There is a French Food Fest coming up next weekend but I stole a march by making second trip of the summer to Nautilus in Ballycotton last evening and once again hit the jackpot at this little French run restaurant by the harbour.
Got a big welcome at then near empty room - we were early - and soon the place was full and the two busy ladies on duty out-front were kept going. We were served with some smashing multiseed brown bread before moving on to a delicious starter: Seafood plate with seared scallops, grilled mackerel and crab in vinaigrette, tapenade, served with warm baby potatoes and parsnip crisps (€14.00). Expensive but worth it!
Main course for me was the Roasted Monkfish with roasted root vegetables & lemon beurre blanc (€19.50) while herself enjoyed the Beer Battered Ballycotton fish & chips with tartar sauce (€16.00). Well satisfied with both.
For dessert, I enjoyed my Irish farmhouse cheeses (Cashel Blue and Durrus) with a fig chutney, walnut salad & house cheese biscuits. Top class as was the freshly made Rhubarb & Meringue Crêpe. Each cost €6.50.
Had a glass of the house white (Verdejo) at a fiver each and finished off with a pot of decent coffee (€2.00 each). A bit of a delay then before we got the bill but the staff were very busy as couples and foursomes continued to arrive. But very satisfied overall - you don't generally get this kind of meal at home!
Opening hours for September 2010: Wed-Sat 6-9pm (early bird menu Tue-Fri 6-6.45pm),
Sun 1-4pm. Reservations: 0876135897
Listen. I'll be saying this for a while. The Nautilus, overlooking Ballycotton Pier, is one fantastic restaurant, well worth a visit any Tuesday to Saturday evening plus Sunday lunch.
Last night's meal there was superb from start to finish. The choice is quite large for a small restaurant, there are about six items on each course, plus a few specials each evening.
On this Bastille Day, we started with one of the specials, an organic Gravad Lax, served with new potato salad, and a dill and lemon oil (€9). Well presented, it pleased the eye and soon pleased other senses as we cleaned the plates. An excellent combination, easy on the eye, easy to eat, washed down with a dry and flavoursome Verdejo (€5 per glass).
For the main course, I choose the Slow cooked Hake (€19/50), on a bed of mashed potato, with green Asparagus and a lemon and butter sauce. Once again this was a superb combination of fresh ingredients, so well cooked, that it was a pleasure to linger over it. But not for long!
Slow cooked Plaice (€21) was one of the evening's specials. This was served, in a high sided plate, with new steamed potatoes, green beans, rocket salad and topped with semi-dried tomato, caper and shallot. Again this was well cooked, and you could easily taste the difference (if you reached across, that is), between the plaice and the hake. The accompaniment was superbly chosen and again it was just a very satisfying plateful.
We were finding it difficult to make a decision between the desserts until Front of House strongly hinted at the Strawberry tartlet (€6.50), served with a Coteaux (sweet wine from the Loire) Jelly. This was the traditional French tart, baker's custard in the pastry, the berries glazed. But I think you'd be hard pushed to find its sweet equal anywhere in France or Ireland. Gorgeous. Bonne fete!
First impressions: The room is small enough but big windows open to the harbour, the island and the sea. No linen on the tables but they are solid, as are the chairs which are soft where you want them to be and supportive at the back, very comfortable.
Service: A warm greeting and a big smile set the tone and after that service was friendly and efficient.
The Food: We have some excellent restaurants in Cork and this is another one.
The Verdict: Very satisfied and happy to highly recommend it.
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