That’s Zamora: wine-and-food restaurant opens on Academy St

Cork’s Academy Street and its adjacent Huguenot Quarter is coming out of recessionary doldrums — and is becoming a foodie quarter: a slew of new restaurants has arrived, with more to come.

That’s Zamora: wine-and-food restaurant opens on Academy St

Latest arrival is wine-and-food restaurant, Zamora, just off Patrick Street, opposite the Irish Examiner’s former Art Deco offices and the Opera Lane retail development.

It joins Coqbull restaurant, which opened in the former Cafe Bar Deli, and is run by the crew behind Limerick and Cork’s Cornstore restaurants. New to the quarter, too (with other assorted crepe houses, coffee shops, etc) is Aroi Asian Street Food, on Carey’s Lane (which also has a Limerick Aroi pedigree), in the former Gambini’s premises.

Close by, Huguenot Restaurant opened last year in the former Kethners, and Burritos & Blues opened in the former Puccinos, close to where Wethrspoons plan to open in the old Mangans/Newport Bar.

Zamora is spearheaded by Billy Forester, of Bubble Brothers wine-retail fame, and business partner, Mark Hennessy, who has worked in restaurants and hotels, like the Clarion and Fota Island.

They’ve opened Zamora at nos 11and 12 Academy Street.

The deal on the adjoining premises was done by agent, Cearbhall Behan, who also has a deal negotiated on nos 15 and 16 Academy Street. “These deals illustrate the confidence of this as a dedicated hospitality location. The general footfall levels in the area have increased, due to the Opera Lane development (providing 200,000 sq feet of retail), Boots pharmacy, and the Apple offices nearby: Academy Street is well-positioned to meet a re-emerging café/ restaurant demand,” said Mr Behan.

Behan, like Billy Forrester, remarked on the change in the food-and-drink hospitality sector after years of austerity, and said that people were now prepared to go out more, and to spend more.

Adding to the confidence among those opening new ventures is the more realistic level of rent for city premises. “Getting Zamora open was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done,” said wine seller Mr Forrester, who started Bubble Brothers in 1997: it trades in the English Market, the Marina Commercial Park and online. “It feels like we’ve been to hell and back, but there’s been a great reaction and we’re delighted to be open.”

Epicures familiar with Dublin’s French Paradox wine bar, in Ballsbridge, might find similarities in Zamora.The new venture combines top-quality food and wines (over 100 bottles on offer), from 10am through to evening, and there’s a flat charge applied to the wines, meaning no high percentage mark-ups as imbibers go up the quality scale.

Coincidentally, back in the 1970s, No 11 (more recently Kiely’s jewellers) traded as Bubbles Boutique, with the overhead Bubbles cafe.

* Details: Behan Irwin Gosling, 021-4270007, www.zamora.ie

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