Showing posts with label English Market. Show all posts
Showing posts with label English Market. Show all posts

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Return of the Oyster Tavern. Les Bons Temps Rouler.

Return of the Oyster Tavern.

Les Bons Temps Rouler.

I look at some of the old black and white pics in the new Oyster Tavern and am transported back to my days in Winkle-pickers (shoes), Slim Jim (tie) and DA (hair). But that “good old days” reverie soon evaporated as the delicious dishes arrived on the table. Some terrific food here now, well cooked, and well served by one of the friendliest front-of-house teams around.

The history of a tavern on the site dates to 1800. The new two-storey building owes it current existence to the Capitol development. It is comfortable - there’s even a lift - and beautifully decorated. 

The food menu, from breakfast to dinner, is based mainly on ingredients from the adjacent English Market, and the drinks menu, again illustrated with some of those old black and whites, contains a good deal of Irish craft beer and local spirits. Our opening drinks were a mix: a Chieftain Ale from Franciscan Well and a Hemingway Daiquiri.

Fish Hot Pot

We were in for dinner and studied the menu, all on one large card. They happily fill you in on the specials and help with any questions. For starters, we could have had Scampi, Chowder, Soup of the Day. And oysters, of course. 
Steak!

My pick though was Tim’s Ham Hock (€6.00), served with Hassett's sourdough bread and West Cork Relish. The ham was packed into a jar. There was a lot of it there and it packed a lot of flavour as well. And that West Cork relish was a tasty bonus, really good.

Meanwhile, CL was thoroughly enjoying her Caprese Salad (7.50): Toonsbridge Mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and olive oil. This has become a local standard and was top notch.
There wouldn't have been a blogger in the old Oyster.

Quite a decent wine list here too and I ordered a glass of Finca Florencia Malbec (8.00) to go with my steak. This was my second Tom Durcan steak in quick succession and again it was very impressive, tender and with outstanding flavour. The 8 ounce fillet (29.00) was cooked to order, and came with straight cut chips, English Market seasonal vegetables, Roast Shallots in a red wine peppercorn sauce. The included veg by the way, mangetout, broccoli and cauliflower, were also cooked to pin-point perfection, which is not always the case.
Hemingway enjoyed his daiquiris in la Floridita in la Habana in Cuba.
 The Bodeguita del Medio is just down the street.  
Muchas gracias to Mark Deane(ex Mayfield) for the pic.

CL choose the fish special, a Prawn and Mussel Hot Pot with chorizo (18.00). No shortage of flavour there and a warming dish you might well see more of as the autumn comes in. Other main course choices included Tim O’Sullivan’s Black Pudding Burger, Oyster Haven Mussels, Chicken Inn’s Supreme of Chicken, Warm Chicken and Bacon Salad, and a Risotto. There was also a lamb burger special.
Upstairs at the spanking new full-colour Oyster Tavern. (Oyster pic).
After all that, we thought it best to share a dessert from the short yet tempting list. Sherry Trifle was probably top of the list when the old Oyster was in its heyday and that was our pick and we enjoyed sharing the Sherry soaked sponge, raspberry jam, custard topped with Chantilly cream and served with a shortbread biscuit. All for a fiver. You might well have paid close to that back in the day!

The main restaurant area is upstairs though they do serve lunch in the downstairs bar. We had started early and weren't around to see the transformation that takes place later in the night. Then the plates are cleared away, and we were told there is a generational change as well, as the live music - you might even see a saxophonist on the counter - takes over. Oh, those awful Rock and Rollers! (Note to myself: Must try that sometime).

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Cork City by The Lee. Stay. Eat. Shop. See!

Cork City by The Lee. 
Stay. Eat. Shop. See!
Music city



The Firkin Crane in Shandon,
once the butter capital of the world
See: The Queen made it her number one stop in Cork so you’ve just got to see the English Market, an institution in the city since 1788. Nearby, you’ll see the spires of historic St Fin Barre’s Cathedral.

