Showing posts with label Badger & Dodo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Badger & Dodo. Show all posts

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Ballincollig’s Multi-faceted White Horse

Ballincollig’s Multi-faceted White Horse
Satay skewers
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”.
Monkfish curry
 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! 

Beer, cider, and theatre

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Cinnamon Cottage. A Treasure Trove

Cinnamon Cottage
A Treasure Trove
Ali and Patrick are just over 12 months into their adventure at Cinnamon Cottage and the hard-working pair are doing just that, working hard. Much done, more to do, but you can see the difference. The deli has been expanded and the wine selection has been doubled.

And still the work goes on. Fun too. They’re enjoying the run-in to Halloween and you (and the kids, of course!) are invited to the Rochestown cottage for face-painting and balloon animals on the Saturday. And don't forget to get the brack, complete with all the bits and pieces, including that all important ring.

Ali and Patrick

After that it’s Christmas. More work, more fun. And speaking of Christmas, you can already buy your cake. If you don't want a big one, you can get a small one. A slice will suit some people fine and Ali and Patrick do that too. Lots of cakes here, most available by the slice, including the very popular Coconut and Raspberry cake and old favourites like the Victoria Sandwich! And Chocoholics will be in their element!

And they do salads to beat the band, eight to ten freshly made each day, all seasonal. At the moment, look out for the Roast Pumpkin and Butternut Squash with feta and chilli. And then there’s the winter coleslaw. 

On every cabinet, every shelf, there’s something delicious including a few surprises, jams and chutneys and porridge oats. And they have a selection of excellent cheeses, most of it coming via Sheridan’s. Six months back they started doing Kiddies Meals, with no added sugar, no added salt. Choose from a Mild Chicken Curry, Mac n Cheese, Cottage Pie.

You’ll see lots of local produce, beef from O’Connell’s, chicken from Sheehan’s, puddings and sausages and more from Kanturk’s Jack McCarthy, free range eggs and chickens from East Ferry, Shell fish from Dingle, Basil Pesto and Ravioli from Glanmire, popular stone-baked pizza bases made in Ireland by Pizza da Piero, Amodeo dressing from Tuscany Bistro in Limerick, Shine’s Wild Irish Tuna, Green Saffron spices, and the new Irish Tonic Water from Poacher’s in Co.Wexford! And that’s just a handful of what’s available in this treasure trove.

And they bake. Not just cakes but breads and buns. Check out those scones and croissants. In the deli counter, you’ll see artichokes, sun dried tomatoes etc. There’s readymade meals, fresh and frozen, including warming soups, chicken and beef dishes and more, and handy side dishes such as Wholegrain Mash with Gruyere cheese!

You’ll need a good wine to wash down all that food. And again, no shortage here. The Cottage have three main suppliers and that adds up to a big selection, including quite a few organic bottles, getting more and more popular, according to Patrick. I spotted a few favourites: the Pedra da Auga Albarino, the Walnut Blocks and the Gran Martinez Rioja Crianza. 
There is so much more in this lovely place, including Badger & Dodo Coffee; I’ve just barely scratched the surface here. It must be the most productive cottage in Ireland. Well done to Ali and Patrick and their staff on a great 12 months. There are eight regularly employed and, on busy days, that can rise to 15, most of them local.

The Cinnamon Cottage
Monastery Road
Co. Cork
Tel: 021 4894922
Facebook: @Cinnamoncottage
Twitter: @Cinnamoncottage
 Mon - closed;
Tue-Fri: 9.30-6.30;
Sat: 9.30-5.30;
Sun: 10.00-4.00.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Supporting Local. The Pantry, Kinsale

Supporting Local.
The Pantry, Kinsale
 The August sun is shining as we arrive in Kinsale, looking for lunch. The outside tables are full at the bistro across the road from St Multose Church. Doesn’t look good for a place inside. But there are a few and soon we are seated in the busy Pantry and studying the menu at the table and checking the specials on the board over the open kitchen where the crew are working hard.

