Hunger is the only rational response to a stroll through the beautiful English Market in Cork. Stalls of fresh olives, cheeses, fish, sausages and general loveliness had my greedy brain ordering one of everything, please. My friends Cat and Jimmy had just made me a big breakfast, but I overlooked this and headed upstairs to the Farmgate Cafe.
On a Saturday afternoon at 2.00, it was packed. I joined the queue to place my order and, although all the food looked lovely, Cat and I were a bit taken aback by the prices. But, as happens once you’ve settled on a place, we grudgingly ordered anyway.
Cat’s not a big greedy pig, so she just had a coffee and some cake. I opted for the Warm Salad of Chicken Sauteed with Spices. The chicken was wonderfully succulent, the salad wickedly fresh and tasty, and the spices superbly well-balanced. I really enjoyed every mouthful, and decided to suppress my irritation at the high price until I’d polished it off. Then Cat had to listen to me blabber on about how a salad, however great it is, should not cost €13.50. Especially when it’s self-service. My slice of coffee cake was creamy and moist, and Cat’s chocolate biscuit cake went down a treat.
The Farmhouse Cafe seems enormously popular, but I wonder how many of its customers are Irish and international visitors, sucked in by its charm and promptly fleeced. The ingredients are all top-notch and the food is spot-on, but I don’t think its prices are justifiable. Worth checking out if you don’t mind paying over the odds. Next time, however, I’ll check out the cheaper option at the English Market: Joup cafe seems very nice.