Showing posts with label Ballycotton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ballycotton. Show all posts

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Samphire by Ballycotton Bay. Of Tropics and Turnips

Samphire by Ballycotton Bay
Of Tropics and Turnips
Tropics for two
Let’s start at the end. Because the end of the superb meal in Samphire, the new restaurant in Garryvoe Hotel, was rather spectacular.

That sweet ending was called Tropics for Two. We shared: Pineapple with white chocolate mousse, coconut, lime and coriander jelly, and passionfruit (16.00 for two). The flesh is removed and cut into in cubes which are then presented on skewers; the shell is then filled with the mousse and topped with the jelly. The coconut is the base for the little “biscuits” that are scattered around. What a delicious combination, meant to be shared!
And what of the humble turnip? These rarely appear on Irish menus but the side dish, Confit New Season Turnip, was a delight and this commonly overlooked vegetable, herbed and oiled, emerged as a serious rival to the ubiquitous Butternut Squash. The side dishes are listed on the menu; you get one included with your mains and the others will cost you three euro each.

The food is not the only spectacular element at Samphire. There is a stunning view out over the bay. From my table, I could see the island by Ballycotton, the lighthouse and that path up to the lighthouse. It is also a very comfortable place with a lovely bar in the round taking up about a third of the floor.
Goats cheese
And at this bar, they mix some serious cocktails. One of ours was the Dirty Martini with Dingle gin as the main base. Gins too are featured, some local, some not local. Buy local is my motto and so I went for the Blackwater No. 5 and the tonic was Fever Tree (they haven’t got Poacher’s, yet). Enjoyed that!

You may start with something from their nibbles menu, perhaps Spicy Chorizo al Vino (3.50) or maybe Local Naked Oysters from the Bay at €1.50 each.
There’s a good choice of starters too including my choice: Seared King Scallops, Heirloom Tomato Salad, Samphire, Wasabi and Courgette (9.50). Great flavors, textures, very happy with that. CL went for the local cheese, in a starter called All About the Goat: Ardsallagh Beignet, Thyme and Honey Mousse, Lime, Apple, Tomato and Ben’s Brioche, another delightful combination.

We got a lovely welcome at reception and in the restaurant and the service was nice and friendly with a check every now and then to make sure everything was alright. And it was, all through.
The Cod
The local input continued through the mains. CL picked a beauty: East Ferry Chicken char-grilled with gremolata, peperonata, chilli aioli, tender-stem broccoli (20.00), including a lovely side of cous cous. My turnip came with the Cod from the Pond, served with roasted cauliflower (mini-florets) and a Goan spiced cream (19.00). Both plates went back empty, not a scrap left on either, a vote of confidence!

And then it was time for that gorgeous finalé. Not local but we weren't to be denied a touch of the tropics on a rather coolish summer’s evening. Very Highly Recommended Dish in a Very Highly Recommended Restaurant.
Blackwater G&T and Dingle Gin Dirty Martini

Contact details below
Samphire at Garryvoe Hotel
Ballycotton Bay
County Cork
Open from 6.00pm Wed to Sun.
Phone: 021 4646728
Twitter: @Garryvoehotel

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Ballycotton: Bites And Boats. Even Goats!

Ballycotton: Bites And Boat.
Even Goats!
Goats and Gulls on the lighthouse island
Very enjoyable visit today to the Seafood and Shanty Festival on the pier at Ballycotton. We got there early, just in time to catch the boat for a trip around the lighthouse island. The lighthouse staff, now long gone from the island, used keep goats. There are seven up there now, up with the gulls. The building under the lighthouse, in the picture below, was the last building and such an improvement on the previous quarters that it became known as the Ballycotton Hilton. Great trip for a fiver.
Ballycotton Island, the side facing the sea.
Bill Casey's smoked salmon presented by
Ballymaloe Cookery School
Back on dry land, it was time for lunch and quite a choice around the pier. Some inviting things as you might expect on the Ballymaloe Cookery School stall and we started with some of their chicken liver pate and some smoked salmon, both on brown bread. Main course was the Fish and Chips by local restaurant Pier 26, great value at six euro. Also got some sushi for later on this evening from Okawari. Dessert would have to wait a while and mine came in the shape of a slice of Plum and Pistachio Cake when we called to meet friends at the lovely SPP cafe in nearby Shanagarry. There was also the small matter of a carton of Wexford strawberries from a roadside stall in Midleton!
Fish & Chips by Pier 26
Had been thinking that there might be traffic problems in and out of the village. But the folks down there know their business and, with their directions and just a little patience, we had no problem at all, either on the way in or out. Well done to all behind the festival, a big thumbs up from this quarter.

