Showing posts with label 9 White Deer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 9 White Deer. Show all posts

Monday, August 1, 2016

Kinsale’s Supper Club. Good Food. Friendly.

Kinsale’s Supper Club
Good Food. Friendly Faces.
 Great to see the Supper Club up and running in Kinsale. It’s a friendly place with very good food too of course. And a terrific selection of cocktails. If you like your gins, they've more than a few here. 

They can take singles and couples and larger groups and, on fine days, they have an outdoor covered area available. And, at present, they are open seven days a week from 6.30pm.

You’ll notice on one of the blackboards that they support local producers and you’ll also notice a few specials boards around the place. Conveniently though, they have the specials listed on a page in the menu so you can spend a little time studying them. And the list, includes a highlighted pair of wines and also a special drink.

 So okay. I’ll admit I started with that night's special drink. Bertha’s Revenge Gin with Poachers Tonic (with rosemary and orange) and, to make the whole glass sing, a little sprig of rosemary and a slice of orange were added to make the perfect mix. There was also the option of taking the excellent Kalek vodka instead of the gin. Next time! So local gins and local beers and cider too. Most of the beers come in bottle but you may have the 9 White Deer beers, Stag Ban and Stag Rua, on draught.

And the food. As soon as you begin to read the menu, you'll note that quite a few dishes come in small and large sizes and that can be very convenient indeed.  CL choose the Duck Spring Roll, House Salad, Hoisin and orange sauce and was very pleased with it. And I was most impressed with my Herb Crumbed Egg, Asparagus, Smoked Bacon, Dijon Hollandaise. Very tasty indeed and that little bit different!

Onto the mains then and her pick was the pan-fried fillets of sole, chorizo, bean and tomato sauce and fondant potato, one of the evening's specials and a very special combination indeed.

My choice was from the regular menu and was Braised Beef Short Ribs with Sesame Crusted Sweet Potato, Pak Choi, Star Anise Jus. It wasn't on the bone by the way but a delight to dispatch. And one other tip, the sides here are brilliant and worth the few euro extra. I had the aubergine cassoulet, full of bright flavours and juicy to boot, a dish in itself and indeed a larger version features on the list.

Not that much room for dessert after all that so a decision was reached to share the Passionfruit and Lime Tart and its crème brûlée topping. The decision was amicable but we should really have had ordered two!

Service was excellent, not overly formal, nice and friendly yet efficient. And a discreet watch kept on the tables - your water was refilled promptly, the window was closed if you shivered (even before), they checked if a plate or drink wasn't going down well. So pro-active but not in an in-your-face way. So go in and enjoy yourself. You’ll feel very welcome here.
Some of you will be familiar with the Cork Street venue as this is where Crackpots were based.

The Supper Club
3 Cork Street, Kinsale, Co. Cork
Phone: +353 21 477 2847
email :
Twitter: @kinsalesupper

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Hops and Glory at LITFEST16. Seven IPAs after breakfast.

Seven IPAs on a Sunday Morning
Hops and Glory at LITFEST 2016
Pete Brown
“Canning has moved on enormously,” declared beer expert Pete Brown as the Litfest 2016 beer tasting got underway in Ballymaloe last Sunday morning. “It's the freshest way to keep beer”. The session was named Hops and Glory, after one of Pete's books, and he was accompanied on the panel by Caroline Hennessy, co-author of Slainte.

Our first beer was a can of the Yankee White IPA by Rascal’s Brewing. Caroline was happy with this Belgian style IPA: “It’s a lovely food friendly beer, ..feels lighter than five per cent!” Pete says it is now a very popular style. “Every new brewery starts with an IPA”.

Worthington’s White Shield certainly got Pete going: “One of my five desert island beers...not a modern IPA but the only true survivor of the old style that was shipped on 6-month voyages to India and drank like mother’s milk…. This is very hoppy, also very malty, a wonderful balance...gets better with time”.
Caroline is part of the 8 Degrees Brewing Company and their Full Irish was next. She stressed the importance of local. They used local barley, malted in Togher (In Cork City). “It is a single malt beer and made to showcase the malt. First made in 2014, it was Beer of the Year in 2015”. Pete noted the hops on the nose, the good balance and equally good body.

