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You’d like a craft beer? An Irish gin or whiskey? Live Music? A play? A Brew Club? Good Food (great choice and price)? Get them all under one roof at the outstanding White Horse at the western end (the final roundabout!) of Ballincollig. I remember, in 1966/7, seeing this as a stand-alone country pub with briars growing up around the hanging metal sign that proclaimed the name. Some changes since!
While on a visit there during the recent Cork Burger Festival, I promised myself I'd go back and check out the general menu, everything from a steak to a Vegetable Moussaka, from a Malaysian Monkfish Curry to Bangers and Mash. Not just any old bangers either, these are by Kanturk's Jack McCarthy, one of quite a few local producers supported by the bar.
Other suppliers include Eight Degrees and White Gypsy Brewing, Baldwin’s Ice-cream, Pana Bread, Badger & Dodo Coffee and all their burgers are made of local beef. And burgers aren't just for the festival, they have four on the regular menu including exotically named ones the General Cleburne and the Seoul Food Burger!
It seems to be a very popular spot indeed; we called in midweek on both occasions and the place was nearly full by 6.45pm. There are about 17 main course options, not including the daily specials on the boards.
My pick this time was the Malaysian Monkfish Curry: Monkfish medallions poached in a fragrant coconut curry with pak choi, ginger and lemongrass and served with steamed basmati rice. This was a warm creamy delight, aromatic and full of contrasting textures (€16.95).
CL’s Vegetable Moussaka was another warm and filling dish:layers of chargrilled Mediterranean vegetables, puy lentils and ricotta cheese steeped in a rich tomato sauce and served with pitta and hummus and a large salad with chunks of Feta as well. Took a while to get through that (12.50).
Of course, we did have two excellent starters as well, again from a big selection. Mine was the perfectly cooked Chilli Salted Calamari, “dusted delicacies with salad tossed in a Caesar dressing and roasted red pepper and tomato jam”.
CL too was thrilled with her opener: Chicken Satay Skewer (tender strips of Satay marinated chicken with a well dressed salad of carrot strips, peppers and onions). Both starters cost €7.50. Desserts - we didn't go there! - are mainly €5.95 and include Crunchie Cheesecake (a Friday favourite!), Creme Brûlée and Sticky Toffee Pudding.
And my craft beer on the night came from Tipperary. White Gypsy’s Weiss Bier is more or less a favourite of mine at this stage. No live music on the night - Saturday for that. But it has its own music venue upstairs with regular performances by local and visiting acts and here too you can get to see the occasional piece of theatre. Not too sure where the Brew Club hangs out in this many roomed venue - I may track them down on the next visit to this lively spot where the service is both efficient and friendly!