Showing posts with label Ardsallagh. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ardsallagh. Show all posts

Thursday, July 26, 2018

At The Busy New Yorker for Lunch


Lunch at Cork International Hotel
The Busy New Yorker
gin and lemon

It is big, bright and comfortable. And the New Yorker, the restaurant bar at Cork International Hotel, is abuzz as we sit down to try out the new lunch menu. The busy staff remain friendly and efficient as even more punters arrive and the large space begins to totally fill up.

There are two main choices here, both on the same menu card. There is the Deli Menu, mainly a carvery where you can have your meat, fish or curry (all about 12,50). Carvery dishes are served with creamed potatoes and seasonal veg. Also available are sandwich, salad, quiche and various combinations with soup.
taco

We were interested in the main lunch menu. This includes Soup of the Day, the International Toasted Special, Southern Fried Chicken Wrap, Toonsbridge Open Mozzarella Sandwich (on warm tomato focaccia), Ardsallagh Goats Cheese Salad (including Wexford strawberries!), a Caesar Salad, a Health Food Salad and Quiche of the Day.

Some great choices there. Hard to pick one but I went for the Slow Cooked Pulled Beef Sandwich BBQ Sauce, Mushrooms, Onions, Emmental Cheese, Spicy Mayo,Toasted Ciabatta, Sweet Potato Fries (12.50). Packed full of flavour, superb beef, the ciabatta a perfect “wrap” and those tasty fries, all well cooked and neatly presented. Quite a delicious plateful.
beef

And the Chef Special Taco (Your choice of Slow Roasted Pork, Prawn or Chicken) Tomato, Mango, Coriander, Cucumber Salsa, Guacamole Dip, Soft Shell Taco was well appreciated by the OBC. She choose the chicken and the whole colourful, slightly spicy, totally delicious combination, again with those Sweet Potato fries, was another winner.

And they’ve got even more on this list: a Vegetable Thai Green Curry; McCarthy’s Prime Double Beef Burger; Atlantic Fish and Chips; and a West Cork Seafood Platter. Something for everyone here.

Would we go for dessert? Yes, we would. Early on I had spotted the Cork Dry Gin and Lemon Parfait. You know I finished that, every little drop, well every little bit. Our other dessert was the Apple and Cinnamon Pudding, a large chunk of it but nicely moist and well made and well appreciated also.
apple and cinnamon

By the way, if you don’t have time for a full lunch or arrive in between meal times, you may avail of the New Yorker Lobby menu. And the New Yorker now accepts payments made with Apple Pay (limit of €30.00 per transaction). Check out all the menus on the website below.




Cork International Hotel
Cork Airport Business Park
Co. Cork, T12 H516

Opening Hours at the New Yorker
12:00 – 17:00 Lunch Menu (Daily)
17.00 – 22:00 Full Dinner Menu (Daily)

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Leisurely Tour and Tasting at Cotton Ball Micro-Brewery


Leisurely Tour and Tasting at Cotton Ball Micro-Brewery
Eoin (right) starts the tour.

The sun shone as members (and guests) of the Munster Wine & Dine gathered at the Cotton Ball for a leisurely tour of and tasting at the pub’s own micro-brewery. The brewery was founded by the Lynch family less than five years ago yet they’ve outgrown the original brewery and have moved into a new one in their Mayfield (Cork) premises.

The old brewery is being wound down, our guide Eoin Lynch told us, but is still being used for some brews, including their Lynch’s Stout. He is delighted with the “huge difference in space” afforded them by the new facility.

They also have their own mill, the grain coming from Togher. Speciality malts are imported, mainly from Europe, and we had some fun smelling the many aromas.
Speciality malt, from Belgium

Someone asked what’s the most popular beer. Eoin: “Most of the beer in the world is lager. Craft or not, you can’t ignore that. It is a very competitive market with more and more craft breweries opening. We use tip top ingredients here but labour is the big cost!”

