- a blog about food and value

Review: The Hardwood, Cork

hardwoodOur friend Roz from Cork sent us in this review of the Hardwood Restaurant:

Despite an unfortunate name, the Hardwood Restaurant in Cork is heavenly. Who ever runs this place has taken all the good bits you imagine from the service Mr Knightly might have received in Jane Austen’s Emma, unstarched the collars and mixed it with chic modern style.

The staff are ever attentive, invisible and completely charming without making you in the slightest bit uncomfortable. The atmosphere is relaxed and effortless. The restaurant holds about 50 and was pretty full but there was no pressure, no delays and no lack of attention. Best seats are by the window so you can look out at the tree lined river view.

Sunday Brunch

I had the Eggs Florentine and my boyfriend, in male fashion, had the full breakfast. Mine was two perfectly poached eggs (runny in the middle) on top of sauteed baby spinach mixed with softened onions on a muffin. I asked for the hollandaise on the side (which was of course not a problem); theirs was light and delicious.

The full Irish was equally impressive. Bacon, sausages, black and white pudding, grilled tomatoes, yummy Hardwood home fried potatoes, mushrooms and of course two poached eggs (eggs will be cooked to specification). The meat parts were quality (nothing worse then a cheap sausage) the eggs were as great as mine, and it came with really good toast (not your average white slice pan). The only slip was the mushrooms were a bit over cooked.

We both had freshly squeezed orange juice, self explanatory and yum. Coffee was great although I didn’t like the cups.  I guess they’re just those standard bowl-type ones, but I don’t like them: not enough coffee and it goes cold too quickly. The bill was €37, this included two orange juices and four coffees. The breakfasts were about €10 each.


hardwood2I noticed on their menu they have a midweek “fight the recession” menu which is only €20 for three courses. This is what you like to see in these ‘ard times and I’ll definitely be going.

I did go here for dinner a while ago, there were five of us and every course of every meal was enjoyed. I had scallops to start, which were big and fresh, rather than those ity-bitty ones you sometimes get, which made me think they were hand picked from the bottom of the ocean by free divers. I also recommend the Rib eye: one of the best steaks I’ve eaten in a restaurant.

I really want to know who runs this place. They could show the light to all those pig fodder houses that call themselves restaurants. Needless to say I highly recommend the Hardwood, go, anytime, it rocks!


  1. I was there last year and while the food was quite good, the staff could not have rushed us out of there fast enough. After he gave us the menu, the waiter came back three times to ask if we were ready to order – in the space of ten minutes. I was really disappointed because I’d booked the meal for my boyfriend’s birthday and they were slamming courses down on the table faster than we could finish them.
    Before 11pm we went out for a cigarette after dessert, a member of staff followed us out to ask if we were finished our wine because they were cleaning up!
    Overall I found them so rude I haven’t been back. If I’m paying to eat out, I will not be rushed out the door by waiting staff who fancy an early night because the place is quiet.

  2. my sis and i ate here on sunday last…best food ive eatne in a very long time!and i eat out on average twice a week!we had the early bird(€24 for 3 courses)
    For starters i had creole crab cakies and my sister the vine tomato bruschetta, mains were soy and ginger pork for myself and swordfish for her,the pork came with grilled asparagus (perfectly grilled i might add) and edam smash potato wrapped in parma ham,it was delicious, the swordfish came with mange tout,pearl onions,rosemary baked potato and a smoked tomato adobo,both plates were scraped clean!!!
    For desserts i had the white chocolate and raspberry tart and my sister the apple and blackberry crumble!!!
    Its well worth a visit esp for the early bird,staff were really nice and helpful and never once did we feel rushed!
    we will certainly be back again not as often as id like what with the 3 hour drive!!!

  3. Is it just me or does ROZ’s review read like it was written by someone a bit too close to the owners of the Hardwood? It’s a bit flowery in it’s praise and a bit light on criticism.

  4. Hi Ger. It’s just you. Roz is a friend of mine from Dublin who lives in Cork, training to be a dentist. I can assure you that she does not know the owners of the Hardwood.
    Seems this place has some very mixed reviews. I wish there was a definitive voice for every restaurant, but I guess it’s always going to be a different experience for every person. I’ve often been amazed by the praise some places get, when I found them appalling.

  5. firstly I do not know who owns Hardwood not do I have any connectioin with the place.
    I had lunch there about a month ago it was about €11 service and food quality were faultless.
    Based on this experience we took 2 friends there last Sat for Early Bird, very good value at €24 for 2 courses. The guy in charge recognised me from the first visit, again the food and service were first class. The Menu is eclectic and varied, we all enjoyed it. There was no attempt whatsoever to move us along when we finished eating.

  6. I used to eat at this restaurant regularly, both for Sunday brunch and Dinners and the food and service was always faultless. Decent spaceing between tables ( I find that in many Cork restaurants tables are crammed in with the no regard for personal space between diners), delicious food and waiting staff who were attentive but unobtrusive.