“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.