Cork crab and been well satiated, but my belly didn’t exactly object to the company assembled within by the end of the evening.

And the rest of me didn’t exactly object to the hospitality at the resort, which was staffed, among others, by possibly the most gracious hotel manager I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Their spa treatments, meanwhile, provided an opportunity to be both scrubbed with strawberries and wrapped in chocolate. A dessert menu of a profoundly different kind.

Moon over Inchydoney Strand

Moon over Inchydoney Strand

18 Comments

  1. Oh it’s certainly a tough job isn’t it ;) What a delightful meal and breathtaking scenery.

  2. Pampered and satiated – what a marvelous experience at Inchydoney Island! I can’t decide which is more beautiful – the landscape or the tablescape. You know I adore your food and recipes, but for this post all praise goes to your gorgeous, vivid photography! It’s *almost* as if I were there, too. Almost . . . 8-)

  3. Those photos are outstanding, both the scenery and the food. We are still set to explore more of Ireland in Aug 2011 and Cork will be on the list for sure as we haven’t made it there yet. Perhaps we’ll check into a night here. It looks like quite the experience.

  4. *wow* Your lack of desire to leave is entirely and individually understandable.

    That picture of the moon & water — beautiful.

  5. What spectacular views.now, the food..just the crab claws would have made me very happy.

  6. Lovely location fantastic food and gorgeous scenery BUT isnt that how poor little Ivor Callely started down his slippery slope. The poor fellow got entranced by it all and didnt know where he was or whre he should be.

  7. Daily Spud

    Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    George: tough indeed :)

    Tangled Noodle: wish you had been there, you know I do!

    Lori: definitely put West Cork on your list, you’d love it

    Tim: thank you sir, no doubt you would have gone a bit mad with the ol’ camera if you had been there yourself

    Valentina: just the crab claws would have made me very happy too! :)

    Michael: a beguiling place to be sure, though not convinced that works as a defence for Callely-type fraudery :D (now please hold while I run off and check my own expenses!)

  8. I wish I had a tough job like yours! :) You’ve brought on a longing to visit West Cork again!

  9. You have a great life. The big crab claw would have been enough, but that sorbet took it over the moon.

  10. It’s a hard job being a food blogger, but someone has to do it. Way to take one for the team, Spud! ;) Seriously though, that looks like an incredible meal. My in-laws are in town and willing to babysit … hmmm …

  11. Daily Spud

    Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Margaret: sure I have a longing on me to visit West Cork again myself!

    Duo Dishes: the sorbet was pretty damn good – wonder if I could recreate it sometime, hmm…

    Kristin: I’m doing it all in the name of team #irishfoodies, honest :) It was a very fine meal, though – a bit of a step up from my usual Saturday evening nosh!

  12. West Cork looks absolutely gorgeous! The food is plated beautifully as well, you can see the freshness of the local ingredients (but no black pudding?!)

  13. Rough job, am I sensing a new career – I remember the invitation to check out the wineries in South American, and now to be pampered and fed in one of the most bountiful areas of Ireland, on what looks to be some stupendous food, well, that’s just rough. Are you taking applications for assistants? Can Mrs. Potatohead be retired so you can take me to Scotland? Ah, miss that place too. What fun.

  14. Daily Spud

    Monday, August 9, 2010 at 8:28 am

    Phyllis: oh there was black pudding to be had alright – just not in the dishes you see there (tsk!)

    OysterCulture: rough indeed – your application to be an assistant has been duly filed (I’m sure Mrs. Potatohead will need a break sometime!) :D

  15. I agree with Tangle on that- I definitely have to return to find out about the tablescape…

  16. Daily Spud

    Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Hey E, I’m eagerly anticipating your return visit!

  17. Love County Cork in general – but it is a very long way from here to there. :(
    The difference in the food available in Eire between our first visit in 2001 and the last, in 2006, was truly remarkable – in a good way!

  18. I love the last picture a lot,..just stunning!

    It seems that you had a fab time wining & dining over there!! The food looks fabulous & so does the scenery!

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