Another can followed: the marvellous Ironmonger from Metalman, first launched in 2011. As readers of Slainte will know, Caroline regularly looks for the food angle and praised this as food friendly. “There is a huge change in restaurants,” she said, noting that local food is now being matched with local drink (including beers and spirits).

Pete again admired the body and said he hadn't come across Metalman before but had been enjoying it at the bar in the Big Shed next door. In general, he remarked that one of the best beer tastings you could have is a cheese matching: “Great fun with a small group! Just get a few beers and a few cheeses.” Caroline surprised him when she said she found Crozier Blue and the full Irish a very successful pairing.

On to the next one: Black Lighting from 9 White Deer in West Cork, a style that they agreed involves some “messing with your head”. After all, IPAs are not meant to be black but both agreed it is a wonderful style, Caroline adding that it was a “very American style IPA”.

A little discussion on hops followed. Pete said the character changes from place to place, the influence of the terroir. Caroline advised trying some of the single hop beers available, a good way “to build your knowledge”.

Beer Number Six, the citrusy/grapefruity bottle-conditioned Boundary Pale Ale, came from a Northern Ireland cooperative brewery. Caroline has noted a rapid advance of craft beer in the area, and more: “I would recommend a visit to Belfast...good food and drink.”
Pete was on a cloud nine as we finished with Cloudwater DIPA v3, a special edition: “This is the most hyped beer, the most hyped brewery..the best brewery in Britain right now….so much juiciness, so much fruit character..all from the hops”.

This weighed in at 9% and Caroline explained how high ABVs can come about. “If you have lots of hops, you need lots of malt to balance. Malt means more sugar and that means higher ABV”.

So applause all round as our expert duo brought the curtain down on an entertaining and informative beer session.

See also, from LITFEST16:

Irish Craft Cider. A Litfest16 Event

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Meatball Place. Tasty Spot in Carey’s Lane

The Meatball Place
Tasty Spot in Carey’s Lane
Get the ball rolling. Superb starters
The Meatball Place, up and running in Carey’s Lane since November last, has a different kind of menu. Here you choose how your main dish is “constructed”.

It is easy and well worthwhile. This is how it works. Pick your meatball (choose from five), then you pick your sauce (from six) and then your side (from eight). No shortage of variety. For instance, on recent visit I had Chicken (Chorizo & Chive) meatballs, a Classic Tomato Sugo, and Buttered greens. CL had Fish (Salmon, Hake & herbs), Pesto Salsa Verde, with Rustic Garlic & Rosemary Potatoes. By the way, all the Meatball mains are just a tenner.

A selection of starters, Meat & Cheese Boards, cannelloni, desserts, teas & coffees, craft beers, draught beers, and wines, complete the choice available.
Fish Balls
Grainne Holland is the chef/proprietor here but you’re more likely to meet fellow proprietor and Front of House Tony Costello. Tony and the staff are very helpful and, if you're wondering which of the gorgeous sauces to have with your Pork Meatballs, then they'll help you out, no problem.

The menu is quite simple really and you may check it all out here.

We got the ball rolling, to use their own phrase, by sharing a plate of starters. The combo of Buffalo Chicken Wings and Chicken Blasts will cost you €12.00; all the prices here are very reasonable.
Chicken Balls. Gorgeous sauce.
The board comes with a little garden salad and the Spicy Blasts are basically Filo Pastry Chicken Rolls, delicious and tasty. The wings are served with a pot of Cashel Blue cheese and celery sticks and are as good as you’ll get. You may buy these separately as well; all starters are €6.50.

Then we were on to the Meatballs: Beef, Chicken, Pork, Fish, and also a Yemeni style Balafel.

My chicken, detailed above, was spot on and a great match with the rich tomato sauce. Every little bit was finished off. And it was the same at the other side of the table with the Fish combination going down very well indeed. On the included side, a generous side, we had Buttered Greens and also Rustic Garlic & Rosemary Potatoes, all well cooked and all delicious.

