Food is a big part of every culture. Providing food is a caring gesture. “Build a bigger table, not a higher fence.”
I tooted a few weeks ago about the atrocious fish and chips in the work canteen. It was a shocker because you have to go out of your way to make bad food in Ireland. If you eat dairy, why would you hate yourself so much and get “omg, this is totally not butter” butter instead of Dairygold (#teamDairygold. Kerry Gold can go hang)?
Ha ha, let us joke about how bland food is here. Stop. It isn't dull; you just eat poorly made food.
My point is that there is good food and good ingredients readily available. You do not have to go out of your way to prepare fabulous meals. You do, however, have to go out of your way to find an Iceland to buy shite frozen meals. Food is expensive. All food is. But with a world-class dairy and beef industry, you have to try really hard to cook lousy food. We have The English Market in the city, and most of the food in the supermarkets is Irish. It’s just extraordinary to me that a restaurant would go out of its way to be bad at cooking.
Would you believe it? This post is a restaurant review. I needed all that above to get you here. So, I'll finally start. There's a whole junction in Cork City called The Angler's Rest. It is named after a pub just down the road from it. There's no point in telling people you were stuck in traffic there. Because everyone west of Cork City is stuck in traffic there. Nope, you're not at home eating a biscuit; you're stuck in traffic at Angler's Rest. Are you driving the ring of Kerry? Nope, you’re actually in traffic at Angler’s rest.
Just before the 'rona, The Angler's Rest pub had a revamp. It didn't look half bad. And they renamed it The Anglers. Ever since then, we have promised ourselves a dinner there. We were looking forward to adding another go-to restaurant to our “shit, the parents are visiting” list. Well, one Thursday night, we did it with friends.
The renovations were straight out of a Pinterest board, and the old building is completely stripped back to the external walls. Nothing has been left inside. The problem with influencer renovations is they start looking tired quickly. That teal green paint you picked is starting to show condensation drips. And those fake marble top tables are wobbling and scuffed. They had more gins at the bar than items on the menu. There was one vegetarian option. If I were to ask to remove the meat from a dish, there'd be nothing left.
I had the fish, which was as flavourful as a frozen Donegal catch fillet. Their dirty fries were just sriracha mixed with Helman's mayonnaise. (I will say my coffee was top-notch). We will ignore nausea and hot flush that hit me on the drive home. The meal for the four of us cost 120 EUR. They have an offer of a pint and pizza for 15 EUR. What is more offensive: The pizza costs 10 EUR, or the pint costs 5 EUR. And to keep on theme, the upstairs bathroom was stupid—one toilet, with the hand dryer above my left shoulder. If I moved, I was blown about. The entrance was in the hallway between the public area and the kitchens and was not signposted. All over the top floor were random doors with fire exit signs. In my haste to find the bog, I opened all of them. The throne itself was just a little bit higher than was comfortable. And just like the rest of the building, it was decorated like a photo someone saw on the internet. It wanted to be a bigger room, but the design made it oppressive and uncomfortable instead.
I can't stress this enough. It is challenging to get bad food in Ireland. Even the takeaways are unreal. But why would you spend so much to do so much to an iconic place and then have Wetherspoons food? The Anglers is now under the category of Food After Church. Or Dinner After Communion. You're not there for the food but for the chats instead. But, considering how fake 90% of family gatherings are, you'd be in for a very dull few hours in The Anglers. Don’t take your life into your hands crossing the road from the car park. Drive further down the road and go to The Blairs Inn instead.
Beir bua agus beannacht.