Showing posts with label East Ferry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label East Ferry. Show all posts

Monday, July 4, 2016

The Café At Stephen Pearce Pottery.

The Café At Stephen Pearce Pottery
At The End Of The Lane
I was sitting in the Cafe at Stephen Pearce Pottery when I heard them. I looked up at the sloping ceiling, up beyond the many paintings of fruits and vegetables, expecting to see a swallow or two. But, no. The bird sounds were coming from the room next door, from a couple of lovebirds.


There were other happy sounds from that quarter too, from children playing with a lump of clay on a worktop with a wall in front decorated with the prints of lots of little hands. So here the kids are engaged while mum and dad enjoy the food and drink next door.


And if the weather is fine, you will hear the birds and other little creatures as you sit and dine in one of the two quite attractive outdoor areas, each surrounded by wind-stopping trees and bushes.

But all these desirable extras aside, it is the food you come from. Chef Christine Crowley won't let you down, whether you've come for brunch or lunch or just a cup of the Golden Bean coffee and one of her delicious cakes. Actually, if you're going to confine yourself to just one cake, make it the absolutely delicious Carrot and Walnut. Then again…..
We were there for lunch recently, arriving just as they changed the boards. That gave us a chance to see the Brunch Menu and that too is very tempting. Lots of drinks here too, teas and coffees, waters and juices. And a short wine list that includes Cremant d’Alsace to add a little sparkle to your visit.

I had heard good mention of the Steak Sandwich (€10.00) so I picked that. It was one of the best of its type I’ve come across. The ingredients are simply stated: sourdough, steak, caramelised onions, garlic mayonnaise and dressed leaves. Simply delicious, as someone famous down Shanagarry way would say!
Virtually everything on your plate is local. The sourdough is by Pana, the steak from Frank Murphy Butchers. Other names on the list include fish smoker Bill Casey (a next door neighbour), The Village Green Grocer in Castlemartyr, Rosscarbery Recipes, Jack McCarthy Kanturk, Ardsallagh Goats Cheese, East Ferry Farm, Darren’s Eggs Ballymaloe, Wilkie’s Organic Hot Chocolate and Golden Bean Coffee.

CL’s pick was the Bruschetta with roasted red peppers, hummus, grilled gourgette, served with dressed leaves. This eye-catching palate-pleasing plateful cost just €8.50. Excellent eating, excellent value.

Then it was time for coffee and that Carrot and Walnut cake! If a whole flock of swallows had flown in at that moment, I wouldn’t have heard them, such was my concentration on that superb wedge of moist sweetness in the lovely café at the end of a Shanagarry boreen.
The Café at Stephen Pearce Pottery
Shanagarry
County Cork
Tel: 086 199 6934
Email: thecafeatspp@gmail.com
Twitter: Twitter @TheCafe_SPP

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!
Scallops
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.
Chicken
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

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Granary Foodstore Celebrates 20 Years! Popular Cafe in centre of Midleton town.

Granary Foodstore Celebrates 20 Years!
Popular Cafe in centre of Midleton town
“It was nice to mark the 20th anniversary”, said Jack O’Sullivan of Midleton’s Granary when I met him in the restaurant earlier this week. “The Kids Bake-off was a highlight but there was more. We had music, face painting as well, and there was a lovely atmosphere.” The beginnings were small but The Granary has developed into a fine family business, a much loved one, and Jack’s goal is to improve it but “still using the home style of cooking”.

It was his mother Eleanor who started the business. When she opened the door for the first time twenty years ago, the punters started coming. But there was an opening day drama, a little one. The cash till had not arrived as scheduled! But it soon appeared and they were up and running.
Laura (Manager), Jack, his mum Eleanor,
Alison (Head Chef) and Magda
That was in the original premises, nearer the distillery. It was in an old grain store, and that’s where the name came from. Eleanor, who still works in the cafe, had gained her experience in the town’s Farm Gate and one of her jobs was to make fresh pasta and that may well have been the first fresh pasta in Ireland.