Grainne serves up quite a variety here, aside from the Meatball combinations. You may have Meat and Cheese Boards, Soul Dishes that include a tempting Angus Beef Cannelloni. And do watch out for the specials. With a full bar licence, there’s no shortage of drinks to wash them down. I certainly enjoyed my bottle of Stag Rua from 9 White Deer in West Cork; their Stan Ban is also available. Good to see the local beers here. Indeed,  their produce is sourced locally.
The Meatball Place
8 Carey’s Lane, Cork
Mon-Sun 12.00pm - 10.00pm
(021) 239 0535
Twitter: @MeatballPlace
Wi-Fi available in restaurant.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Limerick’s Locke Bar. Food And Music Down By The River

Limerick’s Locke Bar
Lively, By The River
Crab claws

Limerick’s Locke Bar is so well located, just by the water on George's Quay. We were there a few weeks back and obviously the timber seats and tables on the river-banks were not in use. But you could easily imagine them full in summer with a string of boats tied up at the pontoon below. The bar, a large one, is also situated conveniently close to attractions such as the Hunt Museum and King John's Castle. And, in addition, it is well known for its food and music, not to mention the buzz.

That buzz hit us full on as we walked in the doors early on a Thursday evening. We were trying to get our bearings when a server spotted us and sorted us out. Soon we were seated in the small square restaurant, alongside the bar and facing part of the long counter.

She showed us the specials on the wall and soon we were ordering, sipping a deliciously zesty Deakin Estate Artisan's Blend Sauvignon Blanc Semillon (5.75 a glass) as we did so. My starter was the very enjoyable Dingle Bay Crab Claws with Chardonnay cream and Garlic Bread (10.50). I got through that pretty quickly while CL took a bit longer as she enjoyed her mussels from Castletownbere, served a la Mariniere (9.00).

Chicken (and Chardonnay)

We were tempted by the Pork and Salmon specials on the board but in the end settled for two off the regular menu. I was delighted with my the Supreme of Irish chicken with asparagus spears, gratin potatoes, bacon and mushroom cream (14.50). Excellent chicken with a rich and creamy sauce.The Tempura Fried Scampi (16.50) was not of quite the same standard, the tempura that bit much for the delicate fish.

We could also have had dishes such as the Beef and Locke Stout Casserole, Fish and Chips, Fish Pie and Burger. It is generally fairly typical well-priced well-cooked pub grub. Dessert was also an option but, after a good lunch at Sage earlier and a good feed here, we gave it a skip.

They serve their own stout and a very good selection of Irish craft beers including a few from Nine White Deer in West Cork. You often notice just one craft cider in Irish pubs but there were at least three here: Dan Kelly's, Craigie’s, and Longueville House. They specialise in whiskey too.

Benches on the bank

Locke's Bar is situated on the original site of one of Limerick's oldest pubs - they've been drinking here since 1724. It was cosy the other night, with the fires burning nicely. But it would be great to see it in its summer glory and maybe try that casserole with a pint of their own stout on the bench outside.

Whatever time you come, you'll get the buzz and the music. There is a session every night of the week and everyone is welcome. Will have to call back.

*In the Gents at the Locke Bar, they have a metal shield along the base of the pissoir to prevent you spraying your own shoes! I christened that the Parapee (based on the French parapluie!).
The Locke Bar
3 George’s Quay

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Macroom’s Church Lane Restaurant. Blessed to have great food on the table

Macroom’s Church Lane Restaurant

Blessed to have great food on the table

Church Lane is a multi-room restaurant in the grounds of a church in Macroom. The building itself was originally used as the sextant’s lodge and later as a family home. Since 2012, sisters Laura and Cheryl have been feeding locals and visitors alike. Many of the visitors are travellers on the main Cork-Killarney road that runs alongside but quite a few now make a special trip as the restaurant is well known for its high quality.