Hadn't been here before but had heard good things about it from one of the natives. And she was right. We enjoyed a superb lunch here, terrific food and a lively efficient staff. Besides, they use a lot of local produce. Here are a few examples: eggs from the happy free range hens of Beechwood Farm; fresh fish from Jimbo O’Keeffe; Lordan’s of Ballinspittle supply the meat; while the coffee comes from the Badger & Dodo Roastery.

Lots of salads, sandwiches and a tempting quiche special available but we go for the substantial stuff. Quite how substantial, I was about to find out when my Boeuf Bourguignon arrived. “I could be a while,” I said to my server who promised that every piece was delicious. She too was right.

I should perhaps have read the description more closely and then wouldn't have been that surprised by the big piece that appeared in my bowl. I was expecting it in a bowl but not this much, not this good. Full description: 12 hour slow-roasted short rib of beef in a smoked bacon & red wine jus, served with creamed mashed potato, glazed carrots & asparagus. Very enjoyable. All that was left was the bone!
 CL’s pick was also a winner. Her Moroccan style salmon, consisting of Harissa seared Atlantic Salmon, served with a warm couscous salad of baby spinach, roasted red pepper, basil, baby peas, mozzarella cheese & finished with a chive crème fraiche, was absolutely gorgeous.

So two very happy customers after the mains. What about dessert? Well, a time to share a large caramel square, quite a class one too, and sip our coffees, mine a well crafted Flat white, hers a concentrated espresso.

We had started here with a couple of cups of soup, her's a Butternut Squash (with Chilli Coconut), mine a  chowder, both excellent. You have a choice of a cup or a slightly more expensive bowl. Be warned, it is a big cup! So we paid up and bought a nice loaf of their brown bread (we had enjoyed a slice with the soup) on the way out to see that late August sun still shining down on the seaside town.

It was getting on now for two o’clock but The Pantry was still buzzing, departing customers being replaced immediately.

The Pantry
Guardwell, Kinsale, Co.Cork
Tel: +353 21 477 4453
email :
Hours: Tue-Sat: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm

Sun: 9:00 am - 2:00 pm

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Gallery Café in Gort & Coole Park. Halfway Haven

Gallery Café in Gort & Coole Park
Halfway Haven

If you're heading from the south to the west or north-west, to the Burren, to Galway, Mayo (Knock for instance), Sligo, or Connemara, or indeed coming in the other direction, then Gort is a good place to stop and refuel and nearby Coole Park a lovely place to stretch those legs.

And speaking of re-fueling, why not try the colourful Galley Café in the Square in Gort. You might just get a parking spot outside the door. And you’ll certainly get a warm welcome inside. If you've kids with you, they’ll have about a dozen pizzas to choose from.

And if you see them heading to the toilets more than usual, relax as they have discovered the fish tank built into the floor! You'll probably be taking a look at at the original art on the wall - the exhibition changes every few weeks.
But you've come here for the food - they do lunch and dinner but note they are closed Mondays and Tuesdays. We were there for lunch recently, on our way back to Cork from Connemara, and can heartily recommend the lively two room café.

CL picked the quiche which featured the well known, well loved, St Tola cheese from Clare in a delicious quiche (€9.00) with spinach and pine-nuts, organic salad and pumpkin seed bread. 

My choice was the Middle Eastern Lamb Mezze (12.00), with cannelloni hummus, beetroot hummus, quinoa, olives, carrots, feta and orange salad and rye bread. Colourful and absolutely gorgeous.

A lovely lively spot with very friendly service and they also do the excellent Badger and Dodo Coffee. But we postponed the coffee until after our walk in nearby Coole Park (you probably know of the poem The Wild Swans at Coole)  associated with Lady Gregory and a whole flock of well known Irish writers

Lamb Mezze

The park is free to enter and there is a nice little café there, with an outside area for the summer. We read our way around the Visitor Centre (also free), also looked at some of the videos and artefacts before we headed out for a walk in the park.

The walled garden is still standing but not, alas, the house. It was donated to the state in the 1920s but was allowed fall into ruin before being demolished. All that remains now is the plinth on which it stood.