Watch out for these
at Wilton Market
Big Girls

Rachel Allen has had more impressive sets.
But she herself was impressive as always,
tossing away a couple of bad avocados in her stride.

Pistachio and Plum cake at the
delightful Stephen Pearce Potter Cafe, SPP Cafe in Shanagarry

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Get Your Fish. At Pier 26

Get Your Fish At Pier 26
Plaice and crab..
It’s a sunny Sunday, the final one in May; the beauty of Ballycotton is enhanced. And a delicious lunch awaits in friendly Pier 26.

But first a little walk, down the steps to the bottom of the cliffs, a sun trap and a great view of the cliffs themselves, of the nearby island and the lighthouse. All this, right on our doorstep.

Just as well we had booked ahead as most of the restaurant has been block booked by  a christening party. A warm welcome and soon we were studying the menu and a packed specials board. We had expected fish and that board was full of it: John Dory, Haddock, Hake, Plaice, Scallops, Squid, and Gurnard.
Vanilla roasted peaches
CL picked the Pan fried John Dory, carrot purée, tender stem broccoli, garlic and thyme roast potatoes, seaweed butter. An excellent dish, even if the carrot was missing, its absence noted about halfway through!

How many people check their dishes as they arrive to see if every element is present? In any case, we go out to enjoy the food as a whole, not to study every little detail. I fully agree with the well known Rhone winemaker who has said: “Two people talk about love, the poet and the gynaecologist. I prefer the poet.”

And enjoyment was also the operative word as I tucked in to my Poached Plaice, organic spinach, crab, fondant potato, sea vegetable cream (they do a fair bit of foraging here!). An superb combination, so well presented and enthusiastically dispatched, along with a glass of the rare Pazos De Ulloa blend of Torrontes, Treixadura and Palomino. Our other glass was from Australia, Berri Estates unoaked Chardonnay, another refreshing wine.

Top cheese
The dessert list is short enough but full of quality and we got two very good ones indeed. One was the divine Vanilla roasted peaches, Elderflower syrup, lemon Thyme, Madagascar Vanilla ice-cream, Almond brittle.

And the cheeseboard was highly impressive, billed simply as Selection of Irish Artisan cheese, Honey, oatmeal biscuits, Cockburns aged port. The drop of port and the little jug of honey were accompanied by Gubbeen, Toons Bridge smoked Scamorza, Bandon Vale Cheddar and the creamy Cashel Blue and those biscuits were quite a treat as well.

Took our time with that lot. And then it was out of the shade and into the sunny paradise outside, a short stroll down to the pier itself to get a different view of the lighthouse and take in the activity (not too much of that, aside from a few swimmers) on the pier. It will be much different this coming Sunday when the annual Seafood & Shanty festival takes place!

County Cork
Tel: (021) 206 1449
Twitter: @Pier26cork
5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
12:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Friday, April 4, 2014

In Praise of East Cork. Well Worth a Visit!

In Praise of East Cork. 
Well Worth a Visit!

Friendly people, great food, attractions, on land and sea, both natural and man-made, make East Cork a gem of a place to visit. From the fantastic 13th century St Mary’s Collegiate Church in Youghal to high class Fota House Gardens and Arboretum, with Barryscourt Castle in between, all free to enter, there is a treasure chest of places to visit in the area.
Cliff walk (and lighthouse in distance) at Ballycotton

Let me take you on a trip to see part of it. We’ll also enjoy some delicious as East Cork is a foodie’s paradise with top notch restaurants including Barnabrow  (ideal for a Sunday lunch), Midleton’s pioneering Farmers Market and the food mecca of Ballymaloe.


Coming from the city on the main Cork-Waterford road, take the Cobh exit ramp and head for breakfast at Bramley Lodge.  Now, set up for the morning, go over the nearby bridge to Fota Island and its many attractions.

If you have kids, go the Wildlife Park; if not, walk through the renowned Fota Arboretum  and maybe add a tour of the Georgian House. If you like it around here, you may also try the high class  Fota Island Hotel and Golf Resort.

Sailing ship at Cobh, exactly where the liners dock in summer.
Moving on, go over the Belvelly Bridge and you find yourself on Great Island where the cathedral town of Cobh is situated. Much to do here including the Sirius Art Gallery, walking tours (including the Titanic Trail and Spike Island), harbourside bars and restaurants and of course the Cobh Heritage Centre which tells of forced deportations  and also the tales of the ill fated liners, The Titanic and the Lusitania. Cruise liners now call here regularly during the season, with a carnival atmosphere in the town on the days they are in port.

