I love going to Cork. I was there for work last week and after spending the morning listening to the harrowing stories of two homeless people I had to interview, I was badly in need of some sustenance and comfort.
My first choice was the fabulously art deco Electric Cork where I have yet to eat but have heard such good reports about. But it was not to be as they don't serve lunch on Wednesdays. Hmm, I wondered, where to now?
I strolled through the English Market where I nibbled on some Frank Hederman smoked salmon and bought Macroom oats, some Clive McCabe teas, Vacherin cheese and orzo as I considered my options. (If you have yet to visit this wonderful place, it should be the first place on your list whenever you're next in Cork.)
I eventually hit upon the idea of going to The Liberty Grill.
Located on Washington Street, this is a bright, buzzy place with a modern vibe. It's always busy, no matter what the time of day, and its menu seems to have something to appeal to all appetites and tastes.
I was instantly greeted by a very friendly member of staff who offered me a copy of that day's paper as I was on my own. He also presented me with the menu, which tempted me with all sorts of great dishes. There are sandwiches - a choice of steak, chicken, club, crab, halloumi cheese and ham, chicken and Swiss cheese - served on sourdough or seeded rye bread. There are salads, ranging from classics such as Caesar salad and niceoise salad to more unusual combinations such as a vegan San Fran salad of soya and chilli-fried tempeh, herbed quinoa and dressed leaves. There are great brunch options which include the house muesli, porridge, pancakes, quesadillas, and baked eggs. I loved the idea of the posh toasts, which come with a range of toppings including sautéed mushrooms, spicy crab and tomato and avocado as well as more classic offerings such as eggs benedict.
But I was really hungry and none of these seemed enough. I wanted a proper lunch and I wanted it Liberty Grill style.The Liberty Grill is known for its burgers so I had to have one of those. But seeing as I didn't want meat, I opted for a crab burger.
It was a good choice. There was lots of crab and white fish in the burger which was coated in a pleasingly crunchy crust. It was served on a bed of rocket and with a zingy lemon and dill sauce and the crispest of chips. My only complaint was that the bun was a little dry and had too much of that sweet processed taste for my liking.
But these are niggling things. Overall, the Liberty Grill was a friendly, buzzing place with a great menu and I enjoyed my lunch there. The price was good too - €14.95 for my burger and a sparkling water. It ensured that my love affair with Cork continues and I'm looking forward to visiting the city again soon. Where should I go for lunch/dinner next time?
The Liberty Grill
32 Washington Street
021 427 1049
Open Mon-Thu 8am - 9pm; Fri-Sat 8am - 10pm