St Anne’s Church in Shandon is another landmark. Visit and don’t forget to ring the bells.  Cork was once the butter capital of the world and the Butter Museum is in the shadow of Shandon.

Staying north of the river, why not pay a call to the storied cells of the 
City GaolThe Glucksman is a lovely art gallery in the leafy grounds of the university while the well established Crawford Gallery is easily accessible in the city centre, next door to the Opera House. And don't forget Elizabeth Fort and the newly opened Nano Nagle PlaceAlways something interesting on at The Triskel, an arts venue in a converted church.
video

Shop: While in the English Market why not do a bit of shopping and check out local delicacies such as buttered eggs and spiced beef. The compact city centre boasts a few top notch shopping centres: Merchants Quay, Opera Lane and the new Capitol area. North Main Street has Bradley’s, founded in 1850, and famous for its wall of craft beers.

For a different experience head to 
Mahon Point Farmer’s Market every Thursday where you’ll find fantastic local cheese and meat and much more, including wild mushrooms, all within a few yards of the large shopping centre.
No shortage of farm to fork restaurants in Cork

Eat: No shortage of eating places including Greene's, JacquesLesGourmandises and Isaac's while lively lunchtime venues include the Farmgate and Nash 19Mad on meat? Try Son of a Bun, Holy Smoke, SpitJack, and many more. Exceptional Japanese at Miyazaki (just six stools though!) No meat? Then the amazing Cafe Paradiso is the one, Iyers is another. Idaho is the city centre cafe while coffee stops abound.  For a fuller list of restaurants and cafes, city and county, see my regularly updated list here. Also check the Whazon Cork listings.

A city of bridges
Drink: For something a little different try L’Atitude Wine Café close to the City Hall. The emphasis here is on quality wines and tasty local snacks with a continental touch. Electric, with its downstairs bar and upstairs fish bar, has taken the South Mall by storm since it opened in 2010.  SoHo and the Bodega are other modern bars with restaurants attached.

For something more traditional, including the music, there are quite a few with The Oliver Plunket being very central indeed.
And, if you prefer craft beers then the Franciscan Well on the North Mall is the place to go as they have a micro brewery right behind the counter. Other pubs with micro-breweries include Rising Sons (Cornmarket Street), Elbow Lane (Oliver Plunket Street, excellent food here also) and Cotton Ball (Mayfield).

Stay: With excellent food in the building and efficient and friendly service, the River Lee is a lovely place to stay in Cork. If you need something more central, the Clayton is for you. A short distance from the centre, you'll find the Ambassador and the Montenotte, each with great views over the city
Fitzgerald's Park

If you are caught for time, stay at the Metropole and explore the amazing McCurtain Street, its pubs, theatre, cafes and restaurants.

Something on the traditional side? Why not the Imperial where you’ll be wined and dined and never be short of company as the locals come and go. Like it leafy? Then the Hayfield Manor and the Maryborough near Douglas are recommended as is the Radisson in Little Island.

Making a quick getaway? The Cork International Airport Hotel is excellent. Heading north or west? Check the Commons Inn.

Walk: Cork is very compact and great for walks. Call to the tourist office and pick up the maps and info for some city centre strolls.

Like to try something more energetic? Then start at the 
North Mall and take a brisk riverside stroll through the Mardyke, into Fitzgerald’s Park, past the UCC Grounds and then onto the Lee Fields. Just remember you have to come back!

There is a very popular walk by the harbour starting at 
Blackrock Castle, another great place to visit with an excellent restaurant, the Castle Cafe. For something shorter but still interesting, do the circular walk around the Lough, a suburban lake full of swans and ducks and other wildfowl.

Ballycotton cliff walk, just east of the city
Get Out: No shortage of things to see and do on the eastern side of the city. Take a trip to Fota House and its famous gardens and arboretum. If you have kids, then the Fota Wildlife Park is at hand. Much to do in Cobh also, including a trip by boat to Spike Island, a former prison with history galore. 

