World beater: Global Village, Upper Main Street, Dingle, County Kerry
The couple behind the Dingle Food Festival run one of the country's hidden treasures with the Global Village Restaurant, says Lucinda O'Sullivan, who enthuses over just about everything
Hopefully, on this Easter Sunday morning, all of you are basking somewhere nice around the country. Basking leads me to Fungi's home territory of Dingle and the Global Village Restaurant whose chef patron, Martin Bealin, along with his wife, Nuala Cassidy, is also very much behind the annual Dingle Food Festival.
The simple exterior of the restaurant conceals one of the country's hidden treasures, which has been running on Upper Main Street in Dingle for some 10 years, and where you can expect serious food from a serious chef. The cooking is classical, sauces will be rich and extravagant, his prawns and lobster will be big and juicy, he grows his own vegetables, while seafood and viands are sourced locally.
The interior, too, is simple and unfussy, but there is always a great buzz of people chomping, drinking and chatting; it is one of those places. Local seafood is a big thing here -- and who doesn't love seafood?
Starters (€5-€14) include oysters au natural with a shallot red wine dressing, or grilled with rocket, cashew pesto and Parmesan. A warm salad of monkfish has Annascaul white pudding, garden greens, black olives, crisp green beans, roast tomatoes and boiled egg with balsamic dressing, while seared foie gras is on a crisp rosti with field mushrooms and a port reduction. Risotto of Dingle Bay seafood has garden herbs and Parmesan shavings.
I had the starter to-die-for: medallions of sweet lobster (€14) served on a luscious potato cake, topped with a soft-poached, free-range egg and Hollandaise sauce. It just doesn't get any better. Brendan had an equally good Mediterranean-style starter of pan-seared medallions of peppered tuna (€12) set on a crisp sage-and-onion polenta cake, lifted with the sharp acidity of black olive and anchovy tapenade, and a saffron cream.
Mains are €25-€29, apart from sole on the bone, which can be had at 400g or 600g, priced around €28/€32, or whole Ventry Bay lobster at €39.50. The whole lobster, too, is divine served hot with garlic butter or tomato and cognac cream. Seafood dishes included a platter of Dingle seafood with John Dory, haddock, pollock, tuna, plaice, turbot, oyster and mussels, with colcannon and a fennel cream. All of these fish can be had in their own right in various ways. Another dish offering variety is a trio of monkfish, brill, and plaice, bearing a Swedish influence with beetroot puree and dill cream. Carnivores are not forgotten with a roast rack of Kerry lamb, Puy lentil and chorizo casserole, boulangere potatoes and rosemary jus, as well as Skeaghanore free-range duck, or a seared fillet steak with a ragout of garlic field mushrooms, balsamic onions, colcannon, and a Madeira demi-glaze. Vegetarians also have their own full menu.
I had sublime grilled fillets of turbot (€28.50), which were silky, moist and ethereal, with baby spinach, mustard mash, and tomato and tarragon oil. Brendan had pan-fried fillets of John Dory (€29) napped with a Bearnaise sauce, rosti, baby carrots, and a cashew and rocket salad. All divine.
The dessert menu was luscious at €8.50 a pop. Dark chocolate, orange and cardamom torte was all it promised to be, rich and sinful, with classic raspberry sorbet. Lemon posset and custard creams had a champagne sorbet, while pear and cider jelly had vanilla ice cream and almond wafers. A very good selection of Irish farmhouse cheeses offered a choice of three for €9.50. Or you could have a Crozier Blue sheep's cheese, crackers and a glass of St Anne's liqueur Shiraz at €10.50, which was Brendan's choice -- lovely. With a bottle of Alsace Riesling 2009 (€28) our bill with optional service was €140.50. There is an early bird 2/3-course menu at €25.50/€28.
Martin Bealin offers seafood and food lovers alike a glimpse of paradise.
Upper Main Street,
Tel: (066) 915-2325
Sunday Indo Life Magazine