ORSO KITCHEN & BAR
8 Pembroke St, Cork City, 021-2438000, orso.ie ¤ Opened by the same team behind Market Lane, Elbow Lane and Castle Café, this small but perfectly formed café brings Persian flavours to Pembroke St. During the day you can order from The Bar, a long counter filled with Ottolenghi-style large bowls of salads and sundries.
Breakfast is daily from 8.30am-11.30am and highlights include the warm banana flatbread with a creamy lime zest filling (¤4.50) and the Breakfast Moglai – a crispy dough bread stuffed with bacon, egg, cheese and coriander (¤6.50).
For lunch, go for the Manoushi, a Lebanese flat bread filled meat and cheese (¤8.90) or for a salad of pearl couscous with capers, cucumber, pomegranate and parsley (¤7). The sweet treats are plentiful; we’ll be back for their courgette cake (¤4.25) and their rosewater and pistachio meringue (¤4.50).
Nighttime sees the Kitchen taking over, and the Middle Eastern influence is strong in this menu too. It’s casual – the menu isn’t divided into starters or mains and sharing is encouraged. There are plenty of smaller dishes at around ¤8, such as Moroccan spiced beef patties (¤8), and bulgar wheat and chickpea falafel (¤8.50).
There are more baked goods from Lebanon, this time in the form of Sfeehas, delicious mini pies that are also stuffed with meat (¤8). They’re served at Orso with a crispy kale and a creamy dip. The menu holds a couple of largers plates for the heftier appetite, including a slow cooked lamb tagine (¤18.50) or a seasonal game pie with their own Orso spiced potatoes (¤17).
There’s a small but well-selected choice of craft beer and cocktails, and service is fast and friendly. They also host regular barista classes, led by their “professional coffee master” Yuliyan. The next classes are on May 10th and May 25th, and they’re open to people who want to upscale their hospitality skills or just those who really loves coffee and wants to find out more about brewing.