I am very late posting this as I did the trail nearly three weeks ago. I got distracted by holidays and then getting back to work. So unfortunately the trails are finished for this year but I really hope they will return next year. I saw a lot of talk among bloggers in Dublin who were doing these trails but I completely missed the boat when they started in Cork last year. This year, I was determined not to lose out so I kept an eye on the Facebook page for dates that the tickets were going on sale.
So what is the trail? Basically, you buy a ticket for the event in advance which cost €25. For this, you are taken to four separate restaurants in Cork to sample tapas that each restaurant has on offer. You also get a glass of a Campo Viejo wine in each restaurant. For €25 – bargain! Myself and my sister were booked into a Wednesday evening trail and on the morning of the trail I was sent an email to say that our group would be starting in Arthur Maynes. That was a good start, I love this wine bar but I had never actually eaten there.
Menu and selection from Arthur Maynes
We were greeted by a glass of cava and our guide, Damien, who gave an introduction as to what the evening was all about. He talked us through the different Campo Vieja wines. You can read up on these here. There were 26 people in our group and we were one of four groups which shows just how popular these trails are. (Each group starts in a different restaurant). The patatas bravas and bruschetta were delicious. For some reason I can’t find a pic of the sausage and chicken stew but it was very good. I could eat patatas bravas all day. I had to remember that there were four stops so I had to hold back a bit here! As you can see from the menu, the group that was due to finish in Arthur Mayes were in for a treat with lemon posset and strawberries.
Next was a little stop by the Crane Lane to appreciate some of the street art that is popping up around the city.
Next up was Oysters Restaurant in the Clarion Hotel. I had never eaten here. In fact I think it was new to a lot of people in our group so that was great advertising for them. I’m not normally a big fish lover but the cod rillette was delicious. The tomato and melon gazpacho was the other highlight from here for me. This is definitely a restaurant that I hope to go back to soon.
The menu and selection from Oysters
Next stop was Electric. I was expecting a lot of fish here given the popularity of their fish bar. However the selection of panko crab cakes, Moroccan lamb meatballs and cheese arancini was a perfect mix of flavours. There was a real buzz in the place even without our large group. The sunny evening and nice outdoor area helped create a great atmosphere.
Our selection from Electric. I did try turning the picture so that the writing was the right way up but it just looked strange!
We then toddled off to the Cornstore for our dessert. Damien finished up the tour here. He was a really great guide and even took it in good spirit when someone ruined the punchline to his big story. I am very familiar with the Cornstore as I work just around the corner from here and whenever we have a work outing this is usually our restaurant of choice. The desserts were delicious. There wasn’t any indication as to what the earlier groups had eaten and I would have loved to have seen what was on offer. Here we were given some recipe cards and on the reverse of these were illustrations from the specially commissioned artwork from Steve Simpson.
Damien our brilliant host wrapping things up before dessert at the Cornstore
Desserts at the Cornstore. The blurry pic is to do with the low lighting and not the numerous glasses of red wine – I swear!
I would highly recommend doing the tapas trail next year if you get a chance. It was a lovely evening and the people in the group were so friendly and interesting. We picked up a lot of useful info from others. It is very well organised and we were asked in advance about any dietary requirements. For €25 you can’t really go wrong. I hope to do it again next year, maybe the Sunday afternoon trail and then make a real night of it 😉
For further information on booking the trail see:
Campo Viejo Tapas Trail website or the Campo Viejo Facebook Page
For information on the participating restaurants: