Showing posts with label Ardmore. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ardmore. Show all posts

Monday, July 14, 2014

Into the East: Yawl Bay Fish - Greenbarn Italian - Ardmore Cuppa

Into the East: Yawl Bay Fish - Green Barn Italian - Ardmore Cuppa


Award winner!

Great to meet up with David Browne at Yawl Bay Seafoods  in Youghal last Friday. It was a busy afternoon for David who now runs the company that his father started in 1986. It is well known for its smoked salmon, much of which is exported.

“....it is rich, succulent, not too smokey, it is just right. It reflects true craftsmanship and respect for tradition and flavour....” Not my words, but a quote on the site from Martijn Kajuiter, Head Executive Chef of the Cliff House Hotel.

I first met David a few weeks back at the Cork Kerry Food Forum and Fair in the City Hall and here too there was good news for the company as its Cooked Crab Claws won a Food Sensory Experience Award sponsored by Sensory Research Ltd (SRL), who tested products incorporating all five senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch.


Italian Red

As the crabs indicate, there is more to Yawl Bay now than the smoked salmon. On the fresh fish counter, they stock a mix of cod, haddock, sole, hake, oysters and mussels and “whatever else is good on the day”. The fish comes from near and far (sometimes a trip to Union Hall is needed to stock up on particular items). It is very tempting display so if you're passing - the premises is between the town proper and the bridge to Waterford - it is well worth a call.

Back home on Saturday, we had an all fish dinner, lots of crab and hake. Smoked salmon to come and also some smoked haddock for a fish pie! David, as I mentioned, was busy on the Friday collecting new supplies and making and arranging deliveries but still had time to fill us in on the business and make us very welcome indeed.

This spontaneous “tour” had started with an invitation to visit Dungarvan Brewry and our first stop was for a terrific lunch at Green Barn Restuarant  between Killeagh and Youghal. The crew from Capri Bay in Youghal (now closed) has taken over here and are in top form.

Risotto

My starter was a Wild Mushroom Risotto with Saffron, perhaps the best risotto I've ever had. The other starter was also very good: Goats Cheese Bruschetta with caramelised onions (great touch!) and roasted red peppers.

Both of us were also delighted with the mains. The Ravioli Granceola with crab meat in a generous fresh peccadillo tomato sauce was brilliant. No shortage of crab meat either and the sauce was incredible.

My Saltimbocca (Veal medallions, parma ham and sage, cooked in a butter white wine sauce finished with fresh parsley) was perfect, great flavours and textures and aromas, the sauce scooped up with the bread. I hope they didn't think I licked the plate! Great stuff.

This place is open all day, breakfast through to dinner. Well worth a visit. 
Saltimbocca

After the stop in Youghal, we headed to Ardmore for a walk on the beach. There was a great relaxed feeling in the town. Families playing together in the water and on the sand and people strolling up and down the street and stopping now and then for a chat or a snack or both.

The United Beach Mission and the Fortune Teller’s Caravan caught the eye. So too did the tearooms at the Ardmore Gallery and Studio and that is where we ended up. They do sandwiches and salads and pastries but, after the satisfying lunch, we settled for a big pot of tea and very nice it was too. We sipped away and took in the varied artwork on the walls. They have seating indoors and outdoors in the terraced back garden. Lovely spot.

After that it was time to hit the road to Dungarvan and keep our appointment with Claire and Cormac and you may read a short account of that visit here.



Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ardmore. A Gem on the Waterford Coast.

Ardmore. A Gem on the Waterford Coast.
Breakfast at Cliff House
Ardmore is a gem on the Waterford coast. Fortunately, one the generous Deise folks don't mind sharing. Generations of people from neighbouring counties have made Ardmore their summer destination for its beaches, history, walks and the nearby mountains.


We headed there last Friday, the fabulous Cliff House Hotel above the village our final destination. But, as usual, we had a few stops and detours. First halt was in Youghal. It is not looking its best at the moment and hopefully the paint and brushes will be out and used before the season starts.
Ardmore

But there is no shortage of eating places here, well known like Aherne’s or newer and more casual such as Clancy’s. We were looking for a light lunch and Sage (not related to the restaurant of the same name in Midleton) had been recommended. It was bright and busy and I enjoyed my quiche and salad there. Details here.

Plan then was head to Helvic and work our way back through the Rinn gaeltacht. The fishing boats gathered in the harbour were a bit like some of the shops in Youghal, looking the worse for wear, but then the boats and the seaside towns (there are still sandbags in Youghal) have been through some horrendous weather in recent months and we are all hoping for better to come

Youghal

It was sunny and windy when we arrived in Helvick and now the rain made its appearance. So we wasted little time as we drove through Sean Phobal and so on, past the familiar beach at Ballyquin and on to Ardmore itself and up to the Cliff where a warm welcome awaited,a brolly held open even as we stepped from the car (a hint of the excellent service to come).


Soon we were installed in our room with a view and quickly made our way to the fabulous swimming pool, equipped with sauna and steam room and which also enjoys a great view over the bay.


Helvick

When the rain died down, we walked down to the town (to work up an appetite!) and made a loop back that took us past the famous round tower built in the 12th century. St Declan was here in the 5th century and his name is associated with some of the walks. Many (including a loop around the cliffs) start by the hotel and the staff there will give you all the information you need and indeed will provide a guide if necessary.


Your excursions from Ardmore needn't be confined to the coast. You may head for the nearby mountains. Mahon Falls is one of the attractions up there. If you want to do some shopping, then Cork and Waterford are each about an hour away while the lively towns of Lismore (for its castle and heritage centre) and Dungarvan are much closer.
Lismore

The Cliff House has some fantastic facilities though the outdoor dining areas were out of bounds last weekend! Do take time to explore. You will find quite a few books in your room but there are many more in the spacious and comfortable library which has one of the best views because of its height. The hotel is also unusual in that when you enter from the parking area, you are already on the fifth floor!


We enjoyed a memorable dinner there that Friday (details here). It was dark at that stage so we weren't able to take in the view but we did get it in the morning at breakfast, a very enjoyable breakfast I might add. In between, there was a call to the bar. An extensive menu of drinks here, as you'd expect, and delighted to see a terrific selection of Irish craft beers (and cider) on the list.
View from Cliff House room

Saturday was quite a decent day and we headed east to Portlaw (Waterford) and Turkstown (Kilkenny) to visit relations. Indeed, we visited Kilkenny, Waterford and then Tipperary in quick succession as we made our way home via Clonmel, Cahir and the M8. Only problem: what would we eat for dinner? The answer was in the freezer, the second portion of a curry made with Green Saffron’s Tikka cook-in sauce. Not quite Michelin! But just perfect.  

Looking towards Ardmore from Cliff House library






Monday, March 24, 2014

The Cliff House: Dining on the Edge

The Cliff House: Dining on the Edge
Which way to the Cliff House?
The Cliff House Hotel is an amazing building on the cliffs at Ardmore but it is its House Restaurant that is the star attraction, a Michelin star at that. Re-opened in 2008, after a huge investment, the hotel and the restaurant, have been at the cutting edge since. We were looking forward to the experience and we will be talking about it for a long time to come.
On the edge.
The restaurant has great views over the bay, back to the village and out to the ocean, but darkness was falling as we were led to our table near the panoramic window. The food was now the focus. And the wine, of course. There is a multi-course tasting menu, a very famous one indeed, but on this occasion we choose from the A La Carte (three courses €70.00).


They have an “exciting, surprising wine list”. Lots of study needed so we took the easy way out and went for the matching option (€27.50). The Cliff House is a huge supporter of local food (farm and sea) and no surprise either that they have a beer list that highlights many of the local craft brewers (including Eight Degrees, Dungarvan and O’Hara’s) as well as the excellent Stonewell cidery.
Breads
A Cauliflower panna cotta, edible Clay stones, and Beetroot and Soft Goat Cheese Macaroons were some of the Amuse Bouches that arrived in rapid succession. And then there were the breads, three of them, each tempting and delicious in its own way: Brioche, Spelt, and a Multi-seeded Cornbread.

With the pleasant preliminaries completed, we were on to the real starters. Both of us went for the West Cork Scallops: Seared, Grilled, Ceviche, Crème, Celeriac Preparations, Black Garlic, Lettuce, Dutch Salad, Irish Caviar. Amazing dish, great presentation (included a side glass), beautiful textures and flavours.
Amuse Bouche
You are probably familiar with Tokaji, the sweet Hungarian wine. From the same Furmint grape, they also make a dry white wine and our glass was an excellent example of this style (2011), quite dry but still luscious and aromatic. Well they did say the list was surprising!

Next there was a surprise sorbet, a little highlight to remember: a carrot and fennel sorbet with a Green tea foam. What a lovely combination of flavours and textures. If they take that kind of trouble with the small things, you can be confident of the big courses.
Scallops
And that superb standard continued throughout. CL loved her mains, the McGrath's Black Angus Beef: Fillet, Sausage, Small Vegetables, Potato Fondant, Kilbeggan Whiskey, Beef Tea, Garden Herbs. The beef was just so, pink and tender. And then there was a small wow moment when the Beef Tea was made at the table, the stock poured over the herbs in a little cafetiere!

I didn't have any “tea” with mine but loved every little bit of the Irish Rose Veal: Strip Loin, Stuffed, Oven Roasted, Sweetbreads, Blue Foot Mushroom, Bread and Butter, Veal Jus. That mushroom by the way was out of this world.
Beef
The wines, both red as you'd expect, were top notch. CL’s Orzado Carignan 2011 came from the Maule Valley in Chile while mine, Chateau Bellevue Bordeaux, mainly Merlot, was from much closer to home.

The time was flying by and we were on the verge of dessert. All through, the service was highly efficient but always there was time for a quick chat, the patience, and more importantly the knowledge, to answer a question. Flawless and friendly.
Veal
Chocolate often catches my eye and so I ordered the Organic Chocolate 65%, Alto el Sol Peru - Vintage 2013 and the Garofolo Madagascar Vintage 2012: Mousse, Crème, Vanilla Semi Freddo, Olive Oil, Sea Salt, ‘White’ Coffee Ice Cream. The matching wine was the Grenache based Banyuls Rimage, Pietri-Gerard, France 2011. Could have had a Dungarvan Stout with it but then a visit to the bar later was on the cards! Would have liked to tried a Rasteau with it.
Rhubarb 
CL had a last minute change of mind and was delighted with her Rhubarb: Sphere, Compote, Poached, Consommé, Yoghurt Candy Floss, Almond, Ginger, Honey Ice Cream. And delighted too with her sparkling wine match, the Cremant D’Alsace, Meyer-Fonne NV. A classy end to a top class meal.