The autograph tree
Highlight of the walled garden is an autograph tree, a copper beech that is engraved with initials of many of the leading figures of the Irish Literary Revival who were personal friends of Lady Gregory including William Butler Yeats, Douglas Hyde, George Bernard Shaw, John Millington Synge and Sean O'Casey.
No. 11 is So'C (Sean O'Casey)
No. 10, hard to see,  is WBY (William Butler Yeats)

The Gallery Cafe

The Square

Gort, Co.Galway.
Tel:  (091) 630 630

Ecosculpture by Tom Meskell from brash left behind after
the clearfell of non-native conifers 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Specials At Bakestone

Specials At Bakestone
Chicken special

You may go to Bakestone Café for their tasty sandwiches. Maybe for one of their appetising salads (small or large). But I go to the Cobh Cross venue for their specials. And since, it is part of the Ballyseedy Garden centre, I often come home with something for the garden.

We called in during a sunny day in mid-week. We were early but the place was already busy. It is a popular spot. For many reasons, but the big draw for me is that specials board. They post three new ones every day. You’ll also see many of them on their Facebook page.

The three up when we called were:
Soy and Honey Chicken on a crunchy Asian salad, with spiced cashews and a sesame dressing (10.50);
Onion bhajis, chickpea and spinach curry, basmati rice and herb yogurt (9.95);
BLT - Irish bacon with crispy cos lettuce, juicy tomato and avocado mayo, served with triple cooked chips (9.25).

Superb curry

I must admit we did have a look at the main board, at the list of salads and so on, and at all the sandwiches, not to mention the pastries, as we queued to pay. You do pay here before you sit down although if you come for brunch at the weekend you will be served at your table (you could well have music on Sundays). So we paid for our specials and also for our Badger and Dodo coffees which were then served after the specials as agreed.

My pick was the chicken. I have to say, very glad to say, that I enjoyed every little bit of it, especially those cashews, one of the best lunch plates I’ve had in awhile. Well priced too. And CL was very much delighted with her curry, the colour and the whole range of flavours. The curry was also obviously the vegetarian option, a well-priced dish. I’m sure the BLT would have been fine too but we were very happy with our choices.

Our server then brought down our coffees and after that we strolled out to the plants and bought a very healthy looking pot of parsley that should keep us supplied for a few months.

Bakestone Café
Ballyseedy Home and Garden Centre,
Fota Retail Park
Co. Cork
(021) 438 9001
Twitter: @_Bakestone

Sunday, February 21, 2016

One Farmers Market. One Restaurant. Weekend: Douglas, Les Gourmandises

One Farmers Market. One Restaurant
Weekend: Douglas, Les Gourmandises
I took the opportunity at the weekend to get to the Douglas Farmers Market and also to revisit Les Gourmandises in the city centre.

The farmers market has now moved from Dunnes Stores car park to a new spot in the centre of Douglas village, on the plaza by Marks & Spencers. It is a compact location and the reports are good. It is open on Saturdays, from 10.00am until 2.00pm.
Old Millbank Salmon Pate - with some chunky bits added!
Some excellent stalls here, including the Rocketman, Badger & Dodo coffee, Ballycurraginny Farm vegetables (not forgetting their gorgeous Joe’s Farm vegetable crisps), Arbutus Breads, O'Driscoll's Fish from Schull, Old Millbank Smoked Salmon, Woodside Farm, Brendan's Burritos, Sonny’s Broth, West Cork Pies, Green Field Farm, Ballycotton Free Range Farm, O’Leary’s Mountain Lamb, Cloud Confectionery, Dingle Cookie Company, Volcano Wood-fired Pizza, Mealagulla Orchards, Barry’s Nurseries, Clothilde Compotes, along with some others. Guest stalls too feature.

