Showing posts with label Cork. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cork. Show all posts

Monday, February 13, 2017

Cork Indie Coffee Trail. A Guide by Dermot O’Sullivan

Cork Indie Coffee Trail
A Guide by Dermot O’Sullivan
So (seems to be the word to start with these days), you’re in Cork, looking for a cup of real coffee. You know there are some terrific indie cafés around the city. But do you know where they are? Where is ORSO? Where is Nectar Coffee?

Just mentioned this pair as they feature in the first page of the Indie Coffee Trail, a new guide (with directions) by local chef Dermot O’Sullivan, perhaps best known to many of you as @GasMarkSeven on Twitter. ORSO, by the way, is in Pembroke Street, close to the GPO while Nectar sits on the junction of Maylor Street and Parnell Place.

Dermot’s selection showcases “the best of what Cork city’s coffee scene has to offer”.  The cafés have added “another element to the cultural dimension of the city, forgotten buildings have been brought back to life… All the while, locals and visitors alike are becoming more knowledgeable and discerning with their coffee of choice”.

Other coffee haunts listed by Dermot included Dukes Coffeehouse, Filter Espresso & Brew Bar and its new little sister Portafilter, Union Grind, The Bookshelf, Idaho, Warren Allen, Alchemy, Cork Coffee Roasters (at two venues), Ali’s Kitchen, Rocket Man and Rocket Man East, Farmgate, Three Fools and Café Gusto (also two locations)

And there is a map of the city centre indicating where each can be found. A brief description of each café and the type of coffee available and also opening hours is included in the handy pocket sized booklet. And you are also told whether Wifi is available!

What are you waiting for? Hit the streets and discover Cork City’s coffee with Dermot’s help. You can get his guide in all tourist spots like tourist offices, hotels, most cafes listed, art galleries including UCC. Student centres too.

For further info, contact Dermot at CorkCoffeeTrail@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @gas_mark_seven. Check his blog www.gasmarkseven.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Salt Wine & Food on Victoria Road. A Winning Docket!

Salt Wine & Food on Victoria Road

A Winning Docket!

On the “vee" between Monahan Road and Victoria Road, there is an undistinguished low level building, close to a tool hire operation. It once housed a bookie’s office where you could lose your money on a nag without getting a run for it. At least nowadays, you’ll get value for your hard-earned cash as the modest building (maybe it looks better by day!) is now home to Salt, a wine bar and café with quite a distinguished menu of food and drink. I certainly felt like a winner as I left after a recent visit.
Tacos
It was a cold night and we were glad of the warm welcome inside. In no time at all we were seated and going through the evening menu of tapas (they also do breakfast and lunch, and brunch at weekends). The evening's specials were pointed out to us and they all looked tempting.

And speaking of temptation, the wine list is full of it, quite a selection of new and old world bottles and bubbles too. Some excellent gins too, Bertha’s Revenge and Dingle among them, and craft beers (both local, Eight Degrees, and imported, Brewdog). We settled on a glass each of the refreshing Real Compania Verdejo Tiera De Castilla (Spain) and of the aromatic Butterfly Ridge Riesling Gewurtz (South Australia), both very enjoyable indeed.

Watch out too for their occasional music nights (Flamenco during the Jazz Fest) and Wine Tasting Events (they included Italian and New Zealand nights last autumn) and they also held a Dine in the Dark Night. So lots happening here on the Victoria Road.


Coco Catalan
We ordered three different tapas to share. Now, as in most Irish cafes and restaurants, these are the bigger tapas (known as Racions in Spain), not the small ones that you devour with a bite or two. The three dishes, all excellent, and the two glasses of wine came to a few cent over forty euro.

We found each enjoyable but my top one was the Coco Catalan: Roast butternut squash and onion, confit garlic, nuts (can vary), raisins and pecorino on a lovely flat bread. This looked great and tasted every bit as good, quite a substantial dish too, bigger than your average starter.

CL was delighted with the Crispy Fish Tacos, cod served with fresh tacos, kimchi slaw, mango salsa, guacamole. She loved the colour, the texture, the flavours. Just goes to show, we don't always agree! Though I gave the nod to the Coco Catalan, I too was very happy with my half (well, almost half) of the Tacos!

