Eating Out: Aptly named restaurant at Redcastle Hotel reassures me I made right move
The Edge Restaurant
00353 7493 85555
COME August it'll be six years since I moved from Liverpool to the north of Ireland. While never for one second have I felt a twinge of regret over the decision, there are times when my conviction feels more deeply embedded than others, when I know in my soul that I did the right thing.
I feel that every time I drive from Derry up along the east bank of the Foyle towards Moville, and never more so than on an evening like this. The heat of the day clung stubbornly to the twilight like a drunk to his glass at closing time. A palate of greens decorated the roadside verges. As we crossed from miles to kilometres we saw old men in socks and sandals mowing their lawns, and girls returning home from camogie practise. The Foyle turned from silver to bronze, and the land wore its gentle beauty like a favourite shirt.
My brother and I were heading to the Redcastle Hotel, to meet a friend for dinner at The Edge restaurant. It's aptly named. The room is big, with one entire wall made up of floor-to-ceiling windows with views across Lough Foyle. You're so close to the water it feels the building is floating on the surface. It really adds to the experience of dining there. Even if you're not looking out constantly, you never lose that sense of space and light.
The fixed-price, inclusive menu is only available to those staying at the hotel, so we had to choose from the a la carte. My brother chose the lamb. While we disagreed about the miso-glazed aubergine – I thought it was a bit slimy; he thought it was really tasty – we concurred on the lamb itself. The cannon was a soft pink, beautifully lean and tender, with a crunchy, jovial nugget alongside, and the plate dotted with little pools of wild garlic puree, a vivid green with a gentle flavour.
The hake was a mixed bag. The fishcake was good, the beans provided texture, and the salty samphire was bold and strong. The brandade was lovely and creamy, while lacking a little depth, but the hake itself, good, crisp skin notwithstanding, was a touch overcooked and dry.
I nearly went for the breast of chicken, if only because the ingredients sounded like cartoon characters. I liked the idea of Polenta Fritter and her dim but loyal sidekick, Basil Puree, foiling another dastardly plot of the criminal mastermind known only as the Black Garlic.
But I went for the cod instead. I chose right. OK, the parsley root puree was a bit bland and, although the chicken wing was singularly good, it should, according to the menu, have been plurally good, but the cod was just amazing. Perfectly seasoned and perfectly cooked, the skin was crisp and the flesh just flaked away with the knife. Full of flavour, soft, melting, powerful, delicious.
Before we ordered anything, we did the two-course juggle. Starter and main? Or main and pudding? The latter won, thankfully. The puddings were gorgeous.
The deconstructed cheesecake was sweet and crunchy and soft and smooth, with a fantastic sorbet winging and zinging in at the end. Every element of the hazelnut and chocolate parfait was right. The chocolate casing fought the spoon for just long enough before cracking to reveal an ice cream packed with autumnal hazelnut flavour. The popcorn was good fun, and the banana held its consistency underneath the sweet caramel shell.
Now, the wonderful orange polenta cake. There was a lovely warmth to it, a great texture, and a terrific combination of sharp and sweet. And the ice cream was beautiful, albeit I couldn't (I'm glad to say) taste any olive oil.
The food is very good, and the formality of the service makes a meal here feel a touch special. Yet another reason to be happy I moved here.
Hake, brandade, samphire, white bean, mussel and fennel veloute €24
Cannon of lamb, crispy lamb nugget, miso-glazed aubergine, wild garlic puree €28
Pan-fried cod, parsley root puree, glazed chicken wings €24
Hazelnut and chocolate parfait, caramelised banana, toffee popcorn €8
Warm orange polenta cake, olive oil ice cream, cardamom custard €7
Strawberry and white chocolate cheesecake, rose water and hibiscus sorbet €7
Diet Coke x 2 – €5.40
Americano – €2.50
Total: €105.90 (£92.92)