Showing posts with label Holy Smoke. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holy Smoke. Show all posts

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Holy Smoke On The Mardyke. Temple of Fire and Smoke

Holy Smoke On The Mardyke

Temple of Fire and Smoke
Wings

If you visit Holy Smoke, and you should, you’ll be visiting a kingdom of fire and smoke. And your royal guides will be John Relihan and Deccie Walsh.

John welcomed us to their tasty palace on the Mardyke last Tuesday night for a rather special evening: six courses of pit smoked BBQ paired with either Irish Craft Beer or Irish Whiskey. Caroline Hennessy, of Eight Degrees and author of Slainte, introduced the beers while Killian O’Mahony, a recently qualified cooper at Midleton Distillery, told us about the whiskey.

Did you know that Holy Smoke is housed in the original Woodford Bourne cellars (1875), that stored at one time over 50,000 gallons of choice whiskies, Cognac, rum and casks of wine, sherries and ports?

Gubbeen sausages
John told us they cook  here “with fire”, using a Japanese Robata grill and a large smoker. They use sustainable charcoal (supplied by an Oxford firm). Ribs take four hours while brisket and pork can take 14 to 16 hours. He stressed the importance of using the right charcoal and the right wood.

He has trained with some of the best, including Jamie Oliver, and in many cuisines including BBQ, Italian, Spanish, Japanese. “It’s been quite a journey,” said the man from Duagh in Co, Kerry. They have just introduced steak to the menu - “you can expect lots of different cuts and do check out our Jazz event on October 25th.” Link is here.

Six courses seems like a lot. But the Holy Smoke team judged this to perfection. It was quality all the way but the quantity was spot-on too, not too much and certainly not too little. 
Baby Ribs

After a welcome drink of Prosecco and a bowl of pickles and pork scratchings, Caroline introduced the first of the beers. “The Franciscan Well were among the first of our craft brewers and their traditional red ale, the Rebel Red, is great with pork.” And our first dish was Gubbeen Hot Links Sausages. These spicy sausages, commonly used in southern US barbecues, got the taste buds up and running.

More pork now but of a very different kind: Wet Rubbed Baby Back Ribs (marinaded overnight and smoked for four hours over oak). Caroline praised the quality of Irish Malt and said Eight Degrees were proud to use it. And certainly the Howling Gale Pale Ale had a good solid base of malt, a lovely aroma and not too hoppy and proved a good match for the ribs and the cornbread.
Pork sliders

And next came one of the highlights of the night: Pulled Pork Slider (shoulder smoked low and slow for 14 hours). Amazingly succulent and delicious and the Stonewell cider, that Caroline had been keeping in reserve, proved an ideal match. 

Head Chef Deccie Walsh managed to take a few minutes away from the kitchen and told us of his love for slow cooking and nose to tail cooking. He really enjoys this type of event. After last night, we all do! 
Local ale

Another highlight next: Pit Smoked BBQ Chicken Wings (marinaded, smoked for 4 hours and char-grilled). Accompanied by pickled celery and a blue cheese dip, this was a superb mid-menu course, fingers in action again. And the beer? Another from Eight Degrees: the Barefoot Bohemian Pilsner, a nice light beer in the traditional Czech style and excellent with the wings.

Brisket Burnt End Sliders were now arriving on the table, another highlight for me, all the more appreciated when we heard that their journey to our plates had started during the storm of the day before.
Brisket

We had a two drinks to go with this one. The first was a can of the Franciscan Well Irish Pale Ale, a favourite of mine. “Don't drink from the can,” Caroline advised. “Pour it into the glass, the better to appreciate its lovely amber colour, the citrus aromas. As you drink, you’ll note the citrus bite.”
A winner

Killian told us about the importance of the casks as he introduced the Green Spot whiskey made at Midleton from pot still whiskey aged between seven and nine years, with 25% coming from sherry casks.

Time then for dessert: Chocolate, banana and caramel brownie, with a whiskey sauce. Obviously, if you had whiskey remaining (I didn’t), you could have tried a drop with this. 

The final beer was the award-winning Amber Ella from Eight Degrees. As Caroline said, it has a lovely malty flavour to go with the brownie and the sauce. First brewed in 2014, this American style amber surprised the home brewers by taking a bronze in the World Beer Cup in the US. “It was  a big surprise,” recalled Caroline. “ It was a boost for Eight Degrees but also a boost for Irish craft.”

Killian had ended his whiskey intro with a toast to friendship and the lovely evening finished in that kind of spirit, old friends met and new friends made. Thanks for the invite and Slainte to all at Holy Smoke.


