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Monday, February 13, 2017
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.
Thursday, December 31, 2015
Twelve Great Food Days 2015
One Day’s Eating or Drinking or Both each Month!
|Charcuterie by Krawczyk|
|Deep in Midleton distillery|
|Diamond in Dublin|
|Ballymaloe. Plants for sale.|
|Hoping for lunch at Longueville|
|Salmon at Bastion (Kinsale)|
Monday, October 26, 2015
Italian Night at FarmgateUmbria & Valtellina Combine
|Mirco and the wines of his home region|
The Munster branch of the Irish Wine and Food Society were joined by quite a few others at last week’s Italian night in the Farmgate at the English Market. The menu was cooked in the style of Umbria (the green centre of Italy) by well known chef Adelaide Michelini, while the wines, chosen by the Farmgate's Mirco Fondrini from his home area of Valtellina (Lombardy), were making their debut in this part of the world.
Mirco was delighted to be able to bring his hometown gems to Cork. He had quite a display ready as the fifty plus guests arrived. Valtellina is in the foothills of the Alps that Italy shares with Switzerland. The valleys are deep and the sun reaches just one side, the side you'll see the houses and the vines on. Wine-making here is hard work but the Pietro Nera Vineyard in Chiuro thrives on it.
Our opening wines as we arrived included the Terrazze Retiche di Sondrio Bianco IGT. The 2014 “La Novella” was made from a blend of Nebbiolo (vinified to white), Rossola, Chardonnay and Incrocio Manzoni grapes. Quite a mix in the blend but this white, with its flavours of tropical fruits and balancing acidity, was a delight.
|You won't see tractors in these vineyards!|
Some of us picked the 2010 Valtellina Superiore DOCG “Sassella Alisio” as our opening drink. This bright ruby coloured red, a blend of Nebbiolo, Pignola and Rossola, all grown in the village of Sassella, was a hint of the serious wines to come, once we had finished our opening canapes. One was Chicken Liver pralines with hazelnuts and cocoa beans, the other a Savoury choux with mortadella and pistachio.
We continued with the reds as the meal was served, enjoying more of the Sassella before moving on to its older sister the 2008 Sassella Riserva, made from 100% Nebbiolo (called Chiavennasca in these parts!). The bouquet and hints of oak and the wine itself was strong, smooth and velvety.
Our final wine was also 100% Chiavennasca, but with a difference. This 2009 Valtellina was a ”passito” wine, made from partially dried grapes, not unlike the Veneto’s Amarone della Valpolicella. This was quite concentrated, 15% abv also, rich in flavour and aromas. It had been aged for 18 months in oak, rested in stainless steel and refined in bottle for at least eight months. Quite a selection overall by Mirco. Maybe someone will start importing from his region!
The position of Principal Chef Instructor for the Gambero Rosso's International Cooking Schools abroad - Bangkok, Miami, Seoul Hong Kong - has given Adelaide Michelini “the great privilege to bring the true Italian haute cuisine in the world”.
“In 2013 I was included within the Catering & Delivery section of the Gambero Rosso - Rome Guide. In 2014, I became a TV host, presenting my very own TV show called La buona cucina di Adelaide (Gambero Rosso Channel, 412 Sky Italia).”
Adelaide, now living in Cork, used local produce in her dishes at the Farmgate and the Antipasto was a Soft Truffle Egg with Potato Mousse. Then followed the Primo Piatto, a Toonsbridge Ricotta & Hazelnut Gnocchi in West Cork Swiss Chard Soup.
|Soft Truffle Egg|
And then we were on to the star dish, the Secondo Piatto: O'Mahony's Porchettina with fennel semifreddo and Autumn vegetables. The perfectly cooked round of pork, with embedded herbs, was a delight in itself but the combination with the icy fennel took it all to another level. Perfect!
The Dolce was described as Tiramisu...almost! Let’s says there was no shortage of cream, no shortage of coffee as the night with a difference came to a sweet end. Thanks to Mirco and Adelaide, and to Rebecca and the crew at the Farmgate.
The next IWFS event:
Sunday November 8th. Harvest Lunch in Longueville House. We will join William and Aisling O'Callaghan for a tour to see the orchards, presses and stills where they make their fantastic cider and brandy. After the tour and tasting, we will head to the house for a special harvest lunch. William and Aisling are great hosts, so this will be a really special day out. A bus will be laid on from Cork City so people can enjoy the cider and brandy. Buses leave Cork City Hall at 11am. Price for bus and tour, tasting and lunch €65 (€73 non-members).
