Showing posts with label Blairs Inn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blairs Inn. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Best Steak. Best Game. 2017

Best Steak 2018

Sligo steak
Cork butcher, Tom Durcan, turned up more than once in the the steak stakes in 2017, benefitting from the decision of the Globe to go local (after the takeover by Clayton) and by the return of the Oyster Tavern (a few yards from Tom's stall in the English Market). Best sauce was the Jameson at the Embassy in Sligo. The list is in no particular order.

Darwin's, Dublin. ..with an excellent Barolo jus

Embassy, Sligo... with Jameson Whiskey sauce

The Globe, at the Cork City Clayton Hotel... with a trio of sauces

The Cornstore, Cork... always good for steak!

The Oyster Tavern, Cork..outstanding flavour from the Durcan steak

The Ivory Tower, Cork, with a Peruvian touch

The Commons Inn, Cork ... Irish Hereford beef steaks are aged 35 days

Sage, Midleton, County Cork. Superb beef from Charlie Terry.

The Maestro at Radisson Blu, Little Island, Co. Cork. Outstanding fries & Portobello mushroom







Murrisk Pie
Best Game Dishes

The Tavern at Murrisk, Westport

Blairs Inn, Cloghroe, Co. Cork

Barnabrow, East Cork

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Game On at Blairs Inn


Game On at Blairs Inn
Venison casserole

The crew in Blairs Inn in Cloghroe are always game for a laugh, summer or winter. But this time of year, four-legged and feathered game is in season and is served up in many delicious ways by the kitchen of this renowned country pub, a few miles from Cork City and Blarney.

A laugh and a smile are guaranteed here, directions too if you’re a tourist seeking the next beauty spot or watering hole; they’ve even been known to change a wheel for a customer. 
Pheasant

Not that you’ll ever be in a hurry to leave the pub. In winter, the fires are burning and the company's good. You’ll get the same company in the summer in the garden by the little Sheep River. And it’s also a terrific place for craft beer, one of the first places in Ireland where I was given a multi-page craft beer menu to choose from.

The craft beer is still going strong here and, indeed, the beer I had for lunch was something special. It is a Gluten Free stout, Stag Saor*, and is on draught, Ireland's first. 

GF and on draught
Richard Blair, one of two brothers now running the pub, told me of a satisfied customer of a few days earlier. A coeliac, the man hadn’t drunk stout, his favourite tipple, for twenty years but, having sampled the Star Saor, left Blair's Inn with tears of gratitude.

I had noticed they were using the Ballyvourney stout in my Venison Casserole so, of course, I ordered a pint. And it proved a great match for the rich casserole of Wicklow venison (16.95) which was served with a side dish of root vegetables, some broccoli too and a big baked potato! Great stuff.

CL was eagerly tucking into her Wild Irish Pheasant (half!), with aromatic gin and juniper stuffing, mushrooms and a red wine sauce (16.50). Another superb dish. Thought she might have had a G & T with this but no she settled, quite happily as it turned out, for the Scarlet Pimpernel by Killarney Brewing.

Lots of choice here, including the corned beef dish for which the Blairs are well known. Meat features strongly but, in fairness, they have no less then three fish dishes in the mains as well. Beside, they have one-plates meals (including a massive Wagyu beef burger), and there are salads, baps and open sandwiches.
Bluebell goats

Good choice of starters too though both of us went for cheese based dishes. Having tried, unsuccessfully, to milk one of their goats earlier in 2017, CL has a soft spot for Bluebell Falls so no surprise that she picked a warm tartlet of the cheese, with creamed leeks and smoked salmon, a terrific flavoursome dish for €8.65.
Gubbeen

For the same money, I enjoyed a lovely salad of Gubbeen and seasonal leaves. Very pleased with that one. Indeed, very pleased with the meal overall as is consistently the case here.

* Saor is Irish for free and producers, 9 White Deer from Ballyvourney, already have a full set of Gluten Free beers in bottle.
Another venison dish, this from the evening menu.
Cloghroe
Blarney
Co. Cork
Tel: (021) 438 1470



Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Old Butter Roads Food Trail Launch. Great Weekend of food and fun in Blarney.

