Showing posts with label Franciscan Well. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Franciscan Well. Show all posts

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Kernel Kilkenny. Maria’s Up and Running

Kernel Kilkenny

Maria’s Up and Running
Salmon
So here you are in the kitchen with this lot in front of you: Salmon, sugar snaps, mint, new potatoes, Toonsbridge feta, butternut squash, lime dressing. What to do? Well, check with Maria Raftery, the owner-chef at Kernel, Kilkenny’s newest restaurant. She grilled the salmon and put all the other ingredients together in a magical manner to produce one of the best salmon dishes you're likely to come across.

It is one of the main dishes on the new menu at the restaurant which has taken up most of the front of the Kilkenny Inn on Vicar Street. And the dish, and others, amply illustrate that Maria has lost none of her innovative qualities that shone through over 17 years at Zuni, also in Kilkenny.
Goatsbridge trout
 Kernel Restaurant and Bar, to give it its full title, will be running hand in hand with the hotel and is providing the breakfast for the lucky patrons. Brunch and dinner is also available, even afternoon teas for both ladies and gents!


Back to our visit. While CL was finishing off the salmon and singing its praises, I was tucking into something a little less complicated: the Kernel Angus Beef Burger, smoked Gubbeen, burger sauce, pickle-slaw, house fries. Less complicated maybe but still a perfect combination of textures and flavours.
Ham Hock Scotch Egg
CL had started the meal with Goatsbridge Trout Ceviche, Nori Seaweed, Smoked Trout Mousse, Roe Dressing. Hard to beat that. You’ll notice that Kernel has started by supporting local producers and Goatsbridge Trout Farm is one of the best.

I didn't do too badly either with my Ham Hock Scotch Egg, Piccalilli. Lacked nothing in either quantity or quality, full of good flavour and a really satisfying opening to my visit to Kernel.
 The dessert list is short but still left us puzzled, a puzzle we solved by ordering the Assiette of Desserts, a sweet solution.


They’ve got a pretty good wine list, three suppliers contributing to a good balance overall. We made a bit of a compromise, an enjoyable one, on the Cantina Frentana, Montepulciano D’Abbruzo, fruity and smooth, and twenty five euro the bottle.
Dessert - for sharing!
Had noticed a few (quite a few actually) craft beers on the list including Franciscan Well, Costello’s, O’Hara’s, Free Bird and Hop Adventure (both from Carlow) and Falling Apple Cider (also Carlow). The taps on the bar heralded the three variations of Smithwick's (Red Ale, Pale Ale and the Blonde) but I'm sorry I missed out on the tap for O’Sullivan’s Malted Red Ale, a local beer (now revived) that was produced before Smithwick started in 1710. Next time!
See also

Monday, April 3, 2017

Cork’s Radisson BLU Hotel Reveals Luxurious New Ground Floor Revamp

Cork’s Radisson BLU Hotel Reveals Luxurious New Ground Floor Revamp 
Restaurant is renamed Maestro’s’
 
Welcome
Had many an enjoyable evening in Little Island while growing up nearby but last Thursday's event in the Cork Radisson Blu, as they revealed its luxurious ground floor revamp and officially renamed the lovely new restaurant Maestro's, was rather unique.
There was a little nervousness among the Radisson crew early on but soon that dissipated as the guests began to enjoy the occasion. We were greeted warmly with champagne, wines and cocktails.

We were soon seated and the music added to the feel-good mood. The restaurant staff took the chance to show their paces and there were tables groaning with all kinds of goodies. Lots of them! 

Elke O'Mahony recommended the chowder and she was spot-on! It was excellent, perhaps my favourite too. But then the dish alongside it, Salmon Chorizo risotto, also had its fans. Even the bangers and mash were high class. Indeed there was something for everyone, especially when those desserts appeared. Oh my!
A few short speeches then from Shane Fitzpatrick, the hotel's General Manager and from Colette Walsh, Director of Sales & Marketing. Then it was time for fun and games and prizes galore to be won. The big prize was, of course, for renaming the beautiful new restaurant where we were seated.

The hotel ran a renaming contest on social media. Suggestions came through in their hundreds, with people offering names both on social media and at the hotel itself. 
After weeks of deliberation, the team of judges decided to opt for a name that was put forward by a guest staying at the hotel. The successful entrant chose the title ‘Maestro’s’ and given that the restaurant is a finely-tuned machine that is operated with care and with a friendly but professional approach, the name seemed to be the perfect fit.

With the winner opting to stay anonymous, Shane, the  General Manager, decided that the amazing prize of dinner for two for a full year should go to a worthy cause. “We discussed how best to allocate the prize given the circumstances and it was unanimously agreed that it would be a well-deserved treat for the dedicated staff of Cork University Hospital,” Shane revealed. “They collectively do such great work and we would love to reward them in any way we can, so we will be offering the prize to them and we hope they will use it and enjoy it as they see fit!”