Monday, September 18, 2017

Taste Cork Week. Plus! Jazz Extension Added

Taste Cork Week. Plus!

Jazz Extension Added
The perfect cider pour by Rupert of Longueville House

Following last year’s success, Taste Cork Week returns next month. Indeed, it will run for more than a week with an extension that takes it up to the eve of the Jazz Weekend.

At the launch last week, in Nano Nagle Place, the spanking new major attraction right in the heart of the city, Ernest Cantillon of Festival Cork told us to watch out for some of the more informal events: jazz cafes, a distillery visit in a barn, and pop ups in unusual places. 
Ernest Cantillon of Festival Cork

One or more of those pop ups will be in the café in the peaceful gardens of Nano Nagle. Keep an eye on the Taste Cork website here for more details of all events.
.
Victor O'Sullivan (left) of Bluebell
and Tim Mulcahy (Chicken Inn)
Evenings with guest chefs always seem to be popular. One of the highlights from last year was in Isaac’s when Arun Kapil, founder of award-winning spice company Green Saffron, Chef Patron Canice Sharkey along with restaurant co-owners Michael and Catherine Ryan, hosted an exclusive sold-out spice pop-up at the Cork city institution in McCurtain Street.

Holy Smoke are one of the first up this year with an invite “to embark on a unique gourmet journey and experience the best of Irish BBQ cuisine, prepared with the local meat that is cooked in Holy Smoke’s signature barbecue-style, low-n-slow, for four to sixteen hours”. 

Pitmasters John Relihan and Decky Walsh will serve up an exquisite six-course meal on October 17th and will walk you through the secrets and preparation techniques behind each dish while Caroline Hennessy will masterfully guide you through the pairing of each dish, presenting and explaining the corresponding whiskey or craft beer.

Justin Green, and Bertha’s Revenge of course, were at the launch. And Justin has an event lined up at Ballyvolane House. It will kick-off at 12 noon  (October 18th) with a B&T (Bertha & Tonic) and as soon as everyone has arrived, guests will be given a tour of the house, gardens and gin distillery. 

Lunch will be served at 1pm in the dining terrace where guests can meet and chat with the makers over lunch. Stonewell Cider and Eight Degrees Brewing will also be involved and tipples produced by all three makers will be served during lunch.

So there you are, a nice trip to the countryside. As Ernest Cantillon said in his address the event is designed to bring city and county together and indeed both were officially represented on the night.
Lorna Conroy of
Kinsale Bay.

Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald pointed to the fact that Cork has been designated as a Healthy City and put that down largely to the good food in the area. He stressed the importance of festivals in drawing visitors and said he was very proud of what Ernest and his colleagues are doing.

Ian Doyle, Deputy County Mayor, rightly congratulated the City Council on the marvellous work that they have done (and are continuing to do) at Nano Nagle Place, “a fantastic venue”. He noted that artisan food and drink are becoming very important and praised the great dedication shown by the producers.

Ernest said there is a great relationship between businesses, such as restaurants and hotels and suppliers. “Cork is well known for the quality of its produce and it is up to us to make sure we use it.”

Shane Clarke, of Nano Nagle Place, gave us a brief rundown of the life of Nano Nagle and of the current project and said there had been some 250 years of education on the site, an element they intend to take forward. And he too mentioned their lovely cafe and is looking forward to the pop-ups during the festival. The Nano Nagle has just recently opened and is well worth a visit. Details here

As is usual with Taste Cork, there were quite a few producers in Nano Nagle: Cider from Stonewell and Longueville, spirits from Bertha’s Revenge, Kinsale and St Patrick’s, Kinsale Bay and the Fish Deli (great to meet up again with Monica and Peter), Bluebell Falls, Hassett’s, On the Pigs Back, and Ballymaloe Relish. And the Old Butter Roads Food Trail had a lovely tasting plate. Well done to all for turning up and adding to the occasion.


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, June 26, 2017

Cork's Dessert Festival launches today!

