Captain House – April 2017
Last night I had the pleasure of joining my new friend Carmel for an amazing dinner at one of the best restaurants in Tullamore.
Captain House is run by Arif Soysal and Chef Okan Kiraz. Both of Turkish descent there are Turkish elements sprinkled throughout the menu.
The restaurant boasts a nautical theme and there is a lot of seafood on the menu however there are plenty of choice if you are not a seafood fan. There is also a good vegetarian selection.
Carmel and I decided to share the starters as we couldn’t decide between the sesame crusted tuna or the stir fry prawns and calamari, so we ordered both.
After the dishes were set before us we started with the tuna. I sliced it with my fork and smiled at Carmel as I popped it in my mouth delighting in the flavour. I love sesame anything. The sesame and the lemon dressing on the rocket and beet greens complimented the tuna without overpowering the flavour.
I loved it and was surprised when I started on the prawns and calamari declaring I liked that better. The depth of flavour in the sauce with the crunch of the fried wanton wrappers give the dish a textural depth as well.
I was not surprised when Chef Okan told me there were 17 ingredients in the sauce.
I also happen to love paprika, as smoked paprika is one of my favourite spices and perhaps seeing the paprika sprinkled on the plate appealed to me.
During the course of the meal Arif popped over between buzzing around the tables ensuring all the customers were happy. The place was very busy with everyone from young families to elder clientele – clearly this place appeals to all.
Arif advised that the majority of their customers are regulars. He knows their likes and dislikes and ensures that they feel relaxed and at home.
We talked about the seafood supplier as everything that comes from their kitchen is made from fresh food. Even the potato chips, just like his mother makes, are sliced to order and deep fried in rapeseed oil.
After eating these I told him I quite like his mother. They were fantastic and even when I had finished eating I continued picking at the chips as did Carmel. We couldn’t help it.
Arif smiled and waved as customers came and went, telling us about the fantastic wine his friend brings back from Italy in 10 litre casks.
While I am not a drinker he vanished and reappeared with both a glass of red and white for me to taste (they were a little more than just a taste) but I could not believe the flavour of the Italian Cabernet. It was light and yet full bodied and as it has no preservatives it was perfect for me as I can have reactions to sulphates in wine.
The New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc was also nice but I preferred the Cabernet. Captain House has recently won a Wine Experience award and Arif advised they have lots and lots of wine for all different palates.
Arif was still chatting as the waitress came over with our mains. Our starters were cleared and as my seafood paella was set before me, I secretly hoped Carmel didn’t want half of it. I was certainly happy for her to taste it but wanted to eat the majority myself.
In fact I don’t even think Carmel tried my meal after all that.
I did try the honey duck which was so very tender. Duck can go wrong as it is often overcooked. This was cooked perfectly but I was happy I had a plate of seafood paella in front of me.
I pulled the langoustine apart sliding the buttery flesh in my mouth with my fingers. I washed my fingers in the bowl of warm water before picking up my fork and tasting the mussels. The mussels were small but delicious (I am used to big fat mussels from Prince Edward Island).
The paella was loaded with fish, calamari and prawns along with the mussels and langoustine.
As I continued eating the rice, Carmel said we have to have the Tullamore Dew cheesecake for dessert. I abruptly stopped eating as I am not usually a dessert fan unless there is cheese and fruit on the menu and if I continued eating the rice I would not have room to even taste the cheesecake.
In this part of the world they drink and eat their whiskey.
I was only having a taste of the cheesecake but might have eaten half of it. I was surprised at how light it was.
Chef Okan then popped out of the kitchen and I was able to pick his brain about the food and discussed the sauce in my favourite dish of the night which was the calamari and prawn starter. It had a little after kick of spice and I wanted to know about it.
As the clock was ticking and The Masters was starting we said our goodbyes and hugged it out.
I am sure when I am back in this part of the world next year that I will return to try more of their wonderful menu.
In fact I may need to come early and make a couple of things for Arif instead.