Absolute Bar and Grill, Absolute Hotel, Limerick
Sir Harry's Mall, Limerick City.
The bar and grill at the Absolute Hotel is a hive of life, bursting with energy from bustling tables of diners, parties, couples, friends. The space is big enough for privacy, modern and cosy and with a rarely seen aspect of the pretty Abbey river.
This is a great spot for lunch, business or otherwise, with classics like chowder, a fit-for-a-man croque Madame and cod and chips with very impressive twice-cooked chunky chips. There is attention to the little things here; cast iron pans on slates, jars of sauces, a bit of flair, a little humour. Fish cakes feature, duck liver paté too and some impressive breads.
The evening menu has classics like chicken wings in a spicy marinade, juicy and finger licking, the salmon with capers and salad had just been cured in the restaurant kitchen that afternoon. A main of hake with colcannon was perfectly cooked and came with its own little copper pot of extra greens. My lamb shank was warming, falling off the bone and full of flavour with sweet roasted veggies to soak up the juices. Creamy mash and lots of greens here too, a proper dinner. Happily this kitchen cares about local produce, with plenty of butchers names highlighted on the menu. Organically grown vegetables and salads are used when the seasons are in sync.
Deserts didn’t disappoint with a silky crème brulée and a quietly sophisticated green tea cheesecake with a sexy crystallized ginger ice cream. The crumble is fruity and comforting, like a hug from your favourite granny, and served with both cream and crème anglais, no sweet stone is left unturned. A cheese plate proudly features Cahill’s and Cooleeney, both within a stones throw of the city. The Absolute has been keeping culinary secrets, no more.