They have almost tripled batch size with the new facility. “But we still need to balance demand, not to get too far ahead. You don’t want product sitting around.” And he confirmed, in response to a question, that draught does indeed taste better. One of the reasons is that most bottles are filtered for “shelf life purposes”.

He showed us some of their kit, including the bottling line, capable of doing 1,000 bottles an hour. A new keg wash means they put through three kegs at a time instead of one previously.

Now it was time to sit down in the Brewery Room, pay tribute to the bar founder, one Humphrey Lynch, Eoin’s great-grandfather, who left Ballyvourney at 15 years of age and settled in an American town known as Byefield which he later used in naming his Cork estate house. 
Cheese please

After working for two years with Joseph Longfellow, cousin to the famous poet, he worked for a year in the ship yard at Newburyport until the American civil war broke out. 

He was one of the first to enlist in the 4th U.S regiment light artillery battery and served through 27 general engagements principally in the army of the southwest and along the Mississippi valley. Then he worked for 14 years as a foreman of the picker room in Newburyport cotton mill. 

This would later give him the name of a public house he purchased in Baile na mBocht  (now Mayfield) after returning to Ireland in 1870’s. Nowadays, each bottle from the new brewery pays tribute to the man who made it all possible, bearing an image of American Civil War veteran Humphrey on the label. 
Keg washing facility

We were on the draught though, five beers in all. And Isabelle Sheridan of On the Pig’s Back supplied the cheeses for the pairings. Generally, it seemed the stronger the beer, the stronger the cheese. 

For instance, the lager and the easy drinking Indian Summer paired well with the Ardsallagh Feta, the Ale with Hegarty’s Cheddar, the Indian Pale Ale (with the Magnum hops, a favourite bittering hops here) with both the Cheddar and the Bleu D’Auvergne. The stout too matched up well with both the cheddar and the bleu. And Hegarty’s new comté style cheese called Teampallgeal was very popular across the board!
le bleu
A pint of Lynch's

After that generous tasting, there was a pint “of your choice” for each guest and lots of chat as the evening wound down and I relaxed with a flavoursome pint of Lynch’s excellent stout.

Until the next time, which will be a mid-summer trip to the county on July 8th. Members are asked to keep an eye on their emails for details. Later in the year, we will be visiting The Mews in Baltimore and Longueville House in Mallow.

  • A more detailed account of the soldier and entrepreneur Humphrey Lynch may be found here  
  • The Cotton Ball website is here
  • For more info on Munster Wine & Dine, click here

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Mathews & McCan Take A Walk on the Wine Side


Mathews & McCan Take A Walk on the Wine Side
Mary and Kevin Parsons with Café Paradiso's Ger O'Toole (right)

Colm McCan talked the talk and walked the walk as he guided a group of Munster Wine & Dine members around the wine history of Cork City last Saturday. The meeting point was St Peter’s Church in the ancient heart of the city and as we sipped the first of our wines, the Elgin Ridge 282 Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa, Colm filled us in on the huge appetite for wine that our ancestors, especially our mayors, including one called Richard Wine (1273), had for wine. Don't think though that they'd have enjoyed the delicious Ardsallagh Ash Pyramid Goats Cheese that we sampled with the first wine.

Marian Smith, from Ballyjamesduff, is co-owner of Elgin Ridge and all the wines that we’d taste at the various stops would have an Irish connection, the Irish loosely interpreted in some cases! 
Did we lose someone?

Hugh Lawton
Next stop was almost next door at Bradley’s where Michael proudly showed us the amazing gate (really a map in metal of the old city) that his brother mounted on one of many old lanes off North Main Street. Many of the lanes are gone or are blocked up but their names can be seen on plaques built into the pavement. Woodford Bourne is a name linked with the wine trade so it was appropriate that we'd make a stop there.

Then it was on to the Crawford Art Gallery. The older part of this building was once the Custom House and ships, often with wine onboard, would dock here in Emmet Place, now a busy square, and the captains would go in to pay their duty.

