We caught up with Chef Paul McDonald of Bastion Kinsale...check out what he told us!
What is your favourite dish on the menu at Bastion and why?
My favourite dish at the minute is our pain perdu (eggy bread) it’s a really simple dessert and something that can always to some degree or another be done at home so to have it on as a restaurant dish it’s gotten to be a really great version of itself, even though it’s a brioche with cognac custard and Medjool dates soaked in more cognac and Frangelico we still manage to keep it pretty light, guests often look at it thinking they are on course 9 now I can’t possibly eat this but we made it quite delicate, as we are aware of the number of courses preceding it.
What would be your desert island meal? (Starter/Main/Dessert)
Starter-would have to be Mac and cheese dish we had at the french laundry it came with more shaved truffle than Mac so that helped get it to the top of the pole alright
A lobster dish from E.M.P. Helen and I got married in N.Y and had dinner in E.M.P that night, it was really special maybe because we just got married maybe because the lobster dish was pretty amazing, I never actually got the lobster dish Helen did but I tried a little of hers I got the duck and I’m confused over what wins but I think the lobster given I’m on a desert island, and I’ve just had a plate of mac and cheese in my head this is a hot and sunny desert island!! So I’ll be a little full!
What is your favourite seasonal dish?
It would have to be oysters in some form or another. We do have oysters on as often as we can - a lighter cold version is a take on an Eton mess where we have, horseradish creme fraiche icecream where you would have cream, cubes of beetroot jelly instead of a berry, the meringue is beetroot and we also do a little parsley purée for the flavour, and a tomato and tobacco granita, it’s a really mouth-filling dish with lots going on but all the flavours still manage to shout loud enough to be heard or felt, with a great chilled oyster as the star of the show.
What drink would you pair with it?
My favourite drink to pair with it is a strange one as it could lend itself to many with so many bold flavours, you could even have a little Bloody Mary with this but I think a nice chilled glass of Bollinger champagne would hit the nail on the head.
What is your favourite restaurant in Ireland and why?
My favourite restaurant in Ireland has to be The Greenhouse, I’ve only eaten there 3 or 4 times but every time it really was like a lesson in flavour and plating, I suppose I have a bit of a soft spot for the location too as this was my first head chefs position when I was just 21. Eamon O'Reilly gave me the keys to the place, it was called Bleu then and we had a great crew of chefs in the kitchen this was back in 2002 and we would knock out 100 for dinner at the weekends and 40 -50 for lunch.
What is your favourite dish in Ireland and why?
My favourite dish in Ireland - I guess we don’t leave The Greenhouse then. I can’t get white chocolate and passion fruit soufflé they did out of my head it was absolutely amazing. I’d love a recipe and technique if he has it going!
Who is your most hotly tipped young chef in Ireland today?
I’m pretty confident we have an amount of unearthed talent in Ireland the trouble is distraction and attention young guys get distracted easily with what they see on TV or friends birthdays or a festival or their workmates who are at different stages in the career. We have a young chap Ciaran McGregor who is just out of college and could go all the way, has a good palate and a good work ethic too, he’s clean and smart so I back him as my rising talent but like all of us, we will see if distractions get the better or not. My bet is they won’t, my bet is we will be reading about Ciaran McGregor in a few years!