Red and white gingham napkins on the table, light bulbs trapped in jam jars, stone walls and floors, vintage bits and pieces scattered around the dining room: Kai has the rustic boho décor that I absolutely adore.
A friendly lady led us to our table where some breads and salted butter were already on the table for us to nibble. Menus are changed on a daily basis depending on what they have in stock from the local food suppliers. The dishes sounded inventive and different from the norm, like the Bresaola with mandarine and manchego cheese or the the sunchoke, wild garlic, pea casserole and 5 mile town dolmas. We agreed from the start not to order any of the same dishes, that way we could taste more from this delicious sounding menu.
I started my meal with the West Coat crab, chilli and avocado: this was a perfect Irish summer dish. Colourful and appetising, the crab starter was light and aromatic with lovely bursts of citrus and coriander. Mr. FFID ordered Ronan's hen plate. The terrine was topped with a fried quail egg, the chicken liver pate had almonds and crushed pistachios scattered on the plate, it looked delicious and tasted divine. Some candied beetroot, carrots and radishes beautifully arranged on both dishes made them colourful, pleasing to the eye and nicely added some crunchiness in contrast to the soft textures.
To follow, Mr FFID chose the lamb rack. The meat was perfectly cooked medium rare and was accompanied by zough, a spicy mix herbs, chili and seasonings that marries greatly with lamb and a beautiful panzanella included some generous crusty croutons. Your truly had Brady's strip loin with rocket leaves and seaweed butter: it didn't disappoint. My massive piece of meat was tender, juicy and cooked to perfection. I never get excited over potatoes, I'm not Irish enough I'm afraid, but whatever was in the crushed/mashed potatoes in Kai was quality: creamy, buttery and melted in the mouth.
Finally, I suggested to Monsieur that we order le fromage (Jess' cheeseboard) AND the tutti frutti sorbet to end this decadence of tasty food. In the middle of our cheesegasm we forgot to ask what the cheeses actually were but nevermind, they were eaten within a few minutes along with figs, fresh quince and quince paste, along with the best Irish cheesecrackers you can find, the ones from Sheridans Cheesemongers. To finish, the tutti frutti sorbet was just perfect to cleanse our palates with some sweet and sour flavours and a generous dash of prosecco for good measure. It was my birthday after all, nothing wrong with an alcoholic dessert, is there?
Food bursting with flavours and colours, quirky décor with lots of character and attentive friendly waiting staff made our evening in Kai just perfect. I was taking some pictures of the place after we paid and just before we left, a very nice gentleman who served our table a few times during the evening, took time to speak to us. He told us about the chef Jessica Murphy who is from New Zealand, informed us that 'Kai' meant food in Maori and that the portrait in the middle of the room is a picture of Jessica's grandmother. He didn't know I was a food blogger, I never tell people to be sure I don't get any special treatment. We were amazed by his kindness, enthusiasm and passion for the restaurant he was working for, I later realized he was David Murphy, co owner of Kai.
KAI café + restaurant