In the gallery itself, we stopped in front of the large portrait of Hugh Lawton, mayor of Cork in 1776 and a direct ancestor of Pierre Lawton, the influential Bordeaux based negociant. In a cabinet we saw Penrose glassware. Cork glass pre-dated Waterford crystal and was made from 1783 onwards. 
HM are the missing letters!

The city also produced some of the earliest wine writers, including the famous Maurice Healy. As we moved to our next stop, we passed the GPO which stands on what once was Lawton’s Quay. You can guess what cargoes came in here!

Kevin Parsons has spent a lifetime in wine and he (and his wife Mary) was a guest on the walk and came up with some good stories. In Jacques, as we warmed up with a delicious tagine and a wine (Zouina’s Volubilia Rouge, made in Morocco by a French company with an Irish connection), Kevin told us about famous winemakers he had done business with, including the Mahoneys of the Napa Valley, John Horgan of Western Australia, even the then nascent Nyetimber of England. He is well known for his posters of the Wine Geese and used one of a few mounted in Jacques to illustrate. You may check those posters whenever you’re in the Oliver Plunket Street venue.

Kevin and the rest of us were looking forward to our next arranged halt, at the Old Bond. We did get into the area. Lots of keys available but those to the old vaults couldn’t be found and we had to make do with looking at the exterior, perhaps for the final time, as there are plans afoot to develop this point of land, the final point at the eastern end of the island city. Kevin had been a daily visitor here for decades.
Jules (pic Colm McCan)

So back to the warmth of the top wine venue in Cork, L’Atitude 51. Beverley had been with us all day, helping Colm with the commentaries, and now she was our host, greeting us with a glass of 1701 Franciacorta. The Irish connection here is Rhona Cullinane, a Clonakilty lady who works with this family owned vineyard between Lake Garda and Verona.

Wexford man Pat Neville was described as one of “modern day wine geese” as we sipped his Domaine Aonghusa Bentouly 2014. All the while, there were contributions of mainly Irish interest coming from Colm, Beverley and Kevin.

And then it was time for the finalé: Le Cèdre Malbec vintage 2012. And very nice too, its sweetness a lovely match with the chocolate covered figs from the L’Atitude kitchen. 
And who better to tell us about the wine than Jules, the son of the vignerons, who just happens to be doing work experience at L’Atitude. “It is a Vin doux naturel, raised by organic methods, with an abv of 16%.” When it comes to wine, Mathews and McCan always find an Irish connection! Salut. Cheers. Slainte. 

The old (1724) custom house, now part of the Crawford Gallery







Monday, February 19, 2018

Outstanding Gourmet Night. Thanks to Barnabrow Chef Bowes


Outstanding Gourmet Night.
Thanks to Barnabrow Chef Bowes

Blood Orange and Burrata

The Barnabrow Gourmet Evening is becoming a must-have ticket. Head Chef Stuart Bowes, with the aid of sous chef Adrian Kaszynski and team,  put on a top class multi-course meal last Saturday evening, highlight following highlight, and each course well paired by Donie O’Brien of Eno Wines.


Stuart has been at the lovely 30 acre estate for the past six years. “It is a happy working relationship,” says owner Geraldine Kidd as she celebrates 21 years in business here. “One of friendship as well. Stuart is a very patient person with a passion for food and makes so much of his own stuff here. He and Adrian are a well-oiled machine.”

The big restaurant, with its church style windows, was packed for the occasion and, after a reception with Canapés and organic Cava, we were led to our seats and soon began with an amazing dish: Ballyhoura Wild Mushrooms, Ardsallagh Goats Cheese Polenta, Crispy Hens Egg, Pangrattato. Just a big “wow” all round and even better when sipping the Pa Road Pinot Noir from Marlborough. The owners are friends of Donie’s, friends worth keeping as this wine is an excellent rich, ripe and elegant. Fresh and enlivening and with woodland aromas, it certainly did the business with the mushrooms.
Crispy egg and mushrooms

A good standard had been set and would be maintained all through. Indeed, the next course was one of my favourites. The Lobster Agnolotti, White Cabbage, Cognac, was innovative and delightful, the soft texture of the pasta, the crunch of the cabbage, the flavour of the lobsters and the pairing with the Chatelain Sancerre all added up to a sensational experience. 