She started off in her Granary making ready-made meals and baking, all done in the kitchen. It went very well indeed but, nonethless, ten years later, it was a bold move to the new development on the square, taking on a much bigger premises, the aim being to keep on doing the same, still more of a food shop than a sit-down cafe.
Bit by bit though, the ready-made sales started to slip and so the decision was made to make the restaurant, serving simple meals, the main focus. Jack, with limited opportunities in his chosen profession of quantity surveyor, was now on board.

“We were the first to do breakfast in the town. It took off well and is still busy. We offer it up to 3.30 and that suits customers. For lunch and brunch, we have some very regular customers, the same faces. It is great to look after them, they are fantastic. Loyalty is important and it works both ways. Honesty is another quality here, another important factor for us.”
We asked him if there was anything on the menu that the customers must have. “Oh yes there is. Our Crispy Chicken Wrap. We tried taking that off the menu but it provoked quite a reaction. So many customers come just for that wrap. And the Lamb Stew is another dish that we’ve been doing from day one.” By the way, we were sitting at a table that had been kept from the original Granary.

Founder Eleanor with Therese
O 'Donovan (Pastry Chef) 
His own favourite is a salad. “Yes, I look forward to them. We have a great variety and all are made here in the kitchen. And they are also very popular as a takeout. There is a trend now towards healthy food and that is going well for us. Still though, our cake display is another big draw for us.” The cakes, again all made on the premises, are unmissable; you see a table laden with tempting choices as you come in.

We asked Jack if many tourists visit. “We don't rely on tourists but this year, for some reason, quite a few more have come to us. There is good cooperation between the restaurants and cafes in the town. For instance if we are about to close or getting near to that time, we’d recommend another nearby venue.”

The Granary supports local producers including O’Farrell Butchers, Ballycotton Seafood, Pana Breads, Jack Cuthbert breads, East Ferry, and Leamlara Micro Greens.

Salad lunch
 Aside from Jack and his mother, there are 13 staff employed, “a great team”. “Our head chef is Allison, our pastry chef is Therese. People come from far and wide to work for us and that is encouraging. We have and need a very organised team here. Everything is freshly made.”


On our visit, we tried out a couple of those salads. I loved mine, based on Gubbeen salami. And, another tip, do try their Tunisian Orange Cake, gorgeous aroma, texture and flavour. And if you wish to find out more, check their website http://granary-foodstore.com where you’ll find the menu and even a few of their recipes!


My lunch at the Granary

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Electric Breakfast For Taste Cork. Producers, Restaurateurs Pull Together

Electric Breakfast For Taste Cork
Producers, Restaurateurs Pull Together


The local plate!

Taste Cork, set up with supports from the Local Enterprise Offices in Cork, Cork City Council and Cork County Council, and other state agencies, held a Breakfast Seminar at Electric in the South Mall yesterday morning.

The goal of Taste Cork is to help the county nurture its enviable status as an iconic food brand and that was underlined with the produce on the breakfast plate: Jack McCarthy’s bacon, O’Flynn’s Breakfast sausage, Rosscarbery Black pudding, Ballyhoura mushroom, East Ferry Fried eggs and Ballymaloe Relish. Electric’s own brown bread went down well while other highlights were Wilkie's Organic Hot Chocolate and Bean Brownies Banana Bread.

Taste Cork, fronted by Rebecca O’Keeffe, is determined to get Cork produce the exposure it deserves, to help the local producers as much as possible. And one practical way is the opening, in a few days, of the Cork Incubator Kitchen in the Carrigaline Industrial Estate (on the Crosshaven Road).

A breakfast highlight (above) and
another, Wilkie's hot chocolate, below.