The Old Butter Roads Food Trail Launch

Great Weekend of food and fun in Blarney
We are nothing without the producers - Chef Martina Cronin
Here are five of the best speaking in Blairs on Monday.
Clockwise from top left: Tim McCarthy, Justin Greene, Don O'Leary,
Rubert Atkinson and Pat Mulcahy.

The Old Butter Roads Food Trail is up and running following a sunny (mainly!) weekend launch in the Blarney area. The event was officially opened on Saturday in the Church of Ireland by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed.
Wild Boar at Square Table
There were butter making demos at the Butter Museum, talks at the Hydro Farm Allotments, a pony and trap delivery of churns (the symbol of the food trail) to participating businesses, an ecology walk and talk (by Tom O’Byrne) at Clogheen Milken, the Gab story-telling competition, a smoked produce demo in the Old Blarney Post Office Café, a showcase multi-course dinner in the Square Table, an open weekend at The Farm in Grenagh and a Monday demo, with food and cocktails, at Blairs Inn.


And it wasn’t just Blarney members that were involved. There were producers plus restaurant and café operators from all over the area involved, Duhallow, Muskerry and Avondhu, a serious (if fun-filled) statement of intent for the many events ahead over the rest of the year. Expect a gathering (with food for sure) at the Kerryman’s Table in Aubane, a Tapas style event in Mitchelstown, a Long Table feast by the Killavullen Farmers Market, and more.


Wagyu beef (left) and Angus rib-eye at Square Table
Current members:
Ballinwillin House www.ballinwillinhouse.com
Blair’s Inn www.blairsinn.com
Peppers at The White Deer www.peppersmallow.com
Blarney Castle Hotel www.blarneycastlehotel.com
Nibbles Millstreet www.nibbles.ie
The Square Table www.thesquaretable.ie
Castle Hotel Macroom www.castlehotel.ie
The Old Blarney Post Office Café www.blarneycafe.com
Thatch & Thyme www.thatchandthyme.com
Praline Mitchelstown www.praline.ie
O’Callaghan’s Restaurant www.ocallaghans.ie
Longueville House www.longuevillehouse.ie
O’Brien’s Free Range Eggs, 
Hydro Farm Allotments www.hydrofarmallotments.com
Osbourne Butchers www.blarneybutchers.com
9 White Deer Brewery www.9whitedeer.ie
Longueville House Beverages www.longuevillahouse.ie/artisan.html
Folláin www.follain.ie, 
Annabella Farm, 
Twomey’s Butchers www.mtwomeybutchers.ie
Killavullen Farmers Market www.killavullenfarmersmarket.weebly.com , McCarthy’s Butchers Kanturk www.jackmccarthy.ie
Hegarty’s Cheese, 
Toonsbridge Dairy www.therealoliveco.com
St Anne’s Shandon www.shandonbells.ie, 
Activity Days www.activitydays.ie, 
The Farm Grenagh www.visitthefarm.ie
Cork Butter Museum www.corkbutter.museum


List subject to change as new members join.
The Blairs, Duncan (left) and Richard trying one of his cocktails

Sunday night’s multi-course dinner in the Square Table perfectly illustrated the depth and range of produce available in the general North Cork area.

The opening selection of canapés: 
Lamb Tartare;
Toonsbridge ricotta, apple, hazelnut, beetroot;
Old MillBank smoked salmon rice paper roll, avocado, pickled ginger;
Macroom Buffalo mozzarella, basil pesto, tomato tapenade;
Carrigcleena Farm cured duck, beetroot chutney, confit ginger.

Then, from McCarthy’s Butchers in Kanturk, we had a Black Pudding Roll with house piccalilli and also Crispy Bacon with apple purée.

Next it was the turn of Michael Twomey's Butchers in Macroom: Wagyu beef burger with Hegarty’s Cheddar and house tomato chutney and also enjoyed their Agnus rib-eye with duck fat chip and O’Brien’s free range egg béarnaise.
Hake at the Square Table

Fish then had its turn and the Pan-fried hake (from K O’Connell’s), with Annabelle Farm spinach and mussel velouté was a splendid combination, another tasty testament to the produce and to the skill of Martina in the kitchen, as indeed was the whole meal.