A lot of people have already signed up. Indeed it is very close to the limit but if you'd like to attend, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
|Porchettina (Google translates this as naughty girl!)|
Monday, September 28, 2015
An Evening in Valtellina
Lunch in Longueville
The Munster branch of the International Wine & Food Society have had a great year so far but they are not resting on their laurels. Busy secretary Beverley Mathews has been in touch with the updates:
Lunch in Longueville
please note change in date) "An Evening in Valtellina" -The Farmgate, English Market, hosted by Mirko Fondrini. A 3-course dinner based on specialities from Mirko's home region in the North of Italy famous for its great food and wine.(
Price €40 for Members / €45 for non-members -includes welcome drink on arrival and 3-course meal with a glass of wine.
This promises to be an exceptional evening . It's always a real treat to dine in the Farmgate, but especially in the evening when it's really atmospheric.
(please note change in price). Harvest Lunch in Longueville House. We will join William and Aisling O'Callaghan for a tour to see the orchards, presses and stills where they make their fantastic cider and brandy. After the tour and tasting, we will head to the house for a special harvest lunch. William and Aisling are great hosts, so this will be a really special day out. A bus will be laid on from Cork City so people can enjoy the cider and brandy. Buses leave Cork City Hall at . Price for bus and tour, tasting and lunch €65 (€73 non-members).
A lot of people have already signed up for these events, but if you haven't yet and you'd like to attend one or both events, please send me an email. email@example.com
Please pass this on to anyone else you think might be interested.
Friday, January 2, 2015
Excellent for Dinner
|Oysters at Au Mille Saveurs|
Le Flora (onboard Pont Aven)*
|Ravioli. Le Flora|
An Canteen (Dingle)
An Canteen (Dingle)
Church Lane (Macroom)
ely Wine Bar (Dublin)
La Dolce Vita
Mitchell’s (Clifden) F
O’Connor’s (Bantry) F
Rising Tide F
Rising Tide F
The Square Table
Tuscany Bistro (Ballina, Tipperary)
West End (Killarney)
Excellent for Lunch
Bula Bus U
Griffin’s Spinning Wheel
Pie Cafe (Dingle)
Toons Bridge Dairy
Excellent Hotel Dining Rooms
Cork International Hotel
River Lee Hotel
Newcomers to Watch
Heather (Gap of Dunloe)
* Exceptional meal on visit
F Great for fish
U Most unusual lunch venue (in a parked bus)
All above visited last 14 months. Lots of other good places out there. If I didn’t get to your place last year, maybe we’ll meet in 2015! Hard to keep track - might need a reminder!
Monday, November 24, 2014
The Farmgate Café
A Market Star
A Market Star
I was in the Farmgate Café in the English Market for lunch on Saturday, found the whole experience fabulous, and was thinking of a few lines for this blog post. And then, on Twitter on Sunday, I find Mr Gill of the Sunday Times had been in, dishing out stars by the constellation. Pity he couldn't have waited another week!
The twenty year old Cork classic, on the mezzanine above the market, is a magnet for tourists and there were quite a few there on Saturday. But it is also very much appreciated by locals as well and rightly so.
It may be too easy to say that the tourists come for the local dishes. But, in truth, it is all local. Some of suppliers (oysters, the traditional tripe and drisheen, Cork’s own spiced beef) are just downstairs while many others are found within the county bounds. Local, fresh and fair!
The fair refers to the price. I got a fantastic cod dish on Saturday, priced in the mid teens. It would cost up to ten euro more in the city by night and, in a Paris bistro a week earlier, an over-cooked version (though with a gorgeous “piperade” sauce) cost €19.80.
Local. And loyal too. Quite a few suppliers have been with the Farmgate since it was set up in 1994* by Kay Harte (who still puts in a shift here, though nowadays you are more likely to see daughter Rebecca working the mezzanine, all the while keeping an eye on both the dining room and the balcony). And the loyalty is not just between restaurateur and suppliers but also between the Hartes and their customers.
Lucky customers indeed, enjoying top class produce, handled and cooked well and presented well by a friendly and efficient staff. And always that buzz. A little bit different here though as much of the sound is coming from the multi-cultural market stalls downstairs.