While Donie might rave about New Zealand Pinot Noir, when it comes to Sauvignon Blanc he cheers for the Loire. “This is Sauvignon Blanc at its best. Sauvignon is now produced all over the world but they never match the Loire.” The Chatelain, with is summer meadow aromas, its citrus fruit and mineral character, is a beauty.
Lobster Agnolotti, white cabbage

Time now for the big red and the Cuvée Raphael, Chateau Parenchere, Bordeaux 2013, was just the job with Roast Squab Pigeon, Smoked Potato, Celeriac Gratin, White Dandelion. This fifty fifty Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon is “one of the classics” said Donie. Very concentrated, smooth, full-bodied, mellow and rich with autumnal red fruits and excellent with the game dish and its accompaniments. Another well thought out plate and yet another well-executed.
Pigeon

And there was yet another beauty on the way, this the Toonsbridge Burrata, Blood orange, Corinader Seed, Lavosh. The occasion gives Stuart the opportunity to get some “unusual ingredients” and the blood oranges were one example. He didn't have to go to Sicily for the Burrata. That was made in Toonsbridge just 24 hours earlier. The superb Lavosh was made right here in Barnabrow. What a fantastic combination, another of my favourite courses (truth to tell, I liked them all). 

Must say chocolate pairs well with me! And so I was delighted to see Hot Valrhona Chocolate Mousse, Blackberry, Vanilla Ice-cream, Pain d’Epices appear in front of me. The ice-cream was “hidden” under the warm chocolate and the contrast in flavour and texture and temperature was a pleasant ambush! Delighted with dessert.
Valrhona

At this stage too we were enjoying sipping our Chateau Caillou Grand Cru Classé Sauternes 2007. Grand Cru Classé means it is one of the very best, very sweet on its own but, with rich desserts, it displays amazing richness and power yet has acidity enough. Donie filled us in: “They practice low yield, so the fruit is concentrated; it is rich and powerful and the flavour lingers.” Enjoyed that too.

We weren't quite finished yet as the Petit Fours appeared, some chocolate truffles and old fashioned delightful jellies.  A lovely end to an evening of gourmet pleasure.

I was a guest at Geraldine Kidd’s Barnabrow which is a superb location for weddings (the majestic, medieval-style banqueting hall, with its gothic windows, sets a grand, yet relaxed tone), for corporate events, for celebrations of all kinds (birthday parties, christenings, naming ceremonies, and Christmas parties), rooms and holiday cottages too and, don't forget, for Sunday lunch. Check it all out here.

Menu

Cava & Canapés (Pares Balta Cava)

Ballyhoura Wild Mushrooms, Ardsallagh Goats Cheese Polenta, Crispy Hens Egg, Pangrattato
(Pa Road Pinot Noir, New Zealand 2014)

Lobster Agnolotti, White Cabbage, Cognac
(Chatelain Sancerre, Loire 2016)

Roast Squab Pigeon, Smoked Potato, Celeriac Gratin, White Dandelion
(Cuvée Raphael, Chateau Parenchere, Bordeaux 2013)

Toonsbridge Burrata, Blood orange, Corinader Seed, Lavosh

Hot Valrhona Chocolate Mousse, Blackerry, Vanilla ice-cream, Pain d’Epices

Bewley’s Coffee, Barry’s Tea, and Petit Fours.

Dessert wine was Chateau Caillou Sauternes 2007

Head Chef: Stuart Bowes. Sous Chef: Adrian Kaszynski. Wines: Donie O’Brien of Eno Wines.







Thursday, February 8, 2018

Good Day Deli. Good Food Daily

Good Day Deli

Good Food Daily
Pic by Good Day Deli

Kai Moana is one of the exotic names that pops up on the menu at Good Day Deli in the gardens of Nano Nagle Place in Cork City. Those of you who have visited the South Pacific, especially New Zealand and the “neighbouring” islands, will not find them strange at all and know that Kai Moana is the Maori for seafood.

