Corkers Restaurant/Café/Bar sits on the beautiful Poole Quay – an ideal location for tourists and locals alike and already filled with customers on even a grim day like this. The menu offers an alluring array of classic and fusion dishes and so I claim the last of the remaining window seats with a view. The interior is casual, and the café-style dining area has a laid-back, self-service feel.
After ordering at the bar from the October-feast menu, a special £10 or £15 menu running throughout October, we watch as the busy waitresses charm their customers with an easy-going manner. We wait less than 5 minutes for our food to arrive. I’m sure there’s an unwritten rule about food coming out too early, and I wonder if it’s not a little worrying that my freshly-prepared food has arrived quicker than I’ve had time to put my change back in my purse.
Nevertheless, I tuck into the Fish Pie with my fork. Moving the mounds of melted cheese to the side, I dig around for the seafood only to be met with a largely mashed potato and cheese filling. There are no mussels, and barely a chunk of fish in sight. Instead there are small prawns, and the odd, sorry slither of white fish entirely overpowered by cheesy yellow goo. The top layer is far from the ‘crispy mash topping’ it promises on the menu, in fact, it’s then that I realise the restaurant have made a slight menu faux pas. There are 2 menus marked October-Feast, the one on my table is the one I ordered from and the Fish Pie on this menu comes with mussels and salmon, the one at the bar however, is mussel and salmon free. I don’t seem to be the only one not happy with what they order and what they actually end up with, as I watch the waitress try to fix another mistake at the table beside me.
My guest chooses the Spaghetti Savoury Meat Balls ‘Like Mamma Maka’, in a Mediterranean Tomato Sauce. The tomato sauce is tasty, its smooth texture and tomatoey tang go well with the meatballs, which are plain and simple rounds of beef. They have no onions and no herbs and I’m quite glad they’re like that, as their uncomplicated recipe lets the sauce speak for itself. The pasta is far from al dente though, it’s overcooked and sticky, and it lets the whole meal down.
The waitress takes the half-full plates away no questions asked, and I watch as she makes her way into the open kitchen just metres from our table. She proceeds to lift what looks like a chocolate fondant from a small white box and place it into a microwave on full view of the diners, a minute later it pings, and after pouring a brown liquid over it, brings it to our table. Whilst in all honesty it probably isn’t unusual for a fondant to be prepared like this, it’s true what they say – out of sight out of mind, and I’d much prefer it if the microwave was hidden away out back.
I puncture the spongy cake with my knife and it oozes a delicious chocolate sauce. Despite its microwave warm-up, it’s cooked perfectly, with the right ratio of gooey chocolate filling to baked sponge. It’s delightful and a real saving grace after our main course experiences. It’s soft and spongy, light yet decadent, and the fudge sauce is an extra added bonus on the plate.
In all, I leave feeling that the main courses didn’t quite live up to expectations, and the menu reads better (or even a little different) to what I actually ended up with. Service is friendly though, and I probably would come back, but only to have a coffee by the quay.