Roz Crowley puts eight Cork takeaways to the taste test...
SO what do we do next Wednesday’s Valentine’s Day, a work day when going out feels like too much hassle, and dining out can often be more expensive than usual? A look around takeaways in Cork turned out to be a treat for tasters.
With extensive experience, chefs have left the pressure of expensive restaurants and opted for smaller outlets, which they can better control.
They enjoy the flexibility of responding to customers’ preferences, adding specials to perk up their regular lists.
Devoting themselves to providing affordable food, they are delivering interesting flavours and textures.
Many of them use recyclable containers which at last is being recognised as an element of the dining cycle we can all change, down to not using plastic straws.
Everyone in today’s selection gets full marks for their interpretation of takeaway and for adding to the richness of what Cork has to offer to those interested in good food.
Many have a few chairs or stools, so food can be eaten in-house, still at takeaway prices.
We didn’t get to West Cork this time, but readers of this page know how much we admire those who work to use the freshest and best of local ingredients.
For a special treat, try Cocoa, a new shop in Winthrop Arcade, Cork, owned by chef Brendan Cashman. It has superb chocolates made by chocolatier Elifet Rosales with low sugar and excellent natural fruit flavours.
This chicken dish (€5.95/€10.50) was one of tasters’ favourites.
Rice and a green salad were welcome at this time of year. Light, heart shortbreads (€1.95) were deicious.
A specially created meal deal for Valentines’ Day has soup, one main course and one side dish with a sponge/crumble dessert and a bottle of wine for €25. Share or add to for two, but portions generous. Consistently excellent.
Available 13/14 Feb. Rochestown, Co Cork.
From a wide range of salads (€3.50-€5.50), each one tastier than the other, the raw cauliflower has healthful turmeric, almonds, cabbage, lemon and sumac.
Substantial and delicious, tasters loved the freshly grated coconut on the chickpea curry.
Try shots of herbs and spices (€2.25) and share a thick slice of fresh coconut cake with a base of chocolate –(€3.50) irresistible.
From Academy Street, Cork, and farmers’ markets in Wilton, Kinsale (on 14th) and Midleton. Open Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm.
Wonderfully contrasting flavours here with Salmon Duke Don (€16.50) – marinated salmon with leek, nori (seaweed) and roe.
Red mullet Nanban Don (€13.50) was even tastier, fried and dipped in nanban sauce with nori and wasabi mayo also on steamed rice. No sweet treats.
Two dishes for sharing make a talking point for new Valentines.
Cooked to order, but can be ordered ahead and collected. Tel 021 4312716. 1a Evergreen Street, Cork.
Eat your heart out with deep fried bread-crumbed chopped hearts and gizzards – and show you are really giving each other your hearts.
Confit duck from West Cork’s Skeaghanore with spices, smoked almonds and ‘secret’ sauce, and Bao steamed buns filled with duck complete this picture. Desserts available, but not tested.
Fun, tasty food for conversation. Menu has impressively clear list of allergens.
Open 1-10pm. Closed Monday. 128, Barrack Street, Cork. Order ahead 021 4311715.
A delicious combination of caramelised plums, goat and Parmesan cheeses and walnuts makes this a special pizza to share (sizes €10/€13.50).
This pizza chef, the son of a Sicilian pizza maker, knows what he’s at.
Sourdough bases make a huge difference to the depth of flavour. Others on offer are more classic and genuinely Italian.
67A Barrack Street, Cork. Open every day 5- 11pm; until midnight Sat/Sun. Phone ahead 021 4310020. Delivery in Cork.
Satisfying, spicy falafels in a wrap with beetroot crush, sweet potato fries, pickled beets and tahini sauce (€7), one is enough to share with added salads.
To finish share a large slice of superb rose petal, carrot cake (€3).
A love heart chocolate will be given on Valentine’s Day with each order of falafels or salads from East or its big brother The Rocket Man.
In Winthrop Arcade, Cork, open 11.30 – 6pm every day.
Follow Dahi Chaat (€7) – samosas and Sambar Vada (€5) a savoury doughnut with tamarind and lentils, with Cabbage Pulau (€6.95) and Palek Paneer, cottage cheese curry, and vegetable/rice Utthappom (€6.95).
Chocolate pear/cardamom cake (€3.50) and Chai Masala brownie (€2.50) are superb.
All wonderfully fragrant with clean, fresh flavours to share and discuss.
Can be ordered/collected. Open: Weds–Sat 12–5.30, and also 6–9pm Thursday/ Friday/Saturday. 38 Pope’s Quay, Cork. Tel:087 640 9079.
A special for Valentine’s Day includes a starter of two chunky chicken & mushroom vol-au-vents, a generous portion of deliciously comforting, light fish pie (succulent cod, salmon, smoked haddock) topped with creamy mashed potato.
Both are cooked through and just require heating.
A tower of light chocolate profiteroles completes the treat. This bargain of the day is €25 for two.
Order on Tuesday 13 for collection on Valentine’s Day 2pm-6pm. Tel: 021 463 2771.