Showing posts with label Ballymaloe Relish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ballymaloe Relish. Show all posts

Monday, January 30, 2017

Café Velo. Take Time-out to Slow Down

Café Velo
Take Time-out to Slow Down
Crispy Fish Burger
 I joined the peloton at Café Velo the other day. No musette or bidon needed but lots of food and super service in this large bright feeding station on George’s Quay (Cork), which includes pictures of cycling aces and events as part of the decor. 

Local food heroes such as Jack McCarthy Kanturk, Ballymaloe Relish, and Ardsallagh Cheese, are among those mentioned on the menus. Menus? Well aside from lunch, they also do breakfast and then there’s brunch at the weekend.

You can check out the menus here . But, when in-house, be sure and check out the daily specials board. Service is very good and they’ll more than likely make you aware of the specials in any case.

Soup is on every day at lunch-time. But which one? Just check the board. We did - there was a choice - and both of us settled on the Roast Tomato and Fennel Soup (4.90 a bowl or 2.50 a cup). Very tasty indeed and a good start to the meal.

Broadly speaking, the lunch menu is divided into two categories: various types of sandwiches (and very good they looked too as they passed our table) and another section under “From the kitchen”. The sandwiches generally cost 7.90 or 8.90.

CL picked her dish from The Kitchen: Tandoori roast chicken burger with herb and lemon aioli, red onion, plum tomato, leaves and brioche bun served with Shoestring Fries (10.90). She enjoyed that. Good for the athletes among you; by coincidence, I spotted this on an on-line cycling magazine: If you choose dishes baked in a tandoor and avoid those with sauces, then it can be one of the better meal options.

Not too sure about all the French fries though and I got a big helping of those same chips with my dish. I'd been tempted by the description of the Velo Crispy Fish Sandwich on the board: Crispy Cod with a Brioche Bun, beef tomato, red onion, gem lettuce, homemade tartar sauce and fries (12.90). No shortage of those chips but no shortage of the excellent cod either. The tartar, by the way, was replaced by a tomato sauce.

We had arrived about 12.30pm and by now the place was full, a testament to its popularity. By the way, if you’re in a rush and chasing the pace setters in the office, Velo do take out as well

Café Velo
3 George’s Quay
Cork
Tel: 021 4323044  
Twitter: @velo_cork
Hours:
Mon - Fri: 7:30 am - 5:00 pm 
Saturday: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm 
Sunday: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Monday, July 27, 2015

36 Hours in West Cork. Not that I was counting!

36 Hours in West Cork
Not that I was counting!


Baltimore sunset
I was thinking of Garrett Oliver, master brewer at New York’s Brooklyn Brewery, while I was eating lunch at Union Hall’s Coffee Shop last Thursday. Garrett related at the Ballymaloe LitFest how people, on first drinking one of his beers, tell him that it is so good it doesn't taste like beer. Garrett tells them, with some satisfaction, that what they have been drinking before is not real beer.

Well, here in Union Hall, our first call on our most recent trip to West Cork, I was eating real panini. I’m sure there are other good paninis out there but it is superb here, like nothing I've ever tasted before. It was packed with chicken, brie and pesto, all adding up to great flavours and terrific textures.
Panini
 The menu is short here as you'd expect but quality is high. And that is underlined with CL’s Quiche of Roast peppers, feta, Ballymaloe Relish. After that and a good cup of coffee we were on our way.


Having been in West Cork regularly, particularly this year, I were looking for one or two different things to see and do. West Cork obliged. Big time.


Graveyard on Myross Island
 After the Coffee Shop, we headed for Myross Island and found it. Drove up the narrow road to the graveyard which has terrific views over the Atlantic, including the nearby Rabbit Island. Next call was to Reen Pier where we ran into Jim Kennedy. He runs Atlantic Sea-kayaking and has his base here in this beautiful place.


We got some great views of it as we took the narrow road, rising up above the water, heading for a bridge that would take us to the other side and down to the peace and calm of Castletownsend with its distinguishing tree in the middle of the street, acting as a roundabout.

On the road above Reen Pier
 Baltimore was our destination for the night but there would be another stop or two on the way. First was the amazing Lough Hyne (the unusual seawater lough) and it was quite busy with many enjoying the sunshine, sitting around, swimming in the clear waters and others walking on the wooded hill above and getting fantastic views over the coast.


After all that activity, I felt we deserved a drink and knew just where to get it. On the way into Baltimore, we stopped at Casey’s Hotel. They have recently opened a microbrewery here and some of their Sherkin Lass Pale Ale went down a treat in the beautiful beer garden that overlooks the waters of Baltimore. They also do a red ale.


Rolling hills of West Cork
 Time then to check in at our accommodation. This was in Rolf’s. The Haffner family have been here for over twenty five years and their restaurant, where we enjoyed a terrific dinner at night, is well known. It is a great place to stay too, a fine and friendly base for the area.


In the morning, we were down on the pier, hoping to get a place on one of the boats going out to see the dolphins and, hopefully, a whale or two. But we had no luck. The lesson here is to book in advance.


