Sunday, January 31, 2010
Had an enjoyable family lunch at Glounthaune’s Rising Tide at the weekend.
Food and prices were good at this popular bistro and so too was the welcome and the service, the latter unobtrusively chatty and well tuned to the two kids, one of whom incredibly demolished that dessert Death by Chocolate.
Most started with the vegetable soup and a decent one it was. Lamb was the roast of the day and the two who choose that were very happy with it as was the punter who enjoyed the fish pie. I picked the lambs liver, with a rich sauce that included caramelised onion; it was very tasty and the vegetables on a side dish were nicely done. All main courses were priced in the €11.00 to €13.00 region.
Had a nice glass of merlot so was well set up for the day.
Didn't need much that evening. Have you ever felt that way, saying to yourself around the 7.00pm mark, what will I eat now? My solution: smoked mackerel (one fillet per person), Ruby grapefruit and a mixed small leaf salad, plus a glass of water, wine or Cava. Not bad.
Kudos (in the Clarion) for Asian at a great price.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
It is so central and not just to the town and the bay but to the spectacular peninsulas of Sheep’s Head and Beara and also quite close to the Healy Pass which takes you over the hills and into Kerry.
If you want a change from the hotel food, then the Brick Oven (yes, they really have one for the pizzas) is just a short walk up the road.
By the way, if you are going into Bantry (from the Cork side) watch out for the hotel’s underground car park which is on the left hand side (opposite the hotel itself).
Check out my review and map of Maritime Hotel - I am cork - on Qype
Friday, January 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Stuck with the Europeans though. Got the Budejovicky Budwar (€2.78) - was this the one transferred across the Atlantic? - from the Czech Republic, plus two from Bavaria , Paulaner Hefe-Weisbier ( €2.32) and the Erdinger Weissbrau (€2.78), all in 500ml bottles.
Just a note on last week’s trio (from Bradley’s). They were Pilsner Urquell (€2.99), Rick Stein’s Chalky’s Bark Open (€2.99) and, from Oz, Hahn Premium (€1.89). All very enjoyable and I found it impossible to put them in a 1-2-3 order. Pleasantly surprised with the Chalky’s Bark as I was a bit apprehensive about the ginger element.
I must say that I didn't enjoy my Supervalu trio as much. The Erdinger, a dark beer, flattered to deceive. Rather enjoyed the first mouthful but gradually the sweetness got to me and I didn't finish it.
The Pualaner, which also produced an abundant head, looked promising but there was something about it, noticeable in the nose and just when you finished the swallow, a kind of clove like whiff. Not for me.
The Budwar saved the day! Better colour, better body, better all round that the pale watery American version, it was a decent beer, more or less on a par with the three from the previous week
Check out my review of Supervalu - I am cork - on Qype
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Dreary dull sky today but got a shot of the Med sunshine at lunchtime in the spacious area known as Nash 19. What courtesy and service, taken by the hand through each inviting item on the menu.
Even at that, it was very hard to make a choice, all were equally tempting. Settled for a Tomato, Chicken, Chorizo Spaghetti, topped with a rocket salad and parmesan (€13.95). Superb. The other dish was a Fattata (a Spanish style omelette), a tart made with Ardrahan Cheese, peppers and thyme and served with a crispy fresh salad (€11.90).
Having gone way beyond the snack we came in for, dessert was added without a second thought. I loved my chocolate, pear and plum tart (with custard, cream if you prefer), topped with sliced almonds. Go for it sometime. Also at the table, was a well made very tasty Apple pie. This was made with real apples, nice and chunky pieces, but all the ingredients here are “real” – you can see where they all come from, most from top local producers. Desserts cost €5.50 each.
The wine suggestion was Alberino. It comes from the Atlantic coast of Spain and is crisp, zesty and fresh and costs €6.50 per glass. Finished off with two Americanos (Bewleys) which were top drawer and cost €2.50 each.
Nash 19 also have a food shop by the entrance and we had “scoped it” on the way in and intended to buy on the way out but, such was the queue waiting to get in, that we put off the purchases for a day.
Tempting at the shop and tempting at the table. There is a high standard in this Prince’s Street establishment and one can easily see why Claire Nash and her team won the Bord Bia Restaurant of the Month Award for December. Congratulations and keep up the good work!