We always enjoy Spanish tarts so the Tortilla del Sol was on our order. This Spanish omelette cooked with roast potatoes, confit onions, Espelette pimentos and garlic served with avocado, was served in four large pieces, ideal for sharing as indeed were all three tapas that we had. Ideally, a group of three or four is required here and then you can taste quite a few, including specials such as the three that were on offer the other night (see pic).

Service was top notch, friendly, chatty, helpful.

Mini Burgers. Pic by Salt
Salt
Victoria Road, Cork
Phone: (021) 239 0430
website: www.saltcork.ie 
Facebook: @saltcork
Twitter @saltcork

Opening Times (seasonal)
Mon-Tue 9.00-5.00
Wed-Fri 9.00-11.00
Sat 10.00-11.00
Sun 10.00-5.00

Directions here 


Monday, January 2, 2017

Best Hotel Dining Rooms 2016

2106: Best Hotel Dining Rooms 2016
Duck at Bellini's

Bellini's, Marlborough Hotel, Cork City
Scallops at Cahernane

Herbert Room, Cahernane House Hotel, Killarney
Baked Alaska (for table!) at Samphire

Samphire, Garryvoe Hotel, East Cork
Steak in The Pembroke

The Pembroke, Imperial Hotel, Cork City

2016 Reviews - see also
Cafes by the side of the road.
Best Places to Stay
Meals with a difference

Best Steaks & 3 Best non-Cork Restaurants 2016

2016: Best Places to Stay

Best Places to Stay 2016

Stayed in quite a few places this year. From Kerry to Meath, from Donegal to Dublin, from Limerick to Waterford,  from West Cork to Wexford. These were the best. Suggestions for 2017 welcome! 

 Screebe House, Connemara

Killiane Castle, Co. Wexford
Anyone for croquet at Killiane?

Cahernane House Hotel, Killarney.
Cahernane
Cork Recommendations
East Cork
Garryvoe Hotel, East Cork
Samphire Restaurant, Garryvoe Hotel
West Cork
 Celtic Ross Hotel, West Cork
Warren Beach, Rosscarbery


2016 Reviews - see also
Cafes by the side of the road.
Best Hotel Dining Rooms
Meals with a difference

Best Steaks & 3 Best non-Cork Restaurants 2016

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Game Time at the Square Table. Cronin Sisters in Top Form

Game Time at the Square Table
Cronin Sisters in Top Form
Visited Blarney’s Square Table during the week and delighted to see venison on the menu - it is that time of year! And it would be hard to get a better dish than that served up by Chef Martina Cronin. 

The full description was Roast Loin of Venison (braised venison, parsnip purée, chestnut, smoked bacon, Brussels sprouts). The meat was tender and delicious and the vegetables and jus were also brilliant. Not to mention the sides, especially that creamy puréed turnip. Cost €26.95.
Sisters, Chef Martina (left) and Tricia

It is a small restaurant but one with a big heart and they manage to pack so many good things into a short menu list. We were warmly greeted by Tricia, Martina's sister, and she soon had us seated and studying the menus. And she also took us through the specials which was where the venison popped up.

CL started with a special. The sisters support local producers and the salad special was based on leaves from Annabella’s Farm: the leaves came with roasted and pickled carrots,  artichoke, chervil root, butternut squash, pickled Ballyhoura mushrooms, Crozier Blue cheese and Velvet Cloud yogurt (8.95). Quite a combination and a delicious one.

Crispy egg, Ballyhoura mushroom, smoked bacon and Hollandaise sauce (€8.95) all featured in my excellent starter. 

On then to my venison while CL picked the fish dish: Pan-fried fresh Hake, Jerusalem artichoke and mussel velouté, Gubbeen Chorizo (22.50). The fish was perfect and the chorizo added an extra and very tasty dimension. Superb.

They have quite a good, if shortish, list of wines here, ranging from €22.95 for the house wines to over 40 in the whites and reds. Some tempting Albarinos and Rieslings along with an organic Tempranillo and a Croze Hermitage caught the eye. 

But, with another call to be made later on, we confined ourselves to a glass each of the house. I very much enjoyed my Domaine de Bosquet (France) blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc while CL was more than content with the Valle Andino Chardonnay from Chile. 