We had enjoyed that quality via their super Tapas menu some time back but, on this occasion, we went for the a la carte. Reading the menu you notice that quite a few local producers are suppliers here and now they've added local craft beer brewers, including 9 White Deer, to their drinks options.

And this a heads-up for you. If you make it as far as dessert, then do please try the Tiramisu. It is one of the very best around, maybe the best! Unfortunately it is a special and you could be unlucky if it's not on!

There is a very good choice of starters. CL went for the House Salad and was delighted with the mix of sweet potato, cherry tomatoes, beetroot, Toonsbridge Mozzarella, pesto, and balsamic vinegar, all for €6.90.

And if she was happy I was even more so as I got a very pleasant surprise, both in its quantity and quality, with the Prawn Bruschetta (8.90), three pieces of gorgeous bread piled high with the prawns which had been pan-fried and were served with a dazzling garlic and cream sauce. An absolutely brilliant dish that also features in the Tapas menu.

My mains, though excellent, was almost mundane by comparison! But again it was perfectly cooked and delivered at the proper temperature and with a stylish presentation. This was the Pan-seared Lamb Cutlets with rosemary and garlic mash, fresh vegetables and a luxurious red wine jus!

The other mains was also dispatched with some gusto, this the award winning Skeaghanore Duck Breast on a bed of creamed spinach with potato gratin and wild berry reduction. Superb, as you’d expect and, of course, we had excellent side dishes as well.

Each of our mains cost €23.95. The amazing Tiramisu, that we shared, cost €5.75 as do all the desserts on offer. Had we known the Tiramisu was going to be so good, we’d have ordered two. Next time!
Top: Duck (left) and Lamb
Bottom: House Salad (left) and Prawns.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Beer Versus Wine

Beer Versus Wine
Colm v Caroline.
Scrumptious Blackpudding from Jack McCarthy.
Great flavours from the L'Atitude kitchen.

Lots of good humour and great drinks at the Beer v Wine Smackdown in L’Atitude last Thursday night where the protagonists were Caroline Hennessy and Colm McCan.

Caroline, co-author of the Irish beer bible Sláinte, made it clear at the outset that she was making the case for craft beer saying “the other beers have no flavours”. Her first beer, Black’s Kinsale Pale Ale, was a perfect example. “Hops are the spice of beer,” she said.

“Beer is just to wash away the dust”, joked Colm as he introduced his heavy hitting first, the Decanter Gold winning Wiston Rosé, an English Sparkling Wine, made in the South Downs by Limerick’s Dermot Sugrue. Both were matched with Hederman Smoked Mackerel with Rhubarb Compote from the L’Atitude kitchens.

Colm did admit he was a big fan of craft beer as he put a call, on speaker-phone, through to Dermot in the UK and they chatted about the huge honour received by Wiston when their wine, a twenty-bottle bottle of it, was chosen, instead of the traditional champagne, to launch the mega cruise liner Britannia.”Twenty minutes later the Queen was still saying wow”, referring to the pop (explosion!) when the Nebuchadnezzar made contact with the ship. See it here on video.

Ireland is fast becoming a big producer of all kinds of drinks, including spirits, and so Caroline decided to include cider as her second round choice. And the local cider she picked was the Stonewell medium dry, a great match with Jack McCarthy’s black-pudding and apples.

Colm said cider, in the way it is made, is the closest thing in Ireland to wine, “at the moment!” as he introduced his biodynamic 2012 Vinsobres from the Southern Rhone, “a winter-warming wine..with a natural acidity that should cut through the black pudding”.  It sure did and even won the round with “victory” in round one going to the Pale Ale.

And then we were on to round three where Double Chocolate Porter Brownies were paired with Knockmealdown Stout and Taylor’s 2008 LBV. The stout, with its traditional flavours, is by Eight Degrees where Caroline can't help but be involved considering that husband Scott is one of the two founders. The brewery, set up in 2011, has been going well ever since. She said the current craft beer wave is well underway thanks largely “to a tax break in 2005 by then finance minister Brian Cowan”. Eight Degrees are just about to start a “massive expansion”.