O’Driscoll’s, no matter where you find them (Midleton and the Coal Quay are among their venues), are always popular. We often go for the popular fish but this time the red gurnard caught our eye. So that was the main course for Saturday. And we got our starter across the way from Old Millbank. They had a nice tub of Salmon Pate (with one that included a few chunks of the salmon as well!).
Red Gurnard at O'Driscoll's
Lunch too came from Douglas, a pot of that delicious aromatic Chicken Broth by Sonny (we added some noodles). It is a Vietnamese broth and the proper title is Phỏ Gà and was a recent Taste of the Week. Check it out here, if you have a chance.

The other main purchase was some shoulder of pork from Woodside for Sunday's dinner, the order to cook it low and slow. We got an unsolicited recommendation from another customer who thought it was fantastic and told us his 93 year old mother is thrilled with it as it reminds her of the real taste from a long ways back.

Some low and slow cooking too in Les Gourmandises on Friday night. Slow cooked beef, braised carrots, baby onions, and smoked Gubbeen lardons, with a delicious red wine jus, was my superb main course, with a side plate of sauteed potatoes. CL’s choice was also excellent: Braised lamb shoulder with smoked potatoes, braised onion and Savoy Cabbage.
We had a fine choice for starters. We had eaten some of them before including the excellent Prawns in Filo pastry with Mango jelly and Mango creme fraiche and the Roasted on the Bone Quail with coconut, cumin, basmati and apricots.

My pick this time was the Carpaccio (named after the Venetian painter) of Spiced beef, tomato, pickled and shaved parmesan while CL took the Castletownbere Crab Salad, brioche croutons, peaches and piccalilli. Both good but, next time, we may go back to the brilliant prawns and the quail!

Desserts again had no shortage of choice, up to seven, including a selection plate for sharing. No sharing this time though! My pick was the Warm Chocolate Fondant with butterscotch centre and vanilla ice cream. Pretty good. CL was delighted with her Caramelised Apple Tart with Five Spice and cinnamon ice cream. All good. No tea or coffee though, not at €3.65 a cup!
New location, in centre of Douglas
There is a good selection of house wines, all Old World, and all at €29.50 a bottle or €8.50 a glass. Haven't seen that kind of uniformity anywhere else! My glass was a 2012 Portuguese blend of Tempranillo, Castelao and Syrah, called Pinta Negra Tinta, nice and smooth with dark fruits. CL sipped happily from an organic wine, Fontana Bodegas from Castille (Spain), a 100 percent Tempranillo (2014).

There are quite a number of possible menu variations and you can get to try the excellent food here for less than the €47.50 (the cost of our 3-course menu). There is also a Prix Fixe menu and here you may have three courses (from a more limited selection) for €32.50. Most nights, maybe not all night, you will get tapas to share, two main courses and a glass of wine each for €39.50 for two people. Stay up to date on all menus and special offers by checking their Facebook page here.
Oh La La! Chocolat! 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tea in Vintage Bone China. And Much More in The Workshop.

Tea in Vintage Bone China.

And Much More in The Workshop.
Soups and Arbutus bread
On the way to The Workshop from the roundabout outside Cork Airport, you’ll see Tea Rooms emphasied on the direction signs to the Ballygarvan venue. You’ll also see pink bicycles. But tea is the thing here. Loads of different varieties and, yes, it is all served in beautiful vintage bone china.

You may have the Workshop Cream (contains coffee and has a “pleasant Bailey’s taste”). Some of us might rush for the Ginkgo anti-aging tea or maybe the Elixir of Life. There is the Green Tea China Gunpowder (refers to the shape!) and the aromatic Blood Orange. A dozen or so of intriguing mixes and then, of course, there’s always Barry’s.

Not a tea-drinker? They’ve got top class coffee for you as their supplier is Badger & Dodo and the friendly efficient staff here will let you have anything from an Americano to a Mocha.

It is not tea and coffee and cakes here all the time, though they have huge range of tempting cakes and pastries too.

It gets a bit more serious as lunch-time looms. We started recently with two massive bowls of soup - they had two specials on that day. I enjoyed the Carrot and Cumin while CL had the Roast Red Pepper and Sweet Potato combination. Actually there is a very good deal here: cup of soup and any sandwich for just €7.50.
A Pair of Pies, again with Arbutus bread
They offer a good selection of sandwiches and if you are looking for something even more substantial why not try one of their pies. These vary from day to day but they had two on during our visit, one beef, one chicken, and we were well pleased with them.

