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Review: Early bird at Star Anise, Cork

Photo: Star Anise on Facebook

Photo: Star Anise on Facebook

A few weeks ago I helped a friend move apartment and as a thank you she took me out for dinner.  We went to Star Anise on Bridge Street in Cork and availed of the early bird offer: 2 courses for €23.95 or 3 for €28.95.  Sadly I didn’t take particularly good notes from the meal so other than remembering enjoying it I couldn’t have written a particularly enlightening review.  The review would really have consisted of  saying that Órlaith thoroughly enjoyed her main and repeatedly told me as she was eating it how delicious it was making me feel like I’d come second place with my choice (which, don’t get me wrong, was also lovely, it just didn’t seem quite so nice in comparison).  For the record, Órlaith had the Grilled  Tiger Prawn salad, served with sweet chilli sauce, mixed leaves and chick pea salad.  Sadly I can’t remember what I had, though I think there was bulgar and spinach and something else…

For my birthday, Jimmy took me out for dinner and we headed back to Star Anise, this time, I was determined to remember a little more than Órlaith’s delight over her dinner!  I was also determined to have the Tiger prawn salad for myself but was enticed over to the Fish special which sounded extremely tempting – haddock served on a bed of barley risotto with chorizo, tomato and spinach.  Jimmy had the steak, a grilled 6 oz sirloin steak served with creamed mash, grilled portobello mushroom, green beans and herb butter.  We shared a started of lightly smoked barbary duck and potato and horseradish salad and also shared a dessert – the chocolate and hazelnut brownie with ice cream.

Overall my experience in Star Anise both times has been lovely.  What really made the experience was the waitress.  She was lovely!  It’s funny what a difference a smile can make – she was like the antithesis of that waiter in Greene’s – she was friendly and helpful without being overbearing.  She brought us some bread and when she came back to take our order she also refilled the bread basket – without us asking or suggesting.  I just thought it was a nice touch.

The food was a bit varied.  The starter was delicious!  The duck melted in your mouth and the whole combination of the potato and horseradish salad with it was gorgeous.  Jimmy’s steak was done perfectly and his plate cleaned fairly promptly but I have to admit I did wish that I had stuck to my original intentions of having the tiger prawn salad.  The haddock was beautiful and the risotto was really tasty but the combination just didn’t really work for me: the chorizo in the risotto was too strong a flavour and overwhelmed the fish. As a result after one bite of the risotto I didn’t really taste the fish at all – a bit disappointing.  Sadly the dessert was also a let-down.  On its own the brownie would have actually been really nice – it was moist and chocolately – but they served it with what I can best describe as raspberry jam.  Way thicker than a coulis and spooned all over the brownie so it was impossible to avoid.

So, the meal wasn’t as good as it promised to be, but I still enjoyed it!  I would go back again – but next time, I’m definitely getting the tiger prawn salad!

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