Chris Forbes of Taylor's was next the next speaker on Colm’s phone and he explained some of the terms used in the port industry including LBV (late bottled vintage, all from one year). “Slow aging,” he said, “helps maintain the flavours and the tannins. The beauty of Port is that it cannot be made anywhere else in the world, only in the Douro. “We use all kinds of traditional grape varieties here”. He mentioned the various Tourigas and Tintos but he said the really important thing for Taylors was not the individual varieties but the blend itself.
Contestants in round 2,
paired with the pudding.

That attention to detail was evident in the LBV as it held its own with the brownies. The Stout was an excellent match, not surprising since a generous amount went into the Brownie mix! Then we had the voting, via murmurs of approval. Caroline and Colm had a round each to their credit and the final matching ended in a draw and that meant honours were even overall.

The point of all this is that there are very good wines out there and, increasingly, very good Irish beers and ciders. And now, the Irish is taking its place alongside wine at the dinner table and in the restaurant.

Here's my recent example. I spent 24 hours in Kinsale on the weekend before last and enjoyed craft beer Malt Lane and in Monk’s Lane in Timoleague. Last Friday and Saturday, I was in Bantry and sampled craft beer in the Fish Kitchen, across the road in Ma Murphy’s, in the Maritime Hotel and, on the way home, they had a selection in Church Lane in Macroom. Don’t think that would have happened 12 months ago. Point made!

The next “match” between Caroline and Colm is likely to be at Savour Kilkenny in the autumn.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Commons Express Inn. Lovely Meal. Great Buzz

Commons Express Inn
Lovely Meal. Great Buzz
Enjoyed a terrific dinner at the Commons Express Inn at the weekend, the best of local produce washed down with some excellent local beer, including Kinsale Pale Ale by Blacks and the Stag Ban from 9 White Deer in Ballyvourney. Great buzz there too as we were guided to our table in the very comfortable dedicated dining area.

Had a look at the specials on the blackboard - you'll also see them on an insert in the main menu. The new chef here is from Canada so we decided to try out a couple of his specialities and I was soon tucking into the BBQ Slow-roasted Baby Back ribs with Bourbon sauce. Despite the messy fingers, I certainly enjoyed those “melt-in-your-mouth tender morsels of pork”, enhanced by that special sauce and also by the sweetcorn salsa.

It was a little less messy (just a little!) at the other side of the table where a quiet CL was enjoying her Spicy Buffalo Wings, “exactly like the Frank and Mary’s originals from Niagara Falls N.Y. right down to the special cheese dip and the carrot and celery sticks”. 
Brilliant starters then and the mains were on a par. I had been looking forward to the char-grilled lamb but that had run out so I picked the 8 oz fillet instead. All their steaks are aged to 35 days and this was char-grilled to perfection. I had requested Medium and that is what I got along with crispy onion rings, sautéed mushrooms and, on the side, there were fresh cut chips and a crispy salad.

CL had picked one of the specials: Pan-fried Cod Fillet with a herb crust and roasted vegetables and, on the side, she had mashed potatoes and vegetable selection, all very good and all for €15.95!

There was a bit of a debate about dessert before the decision to share their splendid Sherry Trifle and soon two happy customers were walking out into the misty evening, well fed and heading for the fire at home.

 New Food Offering at the Commons
They start early at the Commons Express Inn. Residents can have breakfast in the lovely Bailey Restaurant from 7.30am until 10.00am. But don’t worry if you sleep late. In a new departure, breakfast is now being served in the bar from 10.00 until noon and is open to residents and walk-ins alike.

The big bar has been the beating heart of the Commons for close on thirty years now but, under new chef Arthur Van Leeuwen, the food offering is becoming more and more important. Indeed, Arthur and his team will feed you all day long.
As soon as breakfast is over in the bar, the carvery lunch kicks in, as it has for the past 27 years! It is a very popular lunch with many customers coming from the nearby business parks. And you won't get bored with the menu; it has its regular favourites of course but do watch out for the variations, including tasty items not often seen in a carvery, such as ham hock, beef stroganoff, and braised lamb shoulder chops.

