Restaurant review: ‘Terre is tipped for two Michelin stars next month — but was our €778 dinner bill worth it?’
I don’t know whether Vincent Crepel is a believer in manifesting, but the display of his personal collection of Michelin Guides in the dramatically lit preservation corridor of Terre restaurant is surely a statement of intent. You pass through en route from pre-dinner drinks in the (curiously frumpy, given what lies ahead) salon — ‘The start of your journey!’ the restaurant manager tells us excitedly — to the dimly lit open kitchen, where the air smells tantalisingly of smoke.
here, the brigade greet you in unison. ‘Welcome!’ they shout, looking up from the tasks (many involving tweezers) in which they are engaged. You sit on stools at a high table so you can watch them work while the servers bring the amuses. Thankfully the chefs look to be a happy bunch, so their occasional ‘Yes Chefs’ in response to a question or instruction from Crepel don’t have the sinister, ominous feel they do in The Menu, a flawed film — also, incidentally, featuring a ‘journey’ — but one worth watching for its excoriating take on the absurdities of fine dining.
The meal starts with three crisp little rice tarts in succession, filled with smoked veal, sweet prawns fished off Youghal, and blue lobster from Ballycotton. The dining being fine, each includes a multiplicity of other ingredients — far too many to list here — and the perfectly calibrated mouthfuls are simply dazzling.
The next stage of our ‘journey’ brings us just a few steps across the kitchen to a display of some of the luxurious ingredients in Crepel’s culinary arsenal. There are hand-dived scallops from Norway, and finger limes and French caviar and beautiful truffles from Périgord. And then we get a morsel of A5-quality Wagyu beef from the Miyazaki Prefecture, with barley koji, hazelnut, nori, and yuzu kosho. It is possibly the most delicious thing I have ever tasted, rich and smoky, subtle and sublime.
Would we, our server asks, like shaved truffle with that? For €48 each. We are taken aback, as the additional cost should have been flagged back in the kitchen when we were shown those beauties
We progress to our table in one of several interlinked dining rooms looking out over the gardens in what was Castlemartyr’s original manor house. The walls are dark, the tables well-spaced, the soundtrack features Lou Reed.
The dishes which follow are nothing short of extraordinary: Crepel’s style is unique, the result of French training and time spent in the Basque country (at Arzak) and with André Chiang in Asia. A beautiful jewel-like dish of tuna belly with trout roe and dulse, an exquisite chawanmushi with smoked eel, foie gras, Wagyu ham and 48-month-aged Parmesan, and scallop with king crab, lobster, hamachi and lardo in a Makrut lime consommé.
Turbot in a miso vermouth comes with a heaping of creamy Jasmin caviar, and then the only blip — not a food blip, but a service blip — comes in the form of venison with endive, chanterelle, albufera sauce and smoked porcini oil. Would we, our server asks, like shaved truffle with that? For €48 each. We are taken aback, as the additional cost should have been flag ged back in the kitchen when we were shown those beauties. But we go for it. In fairness, these are the best truffles in the world and the shaving is properly generous. But I am sure the dish would have been delicious — though maybe not quite as delicious — without them. There is brioche to mop up the sauce, and you’d be a fool not to get every last drop.
We are winding down now with a granita of ginger, lemon, jasmine and lime zest, and a gorgeous pineapple sundae with fancy rum and a seaweed caramel. I like the way the savoury courses far outnumber the sweet.
Then it’s back to the salon for after-dinner drinks and petit fours. Our bill, with the ‘Petit Accord’ wine pairing focused on natural wines from small producers (€110 for six 100cl glasses of wine, and one cup of chai), a pre-dinner glass of champagne and a post-dinner glass of red wine each, plus water, comes to €778 before tip (there is no service charge).
This is a huge sum. Fine dining is unquestionably an elite pursuit, but the price of the tasting menu itself (€180pp before the truffle ambush, which has since been rectified, so guests are warned in advance of the supplement rather than being put on the spot) represents good value for food of this quality. The smart choice might be to order wine by the bottle rather than opt for the pairing.
There is an expectation that Terre will gain two stars when the new Michelin Guide is published on March 27. Bookings will be hard to come by then, and prices may go up, so if you’re intrigued by Vincent Crepel and this very special Irish/French/Asian experience (let’s not call it a journey, please), my advice is to get on the case sharpish.
A shorter €110 tasting menu is served on Friday and Saturday at lunch.
The 12-course tasting menu with the ‘Grand Accord’ wine pairing will set you back €800 for two.
Terre, Castlemartyr Resort, Castlemartyr, Co Cork. terre.ie
Denial of responsibility! galaxyconcerns is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.