Castletownsend
 So off we went to the Sheep's Head peninsula and stopped at the car park high in Seefin. We were almost sun-burned here a few months earlier but this day turned cloudy for a while and a strong wind greeted us as we climbed along the marked trail on top of the ridge. We got as far as the megalithic tomb before deciding to turn back. Not the best of days up there but still well worth the effort.


Down then to Old Creamery Cafe in Kilcrohane. This is a spanking clean spot with a menu of sandwiches, paninis, and salads and some home baking. We went for tea and some of that baking. I picked a Raspberry and Lemon Curd Sponge and those raspberries, fresh from the garden, were spectacularly juicy.


Courtyard garden at Rolf's
Refreshed now, we drove up the other side of this spectacular peninsula, heading for Durrus. Our stop though was at Ahakista to pay our respects to the three hundred plus victims of the Air India bombing disaster twenty years ago. Quite a few mementos, mainly wreaths, scattered here since the commemoration last June. Such a waste of life, such sadness.
Megalithic tomb on Sheep's Head
The sun was out as we headed over to Schull to see Walter Ryan-Purcell of Loughbeg Farm (now an open farm that you may visit). Walter, his wife and son, were up in Schull and we met them outside the Bunratty Inn, a gorgeous sun trap! Walter is well known in food circles and great to see the success Loughbeg is enjoying with their Oat Loaf. Look out for it in your local SuperValu.

Sweet! Old Creamery Cafe
 Down then to the pier and we were tempted by the fish dishes on offer at L’Escale but had a date in Rosscarbery and, after a walk on the path alongside the harbour in Schull, we headed for Pilgrim’s in Ross. Hadn't been there before, but is is easy to find as it is right smack bang in the centre of the village.

Ahakista's Air India memorial
 We were pleasantly surprised by the very high standard of the food here, a standard that many high class restaurants would find hard to match. We thoroughly enjoyed our few hours in Pilgrim’s before motoring back to the city.

Schull

Monday, November 25, 2013

My Curious Case

My Curious Case
Pouring or posing? Mike Kane gets into the swing of it.
Close to a hundred wines available at the very successful Curious Wines Christmas Fair in the Gresham Metropole on Saturday. Spent a very enjoyable couple of hours wandering among the nine tables, two representing Spanish vineyards, and was highly impressed with the quality available.

Now, how would I fill my case? I did start the tasting, as you do, with the whites but it was the reds that really stood out for me, four in particular. And, if I had to pick just one, it would be the Tim Adams Bluey’s Block Grenache 2009 from the Bibendum table, light (not just in colour) and lovely, a velvet touch with an unexpected 14.5% abv!

And then I found, at table four, a new Portuguese star with an intense fruity palate, a full bodied wine with a seriously silky long finish, the Quinta da Lagoalva. Think we’ll be hearing more of this, a blend of Castelao and Touriga Nacional.

Paul Kiernan of Curious had tipped me off about the Château la Négly La Falaise 2011 and he was right. This, from the Languedoc, has it all: aroma, palate, finish. Another absolute gem from Curious.

Tom from Bodegas Exopto has some serious contenders too and the red that really caught my attention here was the Dominio del Viento Crianza 2010. From La Rioja, it is fruit forward and deliciously drinkable.

Some people ignore Rioja when looking for whites. That is a mistake. And Tom had just the bottle to prove it: Horizonte de Exopto Rioja Blanco 2011. This Viura has spent a year in old barrels and is a beauty.
Love that Enchanted Tree label. And their wines too!
And there were another couple of top-notch whites at the adjacent Castelo de Medina stand where Ivan was the host. Both the Castelo de Medina Verdejo 2012 and the Real Castelo Rueda Verdejo 2011 were excellent.

Other whites, that I would be very happy with, include the Viñedos de la Posada Fairtrade Torrontes 2012, the King’s Bastard 2011 Chardonnay, and the Enchanted Tree Semillon Sauvignon 2012.

I think that leaves just two to make up my mixed case. No problem. Back to Curious Mike and his wine of the year: Boschi dei Signori Nebbiola d'Alba DOC 2009 and finally, at Curious Matt’s high class table, we’ll take the Enchanted Tree Pinot Noir 2012.

Man does not live by wine alone, of course, and the Kanes had, as usual, a few local food producers on hand. Ummera Smokery and Ballymaloe Relish are by now well-known to most of you but I hadn’t come across Christie’s Celtic Kitchen before.

In 2011, they started off with flavoured Oatcakes, Cured Salmon and Relishes. Now they have expanded their range of ready prepared foods – I enjoyed some spiced up Cous Cous balls on Saturday – and are into home catering and delivery, and have won gold at the 2012 Blas na hEireann Awards in Dingle. Check them out here and on Facebook.

Back to the wines. If you didn’t get your order into Curious last Saturday, you still have plenty of time to order a case or two before Christmas. You can call out to the warehouse at the Kinsale Road Roundabout or indeed order online. See all the contact details here.
Christie had some nice bites! Nice smile too.