Later, the evening menu draws the customers to the dedicated dining area in the spacious lounge. Jason Sleator, Sales and Marketing Manager, tells me the menu is evolving under Arthur who describes himself as “a Canadian backyard boy”.
The chef uses local meats and is “very fussy on quality”. Using his experience, he often chooses the cheaper cuts, briskets and ribs for example, and loves marinating them and especially char-grilling. And the dishes, including Spicy Buffalo Wings (exactly like Frank and Mary’s from Niagara, New York) and Back Ribs with Bourbon Sauce, Char-grilled Rack of Lamb, and Char-grilled Burgers, are increasingly popular. 

“We are still on a journey,” Jason told me as regards the regular menu and hints of where they are going can be gleaned from the weekly specials. One of this week’s mains sees Chicken Supreme served with chunky butternut squash and a Cajun jus, the jus a contribution from Arthur’s repertoire.

The Commons, now part of the Great National group, are lucky in the continuity of management and staff. Myles O’Neill is the General Manager while brother Greg is Food and Beverage Manager. That have been there since day one and quite a few of the staff also have impressive long serving records, all of which helps the Commons run smoothly.

They have many functions here, social and sporting celebrations, and all kind of family occasions. Many of these are held in the Bailey while the Roebuck Suite is an impressive ballroom style hall for the really big occasion, including weddings, although there is also a trend currently towards restaurant weddings. The Bailey too, by the way, comes into its own as an impressive Sunday lunch venue and is much demand for private dining. 

The Bailey

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Taste of the Week. Your Pick!

Taste of the Week. Your Pick!

Trying to break the logjam in the Taste of the Week room. Four beauties to pick from here and, not surprisingly at this time of year, three of them are drinks, two non alcoholic by the way!
A superb ale from 9 White Deer, the new brewery in Ballyvourney.
This is their first beer and has great flavour and just the requisite amount of bitterness.
Well worth a try and I'll be on the lookout for their next beers, which will
include an oatmeal stout! Stag Ban is available at Bradley's, North Main Street, Cork. 
Not a new product but a welcome one these warm days.
This is a superb Lemonade cordial, one of the very best.
Just dilute to taste and take a few minutes out for yourself.
Bought this at the Fresh from West Cork stall in the English Market.

Eating and drinking in this Blueberry Yoghurt from
McCarthy's Natural Dairy. Just shake it up and drink it.
Enjoy. Two euro from The Rocketman in Prince's Street.
Eoin O'Mahony of O'Mahony's in the English Market is one of the
more innovative butchers in Cork, always worth a call. Picked up some of
these Toonsbridge Buffalo Burgers there at the weekend and they are
a treat, great meat enhanced by some herbal magic. Been buying lamb from
O'Mahony's over the past weeks and that too is top notch.

Monday, July 7, 2014

International Wine and Food Society On Tour

International Wine and Food Society On Tour
Joined fellow members of the Munster Branch of the IWFS on tour last Friday and we headed west for a trip that included two cheese stops, one brewery call and a terrific meal in Heather, the new Gap of Dunloe restaurant.
Did someone say cheese?

Remarkable Toons Bridge Dairy
First port of call was to the Toons Bridge Dairy near Macroom. Here we heard how a pub conversation, between Toby Simmonds of the Real Olive Company and farmer Johnny Lynch, led to the acquisition of a herd of Water Buffalo. A few years later, they are gradually getting the herd numbers up to an amount that will enable them manage an even supply of the remarkable cheeses, including the freshest Mozzarella you’ll ever taste, Halloumi, Ricotta and, wait for it, Buffalo Blue.

We had a gorgeous caprese salad here, followed by a plateful of cheese and charcuterie and there was even dessert. Must say I love the organisers’ idea of a “light lunch”. A tour of the dairy followed and then farmer Johnny Lynch took us to see the herd. The big placid animals wowed the visitors but Johnny kept the best 'til last and there were uncountable oohs and aahs as the "little" calves, one just four days old, were revealed in their stalls.