Spike Island
To the south then and a highlight in Crosshaven is the coastal artillery fort of 
Camden with a wealth of history and great views. Another fort, this also being restored, is Charlesfort in Kinsale, a historic town rich in excellent eating places and with a must visit Wine Museum in Desmond Castle. Blarney is just north of the city. The castle, and its famous stone, is a busy spot. Eat at The Square Table.

Strike off to the west and take in the impressive ruins of the abbey at 
Timoleague . WestCork boasts magnificent beaches and good food producers whose products you may sample in restaurants such as the Pilgrim's (Rosscarbery),  Richy’s Bistro (Clonakilty), and Bastion (Kinsale).

For more detailed guides to the county, check out my East Cork and North Cork recommendations.

Jazz time
Listen: There is almost always a music festival on in Cork and surrounds and the big one is the Jazz, always on the final weekend of October. There is a Folk Festival at the end of September and film buffs are in town in force in November. Check them all out here.

The Choral festival dominates in the spring and summer sings with the Midsummer Festival, followed by the International Folk Dancing Festival. 
Music in the Marquee  is a big highlight. Night after summer night, the Marquee hosts top names. Bryan Adams, Cliff Richard and Elton John played this summer (2017).


Avoid: The usual big city security precautions apply. Avoid leaving anything visible in your car and so on. Not much else to avoid. Maybe the rainy days. But even those can be fun. Never know who you’ll find singing at the local bar, even on the street. It is a fun city. So enjoy!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Rossini’s. Local and Italian Misto.


Rossini’s. Local and Italian Misto.
Piece of pizza!

When you dine in Rossini’s, you get a taste of Italy, as you'd expect, and a taste of Ireland as many of the fresh ingredients are bought in the nearby English Market.

Valpolicella
Rossini’s was established, in Princes Street, Cork, in 1994, by Antonio Toscano and their reputation for delicious authentic Italian cuisine quickly grew in the Cork area. I hadn't been there for quite a while until last week. It was a quiet night around town, the Tuesday after the Bank Holiday. So we had to settle for Italian music on the stereo - no live music, no dancing in the aisle. Still turned out to be a very enjoyable meal indeed.

No shortage of starters on the menu. We were finding it hard to choose and so settled on the Antipasta Misto. This turned out to be quite a plateful, a very tasty plateful indeed. There were some calamari fritte, some delicious Mozzarella with big slices of tomato, some bruschetta, cured meats too, breads, salad…. Good food and good value at €15.00.

They have their own pizza oven here, built by a champion! And I enjoyed my champ of a pizza, the Cacciatora: BBQ sauce on the base, pulled chicken and lots of peppers (15.00). Not too sure that Cacciatora was the best name for it but it sure was one of the best pizzas I've eaten.

No shortage of choice for the main courses, pizzas of course and pasta dishes too. They have quite a few steak options, chicken options, and fish options (including a risotto marinara). 

CL paid particular attention to the chicken and eventually picked the Pollo Saltimbocca (15.90) over the Pollo Parmigiana. She was very happy with the choice and enjoyed her chicken wrapped in ham and a tasty and interesting selection of veg that included roast potatoes, courgettes, red onions, red pepper and cauliflower.

The wines were Italian, of course, and we opted for a glass of Valpolicella (7.50) and an excellent Soave (7.25). No dessert on the night so our total, before tip, came to €60.65.

Rossini’s make it easy for you to try out their food without breaking the bank. They have about three set menus that start from €14.90 up. You’d have a choice of two or three starters and two or three mains. You could for instance have Calamari as starter and the Saltimbocca as mains and it wouldn't break the bank. Add a glass of house wine or dessert for 4.50.

Watch out too for their special nights (eg Valentine’s) and you might also like to try them via Deliveroo. And I see too that a tasty looking Pollo Cacciatora features on their well-priced lunch menu (Fridays, Saturdays only).