Check out my review of Nash 19 - I am cork - on Qype
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I’m afraid I was a little too early for the tapas when I called before 12 noon today. But there was a friendly face behind the counter when I ordered my coffee and sat down at one of the big tables in the bar. A good sized cup of decent brew cost me two euro and I relaxed and had a quick skim through the Irish Times.
Small things often give an indication of the attitude of a pub or restaurant and, based on this brief visit, I will quite happily return to try the bar food or even that restaurant upstairs which is open only on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings (from 7.00pm).
Check out my review of An Cruibin - I am cork - on Qype
The service is efficient, friendly and knowledgeable and I enjoyed my call there this morning, on the lookout for some coffee of the stronger type for the cafetiere. Settled on an Italian but also purchased a smaller pack (125 Gms) of a stronger Sumatra just to try it out.
There was a great smell coming from my briefcase as I opened for one or two other calls around town!
Check out my review of Mahers Pure Coffee - I am cork - on Qype
Monday, January 25, 2010
From 8.00pm onwards, you and all the other twitters that join in will have some fun getting in touch and working out exactly what you are drinking. Have some fun and make friends at the same time – this is the second such event. Bubble Brothers were the first supplier.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Then try the newly revamped Boqueria, the Tapas bar in Bridge Street named after the market in Barcelona (see pic). I did last evening and enjoyed the chance to “flexi-eat”. Here, you can have Bar Bites (€3.00), Tapas (6), Small Plates (10) and Shared Plates (20).
There are four choices of shared plates: cold meats, cheese, fish and tapas. We choose the latter and added a bowl of Patatas Boqueria to make sure we had enough!
Found out later that was a scattering of Patatas (essentially slightly spicy wedges with their own dip) on the impressive shared plate which also had quails’ eggs, bread with pâté, cured hams, various dips and relishes, tasty potato balls, chicory, roasted almond nuts, olives...and more.
Service was friendly and the dish was delivered promptly. Not an extensive range of wines there now, maybe four or five of both white and red and a couple of cavas. They also serve Murphy’s Heineken and Krombacher on draft. I enjoyed my 500ml carafe of Muscadet (17). It was also available by the glass, the pichet and full bottle.
Finished off with two good Americanos at two euro each. Total bill came to €47.00. There was quite a flow of punters coming in as the evening wore on. If the place gets close to full, you will find yourself sitting very near to your neighbour but then that’s what happens in Tapas Bars!
Check out my review of Boqueria - I am cork - on Qype
Friday, January 22, 2010
For more on the street and the area, see http://www.qype.co.uk/place/1215640-Shandon-Walk-Cork or http://corkandabout.blogspot.com/ (loads of photos)
To put the lead back in your pencil and the spring back in your step
Heaven knows what herbs and spices are inside the saucy skin
But it brings a smile to Erin's Isle Agus fágfaimid mar sin.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
For Further Information visit www.goodfoodireland.ie
or Telephone 053 9158693
Alternative Bread Company
Ballymaloe Cookery School
Farmgate English Cork City
Fishy Fishy Café
Glebe Gardens & Café
Hayfield Manor Hotel
McCarthy's of Kanturk
Nash 19 Restaurant & Food Shop
O'Connor's Seafood Restaurant
O'Flynns Gourmet Sausage Company
On the Pigs Back
The Poachers Inn
Richy's Bar and Bistro
River Lane Café
The Sandwich Stall
The Village Greengrocer & Food Hall
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Wouldn't you know it – they didn't have the Four Sisters Shiraz that I was on the lookout for. At least that was my excuse for calling.
They had some bargains, one Australian Shiraz I had bought elsewhere before Christmas was marked down by three euro. The Penfold's Rawson Retreat range was also down by that amount and I treated herself (my excuse) to a bottle of Semillon Chardonnay.
They also have huge ranges of spirits and beers but I didn't have time to check them all or the arms to carry them. Settled for a few beers on this occasion and am now looking forward to sampling Pilsner Urquell (€2.99), Rick Stein’s Chalky’s Bark Open (€2.99) and, from Oz, Hahn Premium (€1.89).