Indeed we were pretty full but no way were we going to leave without trying some of the sweet stuff even if we had to share their gorgeous Rhubarb Meringue Cake.

The china is not the only vintage stuff here in the Workshop. There is much more for people to browse through and even buy. Don't think they'll be selling the old looking phone by the desk. It is a replica and in use as their land-line! But you’ll also see stand-on weighing scales, binoculars, books, and more. You’ll hear the music from the old record player.

Oh, on your way out, be sure and say hello to their hens. They, the hens, will be insulted if you don’t as, after all, they are prize-winners, their rosettes on display on the restaurant.

And where did the Workshop get its name? Well, the father of the current owners originally used the building as a carpentry workshop. Much more to see and eat out there, so do pay a visit


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Taste of the Week

Taste of the Week
Badger & Dodo Columbian Coffee

No shortage of good coffees in the Cork area these days and this is the one I'm enjoying currently. It is from Columbia, San Pablo #1 Estate, and is Taste of the Week. Badger & Dodo roast this in Fermoy and I bought mine in Bradley's, North Main Street. A little bit of sweetness is evident here but it is really well balanced and a very pleasant coffee indeed.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Workshop. Pairing Teas and Desserts!

The Workshop

Pairing Teas and Desserts!

Had an unusual pairing exercise at the lovely Workshop Tea Rooms near Cork Airport on Tuesday. In the “gap” after the mains, I was trying to match teas with desserts. That's a new one! It worked out well though and indeed the excursion into the narrow country road at the rear of the airport proved well worthwhile overall.

The Workshop itself, in an old carpentry workshop, is a little bit unusual. True, it is a restaurant, tea rooms and coffee shop but it is also a display of vintage and antiques, everything from old style cups and saucers to a cart full of flowers, writing boxes to antique chairs, even including a large poster of Bertie Ahern. Everything, or almost everything, is for sale here!

Having passed the old family pram on the way in, you’ll have a warm greeting and then realise that that is really a record player in the corner playing some old style music. As you visit the bathroom (do, whether you need to or not) you’ll enter through a pair of haberdashery doors (from East Cork in the 1820s) and you’ll wash your hands in an old ship’s sink. And do check in the vampire mirror before you exit!
The Workshop, just a year on the go, is busy for lunch and soon we see why. Some great sandwiches here and you may get a cup of soup and and a sandwich for just €7.50.

We ventured a little upmarket! I went for the special of the day, a chicken pie (8.50) while CL took their Tapas, really a chicken salad (8.00). The Pie was top notch, lots of very flavoursome chunky chicken pieces topped with creamy potato and a couple of slices of Arbutus bread on the side. Arbutus too with the excellent chicken salad, another very attractive dish.

Coffee is by Badger & Dodo, so that spells quality. They have a lovely list of teas and, as I hinted above, we took our time picking ours. Mine was the Workshop Cream (roast coffee beans, jasmine flowers and natural aroma). “It’s creamy,” they say, “with a pleasant coffee/Bailey’s taste.” In any event, it went very well indeed with my perfect slice of Coffee and Walnut cake.
And the second match was also spot-on! The tea here was the Rain Forrest (named after their mom's family). It poured red, and exotic flavours were provided by hibiscus, apple pieces, currant, candied mango, pineapple and banana chips. A superb drink and went ever so well with the really well made Apple Crumble, complete with real fruit chunks and real crumble.

Desserts costs €4.50 each and the teas came in at €3.50 for a large pot each. We thought we were getting a cup each so I'm afraid we left a lot of tea behind. We’ll know better the next time. And there will be a next time as we very much enjoyed the whole experience, including the unusual setting and friendly service.

The Workshop
Lios Cross
Co. Cork

Call 021 2373033 or text 085 7666755

Tue - Sat: 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
Sun: 11:00 am - 5:30 pm