Rossini’s
33-34 Princes Street, Cork
021 - 4275818
Opening hours: 5.00 to 10.00pm Sunday to Thursday.
1.00 to 11.00pm Friday to Saturday.
Check their Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ristoranterossinis/ for updates.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Taste of the Week On the Double: Crépinettes and Cider

Taste of the Week

On the double: Crépinettes and Cider


Just west of the city, Mark Hennessy raises a few free range pigs. To the east, Johnny Fall Down makes an award winning cider. Put them together and you have our Taste of the Week!


In the city’s English Market, butcher Eoin O’Mahony makes crépinettes (and more) from the limited supply of Hennessy’s pork. When I arrived there on Saturday morning, he had sold out but was about to make more!



In the meantime, I headed up to Bradley’s and got a few items including the 2016 Johnny Fall Down, reckoned to be better than the initial 2015 and “flying out the door”.

Back at the Market, I picked up my crépinettes (six for a tenner) and headed home. They were in the bag with the cider but I had no idea at all at that stage that I'd be putting the two together that evening.
 Had a chat with the official blog chef and hatched the plan. The pork would be started in the pan and finished in the oven, a  cream, butter and tomato sauce would be added along with some mushrooms. And we’d pair it with the cider. It turned out to be a match made in Cork (otherwise known as food heaven), just perfect.


Either would have been good on its own but together they were outstanding. The Johnny Fall Down Rare Apple Cider 2016 has an ABV of 5.8% and cost €7.50 for 750ml at Bradley’s. 

This pure, strong bittersweet cider is made from no less than 47 varieties of cider apple, most grown on the warm south facing slopes of Killahora. They warn that if you still have any lingering love of commercial cider, this will liquidate it!

Due to the limited supply, O’Mahony’s won’t have these crépinettes every week but Eoin may well have others. Recently he did kid and veal. On Saturday, Eoin told me he had six of Hennessy's hams curing so they should be available any day now!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Clayton’s Globe Goes Local. English Market a Tasty Source

Clayton’s Globe Goes Local

English Market a Tasty Source
Steak


As most of you know, there’s a new name on the Clayton Hotel in Lapp’s Quay. But do you know there is also a new focus on its renamed Globe Restaurant. That focus is local and much of the produce, including my flavourful Tom Durcan steak, is coming from the English Market.

The lunch menu is also very much a local one but we were there to sample the evening menu. As we studied the lists, we noticed they had a few craft beers on bottle and picked a familiar favourite, the Cotton Ball’s Indian Summer. Service was excellent throughout, very friendly. And that wasn't just us, as we spotted some great interaction with nearby tables, including one American group.

The menu highlights the English Market connection, especially with Tom Durcan (for beef), Kay O’Connell’s (for seafood), the Chicken Inn and On the Pig's Back (for cheese). 

There was an Asian restaurant here before the Clayton took over and as it happened I picked an Asian starter: Spring Rolls (Vegetable spring rolls, pickled cucumber, soy and chilli dipping sauce). Very tasty indeed and just the right size as I knew a steak was to follow! 

Meanwhile CL was enjoying her local and lovely Ardsallagh goats cheese in a roasted walnut crust, petit salad with sun blushed tomatoes and pomegranate. 

You may check out the other starters, and indeed mains, online here.  

My main event, cooked to perfection, was Chargrilled Irish ribeye, served with French fries (jacket potato was also an option), garnish salad, and no less than three sauces: garlic butter, pepper and whiskey sauces. The steak was full of flavour and delicious.

CL went for the Pan fried medallions of monkfish, served with a creamy lemon and basil risotto, finished with sun blushed tomatoes and fresh pesto. Again the fish was cooked to perfection and the risotto (quite a lot of it on the plate!) was also a delight, full of different yet complementary flavours. 

After all that, we were close to full so agreed to share the dessert, a  Classic Eton Mess (Fresh meringue pieces, soft berry fruits and freshly whipped dairy cream). Strawberries topped the big glass and quite a few were buried underneath as well. Very sweet,” said our server, encouragingly. And he was spot-on. Quite a finish to an impressive meal in a comfortable setting. 