Brendan Russell has taken on the management reins here and told the full house of producers and restaurateurs in Electric that the facility will have two kitchens. One is the Bakery Kitchen, fully equipped, with a state of the art triple deck oven the highlight. The other is called the Catering Kitchen. This will be for preparation work in volume and equipment here includes a quick vacuum packer and a sealing machine.

The website will soon be up and running and that will make it easy to register. Brendan, who has spent 16 years as a chef, has a good understanding as to why businesses succeed (and fail) and education will also feature under the following headings:
1 - Theory of Practicality;
2 - Business Understanding;
3- Catering Skills;
4 - Work Relations.

The event was opened by Sean O’Sullivan and he was delighted that funding had been provided for the full-time position in Taste Cork. Both he and Rebecca are looking forward to getting everyone “to start looking locally”. And so say all of us. You can see my motto on the site here: Buy local, fresh and fair. The more we pull together, the further we will go.


Kevin Aherne is one man who has been doing exactly this for the past five years and his innovative 12 Mile Menu was recognised by his peers on Tuesday evening in Killarney when his Sage Restaurant in Midleton won Restaurant of the Year in Cork.

Kevin spoke later at the seminar and we’ll have a post on that tomorrow. Mary Daly (Food Safety Company) also spoke in Electric and she too stressed the importance of local: “Provenance is hugely important. Taste Cork can play a big role.” More too from Mary tomorrow. Part Two is now up and running and you can see what Kevin and Mary said here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Jacques. The Gold Standard.

Jacques. The Gold Standard.


Barbecued Smoked Quail
For 35 years now, Jacques has been setting the standard for restaurants in Cork. With the Barrys' unswerving commitment to local produce and high class cooking, it looks as if the calm and comfortable Phoenix Street venue will be the benchmark for years to come.

Was in there at the weekend. There were happy sounds in the main restaurant and, going by the twitter reaction, these were matched by the murmurs of approval in their adjoining small-plate room that opens onto Oliver Plunkett Street. You may access both from each street. But be sure to book. This is a popular spot, particularly towards the weekend.

I started to study the menu and was immediately struck by the quality of the starter selection, that little bit different. I picked the Barbecued Smoked Quail with a sauce romesco (€9.90). This was superb, a tempting whiff from the smoke, and the flavours were spot-on, the Barbecue element was just so well judged, not too heavy, not too light, the sauce and salad were perfect as well.
Monkfish
CL’s starter was Knockalara Sheeps Cheese, pickled courgette, roast beets, crushed potato and praline (9.90). Again, this was so well put together, the Waterford cheese evenly scattered through the other elements and she was particularly surprised and pleased with the pickled courgette.

We had been looking at the Fresh Crab Salad, served with Bushby’s Strawberries (from West Cork), avocado, lime and pumpkin seed (12.90). Later, another customer told me enthusiastically that this was delicious. Other starters included Fresh Castletownbere Scallops, Fresh Mussels (with white wine and pepperonata) and Organic Purple Sprouting Broccoli (with fried duck egg and Hollandaise). Spoiled for choice!

And it is much the same with the main courses. Goatsbridge Trout and East Ferry Duck Breast featured as did a Ribeye Steak to share, also a Red Wine and Mushroom Risotto and a Brace of Quail (with Japanese Style Noodles & Pak Choy). And more, including their own special Irish Stew.
Photo: Jacques
There were also a couple of  fish dishes and we both agreed on the Tuscan Fresh Monkfish with cannellini beans, Italian Sausage and a wild garlic pesto. Exquisite. Bellissimo. A superb combination of flavours and textures and that little bit of pesto played quite a role.


Desserts? I’m sure they were brilliant but we didn't even look! One can have too much of a good thing here. Next time, maybe. Earlier, we did have a generous glass of their Albarino, sunshine and stone on the tongue and in the throat, great with the fish.