Perhaps the most important two words you’ll read are Mana Tiaki. It is the motto for this lovely new daytime restaurant. “In the Cook Islands, the core value of Mana Tiaki is guardianship of heritage and the environment for future generations. Mana Tiaki is a beautiful value to live by and is at the core of Good Day Deli.”

So sustainability is the guideline for the crew here, fronted by owners Clare Condon and New Zealander Kristin Makirere and Head Chef Charlotte Murphy, from the food sourcing right down to the paper napkins. 


Importantly that food is delicious; the word has already spread and the place was packed when we visited about 12.30pm last Friday. Don't just look in through the glass and say “we’ll never get a table”. Open the door and soon enough you’ll be seated. You may reserve a table earlier in the week (Tuesday to Thursday).

The afternoon menu kicks in at 12.30. After a few minutes delay we were seated and studying the list. There was a hot seasonal soup (chilli and coriander in this case), a Tart of the Day, a Vibrant Vegan dish, and a Halloumi Citrus Salad. Sides galore: honey, nut dukkah, tapenade, hummus, paprika fries and more.

We had spotted a hake dish on their facebook page and were hoping it was still on. It was and CL picked that one: Kai Moana Fish Tacos, lightly battered Irish Hake on Blanco Nino Corn Tortillas with raw slaw, pickle plus lemon coriander mayo and fries. That fish was fresh and delicious, a lovely dish for €15.00.

I also hit the jackpot with the GDD Curry Bowl (€14.00). Crown Prince Squash + Chickpea Coconut Curry Bowl, with Basmati rice, yogurt and toasted coconut is the full description. Probably the best curry I've ever tasted is mine. Just perfect.

Service here, even with the small queue at the door, is excellent. No pressure, just smiles and all the info you want.

One of their aims is to “elevate local producers”. They feature quite a list on the menu including (it will change seasonally) well-known cheesemakers such as Ardsallagh, Hegarty’s and Toonsbridge, farms like Kilbrack, Horizon and Richard’s, also Green Space, Frank Hederman, Ballycotton Seafood, and Organic for Us (milk). Quite an impressive list and that’s only half of it. Oh yes, the Blanco Nino Corn Tortillas with the hake are made in Clonmel.

The café, bright and airy with some outside tables, has one of the best situations on the city, in the middle of the peaceful well-kept gardens of the Nano Nagle Place, fast becoming one of the city centre’s top attractions. While at the café, I took the opportunity to visit the buildings and you may read about it here. No doubt as the season goes on, both Nano Nagle and Good Day Deli will get busier.

Nano Nagle Place
Douglas Street
Cork
(021) 432 2107
clare@gooddaydeli.ie

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Dynamic Duo At Dockland Cork

Dynamic Duo At Dockland Cork
Lamb

Dynamic duo Harold Lynch and Beth Haughton are behind the new Dockland Restaurant on the very same site where their popular Club Brasserie stood up to a few short months ago. A hectic two month conversion process (= flat-out hard work!) saw a new, brighter, deli cum restaurant emerge to cater to the new lighter and healthier eating trend that has begun to emerge in recent years.

The welcome is as warm as ever. And don't worry! Lots of small bites but If you want your full dinner here, you’ll be in for a treat. Take your time as you make your way through the delicious starters, the array of main courses and the tempting desserts. 

We had missed out on the experience before Christmas but made it Lapps Quay the other night. And, yes, we were there for the dinner! Settled in and studied the menu, starting with the Bites to Bigger Bites. Something here to suit every pocket and taste, from a Bowl of Marinated Olives (3.00), to Baked Ardsallagh Goats Cheese, red peppers, chilli flakes dip, on toasted Arbutus Bread (5.00) to Baked King Prawns, garlic, chillies, olive oil, Arbutus sourdough (13.00).