There are quite a few dining options in the Clayton, including what looks like a power-packed Vitality Breakfast, anytime from 6.30am! Lunch in the Globe starts at noon but all day you can enjoy a tea or coffee and some delicious pastry in the Red Bean Roastery in the Atrium. And if have a have an afternoon free and someone to spend it with, then Afternoon Tea is available, also in the Atrium. Enjoy!



Thursday, July 20, 2017

Back to the Garden for Maryborough Chef. A Delicious New Summer-time Menu at Bellini’s

Back to the Garden for Maryborough Chef
A Delicious New Summer-time Menu at Bellini’s

Sea Bream

Hotel dining rooms are improving all over the city and Bellini’s at the Maryborough is at the forefront thanks to Head Chef Gemma Murphy and her team.

Gemma is renowned for her presentation skills. But there is substance galore behind the style on your plate. She is well able to source good produce, with the emphasis on local and seasonal, and cook it to perfection.

Macroom Buffalo Cheese, Goatsbridge Trout, La Rousse Fine Foods, Keeling’s Fruit and Vegetables, Matt O'Connell Seafood, the English Market and Ballinwillin Boar and Venison are among her sources.

And it's getting even more local! She has developed a vegetable and herb garden “so she can ensure only the best will be used in her cooking”.
Breads

Delighted to get the chance to try the new menu. After a warm welcome, we were seated comfortably and starting to make the choices. Not that easy as all the dishes appealed.

I was looking at the starters and found it difficult to get past the first two. Eventually though the Ballinwillin Wild Boar (Pea and Watercress Pannacotta, Apricot Mustarda) “won” against the Grilled Mackerel. The boar and venison coming from the Mulcahy's in Ballinwillin is top notch and this superb dish added another dimension.
Wild Boar


CL too had a difficult choice toying with the Assiette of Summer Vegetables (with Macroom ricotta) before settling on the Scallops (Bacon Dashi, Compressed Pineapple, Picked Shimeji, Cubanelle Chilli Oil). Another winner. The dashi was poured on at the table and the little umami mushrooms, like everything other element, played a tasty role. 

No big creamy sauces for the chef here. We both went for fish in the mains and each of us was very happy. CL enjoyed the Sea Bream Fillets (Grilled Asparagus, Charred Onion, Salt Baked Fingerling Potatoes, Shellfish Bisque, Squid Ink Dressing) while my Pan seared fillet of Cod (Braised Beluga Lentils, Fava Beans, Heritage Tomato, Grapefruit and Saffron Puree) was another delight.
Scallops

And of course there were sides; the House Fries and Market Vegetables (a substitute on the night for the  carrots) were our choices, both well up to standard.

So how about dessert? Some excellent choices here. Was looking at the Coconut and Yuzu Pannacotta before settling on the Pimm’s Jelly (Foraged Elderflower Scented Mascarpone Strawberry Sorbet, Shortbread). That was shared, our server diplomatically placing it centre-table. Service was excellent throughout. And another empty plate went back!

There are some fantastic wines on the list here, including quite a few by the glass and also a selection by the half-bottle. Once we decided on the fish, we ordered a glass of white each. One was the  German Eins-Zwei-Dry Riesling, smooth and fruity and dry for sure. The other was the Ara Della Valle Pinot Grigio, smooth and persistent. Both feature on the house white list, along with a few more.
Cod

If don't want the full menu of the restaurant, well take a look at the Bellini bar daytime menu here.  Here too, you’ll see Lots of cocktails on offer and you can also sample the local craft beer by the Franciscan Well Brewery.

And they also do Afternoon Tea in the Garden Room. And if the kids come, well there’s even an Afternoon Tea Menu for them. If you need to be pampered at any time, just follow the sounds of flowing water to the spa. And I'd better mention, they also have a gym!
Dessert

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Taste of the Week. Ardsallagh Cranberry Roulade

Taste of the Week
Ardsallagh Cranberry Roulade
Ardsallagh Cranberry Roulade came tops in the New Cheese Section at the Irish Cheese Awards in 2011. It is still going strong and our Taste of the Week. 