While he delighted in awarding such a hard-working team, Shane himself received a phenomenal accolade at the recent Shining Star Awards at the Park Inn by Radisson, Heathrow Airport. Fending off stiff competition in a category that included all GMs from Rezidor in the Western Europe region, comprising approximately 60 hotels, Shane scooped the title of ‘General Manager of the Year’. The prestigious award reflects his exceptional approach over the past 12 months to team building and development, customer service and financial excellence.

Speaking at the launch event, Colette Walsh, Director of Sales & Marketing, revealed Shane's win and paid tribute to her colleague’s amazing achievement and praised both his work ethic and motivational approach.

Also clearly delighted with the success of the hotel’s launch event, Colette said: “We are so thrilled with how successful our launch event has been and more so, we are ecstatic with the reaction of those who attended. Now that we have officially revealed our new look, we can’t wait to welcome both new and regular customers and to give them a taster of what the ‘new and improved’ Radisson BLU Cork has to offer. We are prouder than ever as a team to show off our beautiful hotel!”
The significant project, which incorporated The Great Island Ballroom, the chic hotel lobby, stylish Banks Bar and over 40 bedrooms, culminated in the complete revamp of the hotel’s restaurant. Now sophisticatedly adorned with plush carpets, mahogany furniture and brown leather booths, the restaurant is the cherry on top of the hotel’s brand new look.

Of course, I had to check out that stylish bar too. Having been in quite a few hotels who didn’t offer Irish craft drinks over the past week, I was delighted that the first thing I saw was the trio of taps for the Franciscan Well beers. Great to see this leading international chain supporting local and I drank to their future success with a delicious pint of Chieftain Pale Ale. Cheers Radisson! Here’s to many more years in Little Island.

For bookings and enquiries, visit www.radissonblu.com/en/hotel-cork or call 021 4297000

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.



Friday, October 7, 2016

If Any Beer Can, Franciscan Well Can!



If Any Beer Can, Franciscan Well Can!
Ireland’s favourite craft beer now available in can

During last weekend’s Dingle Food Festival, I called into the craft beer tent, at the back of Geaney's Bar in Main Street, last Saturday afternoon and was immediately at home as the first stall was that of the Franciscan Well. They were showing their new cans, three of my favourite beers all wrapped up and looking good and shiny.


But I delayed testing the cans as they also had the beers on tap and we enjoyed a Rebel Red (by now a veteran, a veteran that has stood the test of time!) and Chieftain IPA. By the way, I noted the Rebel Red was very popular in Dick Mack's pub during the previous evening. The Rebel and the Chieftain are now available in cans along with the Friar Weisse. The cans will be sold in retailers and off-licences across Ireland, with selected bars also stocking the products.

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.

Acknowledging the rising consumer demand for delicious, flavoursome craft beer in a canned format, founder of Franciscan Well, Shane Long, has spear-headed the move which demonstrates the progressive and innovative thinking which has underlined the success of the Cork-based brewery over the past 18 years.

Commenting on the launch, Shanesaid: “This is a very exciting development for Franciscan Well. Taste and quality are among our core beliefs and we always prioritise ways to ensure that these core traits are present in the beer we create. 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.”

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.

This decision from the award-winning Cork Brewery is in keeping with internationally recognized best practice for freshness and taste, with cans providing superior product packaging quality and recyclability.
Yes. We can.

The introduction of the Franciscan Well can range also highlights Franciscan Well’s commitment to offering fans a more accessible and convenient means to enjoy the award-winning range in the comfort of their own homes. They protect and preserve the taste of the beer, which is considered a telling feature by the Franciscan Well brewers. They are also lightweight and portable, meaning they are easier for consumers to enjoy in more places and for bars and off licences to display. The new cans also chill quickly and are recyclable.

“We are very excited about this latest innovation for Franciscan Well, coming as it does less than a year after the opening of our new brewery in Cork,” said Shane Long. “Since its introduction, craft beer in a can has proven extremely popular with consumers. It is a very handy, portable way of consuming the beer and one that preserves the taste better than any other. We are delighted to be able to offer consumers the chance to enjoy our award winning beers in an increasingly popular format in the comfort of their own home.”

In addition to the launch of its all new canned beer offering, Franciscan Well has also introduced a newly redesigned brand logo.

Shane continued: “The new logo more clearly reflects the provenance of the brand and its roots in Cork. The new identity and logo retains the strength of the previous logo, while emphasizing that this is very firmly an Irish beer which was established in Cork and which is still brewed there. We believe that the heritage of Franciscan Well is extremely important and it is something we are very proud of.

