Showing posts with label Blair's Inn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blair's Inn. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

New Life For Old Butter Road. Putting North Cork on the Food Map

New Life For Old Butter Road
Putting North Cork on the Food Map
Carrigcleena Farm Poultry duck with Annabella Farm carrot puree, pickled carrots on crispy quinoa
An old butter road is set to become the centre of a new North Cork food venture. For a year or so now, a small group of people, with support from Taste Cork, have been working on the plan to bring producers and providers from the area together and showcase the result under the Old Butter Road Food Trail. 

It will cover a large area, from Macroom to Blarney, from Coolea to Mallow, from Kanturk to Castlelyons. You should be able to get your first taste of the new trail on the May Bank Holiday weekend 2017.
Mc Carthy's of Kanturk black pudding wrapped in puff pastry and served with house piccalilli

Chairperson of the Old Butter Road Food Trail Maire ní Mhurchu welcomed us to a networking meeting at The Square Table in Blarney earlier this week. “This has been in gestation for the past 12 months. Many have come onboard including producers, butchers, growers, hotels, and restaurants.” 

Longueville House, Macroom’s Castle Hotel, Ballyvolane House, McCarthy’s of Kanturk, and Blairs Inn are among those “onboard”. Eventually each participant will be entitled to display a churn at his or her entrance.
Michael Twomey Butchers Wagyu beef burgers 
with Whitechurch (Hegarty’s) cheddar, 
house tomato chutney made from Annabella Farm tomatoes

The Cronin sisters, Trish and Martina, who own the Square Table, are enthusiastic members of the steering committee. “We can't do good food without producers…there is great produce in North Cork and we are trying to put it on the map. It will be a slow-burner to start with but the knock-on will boost the local profile. And we hope that other restaurants will source local, even in part.”

Maire, who runs the Blarney based Activity Days company, pointed out that there are farmers markets in Mallow, Fermoy and Macroom but they are not so well known.  She and the other members of the steering group, including the Blair brothers from Blairs Inn, are determined to put the region firmly on the map.
Ardsallagh goat cheese
with house beetroot chutney on parmesan shortbread

And when you've eaten, you’ll have no shortage of attractions to choose from in the area. The list, from the lovely Lee to the majestic Blackwater and beyond, includes Blarney Castle, Doneraile Park, Millstreet Country Park, Mallow Castle, and The Gearagh in Macroom.

From the late 18th century, for many decades, Cork was the centre of the world butter trade. Supplies came to the Butter Exchange in Shandon in the city by a network of butter roads. 
Liscannor crab with Annabella Farm carrots, pickled ginger, avocado Vietnamese rollsOld Mill Bank Smoked Salmon blended with Velvet Cloud sheep's yogurt and avocado on home made brown bread made with Macroom wholemeal flour

Perhaps the most famous is that from Castleisland in North Kerry to Cork, via Millstreet. East of Millstreet and west of Rylane, in a small place called Aubane, you’ll find a couple of roadside plaques (right) remembering the heyday of the road.

And here too you’ll see the Kerryman’s Table, a large slab of rock, where the travellers stopped for refreshment and no doubt to exchange gossip. 

And possibly to check their pocket-watches! When a supplier reached Shandon, he would ‘bring home the time' by adjusting his pocket watch at the clock tower.


Did he not know that the clock, with its four faces, one on each wall of the tower, was and is known as the four-faced liar? Read the full article on the butter road, by Jo Kerrigan, here

The old road was busy then, a hive of activity. And the meeting in Blarney gave every indication of making it, and the surrounding roads, every bit as busy again, feeding all the hungry travellers. Maybe, come May, there’ll be a bite or two out on the Kerryman’s Table! And if you don’t know the time, just check your mobile!
Carrigcleena Farm Poultry duck on crostini with Annabella Farm kale and house beetroot chutney

Before the meeting, the Cronins illustrated just what they were taking about with an amazing spread of tasty bites (more than enough to cover the Kerryman’s Table), all made from local produce. 

