A Glamorous Gatsby Lunch at Electric Cork
Since opening in 2010 Electric has become the destination for night time socialising in Cork, with food served at the bar, in their upstairs restaurant and ‘Fish Bar’, more about that later, and a cocktail menu that deserves the respect it has built. A few days after Christmas, our night time socialising reserves were exhausted, though with a recent proposal to celebrate, my brother, his fiancée and I were keen mark the occasion in style. Lunch at Electric came to mind straight away.
Before you reach the doors you know this is a restaurant with a statement to make. The Art Deco features of the corner building, previously a bank, were not only maintained but enhanced in it’s renovation; a playful geometric style façade is painted in contrasting teal and white, and is adorned with ornamental gold maidens reminiscent of the era. The theme is carried inside, with nods to the crisp angular jazz-age patterns on the Electric logo, menus and scattered throughout the interior.
After decanting our rain soaked coats and umbrellas in the downstairs bar, we made our way upstairs to the restaurant, surely one of the most striking dining rooms in the city. Even through rain speckled windows the panoramic views of St. Finbarr’s Cathedral and South Mall through floor were impressive. Through streamlined aesthetics; dark gloss tables, a mirrored bar and cool grey walls, the room threads the line excellently between luxurious and casually comfortable.
The Lunch Menu is small, a choice selection from the À La Carte Menu, but changes frequently based on the availability of local, seasonal ingredients. Electric’s commitment to fresh ingredients is emphasised in their decision to close the Fish Bar over the Christmas season, the stormy weather affecting the supply of the essence of the menu; fresh fish. In better weather, the remodelled outdoor terrace seems the perfect spot to indulge in lazy Summer suppers; combining the vibe of a Spanish-style tapas bar with the best views in the house.
Much like the décor, service at Electric is slick, but not without personality. Our server Aidan was attentive, informed and quickly arrived with our menus. With an occasion to celebrate and a sophisticated setting the three glasses of Parés Baltà Brut Cava that followed felt entirely appropriate. Light and fruity, it tasted all the sweeter when it was generously offered complementary to toast to my loved-up dining partners. We sipped smugly as we watched those on the street below battle the unrelenting wind and rain.
Two piping hot bowls of French Onion Soup were the perfect antidote to the weather. The mahogany broth was sweet with slivers of caramelized onion, but with an intense hearty flavour and an underlying tang. Two croutons dribbled in melted Gruyere cheese collapsed satisfyingly, soaking up the gravy like liquor, as did the accompanying brown bread layered thickly with butter. Equally boldly smeared was the smooth and herby Chicken Liver Paté onto crisp crostini. A light but tasty start to the meal, drizzled with a sweet redcurrant and orange Cumberland sauce that had a distinctly festive port hit.
The Seafood Linguine was a luminous tangle of yellow strands, coated in a glistening, buttery sauce that sang with lemon. Meltingly tender tiger prawns, mussels and white fish mingled in the chilli and parsley flecked spaghetti. Rich but not heavy, the heaping bowlful was quickly slurped. My Moroccan Vegetable Tagine arrived in dramatic fashion, our server unveiling the tagine dish of its terracotta hat, releasing the fragrant aromas of earthy spices, citrusy coriander and sweet, jewel-coloured roasted vegetables. The lemon and herb cous cous was the perfect partner to soak up the bronzed sauce.
While the sound of Roast Beef with goose fat roasties proved tempting, perhaps after a roast potato too many over Christmas and with the promise of a pineapple fritter my brother opted for the Chicken Maryland. A panko crumbed chicken fillet was moist throughout and though fried, not greasy. Accompanied by char marked tomato, salty streaky bacon, the sweet wheel-shape fritter, chips and a smoky paprika remoulade sauce, this was an alternative, brunch-like feast that ticked all the comfort food boxes.
Just like the style of Art Deco itself, the food and ambience at Electric is splendidly self-indulgent, and strikes a balance between luxury and leisure, comfort and conviviality. Our two-course lunch for three, with bottled water and a side salad, came to €66.50. With a lunch offer of 2 Courses for €20 with tea or coffee, the Electric experience is an affordable mid-week luxury or weekend lunch upgrade.
41 South Mall,
Erica grew up with a baker and confectioner for a father, and a mother with an instinct and love for good food. It is little wonder then that, after a brief dalliance with law, she completed a Masters degree in Food Business at UCC. With a consuming passion for all things food, nutrition and wellness, working with TheTaste is a perfect fit for Erica; allowing her to learn and experience every aspect of the food world, meeting its characters and influencers along the way.