Time now to head out of the islands, maybe call to the Bakestone Cafe at Ballyseedy (Cobh Cross) for a tasty bite to eat before heading east for Midleton and a tour of the Jameson Experience. If you give the right answers here, you’ll end up with a certificate of proficiency in Whiskey!
Roche's Point, worth a detour.
You may have lunch at the distillery cafe here. Quite a few others to choose from but I have a particular in Kevin Ahern's Sage and his amazing 12-mile menu.

There will be detours, of course. One that I like is off the Whitegate road, out of Midleton. Look out for the signs for East Ferry and enjoy a walk by the estuary and maybe reward yourself with a well cooked meal at Murph’s, a restaurant with a lovely view.
Next stop though is Ballymaloe, the home of modern Irish food. You could spend a day here. Maybe an overnight stay to sample the world renowned cooking. Be sure to take a look at the impressive Cookery School gardens and call to the cafe for a mid afternoon or mid morning  coffee. The cafe at the Stephen Pearse pottery in Shanagarry is now gaining quite a reputation.
Youghal has many miles of beaches. Many more all along the East Cork coast.
In the nearby seaside village of Ballycotton, take a stroll down to the pier and see the fishermen come and go. If you feel you need to stretch the legs, then there is a spectacular walk along the cliff tops. After all that exercise, treat yourself to a gorgeous meal at Pier 26.
Time now for dinner. If heading back towards the city and make a stop at the estuary village of Glounthaune and the Rising Tide Bar Bistro. Enjoy your meal here, as Lady Gaga did, and take time for a deserved pint in the bar afterwards. If heading east, then you’ll find a lovely cafe called Sage or a fine seafood meal at Aherne’s, both in Youghal. Maybe you'd like to rest up for the night and have a meal in the Old Imperial Hotel on the main street, maybe just a drink in its old Coachhouse bar.
Fresh fish at Ballycotton's Pier 26

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dining in style at Pier 26

Dock for Dinner at Pier 26
Enjoyed a lovely late lunch last Sunday at Pier 26, the just opened harbourside restaurant in Ballycotton and, then as a bonus, there was a magnificent sunset over the nearby cliffs and ocean. As we sat down for the meal, we had a terrific view over the harbour and the island with its lighthouse. Quite a spectacular setting and quite a stunning lunch.

Received a warm welcome, service was friendly and helpful throughout, and we were soon seated, the water and menus quickly delivered to the table. We had been at this table before, a few years back, when the restaurant was called Nautilus. The restaurant was very good then and is very good now.

Pork Belly
Value is pretty good here too with three courses for twenty five euro. You'll have plenty of choice as the regular menu is supplemented by a packed blackboard. Main courses featured pork, steak, salmon and free range chicken on the regular list and, from the board, you could pick from sirloin of beef, cod, scallops, and prawn scampi.

It was much the same with the starters, though we picked ours from the regular menu. CL choose the Spring onion and potato cake with Bill Casey’s organic smoked salmon, lemon and dill aioli. The quality of Casey’s salmon is well known in the area and it was certainly enhanced by the Pier 26 kitchen.
Smoked salmon
My starter was another beauty: Crispy pork belly with East Ferry apples, sage and Madden’s Cider Jus, a superb blend of flavours and textures. We were up and running!

Now for the main event!  CL went for the salmon but salmon with a light and lively twist. Her Seared fillet came with wok–fried noodles, Asian slaw, lime and honey dressing. A very compatible mix of ingredients here, all well handled, and a lovely dish as a result.

I hooked my mains from the Specials Board: Grilled fillet of cod, scallion mash, asparagus tips, prawn bisque cream sauce. The fish was as fresh as could be, the asparagus was cooked to a T, possible the best I've eaten out, while the sauce was well made and used with a judicious restraint, just enough to enhance the fish and not smother the flavours. Another winning mix.
No stopping us now and desserts were ordered. Lemon and Almond Cake, with sugared strawberries and vanilla Madagascar ice cream was my choice. Very nice, the comparative dryness of the flavoursome cake enhanced by the fruit and the ice cream. Apple crumble, Crѐme Anglaise, rum and raisin ice cream was our other choice. Might have preferred the more traditional type crumble rather than the biscuity one employed here but still a pleasant ending to a very classy meal indeed.

Highly recommended. And do watch out for the setting sun! And give yourself time for a stroll around, maybe the pier or the nearby cliff walk, depending on what takes your fancy! Maybe a pint in the adjoining pub?
Contact Holly and Colin at Pier 26, Ballycotton, Co. Cork.
  • Thu: 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
  • Fri - Sat: 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
  • Sun: 12:30 pm - 7:00 pm
  • Phone
    (021) 206 1449