If you want to get an excellent idea of the top class food on offer here, why not try their Early Bird menu where you can get two courses for €24.95, three for €28.95.

* The Cronins support local and number Annabella Farm, Ballyhoura Mushrooms, Tom Durcan, Old Millbank, O'Connell's Fish, Ardsallagh Goats, The English Market, Gubbeen, Michael Twomey Butchers, East Ferry Free Range, Carrigcleena Poultry Farm, Hegarty's Cheddar, McCarthy's of Kanturk, Coolea Cheese, Macroom Mills, and more, among their suppliers.

The Square Table
5 The Square
Blarney
County Cork
Tel: (021) 438 2825
Twitter: @TheSquareTable5
Hours
Wed & Thurs: 6.00-9.00pm
Fri & Sat: 6.00-10.00pm
Sun: 12.30-4.30pm


Monday, December 12, 2016

ChilliShaker. New Indian Restaurant in Douglas

ChilliShaker
New Indian Restaurant in Douglas


I, and quite a few other guests, enjoyed a delicious meal as the new Indian restaurant, ChilliShaker, announced itself in Douglas last week. 

In a lovely room, hospitality was generously extended, no shortage of food or wine and no shortage of friendly faces either as ChilliShaker added to their restaurants in Swords (Dublin) and Letterkenny (Donegal).
Starters

Fine Indian Dining, they proclaim on the menu and that was exactly what we got. No sooner were we treated than a glass of bubbles was offered. And accepted! We sipped, sat back in comfort and took in the decor. 

A plate containing a selection of starters was next on the table and the chefs certainly showed their paces with different renditions of chicken, prawn and lamb.

By now, we were on to the wine and really enjoying the evening. Then we headed for the buffet where five bowls and nearly as many chefs awaited. The choices were Malabari Lamb, Three Pepper Chicken, Butter Chicken, Vegetable Hazari and Peas Pullao.

The Pullao was the rice, to go with everything else. And indeed, as far as I could see, everybody was choosing to take a little of everything. I followed suit and enjoyed the lot, especially the lamb and the Butter Chicken. But they were all excellent, even the Hazari which is a West Indian lentil and vegetable curry cooked in a tomato based sauce and finished with fresh coriander.
Jill and Aidan Foley

And as we finished the dish, seconds were offered. This time, I concentrated on that butter chicken, with rice of course. 

And what about all those chillies? No need to worry on that score, as the dishes on the menu are rated according to heat, going from nil chillis to three (for the hottest). Almost all the appetisers and many of the main courses are unmarked. 
Sandra Martin(left), Paul Woodage, Mary Rossiter

There are very few rated three. If you fancy the heat, then the Chicken Chettinad is one for you: a festive dish of the Chettiyar Clan in Tamil Nadu, it is a fiery dish made with black peppercorns, chillis, coconut ad fennel in a rich brown delicately spiced sauce!

That dish by the way costs €9.95, the same as many others. Quite a few too at €10.95. Some specials, such as Tandoori Jumbo Prawn and Jumbo Prawn Balti will cost you €14.50. Most of the appetisers are €3.95. The Hazari is one of over a dozen vegetable dishes. No shortage of sundries (sides) either, including rice, nan, popadom, even chips!
Renee and Albert Roser and Russel (R)

Watch out too for Early Bird offer, 5-7pm most evenings. And then there’s the Shaker Delight, a meal for two with mixer starters, mixed mains, rice and Nan Bread, and two beers, all for €28.99.

And if you haven't time to eat in the restaurant, they also provide a takeaway and delivery service. Delivery Times are: Mon-Thurs 6-10.30; Fri & Sat 6-11, Sun 6-10.

ChilliShaker
Douglas Village (opposite front of cinema, behind filling station)
Cork
Tel: 021 4366690
Facebook: @chillishaker
Web: http://www.chillishaker.com
Fergus and Sarah Callinan, Marie and Sean Clarke

Monday, November 28, 2016

Franciscan Well's Shane Long: Now, we can!

Franciscan Well's Shane Long: Now, we can!