Our Saturday call was on the spur of the moment and we did have to wait a few minutes for a table. That few minutes was put to good use, studying the menu. My starter was the Chowder. This was the real thing: fish galore with a few crunchy slices of veg and greens mixed in. One of the best I’ve had.
CL picked the Market Charcuterie Plate, also available as a main dish. The starter portion though was large with spiced beef and salami prominent and even more prominent was a large slice of country terrine (pork, black-pudding, bacon, chickpea ….) and all served with a spot-on matching chutney.
Before I go any further, I just have to say that the breads were delicious. They always are. So much so that you have to discipline yourself. Some lovely craft beers and ciders are also available and a small selection of European wines. My glass though was filled with a terrific Wild Elderflower drink from the Connolly family in County Laois.
And then it was on to the main course. They have various dishes of the day - catch, tart and meat - and sometimes more than one in each category. Some tempting offers on Saturday but we both went for the Cod, served with a caper and sun-dried tomato butter. Five out of five for everything here (by the way, I have yet to see the AA Gill review!), the produce, the cooking, the presentation.
The main dish included a superb stack of gratin potato and the root vegetables in the side dish, carrot and parsnip, with outstanding colour and texture, were a temptation in themselves. The cod may well have been a good-looking dish but that didn't save it from the usual fate at the Farmgate, meaning not a scrap was left.
Not a scrap of room either for dessert but time and inclination for a cup of excellent coffee and a relaxing few minutes before heading downstairs to On the Pig’s Back to buy some St Tola for the evening’s Goat’s Cheese and Beetroot Salad from Karen Austin’s recipe in her recently published Lettercollum Cookbook. All local, fresh and fair. All top class.
The Farmgate in Midleton, the big sister restaurant, was founded by Kay’s sister Margot in 1984.
The Farmgate Cafe, English Market, Cork.
021) 427 8134
Open: 9.00am to 5.00pm. Closed Sundays.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Taste of the Week
À la recherche du temps perdu.
A blàs from the past.
Oxtail Soup at the Farmgate Cafe, English Market, Cork.
Many of you will have put with weak imitations from packets in recent years.
This superb Oxtail will bring you back to the original
and will set you up for a wintry afternoon.
It is the real thing, eating and drinking in it!
Well done to the Farmgate team and to Chef Eddie!
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
The Farmgate, the ever popular Cork restaurant, so well situated in the English Market, was the venue for lunch last Friday. A splendid venue and a splendid lunch!
Patrons were queuing to get in – order and sit in the balcony on right, sit and order in the dining room to the left – but no problem to Rebecca and Mirco and the other staff as they calmly directed customers to their seats and their meals to the tables.
The food is sourced locally. And so too is much of the drink. You can, of course, buy wines (European only) by the glass, carafe and bottle (at a good price) but nowadays you also have the opportunity of sipping a local beer such as 8 Degrees or Dungarvan. On the day, I went for a cider, a very nice one too by Longueville House (in Mallow).
The starter also came from North Cork: the Old Millbank Organic Smoked Salmon (always excellent) with a mixed leaf salad and dill crème fraiche. Before that we had been nibbling some gorgeous breads.
On then to the mains. My pick here was the Savoury Tart of the Day: Mushrooms with Crozier Blue (the sheep’s cheese by the same people that make Cashel Blue), served with salad leaves, potato salad, butter beans, and jacket potatoes. Quite a plateful, full of quality ingredients, all for €12.50.
The other mains, Catch of the Day, was also delicious. This was the Grilled Plaice with tomato salsa, gratin potatoes and a gorgeous side dish of cabbage and peas (Gorgeous? Yes!). This pair of happy campers skipped the dessert but did enjoy two excellent coffees.
So what is it about the Farmgate, still drawing in lines of customers? I think this paragraph from their website is key to the success: Farmgate Café only uses beef, lamb, chicken, eggs and vegetables produced in Ireland. We place great value on the high quality production systems of our trusted suppliers. We also support organic production where possible. We work closely therefore, with Market traders and local producers to bring tasty, affordable and nourishing food to the table.
And there is more, encouraging stuff, on their policy here
Thursday, January 31, 2013
|Announcing details of this years Threshold Valentine's Night Dinner were (l to r) Edel Conlon Threshold, Chef Brendan Cashman and Rebecca Harte Farmgate Cafe|
Threshold's Valentine's night dinner is a special night, on a special day, in a special place, brought to you by a wonderfully passionate culinary team... Oh and if that's not enough, it's in aid of a very important Charity.