press release

Where and What's on Offer

Electric Bar and Restaurant
Mad Hatters Afternoon G+T July 1st 2-4pm
Cake Club Sunday 2nd July 3-5pm Also featuring dessert specials all week
The Franciscan Well
Ice Cream and Beer Weekend July 1st and 2nd from 1pm
Nandos Academy St
Free Nata with every coffee ordered
Blue Haven Kinsale
Promoting Ice Cream Sundae Menu all week
Casanova Gelato
Launch of "The Giant" Sundae
Featuring parfait cups all week
Arthur Maynes
Beefeater & Tonic with an orange foam
paired with an orange scented Creme Catalana
Hassetts Bakery
Featuring all their homemade desserts
Fundraising cupcake event Fri June 30th 11-3pm
Cafe Velo
Pie with Italian Meringue
Cronins
Homemade ice cream made with Cronin's brown soda bread
and Russian Imperial Stout from the White Gypsy
LISHH Dessert bar all week featuring fresh homemade desserts
with a coffee for just €5
Malay Kitchen
Featuring fresh Malaysian sweet treats all week
Griffins Garden Centre
Featuring all Grannys Griffins Fabulous Homemade Desserts
Competition for afternoon tea for 2
Amicus
Featured Desserts: Amicus After 8
The Allotment Sundae: Butterscotch Bonanza
143
Corks only entirely vegan cafe!
Dessert Demonstration Wed 28th 7-9pm €30
Sober Lane
Guest Dessert- Kinder Sundae
Guest Cocktails: 1. Nutty Russian- Absolut Vanilla, Frangelico, Kahlua and Milk
2.After Eight- Tia Maria, Creme de Menthe, Baileys and Milk
Holy Smoke
Featuring Desserts: Devil's Fruit and Holy Revenge

More desserts and events to be confirmed by: Midleton Park Hotel, The Oriel House Hotel, Myo Cafe, Box of FrogsThe Cornstore, Huckleberry Donuts, Oh My Donut, The Granary Foodstore.

The public will be voting all week on social media for :
Corks Best Dessert
Corks Best Treat and
Best Dessert Event


All other info will be posted on our social media daily!


For any more info email : dessert@festivalcork.com Or follow us on social media!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Holy Smoke! Holy Water and Holy Fruit too.

Holy Smoke!
Holy Water and Holy Fruit too.
Couldn’t make it to the Big Smoke for the Big Grill in Dublin this week where local chef John Relihan was taking a leading role. But there was considerable consolation when I visited John’s local, Holy Smoke in Cork's Mardyke complex. Lots of smoked meat, Holy Fruit too for dessert and Holy Water and unholy beer (Punk) as the evening unfolded.

They don't really go in for starters here. True, there are few things to nibble but I usually go straight to the beef. Or the pork. Or the chicken. You can get some massive tray-fuls here. The largest is the BBQ Blowout (€24.50). You’ll get Brisket Burnt Ends, Dry Rubbed Baby Back Ribs, Pit Smoked BBQ Chicken, and Pulled Pork. Mega stuff. Great for a family to share or a group visit. Not too many will manage one of these on his or her own!

You’ll notice different woods on the menu here and that's because each wood has different flavour compounds. As well as the big trays, you may try the individual meats Pork, Beef, and Chicken. And Burgers too.
The Big One!

Oh, by the way, John Relihan and Holy Smoke are committed to the “sustainable sourcing of produce”. “Where possible, all of our ingredients and supplies are carefully selected from handpicked Irish producers and suppliers. We do everything we can to ensure the highest level of food provenance from field to fork.” Good to hear. I like it like that!

And what will you drink with that? There is a varying list of craft beers available, some on tap, more in bottle, and they have a direct line to Porthouse! There is even a list of cocktails and then a good selection of spirits: whiskey, bourbon, gin, vodka, tequila. And some wines too.

Beers

Beer was our choice the other night. I got a pint of Brewdog’s Punk IPA on draught and CL enjoyed her bottle of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (a beer that I rather liked myself, based on a limited, very limited, sample!).

Still, my Brewdog and some of that Holy Water went well with my twelve euro Burger, the Juicy Lucy, grilled over a sweet mixture of beech, chestnut and oak charcoal. I got a 6 ounce burger with a Gubbeen cheese core, grilled onions, mixed lettuce and beef tomato, served with naked slaw, and pickles.

Meet Lucy
 CL went for the Real Deal, also twelve euro. This is pulled pork smoked slow and low mixed with their own BBQ sauce, topped with just slaw and served with naked slaw and pickles. By the way, you get a choices of sides, so, from their Sideshow, we shared their Pit-smoked Beans and also the Skinny Fries.


Both burgers were delicious, great combinations of textures, tastes and flavours, and both sides were much appreciated as well. Really top notch burgers and the beers weren't bad either!

Desserts? Yes please. Always have time and room for their Holy Fruit. That too has been on the grill but we’d prefer it warm rather than this week’s cold version. Overall though great stuff and an enjoyable visit, made even more so by the lively, chatty and efficient service from start to finish.


Holy fruit
Holy Smoke 
Little Hanover Street, Cork
Phone: (021) 427 3000
Twitter @holysmokecork 

Wed-Thu:
5:00 pm - 10:30 pm
Fri:
5:00 pm - 11:30 pm
Sat:
4:00 pm - 11:30 pm
Sun:
4:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Hel-loo fella