It is a soft goats cheese with cranberry: 100% handmade, 100% natural, 100% local and 100% delicious, even on its own.

Came across a striking way to use it during a meal in Jacques some time back when dessert was Medjool Date stuffed with Ardsallagh goats cheese, with Almonds and a full circle of Blood Orange. A gorgeous summer combination.

This small family run business in East Cork has grown steadily, and you can buy their products not only in local farmers markets, but also in national supermarket chains. I got mine at the Roughty Stall in Cork's English Market. Ardsallagh products can also be found on the menu of many well known restaurants across Ireland. 

The whole family contribute toward the smooth running of the farm and dairy. They use the ladle method, slowly and carefully, making a beautiful cheese that is easily digestible.

Ardsallagh Goats Products
Woodstock
Carrigtwohill
County Cork
021 4882336

Thursday, February 23, 2017

There are cheesecakes. And there are Charly’s Cheesecakes

There are cheesecakes. And there are Charly’s Cheesecakes

As patrons of the start-up stall in the English Market have been delightfully discovering over recent weeks, there is a new and exciting level in the world of cheesecakes and Charly’s heavenly creations are top of the pyramid. At an different level entirely.

And who is Charly? Well she is the daughter of Dubliner Derek Gilsenan. Derek is a chef and a few years ago, on his days off, he and Charly embarked on cooking and baking fun. Together they started making cookies, ice-cream, whatever Charly felt like on the day.
Starting another day in the English Market
The father and daughter were doing well and the praise came in after their first ever cake sale at Charly's school in Waterford, where the family live. Derek, not yet a converted cheesecake lover, felt he and Charly were on to something good.

He went all to to get proper gear and the rewards followed when Charly's Cheesecakes   made an amazing debut at Winterval, Waterford’s winter festival.

Different class!
And so they progressed and now this is Derek's only job. He is at it full-time and describes this as a make or break year. The big operators have taken notice but Derek is not about to reduce the superb quality of his products.

“I'd rather have four good markets and make a living by sticking to my guns. I enjoy what I do. Stalls like this one in the marvellous English Market are a great boost to me and other start-ups. It gives us a lift and I am really looking forward to taking up a stall at the Saturday Coal Quay Market in Cornmarket Street when I finish here on the 11th of March.”

 Like many other food producers, Derek has noticed a huge demand for gluten free, particularly during the Glow Festival in Cork. And the good news is that many of his cakes are gluten free with anything up to 14 different flavours available GF, including the likes of Terry's chocolate, Belgian white chocolate and various fruits (passionfruit, strawberry, raspberry and more).

And he is passionate about what he uses in the business. All his packaging, comes from DOWN2EARTH MATERIALS  at Forge Hill (and is compostable). And the packaging is top notch, that clear dome superbly displaying the goodies inside! And those goodies contain no gelatine. “No cakes need it, it is sinful to use it in cakes.”

“I will never run out of flavours.” If you check the list on his Facebook page, you'd think there are not too many more out there. But even that list is not complete and he promises many more. “Basically, if you give me a tin of roses I will reproduce each flavour in individual portion sizes.” 

Only top quality ingredients are used in Charly’s. The high quality chocolate comes from Belgium and he counts Muldoon's of Waterford (makers of the award winning whiskey liqueur) and Malone’s Fruit Farm of Carlow among his suppliers. 

By the way, all those fruit garnishes are hand-cut and mounted by the man himself. Oh, he still gets help from Charly herself. “She started it and she's sticking with it!” By the way, he is looking for a supplier of a soft cheese, cows or goats!

 This business started out as  a hobby a few years back and began getting serious about five years ago. You can find the cheesecakes in the Saturday market in Waterford, the Thursday market in Kilkenny and soon in the Saturday Coal Quay Market in Cork.

The quality and the passion have taken Charly's Cheesecakes a long way. They are totally different, “on a different level” as he says himself. Go taste one for yourself! And that's easily done, as he usually has a tray of little tasters available.