Shane Long at the launch

No shortage of craic in the Franciscan Well pub on the North Mall last week when the local brewer officially launched their new can range in Cork. Three of their favourites, all tried and tested, are available in the new format: Friar Weisse, Chieftain Pale Ale and Ireland’s number one* craft beer Franciscan Well Rebel Red

The announcement marks the first time Franciscan Well, which is brewed in Cork, has canned any of its beers and also the first time that Friar Weisse or Chieftain IPA will be available for purchase in off-licenses.

Founder of Franciscan Well, Shane Long (right): "The decision to move to a canned format reflects the growing trend internationally, whereby more and more craft beers are sold in 330ml can format. This is something that has been prevalent in the U.S. and has proven extremely popular. We are confident this will be the case as we roll out craft in a can for beer-lovers here in Ireland, making our award-winning range of beers even more accessible and readily available.” The new cans also chill quickly and are recyclable.

All brewing and canning will take place at Franciscan Well’s new brewery in Cork City. The brewery opened last year, allowing for operational growth and further expansion for Ireland’s leading craft beer brand, while staying true to Franciscan Well’s proud history and identity as one of Ireland and Cork’s favourite craft beers. The nearby North Mall brew-pub and home of Franciscan Well will be used an innovation centre, while remaining a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

There was a pre-Christmas feel to the bar as we walked in to be welcomed with a choice of cans, of course. Must admit we both picked the Chieftain, a favourite here since it was launched. And later, I switched to draught and again couldn't resist that Chieftain! Next time, though I renewed acquaintance with the wheat beer, Friar Weisse, with is distinctive colour, aroma and flavour. The Friar (left) was one of my early Well favourites and, after the other night, it is going back on my short list.

It wasn't just beer on the night. The place was packed and there was music galore and no shortage of pizza either. Pompeii Pizza have a permanent place here and I saw why when I ordered one of their offerings, with  Chorizo and Mushroom toppings (€11.00). Enjoyed every little bit.

Check out the pizza, the music (including trad sessions), the tours and tastings on the website here. The new cans also chill quickly and are recyclable. And keep up to date on their Facebook place.




*AC Nielsen ROI On-Trade MAT to end August 2016

Monday, October 31, 2016

Franciscan Well 16th Annual October Beer Festival. Some of the very best!

Franciscan Well October Beer Festival 
Some of the very best!


Is was all that jazz and all that beer too in Cork last weekend. My first outing of the weekend was to the Franciscan Well on North Mall where they had installed a great line-up of top class world beers, quite a few of them “rated amongst the top beers in the world”.

But where to start at this 16th annual October Beer Festival? Hard decision to make when you see some twenty or more taps in front of you. And that was just outside. Many more inside, including their own excellent beers. And they also introduced their own Craftail Bar. This is upstairs and is called the Stave and Chime and the cocktails are based mainly on Jameson whiskey and Franciscan beers.

But back to the outdoor heated beer tent where a decision had been made for our opening duo: Moinette Bio and Nicotto. The Nicotto (6%) is a Japanese style beer made by the Barcelona Beer Company, made with Sorachi (a hop of Japanese origin) and also includes green tea, jasmine and tangerine peel. A really superb beer, clean and fresh.

The Moinette Bio (7.5%) is, as you’ve probably guessed, an organic beer, really well balanced between mellowness, fruitiness and bitterness. This well struck combination is a real thirst quencher, more mellow than the Nicotto, another clean beer that finishes with a hint of clove.

Two good ones to start and the next pair, Rodenbach Caractere Rouge and Biere de Miel, continued the very high standard. The Rodenbach (7%) was possibly the stand out beer. It is billed as a red/brown sour and it is sour but also packs amazing fruitiness. The beer is macerated with fresh cherries, raspberries ad cranberries and, after that, is matured in oak barrels. Rodenbach have had a great deal of practice as the brewery was established in 1836.

The Biere de Miel (8%) is a honey saison. Don't let the honey put you iff. You’ll catch a pleasant whiff of it in the aromas and a delicate presence on the palate but this is a well balanced refreshing dry beer, again some clove on the finish. All good so far!

There were beers there from the UK, Germany, Spain (our 1st one), and the US, but we were mainly on the Belgians and that was the case with the next two. One was the St Bernardus ABT 12 and the other the Houblon Chouffe.