My father always maintained that Bradley’s had the best bottled Irish beer in town but they have now spread their wings and are well worth a visit. Service, by the way, was relaxed and friendly.
Check out my review of Bradleys Ltd - I am cork - on Qype
Cafe Gusto – so good they built it twice, first in Washington Street (Singers Corner) and also at the Lapps Quay Boardwalk (see pic).
Called to Washington Street lunchtime today and enjoyed my snack which consisted of a hot gorgeously crispy Bocadillo, filled with a Caprese (Mozarella du Bufala, basil and plum tomato). Partner helped herself to a Focaccia Farita filled with a juicy Tuna Salad (with plum tomato, red onion, cucumber & a little mayo).
I had a large Americano while she had a medium one; both were superb. The “sandwiches” cost a fiver each and the total came to less than €15.00.
Staff were informative and friendly but the service was a little less than perfect in the sense that the coffee was served well before the eats and there was even a noticeable gap between the Focaccia and the Bocadillo.
But I would nonetheless recommend the place strongly. The food is excellent and so is the coffee. Next time though, I might have a glass of water with the meal and then get the coffee and linger! By the way, all the seating here is of the high stool variety.
Check out my review and map of Cafe Gusto - I am cork - on Qype
Monday, January 18, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
Bantry’s best, the Brick Oven, has opened up in the city and may be found in the shadow of St Fin Barre’s on French’s Quay, close to South Gate Bridge.
(Local knowledge lesson: the quay is named after a late 17th early 18th century wine merchant James French).
The oven is on your left, as you enter. It is called the Big Fella and certainly produces the goods, perhaps the best pizza in the city.
Certainly enjoyed my Heartstopper there last night, eight inches of class with all the fillings. You can almost taste and smell the flames from the base which stays crisply edible and "cut-able" all the way to the end.
Heartstopper (€10.50) had most of the fillings available. The other pizza at the table was the Hawaiian (€9.50), looked down on by guides in Italy but still readily available at Latin pizzerias, which is more than can be said for brick ovens. In any case, ham and pineapple do go well together and last night’s piece was no exception.
Brick Oven supply their pizzas (they also do take-out) in two sizes, 8” and 10”. If you’re not up to the bigger size why not do what I spotted a couple doing last night. Order one between you and take a cone-full (yes, that’s how they serve fries here) to share as well.
While the Pizza is first class, the Brick Oven (which opened just before Christmas) has a huge general menu both for lunch and later and had some tempting specials as well available last night. Well worth checking out, which means I’ll be back.
Started off with a delicious mussels and tomato and herb sauce combination, available in three sizes (starter €8.95, lunch and dinner). Quite a lovely starter and substantial too as you have your mussels and the very tasty sauce doubles as a soup and you get a fine sized spoon to take it up. You also get a few toasted bits of baguette, though I’d prefer plain breads and also something to wipe the fingers!
Dessert was a Meringue and Berry with ice cream. Meringue soft and sweet, the whole thing delicious, cost €6.00. Wine is available from €5.00 per glass upwards. Our bottle, Pepperton Estate Chardonnay Semillon, cost €21.00, a reasonable price for a reasonable Australian.
The restaurant, previously Proby’s Bistro, is spacious and comfortable. Ceiling decor is unusual, with some three dozen or so closely packed old type fringed lampshades enclosing the adequate lighting but the thing to see is that Big Fella, the real brick oven!
Service was excellent and the staff were very friendly and helpful.
Didn't notice any music last night but you might get lucky some night, maybe something from the Rubyhorse back catalogue!
A SECOND VISIT
Check out my review of The Brick Oven - I am cork - on Qype
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
OLD IRISH CREAMERY
Picked up a Cheddar Cheese with Red Wine recently, just to try it out. It is a beauty and made under the Old Irish Creamery label in Effin Co Limerick.
Checked it out further and found that the JOD Food Company is building up its share of the market and has won awards at shows in Dublin and Nantwich (Cheshire). Cheeses produced include Natural Irish Oak Smoked, Garlic & Herbs, Walnut, Chilli, Porter, Whiskey, the Wine, Chives, Blueberries, and Effin Spicy Cheese coated with black peppercorns.