My pick was the Ballyhoura Mushrooms crostini, cream, tarragon, parmesan truffle oil (5.00). Just love the texture and flavour of this little marvel. And CL’s starter was another gem: Roasted Aubergine, Toonsbridge Mozzarella, tomato fondue, parmesan and pesto (5.00).
Aubergine

There have a list of Pizzas as well but we concentrated on the Main Plates of which there was quite a choice. Mine was the Grilled Sumac Spiced Lamb steak (with tomato, herb cucumber salad, chargrilled vegetable couscous, spiced yogurt, and toasted almonds). What a lovely dish, a perfect balance of flavours and spice, tender and delicious, all for €18.00. 

CL considered the Fish of the Day but in the end went for the regular Baked Hake (22.00). The hake came with gremolata, parmesan crust, piperade, tomatoes, black olives , cream and basil. Lots going on there but the meticulous cooking of Harold Lynch and crew in the kitchen means every little detail was spot on, as was the case with the lamb, and the whole dish was a flavoursome treat.
Something Sweet was the next heading to be considered. CL picked the Yogurt, poached vanilla mint berries, muesli, honey, pumpkin seeds (6.30). This is a new addition to their morning, brunch, lunch and evening menu and perfectly described as “a little sweet healthiness”, which it certainly was. Mine was a little more indulgent but I enjoyed every little bit of the Rolled Meringue, lime vanilla cream, poached plums and toasted almonds (6.30).
Hake

The lunch menu is even more extensive and at all times you may spend as much or as little as you with. Drop in for a pair of the small bites and a glass of wine. Maybe just a pizza. If you don’t have time to linger, then join the queue at the Deli counter for take-out. By the way, even though there are 90 seats in the restaurant, you are advised to book, particularly at the weekend. 
Plum

Front-of-House is led, as was the case with Brasserie, by Beth. She and her crew make you feel welcome from the opening smile and they are efficient also. The bar is now part of the main restaurant and you may enjoy a favourite drink before you start, a gin and tonic perhaps, maybe a Negroni? Cheers.
“a little sweet healthiness”
Dockland
City Quarter
Lapps Quay
Cork
T: 353 (0)21 427 3987




Thursday, December 7, 2017

The SpitJack's Superb New Menu. Amazing Cheese and Fortifieds List

The SpitJack's Superb New Menu. 
Amazing Cheese and Fortifieds List
Pom'O (right) and Ice Wine
from Glounthaune.

The SpitJack has hit the ground running in Washington Street and, with its first summer a success, has just announced its new winter menu. I took the opportunity to try it out in mid-week. The meats as you’d expect, as SpitJack is a rotisserie, are top notch but the real surprise was the new Cheese and Fortified Menu. Not too many of our top restaurants will match this magical list of possible combinations.

And the good news is that there is quite a local input. Near neighbours, Ardsallagh Goats and Johnny Fall Down, feature strongly. The inventive Glounthaune drinks outfit are doubly represented with a Pom’O Apple Port and a Rare Apple Ice Wine.

The Pom’O is based on the traditional Normandy pommeau (pressed apple juice with apple brandy) but the Glounthaune orchard has added a twist or two of their own to make this beauty. They used rare apples and then a combination of freezing and thawing, a year long fermentation and nothing at all was added to make the Ice Wine, the first Irish ice wine to be sold.

It is beautiful and rich and perfect with the cheeses that we had and with the Ardsallagh Ash Pyramid in particular. Ardsallagh have a much longer history in the East Cork area than Johnny Fall Down but Jane Murphy continues to innovate and this is her first ash pyramid. Made from pasteurised mild goats milk, it is formed into the traditional Valencay shape and sealed in ash. Got an early taste during the Culture Night but this is the first commercial batch and it won't be the last.

The Ardsallagh was served with Fig Compote. Our second cheese was a favourite of ours from our (too) few visits to the Basque country. It is a sheep cheese from Ossau-Iraty a area of the Pyrenees where we got “lost” once or twice. In the Basque country, they often serve it with a Black Cherry conserve (I use Loganberry jam at home!); last night, SpitJack’s Quince paste was excellent. 
Lamb

Then we finished with the Comte AOC from the Jura mountains, served with truffle honey. This 24 month vieux is a beauty, delicious, and enhanced by that honey. 