Now we were on  to the Ballinwillin Wild Boar, braised and cured and served with caramelised potato gnocchi, aged Coolea cheese, Ballyhoura Mushrooms and wild garlic. Great stuff.

Dessert was McCarthy’s Natural Dairy’s Buttermilk, foamed, with rhubarb, confit ginger and speculous crumble. Hegarty’s Cheddar  and Toonsbridge smoked Scamorza featured on the cheese plate and the highlight here, as part of the week long tribute in Cork to Veronica Steel, was Milleens Cheese with fig jam. All washed down with a drop of apple brandy from Longueville House who earlier supplied a glass of their excellent cider.
Dessert at the Square Table

And the top class food and drink continued on Monday in the garden at Blair’s Inn where the brothers Richard and Duncan were the hosts, Richard coming up with some inventive cocktails (using everything from stout to apple brandy to gin) while Duncan did the cooking demos.

Longueville's Apple Brandy
went down well at Square Table
Highlight here were the passionate speeches from the producers. Don O’Leary of 9 White Deer Brewery, Justin Greene of Bertha’s Revenge Gin and Ballyvolane House, Timmy McCarthy of McCarthy’s Kanturk, Pat Mulcahy of Ballinwillin House, and Rupert Atkinson of Longueville House all spoke well of their own products, and of the other products of the area.

But there was no trumpet blowing at the expense of other areas. This was underlined, simply and with some wisdom, by Tim McCarthy. If you enjoy the brown bread in Mayo than that's the best in Ireland; if you enjoy the brown bread in Cork, then that's the best in Ireland. 

So enjoy the best of local, wherever you are. And if you are anywhere near the Old Butter Roads Food Trail these coming months, you will be eating, and drinking, very well indeed.
Cheese for two at Square Table
Get the latest on their Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/OldButterRoads/
on Twitter at @oldbutterroads
The Old Butter Road platter at Blairs

Thursday, April 20, 2017

BLAIRS INN OLD BUTTER ROADS FOOD TRAIL FESTIVAL

BLAIRS INN OLD BUTTER ROADS FOOD TRAIL LAUNCH

Duncan Blair has been on to tell us all about their plans for the launch:

> We'll have special Old Butter Road Trail dishes on our menus throughout the launch weekend (28th April to May 1st). We'll be serving artisanal Butter Road cocktails and craft beers throughout all weekend. On Bank Holiday Monday at 4pm we'll be putting on a cooking, craft cocktail and beer Demo in our garden. We be cooking up dishes and breads featuring the produce of the Butter Road.
>
> Hake on Waterfall Farm Kale with a caper Beurre blanc
> Confit of McCarthy's pork belly with a Gubbeen chorizo cassoulet
> Nine White Deer Stout glazed Macroom short rib of beef
> Stag Bán beer & lime sorbet with a Longueville Cider foam
> 60 second beer bread
> Cotton Ball Stout brownies
>
> Richie will be showing off his cocktail skills using our range of artisanal gins, vodkas & whiskeys.
>
> We'll be giving out samples of food and drink. We'll also be serving a special three course dinner featuring the dishes from the demo.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Summer in Blairs County

Summer in Blairs County
Summer time finds us in Blairs County, dipping into some gorgeous salads and sipping ( maybe even gulping!) some terrific craft beer in the gardens of Blair’s Inn.

Don't know of any other restaurant where you get a Beer List as a separate offering from the Wine List. And they have some fantastic beers to choose from. A couple from Dungarvan Brew Company on cask, the hugely popular Howling Gale Pale Ale from Eight Degrees along with Friar Weisse (a favourite of mine) from Franciscan Well on draught and loads more in bottle.

Cashel Blue and Roasted Pears
Top beers in bottle include the tasty West Kerry Brewery Blonde Ale (known as Beal Ban) and don’t forgot you can also have the ace Stonewell cider (dry or medium dry) in bottle from the Nohoval Brewing Company.