We had Old Mill Bank Smoked Salmon blended with Velvet Cloud sheep's yogurt and avocado on home made brown bread made with Macroom wholemeal flour; Ardsallagh goat cheese with house beetroot chutney on parmesan shortbread; Liscannor crab with Annabella Farm carrots, pickled ginger, avocado Vietnamese rolls; Carrigcleena Farm Poultry duck with Annabella Farm carrot puree, pickled carrots on crispy quinoa; Michael Twomey Butchers Wagyu beef burgers with Whitechurch (Hegarty’s) cheddar, house tomato chutney made from Annabella Farm tomatoes; Mc Carthy's of Kanturk black pudding wrapped in puff pastry and served with house piccalilli; Carrigcleena Farm Poultry duck on crostini with Annabella Farm kale and house beetroot chutney.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Blair Boys Talk the Talk And Walk the Walk.

Blair Boys Talk the Talk

And Walk the Walk

The Blair brothers, Richard and Duncan, can talk the talk and walk the walk. Whether as headliners at the recent major Irish festival in Milwaukee or as one of the stars of this year’s Theatre of Food at Electric Picnic, the Cloghroe duo can hold their own with the best.

But these naturals don't need a stage  to talk. They need no prompting to talk about the wonderful local produce they source for their much awarded Blairs Inn, no prompting to talk about their producers. And their producers include craft brewers. They love their beer here and were one of the first restaurants to produce a beer list as well as a wine list!
We were there for lunch in midweek. We had a superb lunch. And, yes, we had a lovely conversation. Beer was the first topic. We settled on the Radik American Style Pale Ale, an excellent one hop one indeed, produced by Cork based Belgian Alain Dekoster. Watch out for this guerrilla brewer - he can turn up anywhere - and by the looks of it, anything he turns out is top notch!

Anyhow, back to the lunch and my main course of Silverside of O'Crualaoi Corned Beef on a bed of champ served with Cabbage and Parsley sauce (16.50). This is the House Speciality, a dish that won over young and old alike during EP and one that I regularly order when I'm in Cloghroe. Always amazed at the amazing quality of this meat, an ancient Irish treat, enhanced on this occasion by a shared dish of flavoursome vegetables - the turnip was a treat - including those tasty baked roosters! And the recommended beer? Radik Pale Ale, of course!
CL meanwhile was tucking into Baked Fillet of Hake on a Gubbeen chorizo mash, served with a red pepper coulis. A great piece of fish, well cooked, but that mash too took its share of the spotlight and the light coulis also played a key role. And of course that dish of massive vegetables. Not forgetting her Pale Ale. Alain would have been happy to hear the praise!

Gubbeen too featured on my starter, also known as the Cloghroe Salad (8.65). Could have eaten the leaves supplied by their Mallow grower on their own!  But so well dressed and combined with warm brown bread, it was quite a treat, expertly assembled.
 And there was even more expertise in CL’s starter: Warm Tartlet of Ballinhassig Goat’s Cheese, creamed leeks and smoked salmon on a balsamic reduction (9.25). They lit the fire for us in Blair’s but we were already warming up with the excellent food.


Great stuff in this highly recommended award winning venue. Do visit and do join the conversation. You’ll have the craic here and be well fed.


Blair’s Inn
(021) 438 1470
Opening Hours
Mon-Thu 12.00pm to 11.30pm
Fri-Sat     12.00pm to 11.30pm
Sun          12.00pm to 11.00pm

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Michelin's Best Pubs to eat in. And a few of my own!

Seafood platter at the Seaview Tavern in Malin.
The Michelin ‘eating out in pubs’ guide

Thirty-four Irish pubs spread across fifteen counties have secured listings in the 2014 Michelin ‘Eating Out In Pubs’ Guide just published. 

Is that too many? Too few? What do you think? Perhaps we have too many listings of the best this and the best that! Still, that won’t stop me from adding a few of my own, in red at the bottom! I ate in all of my recommendations this year.

By the way, I’m not saying that any of those listed shouldn’t be there. Don’t know them all obviously but I have enjoyed the high standards in places such as the Wild Honey Inn in Lisdoonvarna and Cronin’s in Crosshaven.
Hake & Scallops lunch in Murph's

Of the twenty-seven pubs in the Republic of Ireland, five are new listings – Byrne and Woods (Roundwood), Tavern (Murrisk), Fallon’s (Kilcullen), Linnane’s Lobster Bar (New Quay) and Morrissey’s (Doonbeg). Three received Inspector’s Favourite listings – Wild Honey Inn (Lisdoonvarna), Deasy’s (Clonakilty) and Toddy’s at The Bulman (Kinsale).