Some of the IWFS group
Coolea wheels in brine
 Coolea Country

Soon we were even deeper into the countryside as the next stop was at Coolea Cheese up in the hills above Ballyvourney. Here our host was Dicky Willems, who told us how, in the late 70s, his parents moved to Ireland and eventually to Coolea. Dicky, then a ten year old, joined in with the local community and was soon fluent in English and Irish, Irish that has not gone rusty as the kids now keep him up to date.

The cheese venture came about because the Willems couldn't find any cheese here other than cheddar and his  mother started on a very small family scale with a little pot. But now Coolea is a big name and much of the output is sold at the famous Neal's Yard in London while in Ireland Sheridan’s are the major customer.

The cheese was to be called Milleens after the local townland but that was knocked on the head as the Steeles, further west on the Beara peninsula and living in a townland of the same name, had just started making a cheese called Milleens. And so the Coolea brand was born.

It is a lovely cheese and we enjoyed the tasting. I preferred the 18 month mature one but quite a few loved the creamier seven month version.

Tasting time!
Brewer Gordon turns tour guide.
The saint, the deer, and a brand new beer

St Gobnait is the local saint in Ballyvourney and, like St Vincent in wine, may yet become the patron saint of craft brewers. Certainly, the infant brewery set up by Don and Gordon, has hopes of help from on high and their name, the Nine White Deer, is based on a Gobnait story which had her traipsing around Ireland to find a place with nine white deer and, you've guessed it, that place was Ballyvourney, long a land of song and legend.

Legends aside, the new brewery is very very impressive, loads of space and state of the art equipment, including a streamlined efficient brewing line and also an on site bottling and labeling facility.

Already, their gorgeous ale is gaining fans locally and gained a few more on Friday when the visitors tasted Stag Ban. We’ll be on the lookout for the bottles further afield and also for their other beers in the future; a stout (with oatmeal from Macroom Mills) is among those planned. Soon, they’ll have a shop at the brewery, another excuse to stop on the Cork-Killarney Road. Maybe, like Gobnait, you’ll linger a while.

Don tells the 9 White Deer story
Smoked mackerel starter in Heather
 Wined and Dined in Heather at The Gap

Denis Pio and his wife Ailish welcomed us to Heather, the new restaurant at Moriarty’s in the Gap of Dunloe. The chefs had put together an exciting tasting menu to “show off the best of our seasonal and local produce” and Donie O’Brien of Eno Wines had carefully selected wines to match.

I was at Heather a few weeks back and was delighted with the visit and food as you can here. They don’t normally do evening meals but Friday’s special showed that the Heather team is more than capable. Already, they have added a Sunday brunch to their options and customers can expect evening specials from time to time. And all will be based on terrific local produce coming from producers in both Kerry and Cork and indeed from their own polytunnel.

I don't want to bother you with too much detail of the meal but can genuinely say that it was top class from start to finish and well done too to Donie O’Brien for his choice of wines. All the dishes were superb. The hake was class but perhaps my favourite was the rather unusual lamb dish, the unusual cut and the yoghurt marinade a delight.

The Menu
Quinlan’s Smoked Mackerel with homemade Rhubarb chutney and Brown Soda Bread.
Leitz Riesling.
Pan Fried Atlantic Hake with Fennel, Roasted peppers and Salsa Verde.
Huber Gruner Veltliner.
Ring of Kerry Lamb steak marinated with Valentia Dairy Yoghurt and served with homemade Wild Sorrel tabbouleh
Baron de Ley Rioja Reserva.
Gubbeen Charcuterie and Knockatee Cheese platter
Terra Noble Carmenere Gran Reserva
Classic Lemon Tart served with fresh Farranfore strawberries
Santa Sofia Recioto della Valpolicella Classico 2007.

Hake at Heather

The Wine and Food Society are planning their next outing and if you would like to become a member then contact Aoife (treasurer) Other officers are Richie Scott (assistant treasurer), Beverley Matthews (secretary) and Greg Canty (chairman).