Jacques Restaurant is located at the heart of Cork City near the G.P.O. They are open Monday 10am - 4pm and Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 10pm. Lunch is from 12pm - 4pm, side plates and tapas from 5pm to 10pm and the  evening dinner menu is available between 6pm and 10pm. Very Highly Recommended. If you’d like to get a good idea of the place, why not try the €24 Two Course Dinner? Or some of their small plates and tapas?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Dinner Supreme at Blarney's Square Table

Dinner Supreme at Blarney's Square Table
Smoked salmon
 Just a couple of weeks back, I blogged about a fabulous lunch at The Square Table, the new restaurant in Blarney. Said I couldn't wait to go back for dinner. Made It last Friday evening and it was absolutely superb.

The menu may not be extensive - it is not a big restaurant - but the quality is outstanding. Martina Cronin is the chef here and she has worked - and obviously learned - in some high class places, such as Chapter One and The Residence on Stephen's Green.


Foie Gras
That lovely Mushroom and Wild Garlic Soup was again on the menu but this time I went for the Tom Durcan Carpaccio of Spiced Beef served with cured Foie Gras, apple puree and hazelnuts. This was incredible. The Foie Gras was delicious, the whole enhanced no end by a lovely walnut bread on the side.

Our other starter was also top notch. This was the eye catching Old Mill House Smoked Salmon and it was served with avocado puree, ruby grapefruit and Goatsbridge Trout Caviar, another delicious delight.
Hake
The bar was set high and it stayed well up there as the mains came on. I was sorely tempted by both the Roast Monkfish, with cocoa bean puree, Gubbeen chorizo, coriander and confit tomato and by the  Michael Twomey Aged Angus 11 oz rib eye steak served with chips, onions rings and Bearnaise.

In the end though, I picked the East Ferry Free Range chicken, served with celeriac, ham and Coolea Aged Cheddar. The celeriac, ham and cheese was served as a gratin in a separate bowl and was out of the world. What fantastic flavours to match a gorgeous chicken and gravy! A five star dish for sure. CL picked another cracker: Pan-fried Hake with Ballyhoura Mushrooms, wild garlic and orzo.
Monkfish
They have a very tempting short list of desserts as well and we shared Martina’s terrific version of Tarte Tatin, served with butterscotch and that luscious Boulabán Farm ice-cream from County Tipperary.

The Square Table is open all day from 9.30am but currently serves dinner on just three nights, Thursday to Saturday. Sunday lunch is also available and opening times may be extended as sisters Martina and Tricia (front of house) find their feet. Phone number is 4382825 (021).

Tarte Tatin



Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Good Food, and a Matching View, at Murph’s

Good Food, and a Matching View, at Murph’s
Enjoyed a lovely lunch and a matching view at Murph’s, the restaurant cum bar at East Ferry, about halfway on the estuary road signposted from the Midleton-Whitegate Road. I prefer to drive to Saleen, turn right through the village and then take the left at the fork. This takes you down to the water, to Saleen Creek in particular, and the restaurant is straight ahead. If you want to work up an appetite you can combine a walk and drive.

Staff are very friendly and efficient here and we got a warm welcome for our lunchtime call. Soon, we were at our table, studying the menu and a packed Specials Board. They don’t stock any local craft beers but I enjoyed my glass of Ackerman Merlot from France.
Jason's Chicken
 From the board, I picked Jason’s Chicken Parmagiana with a Provençal sauce, mozzarella cheese, sautéed potatoes and salad (14.95). Quite a plateful really but very well cooked indeed; the salad was well dressed and the sauce was terrific. Good food, good value.

CL’s choice was Pan Fried Hake with scallops on mashed potato with seasonal vegetables and cherry tomatoes (17.95). Again, this was well cooked and very very tasty indeed, though the cream based sauce (not particularly wanted) wasn't mentioned in the description.

There is a very comfortable eating area around the bar but these warm days you may also eat outside, across the road or on an adjacent patio with views out over the east passage of the harbour, across to the Great Island and the East Ferry Marina. More on the walk here.
Hake & Scallops