A Modern Irish Breakfast at Nash 19 in Cork
The menu at Nash 19 in Cork presented an early morning dilemma. The restaurant is located on Princes Street, a spud's throw from the English Market. The kitchen staff combs the market for the highest quality seasonal ingredients, then turns their gleanings into alluring breakfast dishes and clever lunches.
The breakfast bacon and black pudding are supplied by McCarthy's of Kanturk, a traditional small town butcher with a world class reputation. Tim McCarthy is the fifth generation of butchers to work in the shop since its founding in 1892. McCarthy's black pudding won a prize in a competition held by the French fraternal group, La Confrérie des Chevaliers du Goúte Boudin (Brotherhood of the Knights of the Blackpudding).
I certainly wanted to sample the vaunted McCarthy's black pudding. So I was tempted to order: "THE REAL CORKER BREAKFAST: Bacon, sausages, pudding, egg, grilled tomato, handmade potato cake and Arbutus toast." (Arbutus is a famous Cork bakery.) Or maybe THE LITTLE CORKER, which offered a half portion of the same thing.
But a fry-up sounded a little heavy at 8 AM. Besides, ordering the full Irish cliche at an innovative cafe like Nash 19 seemed to miss the point.
Poached free range eggs with avocado, salsa and Arbutus toast was much more in keeping with the enlightened Nash 19 vibe. It sounded like a vegetarian Irish spin on a Mexican breakfast. I was all set to go veggie for breakfast.
Then I noticed that McCarthy's black pudding was listed with the side orders. And the perfect compromise dawned on me. I ordered the veggie Eire-Mex poached eggs with black pudding on the side.
I expected the kitchen to put the black pudding on a separate plate, but the chef artfully tucked the blood sausage slices into the beautifully plated poached egg dish.
The result was my idea of a truly modern Irish breakfast.