This is the very best Eton Mess I have ever eaten. I ate it in Ireland, at a restaurant called The Club Brasserie on Lapps Quay in Cork.
The odd thing about this is that Eton Mess is not in the least bit Irish. We Brits are quite possessive of this traditional English dessert, invented at its namesake, Eton College, sometime in the early part of the twentieth century. Its exact origins and inventor are the subject of much speculation (some of which involves a labrador and a picnic basket). This wonderful summer dessert is an amalgamation of strawberries, cream, sugar and crushed up meringues. It literally looks like a beautiful mess - jewel bright strawberries pouring their sweetly pink juices into pillowy meringue and cream. Well made, it tastes even better than it looks. And at The Club Brasserie, it was very well made indeed!
It wasn’t just the Eton Mess I enjoyed there either - the rest of the food is downright fabulous as well. The Club Brasserie has a really elegant vibe, everyone was clearly enjoying themselves and conversations were lively. Its modern glass fronted exterior hides a classic, high ceilinged interior, which reminded me very much of many of the Parisian restaurants I have visited. Framed mirrors line the walls and chandeliers sparkle above the tables. One thing that became very clear almost immediately from faintly overheard conversations was that The Club Brasserie is popular with the locals, and as far as I’m concerned, that is one of the best advertisements a restaurant can have. They didn’t just come for the Eton Mess either.
The Club Brasserie's inventive menu changes regularly based on what is available locally and the emphasis is on fresh and delicious takes on modern classics. In this age of often unnecessarily fussy food, The Club Brasserie offers high quality, unpretentious dishes that are both comforting and delicious.
Tired after our journey from London to Cork, my husband and I were intrigued by the uncomplicated yet innovative menu. We enjoyed delicious fillet steaks, served with ‘chips’ so thick and crispy they were virtually roast potatoes. We were offered a choice of sauces; my Bearnaise sauce was the perfect compliment to the meat, which had been cooked exactly as I like it. Our side salads were lightly dressed with a zesty vinaigrette. We enjoyed a well priced bottle of outstanding Argentinian Malbec. It was a virtually perfect meal. Had we not been in the mood for steak, there were inventive vegetarian options, delicious seafood and pasta dishes on offer.
The Club Brasserie is the perfect combination of great atmosphere, friendly service, an innovative menu and high quality food. I would be very happy to return anytime, and highly recommend it.