“The new brand logo positions Franciscan Well as an authentic Craft brewery from Cork, Ireland. The archway is a new devise that has been created to highlight a strong sense of place, that is welcoming and which captures the unrivalled heritage associated with the brewery founding site along with the welcoming aspect of our range of beers.”



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

Post based on press release


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Holy Smoke On The ‘Dyke. Check Relihan's Blow Out.

Holy Smoke On The ‘Dyke
Check Relihan's Blow Out.
Blow Out; included are Smoked Cob Wheels and Naked Slaw

All you hunter-gatherers can now converge on Holy Smoke in the Mardyke Complex, the new ground of John Relihan, an experienced master of the ancient art of cooking with fire and smoke (he was head chef at Jamie Oliver's Barbecoa BBQ restaurant in London). You want meat, head for the ‘Dyke.

Have any of you seen Cooked, a mini-series by Michael Pollan now on Netflix? He says that the BBQ is the "last idea of the ritual cooking of meat"; that the long and slow technique may well have come to America on the slave ships, was very much tied to the tobacco harvest in the south and that the term “pit boy” came from there. That series is worth a look. He calls commodity pig farming “a vision of hell”. On  a lighter note, you’ll see veteran songsmith James Taylor sing about his pig called Mona!

No vision of hell at the Mardyke though; just lots of exposed brick vaulted ceilings and bare lights hanging down. We got a chance to take a look, and a taste, earlier week, and must say I enjoyed every little morsel.


Low and Slow is the motto here and you'll see it in red letters around the room, a room by the way which is full "night after night". You’ll notice the buzz the minute you enter. Great place to go with a bunch of friends. Grab a beer as you check the menu.

It is meat all the way; well, there are a couple of options for the non-meat eater. The wood too is key. Back to Pollan again who explains that it is the burning wood gasses rather than the wood itself that give off the smoke that marries with the meat. You’ll notice different woods on the menu and that's because each wood has different flavour compounds. Split a length of cherry wood and you’ll smell cherry, according to Cooked.

You may have lots of individual plates here, of Pork, Beef, and Chicken. And Burgers too. Perhaps the best way to test is to order the large BBQ Blow Out (24.50). You’ll get Brisket Burnt Ends, Dry Rubbed Baby Back Ribs, Pit Smoked BBQ Chicken, and Pulled Pork. That’s what we did.
Head Chef John Relihan

Two sides are included, one from the Humble list, one from the Divine. We picked their Skin on Skinny Fries and the Divine Pit Smoked Burnt End Beans. With all the focus on the meat, I have to highlight those unexpectedly delicious beans. The full description is: Sweet smoky beans mixed with Brisket Burnt Ends cooked low and slow. Indeed, it looks as if those sides, both humble and divine, may be worth a closer inspection.

Now, with meat and beer (Howling Gale and Rebel Red from the taps) delivered, it was time to get the tools from the box on the table. Yes, all your cutlery needs are already there, along with a big roll of kitchen paper to tidy up the finger licking mess. And the Holy Water, of course.

It takes a while, even for two, to work through all that meat but well worth it. The pork was probably the highlight, the ribs a close second. Then again, that chicken half, chopped into four, was good too, particular the tasty thigh! Big cubes of smoky brisket were also much appreciated. Not to mention those beans! Would have been barbecue heaven had we been able to roll open that ceiling and let the sun shine in. But it was very enjoyable as it was. Hard to beat a packed restaurant with all that chat.

No shortage of beer!
 Prices are reasonable here. You can have a bowl of pulled pork for a tenner: pork shoulder cooked slow and low for 14 hours over oak, mixed with Holy Smoke BBQ sauce and served with naked slaw and cornbread. Spend two or three euro more and your choices multiply. Service is very friendly and very efficient too. Well worth a visit!

  • Chef Relihan has serious form when it comes to cooking with fire. He was head chef at Jamie Oliver's Barbecoa BBQ restaurant in London and trained with world renowned Pitmaster Adam Perry Lang. Read more about John and the people behind Holy Smoke here
  • Check the menu here
    On the door of the gents, a tame enough fellow,
    despite the ring on his nose.

    Holy Smoke
    Little Hanover Street, Cork
    Phone: (021) 427 3000
    email : holysmokecork@gmail.com 
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HolySmokeCork/ 
  • Twitter @holysmokecork



Monday, February 8, 2016

The Sharp Knife Cooks Woodside Farm. Naked Piggy In Urban Jungle. Cider too.

The Sharp Knife Cooks Woodside Farm.

Naked Piggy In Urban Jungle. Cider too.
The Sharp Knife

The Urban Jungle, with its barber, its tattoo parlour, its graffiti, its painted car bonnets and hanging skateboards, its ping-pong and football tables, is hardly a fine dining venue. Well, not fine dining as it’s generally known. But Bryan and Mike, the guys that make up The Sharp Knife, are determined to make their mark on the new dining scene. These gourmet guerrillas pop-up and you pop-in and enjoy very fine food indeed.


