In Ireland St Patrick's Day marks the end of winter. It is a day for putting on the green and tasting a few pints of the black. Like my birth, it is a day that I know I have been to but don't remember.
In celebration of the day recognising Ireland's most commonly-recognised patron saint, the Cat and Fiddle Hotel in Balmain are putting on their own long weekend, from Saturday through to Monday's St. Paddy's Day (17 March).
|Dining area at the Cat and Fiddle Hotel, Darling Street, Balmain|
In the completely newly-renovated pub with an indoor Garden Room, we were seated in the middle of the large dining area behind the bar, where a vast skylight let in the last of the day. Punters came and pints and food were ordered.
|Fried seaweed snack|
|Pint of Guinness|
|Crispy spud skins, Red Leicester, 100-year old brown sauce recipe|
Crisp but not greasy, the generous skins cupped the melted orange cheese; both lifted by the fruity, chutney-like tang of the sauce which is one of the best brown sauces I've ever had.
|Irish boxty, pickled eggs, black pudding, whiskey and pear|
|Corned beef, Irish soda bread, pickles and West Cork feta|
It was served with a light, soft soda bread with flavours balanced by crunchy pickled vegetables and moist, salty West Cork feta cheese which is no doubt, rightly, a little bit fond of itself.
|Dublin Coddle, white pudding, salt and pepper spud|
The sausage was a perfectly spiced Irish breakfast sausage, while the pancetta added salt and crunch on top of buttery mashed potato and prettily presented vegetables.
|Mini chips with Irish curry sauce|
|Irish railway cake, clotted cream, butterscotch|
|Chocolate Guinness cake, Bailey's jelly|
The Cat and Fiddle will offer the St Patrick’s Day Culinary Irish Menu from Saturday 15 to Monday 17 March, lunch and dinner. Irish Breakfast will be served Sunday and Monday. On St Patrick's Day there will be all-day live Irish music and entertainment along with a pub filled with Irish craic.
Food, booze and shoes dined at the Cat and Fiddle Hotel as a guest.