Aroi offers Asian cuisine with street food simplicity and is a welcome addition to Cork’s historic Huguenot Quarter with its cafes and shops welded together with years of camaraderie. Hailing from Malaysia and cooking street food in Thailand since his school days, Eddie Ong Chok Fong is head chef and brain child behind Aroi. Nestled in the space formerly occupied by Gamibini’s Italian on Carey’s Lane, Aroi has created its own oasis. You’d think you’ve taken a trip with the vibrant and juxtaposing decor that has put an emphasis on Feng Shui, flow, and light. Aroi Cork is sister restaurant to the wildly successful Aroi in Limerick (opened five months ago).
With no dish above the €10 mark, groups can indulge in mains and sides or you can selfishly devour your own dishes. You can single-handedly battle the winter sniffles with Aroi’s spicy beef noodle soup that heals you from the inside out. The savouries are rounded off with delicious home-made gelato and coffees. Noodles dishes are created using rice noodles which are naturally gluten-free, and everything is made with an abundance of fresh vegetables and are low in fat yet full of good things.
In addition to sharing a selection of sides with my table mates, Billy, Claire, Alice, and Kevin, I enjoyed the fish special which, yesterday, was Hake with a slightly spicy curry sauce and steamed white rice. I didn’t share. I ate every last nibble. Fresh herbs were plentiful and the fish was fresh and Irish. You won’t find imported fish here. A testament to the dedication to fresh ingredients and flavours. And that shines through in his cooking with no one ingredient overpowering another and the fog of over-seasoning or preservatives wasn’t present. I also tried a refreshing salad, which in spite of being full was gone in minutes.
Aroi is already known for popular dishes, like its Pad Thai Noodles, Red Duck curry, Som Tam Salad, and Pandan Chicken. Eddie himself came out to welcome us and discuss the menu. With my pork allergy, I was unnecessarily concerned. The open kitchen shows a finely-tuned kitchen staff that handles food allergies all in a day’s work.
You may recall hearing about Aroi through Lucinda O’Sullivan’s review in the paper. As she stated “authentic Malaysian, Thai, Indonesian and Vietnamese street food at great prices” is what Aroi is all about. It doest hurt that Eddie is a creative, authentic, and accommodating chef. He was nominated in the Best Chef in Munster category as well as best casual dining and best ethnic food at the prestigious Food and Wine Magazine Restaurant of the Year awards this summer. But the best way is give it a visit and taste for yourself.
6-7 Careys Lane
(021) 427 2388