The Barnardus (10%) is a quadrupel, full of complex flavours, great fruit and with a superb finish. It is regarded as one of the best beers in the world and would put many a wine to shame. In this context, quadrupel means it is stronger than a tripel which is stronger than a duppel!

As it happens our Houblon (9%) is a tripel IPA and another very good one. I must say, the beer descriptions on the Franciscan Well leaflet were pretty much spot-on and I agreed one hundred per cent with their take on this well balanced tripel: big malty body, distinct dryness, and expressive estery fruitiness.


And to finish? I had been thinking about two from the dark side until tempted by a cocktail from upstairs: the well named O’Sullivan’s Sour. O’Sullivan was the chieftain that gave the land to the Franciscan monks back in the day and, of course, the Chieftain Pale Ale is in the lovely mix. It is made with Beefeater London Dry Gin, St Germain elderflower liqueur, freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice, grenadine syrup, and topped off with the IPA. Colourful and delightful, a lovely end to a very interesting and rewarding session indeed.



Sunday, January 24, 2016

At the Club Brasserie, Old Chum Be good. Be Bold. Be There!

At the Club Brasserie, Old Chum

Be good. Be Bold. Be There!
Relax at the Club Brasserie, one of Cork's most gorgeous dining venues. Many of us want to be “good” in January and Beth will help you there. Have you seen her inviting display of salads? 

But, if you want to be bold, with a glass of wine or two, well she’ll help you there too, all the way to a delicious dessert. And to be serious for a moment, there is a major welcome here for coeliacs as 95% of the new menu is gluten free!

In any event, you’ll get a warm welcome from Beth and her staff. Smiles and chat all the way to the bar if you enjoy a pre-meal drink or to your table if you want to get started there. Facilities, comfort and service are all excellent here and so too is the food.
Chicken
 We had lunch there at the weekend and it was superb. My main course came from the Specials Board: Organic Salmon Potato Cakes with a spinach butter sauce (€10.50). The cakes were so well cooked, beautifully crisp on the outside and a well judged mix of potato and flavoursome salmon inside, all with a lovely sauce and salad.

Roasted marinated chicken breast with Rosemary and garlic rustic potatoes, Romesco sauce, Saffron Aioli and mixed leaves (€12.00) as CL’s pick. Again, the chicken was perfectly cooked and the flavours were magic. Even the potatoes were a delight.

Perfect!
As you can see, we skipped the salads but that was just because we wanted something cooked on the day. Another day, we’d be delighted to dip into a selection that includes: Rainbow Rice, Potato Salad, Superfood Salad, Peppery Chickpea Salad, Roasted Broccoli and Feta Salad, and Asian Salad. You can have a mix of two or three.

And if time, or cash, is scarce on the day, you can still have nice lunch here. Eight euro will get you half a sandwich and soup, and for ten you'll get the full sandwich and soup. The sandwiches themselves cost €7.50 and options are: Pastrami; Honey Glazed Ham; Organic Seared Salmon; and Bang Bang Chargrilled Chicken. We had started with the soup, a lovely warming bowl of Leek and Potato.
Some of the salads.
And were we bold? Well, a little! It takes two to tango and dessert was shared. It was a beauty: Honey Parfait with a delicious drizzle and a scattering of pomegranate and pistachio nuts.

On the way out I had a quick look at the new dinner menus. Lots of temptation there also. No shortage of starters, including: Spiced Potato Fritters; Spiced West Cork Crab Spring Rolls; Sizzling Prawns and more. My pick might be the Warm Salad of Roasted Pear, Crispy Pancetta and Cashel Blue cheese, with walnuts, honey and mustard dressing.

Lots of local ingredients are used here and the mains selection illustrates that aspect: East Cork Lamb; O’Connell’s Fillet Steak; and then there’s the Tempura of Cod with a Yuzu Mayonnaise. Think I'd be looking seriously at the other fish dish here, the Baked Hake with gremolata crust, piperade, tomatoes, black olives, cream and Parmesan cheese. Oh yes and a glass or two of wine! Even in January.
Club Brasserie
City Quarter, Lapps Quay, Cork.
(021) 427 3987
Email: beth.theclubbrasserie@hotmail.com
Facebook: The Club Brasserie
Twitter: @clubbrasserie