Produced by leading tyre manufacturer Michelin, this year’s Guide recommends some 577 pubs spread across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland of which 70 are new entries and all of which are selected, first and foremost, for the quality of their food.

Noting that no one has to put up with bad food in a pub anymore, editor Rebecca Burr said that all pubs listed in the Guide have been “rigorously inspected” by a team of full-time inspectors – the same team who produce the famed Michelin Great Britain & Ireland restaurant guide.

The Michelin ‘Eating Out In Pubs’ Guide 2014 is now available in bookshops and online priced at EUR14.99.



The full list of 2014 Michelin ‘Eating Out In Pubs’ Guide listings for Ireland is:
 
DOWN (7)
Pheasant (Annahilt), Coyle’s (Bangor), Lisbarnett House (Comber), Grace Neill’s and Pier 36 (both in Donaghadee) and The Parson’s Nose and The Plough Inn (both in Hillsborough)

CORK (6)
Mary Ann’s (Castletownshend), Poacher’s Inn (Bandon), An Súgan and Deasy’s (Clonakilty), Cronin’s (Crosshaven) and Toddies at The Bulman (Kinsale).

CLARE (4)
Morrissey’s (Doonbeg), Vaughan’s Anchor Inn (Liscannor), Wild Honey Inn (Lisdoonvarna) and Linnane’s Lobster Bar (New Quay)

MAYO (3)
Crockets on the Quay (Ballina), The Tavern (Murrisk) and Sheebeen (Westport)

GALWAY (2)
Moran’s Oyster Cottage (Kilcolgan) and O’Dowd’s (Roundstone)

KERRY (2)
O’Neill’s Seafood Bar and QC’s (both in Caherciveen)

KILDARE (2)
Ballymore Inn (Ballymore Eustace) and Fallon’s (Kilcullen)

DUBLIN (1)
Chop House (Ballsbridge)

LEITRIM (1)
Oarsman (Carrick-on-Shannon)

LOUTH (1)
Fitzpatrick’s (Jenkinstown)

SLIGO (1)
Hargadons (O’Connell Street, Sligo)

TIPPERARY (1)
Larkin’s (Garrykennedy)

WESTMEATH (1)
Fatted Calf (Glasson)

WEXFORD (1)
Lobster Pot (Carne)

WICKLOW (1)
Byrne & Woods (Roundwood)

My Tuppence Worth

Donegal
SeaviewTavern  in Malin Head Village.
Olde Glen Bar in Carrickart.

Mayo
The Market Kitchen at Murphy Brothers Bar (Ballina)

Kerry
An Canteen (Dingle)

Cork
Blair’s Inn (Cloghroe)
The Rising Tide (Glounthaune)
Murph’s (East Ferry)
Charlie Mac’s (Fermoy)
Annie’s (Sunday’s Well)
Woodford (Paul Street, Cork)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Blair’s Inn. Hot Food and Fire!

Blair’s Inn. Hot Food and Fire!



Hard to beat a seat by the fire these days, especially one by the fireside in Blair’s Inn where, in addition to the comfort (not to mention the craic), you have a fantastic choice of top nosh and beer.

Called in there yesterday for lunch and got that seat by the fire before settling down to study the fantastic menu, the beer menu that is. Lots of craft beer on draught and much more in bottle, including the new deliciously spiced A Winter’s Ale from 8 Degrees.



St Tola Goat Cheese Tartlet
I picked a pint of the draught Friar Weisse (Franciscan Well) and then began to study the other fantastic menu as the place began to fill up. No slack here on a Tuesday! No shortage of craic either. One diner was advised that drinking too much water could result in rust!

Some great producer names on the menu but when I saw two of them together, I couldn’t resist. My choice: Warm Salad of Ummera Smoked Chicken and Gubbeen Chorizo. Delicious. CL also hit the jackpot with a terrific plateful of Warm St Tola Goat Cheese Tart with smoked salmon and creamed leeks. 
Corned Beef.


Resisting the urge to try some seasonal game, we agreed on the mains which is a house special. It is the Silverside of O’Crualaoi’s Irish Corned Beef on a bed of champ served with cabbage and a parsley sauce, not to mention a side plate of veg and another of baked potato. You can’t go wrong with this one. Highly recommended.