I’ll be on the lookout for the others. If they are all as good as the Cheddar with Red Wine then I’m on a winner.
Check out my review of Old Irish Creamery - I am cork - on Qype
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
HEGARTY’S WHITECHURCH CHEESE
Hegarty’s of Whitechurch are practically neighbours yet it was at a cheese stall down in the Mahon Pointy Farmers market that I bought some of their aged Cheddar.
Great stuff, compared to your normal cheddar, capable of more than holding its own with more famous products. Definitely worth a try.
Check out my review of Whitechurch Foods - I am cork - on Qype
Thursday, January 7, 2010
JACOBS ON THE MALL
Good crowd at Jacobs on the Mall last evening, though not your typical Women’s Christmas groups, as couples were very much in evidence.
They have a special offer on, €24.00 approx for 2 courses, 28 for three. Though the menu is cheaper, the standard of food and service is still very high.
My ladies went for the crisp crunchy breads supplied at the start, especially the fig enhanced brown version.
The long chicken and veg spring roll was a popular starter, served with a salad and dip. Very nice.
Most went for the Venison, served with champ and red cabbage, as the main course. Portions were generous but beware: unless you ask otherwise, the meat will be served rare.
Not too many had the appetite for the big range of deserts but those that did were delighted, with the Triple Chocolate Wedge in particular.
Lovely evening, Lovely food. Now they tell me.
Check out my review of Jacobs On The Mall - I am cork - on Qype
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Picked up some jars of Rebel Chilli on a recent visit to the Mahon Point Farmers’ Market.
Quite a tasty and versatile product, with different degrees of spiciness. Main uses are to liven up cheeses and hot and cold meats.
The two jars I bought were on the lower end of the “hot” scale and the Jalapeno and Raspberry went particularly well with hard cheese.
Check out my review of Rebel Chilli - I am cork - on Qype
Monday, January 4, 2010
Bandon Vale is dedicated to providing quality products and offers a selection of shredded, block, sliced and pre-packed products, ranging from cheddars to bespoke blends and mixes.
But this fairly large producer, a member of the West Cork Regional Branding Initiative, under the Fuchsia logo, also sells some speciality packs, mainly cheddar.
The one I bought recently was their Glandór Red Leicester. I was very happy with it. It had a mellow yet distinct flavour and is quite a nice change from the usual cheddar.
Check out my review (and contact details) of Bandon Vale - I am cork - on Qype
Friday, January 1, 2010
Hard to beat fresh vegetables, just out of the ground. And what a display the Burns family (from Mt Uniacke, Killeagh) had at the Mahon farmers market on a recent frosty morning.
No artificial lights. But there was more than enough illumination in the low sun. The display and the obvious health of the veg was irresistible and soon the bag was full with Brussels sprouts, celery, carrots and gleaming cauliflowers.
Reminded me of the days when I grew my own, pulled them, cleaned them and put them into the pot!
Check out my review of BALLYCURRAGINNY FARM - I am cork - on Qype
O’HANLON’S OFF LICENCE
The relatively new establishment in the Mayfield Shopping Centre is well established after 18 months and my recent call showed why.
They are a friendly lot in this off licence. Loads of free advice on the best beer buys locally and also some down to earth advice on their extensive stock of wines.
They informally steer you through the maze of types and prices and don't just hand out the expensive bottle. They want customers, sure, but they want happy repeat customers. I went off with my purchases, including a Wyndham Bin 555 Shiraz, and will be back.
Check out my review (including map) of O'Hanlon's Off Licence - I am cork - on Qype
My sweetest thing this Christmas? Pandora Bell's honey nougat. Sense-ational. Picked up a couple of packets at O’Keeffe’s (St Luke’s). Gorgeous. No wonder the Bridgestone Irish Food Guide has named this new Limerick confectionery label as its Newcomer of the Year.
Bridgestone’s John McKenna says of Pandora Bell, “You want to see and taste perfection? Here it is, again. Nicole Dunphy's salted caramels and nougats and lollipops are of a standard no one in Ireland has ever achieved, and she has just started her Pandora Bell business, so what awaits us in the future? We can't wait.”
Neither can I.
Check out my review of Pandora Bell - I am cork - on Qype