Kate Lawlor’s cooking in Cork’s stylish Oyster Tavern elevates bar food to the culinary heavens.

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You need a trueness of touch to be able to transform simple things into special things on the plate. Kate Lawlor has that touch.
Ms Lawlor, a noted Cork chef, has taken up the reins in the Oyster Tavern, a classic Cork city pub at the entrance to the English Market. Here, Ms Lawlor shows her instinct for flavour and savour in a dish of pork chop on the bone, with mash and some crisp white cabbage with juniper berries. In theory, the dish is simlicity itself, but kate Lawlor reveals the majesty of each ingredient and, the next time a pub meal has left you disappointed due to the absence of flavours, then take yourself down the Tavern laneway, climb up onto a chair, order the pork chop and, believe us, your faith in food will be restored. The meat is sweet, the texture is toothsome, the fat is fab. It could not have been better.
But it’s not just the meat cookery that wins the day. Some grilled hake is pearly white and, again, sweet and delicious. The dill mash is spot on, the broccoli and asparagus offering a culinary handshake as the seasons welcome one ingredient, and leaves the other behind. Once again, the chef’s touch is perfect.
Cooking in Irish bars doesn’t get better that this, and the Tavern itself has enjoyed the most deluxe makeover, so it’s a glam destination, and the staff know their business inside out.
Add it all up, and we will be back to enjoy Ms Lawlor’s cooking in the Oyster Tavern just as soon as we can get there.