The event is held each year in the Farmgate Cafe located in the historical English Market in Cork City. The evening captures all the atmosphere the English Market has to offer (remember that atmosphere includes the need for warm clothes!) and when coupled with the wonderful team at the Farmgate Cafe the evening becomes truly memorable. For those who attend they get to experience the Market at night time, something that does not happens very often and is a rare treat.
This year will be even more exciting, the Farmgate Cafe have invited multi award winning chef and restaurateur Brendan Cashman to create the menu in collaboration with the team in the Farmgate kitchen. Brendan is best known for the wonderful food he created in Augustine’s Restaurant and will be creating a menu especially for the night. We feel that an already unique evening will be made even more special with this exciting collaboration.
The dinner is in aid of local charity Threshold, the national housing charity which works to prevent homelessness and campaigns for housing as a right. (www.threshold.ie)
The evening is supported by Cork City Council and of course the very generous support and hard work from the Farmgate Cafe team. We are very grateful to Irish Distillers who have supported the event for a number of years, as have a number of food producers in the English Market itself and others selected from Cork's rich array of food producers.
Couples, groups and singles celebrate the night together without the "soft focus haze" that is typically associated with Valentine's night in a unique and special place.
Call Threshold for tickets and more information: (021) 427 88 48
Venue: The English Market (entrance via Market Parade on Patrick's Street)
Date: Valentine's Night Thursday 14th February
Tickets: €60 (Tickets are limited so make sure you get your tickets early!)
Saturday, September 22, 2012
India at the Farmgate
Jaipur Restaurant Dublin came to Cork’s Farmgate for Culture Night and their team of chefs got a surprise. “We’re doing okay but no one told us about these queues,” one said. And they did more than alright as the punters flocked in last night. And so too did the Farmgate team, keeping the flow going and organising seating for everyone.
Jaipur showcased the pan-Indian way of serving a complete meal at the local market eateries – The Thaali. Food is a very communal experience in India and Jaipur applied their flair and expertise to recreate the flavours of India in Cork’s historic food market, The English Market.
And, from all around me, I heard the diners praising the essence of ‘India on a Plate’!
The Plate for a tenner:
Samosa & Chole…Punjab
Gram pearl’s Raita with Cumin & Rock Salt Simla
Old Delhi Style Railway Chicken Delhi
Yellow lentils with young garlic, tomatoes and raw mangoes Jaipur
White Cabbage, crushed peas Foogath.....Chennai
Aged Basmati rice with Tellicherry Pepper & thyme Kerala
While, for me, the Farmgate event was the main one, there was a lot more going on in the Market with lines of people building up at every stall that was serving food. Not to mention drink. Bubbles Bothers reported a mad mad night. Maybe we should do it more often!
Friday, January 20, 2012
WONDERS OF THE FARMGATE
Last time, I wrote about the Farmgate, I headlined the piece: Great balls of flour. The “balls of flour”, were there again today: Golden Wonders with skins intact. I cut one in half to demonstrate to my two UK guests what is meant by the phrase.
I must admit that the potatoes didn’t form part of my own dish but I did take a half, just because I couldn’t resist They are just as gorgeous now as they were last November and illustrate what the Farmgate is all about: local produce in good nick, cooked to perfection and served by a friendly and efficient crew in this busy day-time restaurant overlooking the English Market.
My main course is a regular on the menu: Old Millbank Smoked Organic Salmon (12.50), served with a cracking salad and Crème fraîche. Old Millbank are regulars at Mahon Point Farmers Market and their salmon is always top notch as indeed it was here.
The menu description of the salad wasn’t exactly spot-on but the dish itself was and I and one of my fellow diners were very happy with it. One of the visitors enjoyed the Lamb’s Liver and Bacon and the other polished off one of the specials, the Cod pie.
Two of us, myself included, went for the fruity Porter Cake with the coffee; one picked the light and tempting Lemon Tart while another choose the Fruit Crumble. Four empty plates, four happy customers.
Just wonder – didn’t check – if the Porter cake was made with the Knockmealdown Porter by the 8 Degrees Brewing Company. They sell that here but it was the same company’s Howling Gale ale that I imbibed with my main course. Must say, I’m getting to really like that after some initial ambivalence towards the Mitchelstown product.
But never any ambivalence with regard to the Farmgate. Top class.