Showing posts with label Granary Foodstore. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Granary Foodstore. Show all posts

Sunday, July 17, 2016

In Praise of East Cork. Food. People. Place. Worth a Visit!

In Praise of East Cork.
Food. People. Place. Worth a Visit!
Peaceful evening in Youghal

Friendly people, great food, attractions on land and sea, both natural and man-made, make East Cork a gem of a place to visit. From the fantastic 13th century St Mary’s Collegiate Church in Youghal to high class Fota House Gardens and Arboretum, with Barryscourt Castle in between, all three free to enter, there is a treasure chest of places to visit in the area.
The Cafe at Stephen Pearce Pottery



Let me take you on a trip to see part of it. We’ll also enjoy some delicious meals as East Cork is a foodie’s paradise with top notch venues including Sage and Kevin Ahern’s 12 Mile Menu,  Barnabrow (ideal for weddings and a leisurely Sunday lunch), Midleton’s pioneering Farmers Market and the food mecca of Ballymaloe.
Barnabrow

Coming from the city on the main Cork-Waterford road, take the Cobh exit ramp and head for breakfast or lunch, right to Bramley Lodge, or left to The Bakestone Cafe at Ballyseedy.  Now, set up for the day, go over the nearby bridge to Fota Island and its many attractions.


If you have kids, go the Wildlife Park; if not, walk through the renowned Fota Arboretum and maybe add a tour of the Georgian House. If you like it around here, you may also try the high class  Fota Island Hotel and Golf Resort.
Bramley Lodge



Moving on, go over the Belvelly Bridge and you’ll soon come to Frank Hederman’s famous smokehouse. You are now on Great Island where the cathedral town of Cobh is situated. Much to do here including the Sirius Art Gallery, walking tours (including the Titanic Trail and Spike Island), harbourside bars and restaurants and of course the Cobh Heritage Centre which tells of forced deportations and also the tales of the ill fated liners, The Titanic and the Lusitania.
Fota House and gardens


Cruise liners call here regularly during the season, with a carnival atmosphere in the town on the days they are in port. And here boats take you across to newly renovated Spike and also on harbour tours. Maybe you’d just like to walk around the town; I did so recently, taking in the Holy Ground, the Titanic Garden and the Sonia O’Sullivan statue, and you may check it out here. Perhaps you'd prefer just to sit on the decking at The Titanic Bar & Grill and watch the boats go by.

Sonia

Time now to head out of the islands and head east to Midleton and a tour of the Jameson Experience. If you give the right answers here, you’ll end up with a certificate of proficiency in whiskey! No shortage of cafes and restaurants here, including the family friendly Granary now celebrating twenty years in business.
Cobh traffic jam!

There will be detours, of course. One that I like is off the Whitegate road, out of Midleton. Look out for the signs for East Ferry and enjoy a walk by the estuary and maybe reward yourself with a well cooked meal at Murph’s, a restaurant with a lovely view.
Sage
Next stop is Ballymaloe, the home of modern Irish food. You could spend a day here. Maybe an overnight stay to sample the world renowned cooking. Call to the cafe for a mid afternoon or mid morning  coffee. Be sure to take a look at the impressive Cookery School gardens, not forgetting the Shell House. And don’t forget Golden Bean coffee roaster Marc Kingston is also based here.

The Cafe at the Stephen Pearse pottery in Shanagarry also serves Golden Bean and is now gaining quite a reputation. And, of course, there is the pottery itself!

Sculpture exhibition on lawn at Ballymaloe House

In the nearby seaside village of Ballycotton, take a stroll down to the pier and see the fishermen come and go, maybe take a boat trip to the lighthouse on the nearby island. If you feel you need to stretch the legs, then there is a spectacular walk  along the cliff tops. After all that exercise, treat yourself to a gorgeous meal at Pier 26.
Cobh's Titanic Bar & Grill. Al Fresco

If you need to overnight, then the Garryvoe Hotel and its top notch Samphire Restaurant, with great views over the bay, is close at hand.
Ballycotton cliff walk

Youghal is the final town, on the Blackwater and just shy of the border with Waterford. On the way, you could stretch the legs in Killeagh’s Glenbower Woods one of many attractive walks in the East Cork area. In Youghal, take a boat trip on the Blackwater.

After all the activity, you deserve to rest up for the night. Enjoy a meal in the Old Imperial Hotel on Youghal's main street, maybe just a drink in its old Coachhouse bar, maybe both! Aherne’s, of course, is famous for its seafood and they too have rooms.
Samphire at Garryvoe Hotel

And do try and get your hands on the local craft beers, including Ireland's first organic Red Ale, made by the dedicated team in the town’s Munster Brewery; they also do tours.

And before leaving the area, don’t forget to visit Ballynatray House, a Blackwater gem.

Enjoy East Cork, the food, the place and its people!

Ballynatray House, by the Blackwater


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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