And then there is a star studded line-up of imports, including a  couple by Brew Dog and Sierra Nevada from the US. There is a “jokey” presentation employed by the Belgians that make Brugse Zot Blonde Ale but the brewers aren’t clowning around and this 6 per-center is a serious gem and highly recommended. Really enjoyed that one.

Oh, I almost forgot. We did go there for the lunch. And we weren't disappointed on that score either. Those Oysterhaven mussels, neat and tasty, are delicious, especially with  that White Wine and Garlic Cream Sauce.
Copper Coast Ale
from the cask!

It was super hot in the Blair’s Inn kitchen and still the team came up with the goods. Absolutely thrilled with my mains: Warm Salad of Cashel Blue Cheese and Roasted Pears. CL took the cool route and she was impressed with the Cold Meat Platter of the Day (mainly chicken and O’Crualaoi’s corned beef) served with salad, pickle and their own gorgeous Chutney.

What better way to finish off this delightful summer lunch, eaten as the little river bubbled along at the end of the garden, than with a bowl of luscious strawberries!

Now stop clowning around with my Brugse Zot. Wonder if Mr Bradley has some of those in North Main Street!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

WELL FED AT BLAIRS INN


BLAIRS INN

All the hanging baskets and window boxes were catching the sun as I landed at Blairs Inn in Cloghroe yesterday for lunch.

Blairs bills itself as a traditional pub and restaurant and is popular with tourists and locals alike. It is regarded as one of the top gastro-pubs in the country and you’ll be well fed here.

Dishes in Blairs are quite substantial, so we skipped the starter and, while waiting for the mains, enjoyed a bottle of that splendid Stonewell cider (€5.50) from Nohoval. The Braised Shank of Lamb on a basil mash, served with a Redcurrant and Rosemary jus, arrived and looked good in the dish.

Then another dish arrived! With the vegetables: turnips, broccoli and carrots, all cooked to perfection. And that wasn't all as there was also some top notch baked potatoes (smooth roosters) there. Quantity for sure and quality also.

Took my time with that lot but there was zilch left on the main plate and that pleased our hosts no end. Service, with a  smile,  was excellent and courteous and no pressure to take dessert or coffee. Beyond me, in any case.

The bill, for two lamb and two cider, came to €46.90.

Monday, July 11, 2011

BLAIRS INN: A TOP SPOT


BLAIRS INN
Corned Beef and Cabbage. As a starter! Yes and it proved a really tasty beginning to an excellent weekend meal at Blairs Inn.

What a menu they have there. If you combine the pages from the bar and restaurant menus, I reckon you could be eating there for a year and still have combinations to explore.

And then there are the drinks. There is an excellent wine list, for sure. But also lots of local (and international) drinks including craft beers from Dungarvan, Carlow, Eight Degrees (North Cork) and the new cider sensation Stonewell by the Nohoval Brewing Company.

After a big welcome and a chat with Richard we sat down in the cosy restaurant – they also have a lovely garden dining area – to go through the menus.

My starter was a Warm Tian of O’Crualaoi’s Corned Beef and Cabbage with a creamy Parsley dressing (€7.70). If you get out there, you should really try this. The beef, supplied by the well known Ballincollig butcher, was spot-on as was everything else in this well presented cylinder shaped offering of good local food.

Then on to the main course: Pan fried fillets of Sea Bass on a Chorizo mash with a sundried tomato and rocket dressing and a side plate filled with vegetables and another with gratin potato, both done to perfection. Again, another excellent plateful.

And a big plateful. Indeed, both starter and mains were quite substantial, so much so that I had to forego the dessert.

They helpfully suggest, on the menu, various drinks with each course; the tips for me were a wheat beer with the starter and a dry cider with the fish. I was in the mood for wine and settled on a bottle of their highly recommended an excellent Hopler Gruner Veltliner (Burgenland, Austria) 2009 (€26.95).

You get a great welcome here and also help and advice. Quite a few tourists make their way here and they must be impressed with the local knowledge that the owners and staff so freely dispense.

Lovely food, lovely place and lovely people. A return visit is on the cards. And not just for me.