Other cheeses on this impressive list include: Brillat Savarin, Camembert Bonchoix AOC, Cashel Blue Mature, Durrus Og, Epoisses AOC, Manchego 18 months PDO, Pont L’Évêque AOC, and Stilton PDO. There are three Quinta Seara D’Ordens signature ports on the fortifieds list while dessert wines include Chateau Camperos Sauternes and a couple of sherries, a  Colosio PX and Orleans Borbon Manzanilla, plus the two Johnny Fall Down drinks. 
Pork

The new menu, like the previous one, is well constructed, in the sense that, if you wish, you can avoid meat in the starters and that’s what we did.

Salted cod is an Atlantic tradition so I was delighted to see the House Salted Cod “Bunyols” (€8.5) Catalan Style Cod Fritters, Flaked Salted Cod, Fried Crisp Exterior, Soft Pillow Centre, Lime Chantilly, delighted too that I choose this tasty plateful.

Across the table, CL also made a good pick. The pickled Heirloom Beetroot Carpaccio (€7) with Ardsallagh Goats Cheese Foam, Candied Walnuts, Tarragon Oil, Watercress, looked well and tasted well.
Beetroot

On now to the main event, as my Eight Degrees Sunburnt Red Ale sank in the glass. Time for the Rotisserie Pork Belly Porchetta (€17), Slow Roasted Pork Belly Stuffed with Sage & Garlic, Crisp Crackling, Kale Colcannon Potatoes, Braised Kale & Apple Compote, Sautéed Tender Stem Broccoli, Honey Mustard Jus. “Savage,” as we say around here. The word’s not the most sophisticated but, when pronounced with soul, means the meat (in this case) is rather good my dear.

And it also may be applied to CL’s earthy choice, a peasant’s pleasant pot in winter time of Brazed and Rotisserie Roasted Lamb Shank (€19.00), with Red Wine Glaze, Pearl Barley & Winter Vegetable Cassoulet, Crème Fraîche, Mint Oil, Braised Lamb & Brandy Jus. Local and seasonal, simple soul food, simple but superb.
Cod fritters

So two very happy customers and that was before the cheese and Johnny Fall Down took us to a higher level!

Check out the new menus and more here at SpitJack

The SpitJack
34 Washington Street
Cork City

0212390613

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Turbot A Royal Star At Rachel’s


Turbot A Royal Star At Rachel’s

Turbot is sometimes called the King of the Sea and we had a taste of flatfish royalty in Rachel’s last Friday evening, both of us taking the fish special as our main course.

It is a truly wonderful fish and the team at Rachel's certainly did it justice. Served with a basil hollandaise sauce and creamed veg (mainly green), it was a delight. Side dishes of Irish potatoes and a most deliciously dressed salad added to the fish. Indeed, I'd have been quite happy with a plate of those smoky tasty spuds on their own.

A friend of mine from Castletownbere says Turbot (Tubard in Irish) is the finest fish we have around the coast. This large strong predator is highly prized, up there with lobster and Dover Sole. So it can be expensive; ours was priced at €32.00.

Not the most expensive I've enjoyed. That was in 2012 in Nerua in Bilbao (a world top 100 restaurant) and the price then was €35.00 but, served with with rosemary jus and pickled turnip, it was perfection on the plate and on the palate.
Turbot, with Rosemary jus, in Bilbao

Just last year, I had one of the least expensive Turbot dishes ever at the Electric Fish-bar. Pan-roasted Turbot fillets, with a parmesan and herb crust and a rocket pesto was just €15.00. The Electric effort was basic but positively exquisite, all the elements, not least that delicious complementary crust, playing a part.

So back to Rachel’s where there was a terrific buzz in the large comfortable split-level room, the design of which has been termed industrial chic. No live music at that early hour (we started at 6.30) but Myles Davis tunes were on the system there. A cool combination, even cooler with a glass of Vidal Sauvignon blanc from Marlborough (7.50).
Crispy egg on top of this starter.