Indeed, the Blair’s Inn experience is highly recommended. Some great choices here. About a half dozen starters, all served with their Black Rock Stout Brown Bread. Then you may choose from a dozen main courses. Not too sure about the desserts, as we didn’t get that far!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Munster Eat-up at Blair’s Inn

Munster Eat-up at Blair’s Inn


Cheers to the Blairs. Duncan, Richard and their crew put in a tremendous show at the packed Cloghroe inn last evening as they hosted the latest version of the travelling show they've christened #munstertwEATup.

Most of the host restaurants so far have concentrated on the food element but the Blair boys went a step further as they added a craft brew layer with both beer and cider featured. Indeed, the evening started with a delicious Stonewell Cider Kir, sipped by the fireside.

Even the breads had a beer input: Black Rock Stout Brown Bread; Howling Gale Ale, Shandrum Cheese and Chive Bread; and a Cul Dorcha Toasted Walnut and Thyme Bread.  Dungarvan BrewCo, 8 Degrees and the West Kerry Brewery were represented on the night and there was a beer with each course.









Corned beef
 From a choice of starters, I picked the Ummera Smoked Chicken, Glenilen Farm Yoghurt, Celery and Apple Salad and the beer was Beal Ban, a pale English style bitter from West Kerry. A really tasty plateful and a good beer match. We were up and running.

The local theme continued with the next dish: Crispy Pork Belly, Seared Scallops, Stonewell Cider Foam, Apple and Celeriac Puree, McCarthy Black Pudding Crumble and Wild Ballyhoura Mushrooms. Quite a mouthful! All eased down with glass of the popular Howling Gale Ale from 8 Degrees.

I had enjoyed an opening pint of Friar Weisse from the Franciscan Well and that too featured in the Beer and Lime Sorbet. After that refreshing pause, it was on to the main course. We had a choice of three: Venison (Blair's are renowned for their game), Corned Beef or Hake.

Here, along with a glass of the well known Blarney Blonde from the Franciscan Well, I tucked into the Silverside of O’Crualaoi’s Corned Beef on a Leek Champ and cabbage served with a Parsley Sauce. Not a crumb remained!

Checking out Dungarvan Brew-Co's Project X ar Blair's

Also got a sample of the Baked Fillet of Hake on Roasted Peppers with a rustic Gubbeen Chorizo, Tomato and Chickpea Sauce but CL wasn’t as generous with her Helvick Head Blonde Ale from Dungarvan Brewco.

The beers and cider also featured in the gorgeous desert in a pot: Stonewell Cider and Blarney Blonde Ale Snake Bite Bavarois topped with a Carraig Dubh Chocolate Mousse. Smooth stuff and a very appropriate end to a lovely meal.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

PHEASANT WELCOME AT BLAIR'S INN

BLAIR’S INN


The game season is well underway and Blair’s Inn  is the place to be. Very enjoyable lunch there yesterday. 


After a warm welcome from Duncan – he sat us by the fire – we had a big choice to make between their famous venison casserole and the pheasant. In the end, I plumped for the bird. Oh, by the way, there are many other choices on the menu. 


This was the menu description for my mains: Half braised wild Wicklow pheasant on a chestnut stuffing, served with a wild mushroom and red wine sauce (€17.75). Must say this was a top drawer dish and I was delighted with it. 

The pheasant was perfectly cooked and the stuffing was delicious and all set up by a luxurious sauce with the mushroom pleasantly evident with excellent vegetables, including potatoes, also served separately. Five out of five for this one. And top marks too for the gluten free dessert, an Apple and Pear Cobbler with almonds and ice-cream. 

And the wine? No wine today. Just a smashing pint (€4.15) of the Dungarvan Brewing Company’s Coffee and Oatmeal Stout. Duncan told me: “Delighted you enjoyed the Coffee & Oatmeal. We are honoured to be one of the two pubs in the country (indeed, the only one outside of Dublin) to get hold of this very limited special brew. We are very lucky to have it. It is seriously good.” 

Just as well I had it as Tom Dalton, Sales and Distribution Manager with the Waterford company, was in the house. Duncan brought him to the table and we enjoyed our brief chat. Great to get the chance to say well done and keep up the good work! 


And well done too to Duncan and all the team at Blair’s Inn.