Woodside banner draped over car bonnet with graffiti
The Plate (for a tenner):

The Naked Piggy - The Woodside Farm pork shoulder is smoked on the bone for 14 hours, low and slow. Not a pinch of seasoning is used.. no salt, no pepper...NADA. So when we say naked, we mean NAKED.. After 14 hours the meat is pulled and mixed with a light organic apple cider vinaigrette and served on a toasted mini slider. That’s it..Pure Pork Heaven.

El Salvador - Translated to ‘The Saviour’, this rich intense pork stew is everything you need in life. Topped with sour cream, pineapple pico de gallo and fresh coriander. Once you try this stew, you’ll understand why it had to be called..’El Salvador’.

The Beast from the East - Our gorgeous belly of pork marinated for at least two days in a mix of Asian spices and herbs. It’s then smoked low and slow for at least 6 hours and finished at the end with a rich sticky glaze. Served in a lettuce cup, with toasted sesame seeds, crushed peanuts, Vietnamese style pickle and fresh herbs. A light and flavoursome dish, teasing the senses on all levels.
Inside the Urban Jungle (in the Mardyke complex)
The Verdict
Not alone can these guys talk the talk, they can indeed walk the walk.

We are very familiar with the Woodside shoulder so had a good idea of what was coming with the Naked Piggy. Amazing delicious pork that spoke of the clean farm in East Cork from whence it came. Pure Pork Heaven is not an exaggeration.

And, after that El Salvador, we were ready for a night in the Urban Jungle. This amazingly flavoursome stew would revive you even after a trek in the jungle, equally so after a hard day at the desk or on the tractor!

A few years ago in the Loire, we came across a Vietnamese food truck and we kept returning there during the holiday. After sampling the Beast from the East, I reckon The Sharp Knife duo could well do something similar. This had all the characteristics of an light and flavoursome Asian dish, right down to the crunch of the vegetables and the lettuce cup. Teasing the senses on all levels? Yes indeed, teasing and ultimately very satisfying.

A terrific trio by a terrific trio (the two chefs are helped by Roisin out front). Great ingredients, expertly handled and cooked, and all washed down with a warming glass of mulled cider (with a pint of Rebel Red from the bar as reserve!).

Indeed, a recent Sharp Knive pop-up involved Franciscan Well beers and beef and that, at the North Mall, was also a success. Watch out for their next event. Find them on Facebook and on Twitter @sharpknifecork. They also do the food for the market in Urban Jungle (last Sunday of every month).

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Franciscan Well Festival. Beer & Cheese at North Mall

Franciscan Well October Festival

Beer & Cheese at North Mall
Say formaggio!
Try the Fonduta in the bowl.

The annual Franciscan Well October Beer Fest is in full swing at the North Mall. A wide selection of imported Festival beer is available, beer cocktails (with spirits by St Patrick's Distillery), pizza by the tried and tested Pompeii crew, and music is all part of the mix. But this year, they've got cheese, lots of it, from a company called Antica Latteria Bruzolese who are based in Borgone di Susa, close to Turin in the north of Italy.

There are a few dozen exotic beers from Belgium, USA, Germany, New Zealand, Ukraine, even Luxembourg! I didn't get to try them all in a quick tour last night but did get a few. The Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest/Marzen, a collaboration with Augsburg’s Brauhaus Riegele, was one and the Tuatara Aotearoa Pale Ale another. Then there was the Karpat Mustang from Ukraine, an American Pale Ale, and also I enjoyed a glass of the Lagunitas Fusion XXX1, a USA Imperial IPA weighing in at 8.9%. My favourite was perhaps the Aotearoa from New Zealand.

Then I left the ranks of beer taps and called over to the cheese stall and got the low-down there. Bought a plate of the cheese for a fiver and tried it out. The range, all made from milk supplied by small farms in the Piedmonte region, consisted of some fairly fresh cheese to one that was very mature indeed. All were “hard” cheese but, of course, the younger ones were soft and easy to eat, much like Tomme de Savoie the French mountain cheese.

The oldest one was really hard, best grated over your pizza or salad etc. In between, they had a Tometta Onion. That contained six per cent onion - not to everyone's liking! And also a Tometta Tomato.

And if you wanted an instant fondue, they have just the job. Get yourself a jar of the Fonduta (€6.00). All you then have to do is to warm the cheese mix, pop in a breadstick and enjoy. Don't take my word for it! Call over to the Well, get yourself a beer and then go to the cheese stall where they'll offer you a taste of the Fonduta! In fact, I’m told they will have an artisan beer there for the rest of the weekend.

The October Beer Fest reopens today at 2.00pm, same time tomorrow Sunday.