Starters range from €7.00 to €12.50. But it is quality all the way. One pick was the Jamon Serrano Gran Reserva, Ardsallagh Goats Cheese,  Onion Confiture, Toasted Almonds and Crispy Egg. Quite a plateful in terms of both quantity and quality. No shortage of that expensive and exquisite ham and that crispy egg was a tasty bonus.

Much the same story with our other choice:  Ballycotton Smoked Mackerel, Pickled beetroot, soft-boiled egg, peas and dill. A delicious mix of flavours and textures.
Smoked mackerel

And since we were celebrating a birthday (a little bit late), we also had desserts from a list that includes a 3-cheese cheeseboard, all priced at €6.50. 

Torta di Cappuccino, chocolate ice-cream, hazelnut crumb was my choice and quite good while CL, preferring something a little lighter, found the Apple jelly, crême Anglaise, butter shortbread, cinnamon apple snow tastily appropriate.

Service was friendly and excellent, a minor snag sorted in double-quick time. After the sweet ending, it was time to hit the streets and go in search of some more jazz tunes - easily found considering the weekend that was in it.
Torta



Saturday, September 23, 2017

Chock-a-block City. Culture Night 2017

Chock-a-block City

Culture Night 2017
Isabelle busy at On the Pig's Back
Progress is slow as we enter the English Market on Culture Night. Little by little, it becomes clear that there are two lines in the packed old building, one going one way, another going the other way, both going slow! But you want to turn? No bother. Crowds yes, but courtesy abounds. A smile and then a gap and you’re on your way.
Tim and Jack McCarthy

On our way to a plate of local food. Eat it a counter or from the top of a cask. Eat it with strangers, from Cong, from Conna, from Congo. Who knows? Who cares? The music plays. The conversations start, flow on, on the food, the new baby, the dog, the new house, the turkey sexer (yes, that came up too).
Metropole sushi
Time to move on. Like the Arc-de-Triomphe roundabout, it is easier to get out than in, particularly if you're not too pushed where you exit. We weren't. Where next? There a gang of steel drummers playing by Brown & Thomas, a circus in North Main Street.
Justin introduces his Bertha's Revenge to
Cllr Des Cahill, ex Lord Mayor
We had been in North Main Street earlier, at a very well attended wine tasting in Bradley’s. Music outside the door there too. Master of Wine Mick O’Connell was conducting the tasting on behalf of Findlater's, introducing new wines he has sourced for them. Some gems there, from Portugal and Crete and Bordeaux, though it looks as if the Roqueterre Reservé Carignan 2016 from the Languedoc was “flying out the door”.
Jamie of Haven Shellfish at the Met
Superb stop in Nash 19 in Prince's Street where our generous host was, as ever, Claire Nash. She had some of her local producers lined up. Rupert was there with his cool cider and warm apple brandy from Longueville House while Justin Green was tasting his amazing Bertha’s Revenge gin.


That same gin had been used by Jack and Tim McCarthy from Kanturk in their sausages (no shortage of those!) and of course you couldn't leave without tasting the black pudding. 
Thumbs up from Tim Mulcahy of the Chicken Inn
And great too to meet Jane from Ardsallagh. Lots of new things going on there including her Feta style cheese and also her delicious creamy ash covered pyramid. She also had a selection of cheeses combined with a layer of chutney - the mango is superb. Watch out for these in SuperValu soon.
Market queue

The evening had started for us with a visit to the lobby of the Metropole Hotel where another superb host, Sandra Murphy, welcomed the guests, including Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald. Haven had their delicious oysters both raw (with a tasty salsa) and cooked and the hotel laid on some excellent sushi. And of course, there was a glass of bubbles on hand as well, wine and Murphy’s Stout too.

After that it was out onto the street to join the good humoured crowds making their way on foot and on bus to the many events all over the city. What a night!
Market Music