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Reviews

From The Restaurant Critics

Head Chef Bryan McCarthy is clearly still enamoured with working in the splendid surroundings at Greenes restaurant in Cork, but it's more than just the view that keeps the place packed out! Greenes is an award-winning restaurant and Bryan himself won Best Chef in Cork 2015 at the Restaurant Association of Ireland Awards. His menu of eloquently executed dishes highlights his creative flair with local Irish ingredients and culinary skills that are recognisably award winning…

Greenes Restaurant opening gambit is an exterior most restaurants would kill for. Just off busy MacCurtain Street, and through an old stone archway one finds a secluded waterfall falling from high on a natural cliff face. Floodlit by night, it is a supremely romantic dining setting; on rare clement evenings, it does the best continental impersonation in the city…

It's a jaded old soul who could ever tire of the magical frisson that comes with entering the closed-in alleyway that leads up to the entrance of Greene's Restaurant. Behind is the once genteel MacCurtain St, these days hostage to an endless and abrasive torrent of grimy traffic, yet beyond the wrought iron gate, all disappears to be replaced by the soothing Zen simplicity of this inner city Shangri-La. No self-respecting Shangri-La can be without a water feature and at Greene’s it’s a veritable showstopper, tumbling down a natural rockface from several stories above into a limpid pool…

THERE'S a tense scene in the 1992 version of The Last of the Mohicans where a waterfall becomes a central if not dominant character for a few decisive scenes. A young Daniel-Day Lewis — bristling like a landmine with charisma, so smouldering and indefatigable that he makes Sunday nights' Lazarus Poldark look like a pasty also-ran in an under-12 Feis competition - plays the rescuing angel Hawkeye...

Bryan McCarthy's cooking is elaborate, classical and quite French. There is very little of that kind of thing to be had in Cork, Ireland’s most culinarily conservative city (and this despite being surrounded by an ocean of the finest fresh produce in the entire country). The style of the restaurant is quite formal and the crisp linen and excellent, attentive service has a pleasant, old-fashioned charm. Greenes is not a cutting edge establishment and there are times when I'm very grateful for places like this…

A NOCTURNAL approach to Greene's never fails to stir the soul: through cobbled courtyard, the ruddy glow of old red brickwork under soft lamplight, the magical shimmering waterfall, all heavily pregnant with the promise of great pleasure ahead. And then we step into the very heart of 'Office Christmas Party-ville'…

Early last week, in an initial burst of praise, I tweeted: The Pre-theatre/Early Bird menu @Greenescork is astoundingly good and great value. It is now almost two weeks later and my opinion is reinforced. An early evening visit to the McCurtain Street venue is well worth while; the theatre bit is up to yourself! Just to get the value bit upfront. Three courses here, each with a terrific choice of dishes, costs €29.00 and, wait for it, an amuse bouche and tea or coffee is included. Bryan McCarthy is the chef here and you are in excellent hands…

Greene's has one really impressive feature. You go through an archway in McCurtain Street down a small laneway to get to the restaurant, and right in front of you is a waterfall. Now if you’re imagining a dainty little garden feature, cast this from your mind. A wall of rock, perhaps ten metres high, marks the end of the lane and cascading down this wall is the waterfall, which ends in a small pool. It’s imposing and at the same time soothing the sound of falling water has a definitely calming effect. I was delighted to find that our table was at the end of the dining room where full-length windows allow a view of the cascade while you dine…

Were we on the set of Frasier, I wondered as the American maitre d' said to me, "Pink? There are four degrees of pink. 1, 2, 3 4…" I was only ordering a rack of lamb, not taking a Masters in Culinary Arts. "Just tell the chef pink," I said. "Well, there's pink red, pink grey…The chef will want to know." "Where are you from?" we asked. "Seattle." he replied. Dear God. Were Niles and Eddie going to hop out of the woodwork at any moment? I was in Greenes because they have a new French chef, Frederic Desormeaux. I was there previously and it was excellent but I am partial to French food, so any excuse for a return visit…