Showing posts with label Kenmare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kenmare. Show all posts

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Poff’s, The Tops of Kenmare. Supporting Local

Poff’s, The Tops of Kenmare.
Supporting Local
Poff’s of Kenmare is my kind of place. And, though I’ve never met her, chef/patron Helen Poff is my kind of person. She and her bright and airy café on New Street support local producers.

It is up there on the board in black and white: Star Sea Foods Kenmare, Coolea Cheese, St Tola Cheese, Harrington Bakery, Folláin Jams and Marmalades, Peter O’Sullivan Sneem black pudding and juicy burgers, Ashes of Annascaul sausage and white pudding, Kenmare Select Smoked Salmon, and Billy Clifford’s organic salads and vegetables.

Put all that gorgeous food into the hands of the experienced Helen Poffs and you're on a winner, for breakfast and lunch. And as some parts of the breakfast menu, including the Full Irish, are available at lunch time, you have a great choice all the way through the day.

But there is much more: daily specials, quiches, salads. Sweet stuff too if you're just in for a cuppa! Take a look at the lovely little place here. Rotate the view and you’ll see that they have a few seats outside too, for the good days that are ahead.

We called in there in late April - it is just off Henry Street. With a big dinner coming up that evening, we weren't looking for anything majorly filling! We had to restrain ourselves as we were seated right alongside the display cabinet!

The soup changes daily and there was an attractive one on, indeed I think there was a choice. CL picked the Broccoli and Blue Cheese (4.50) and I can guarantee every drop was finished off. One happy customer.
Spick and span
And I was very happy too. Helen opened this place last year having been Head Breakfast Chef at the famous Park Hotel. So when I noted “fluffy” on the pancake description, I thought to myself, I could be on a winner here. And I was.

The full description read: Fluffy American style pancakes with Maple syrup, fresh berries and cream (6.5). I know pancakes regularly turn up on breakfast menus in hotels and guest houses but mostly they are disappointingly stodgy. Not so here. Fluffy she said and fluffy she delivered. Perhaps the best pancakes I’ve ever had. I know many of you love nutella and they also do a version for you!

A couple of excellent coffees (2.00 each) later and we stepped out into the April sunshine. Or was it showers at the time?

  • By the way, at the recent regional Restaurant Association of Ireland awards, Poff’s won the Best Kerry Café Award.

Poff’s
New Road
Kenmare
Co. Kerry
Phone 064 6640645
Wed-Sun: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm. Check Facebook for seasonal changes.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Mews. A Kenmare Delight.

The Mews. A Kenmare Delight.
Rather Special.
Turbot
Sometimes it’s the little things. The things that don't cost that much, if anything. But that make a big impression. Take a couple of the little things on a recent visit to the lovely Mews Restaurant in Kenmare, opened last year by Gary Fitzgerald and Maria O'Sullivan.

First impressions? The smiles on entry. Indeed, throughout the evening. And another? The Gouda and spring onion bread that came as we sat down, along with a tasty tapenade. No big cost here! But a very good impression!

Not much good though being nice and chatty if the big things don't add up. Here, they do. Maria and chef Gary are an experienced pair in the business, having previously worked in places such as Park Hotel Kenmare, Menton’s at the Plaza Killarney, The Chart House Restaurant Dingle and the Limetree Restaurant Kenmare.
Their hard-won experience is being put to brilliant use here in the heart of Kenmare, just a few steps off Henry Street. Service was excellent throughout and so too was the food. In Kenmare, I always keep an eye out for the fish, especially the specials.

And they had Turbot, my favourite fish, on that evening. It was served with an Israeli couscous and an exotic salsa. It was perfectly cooked and tidily presented and worth every penny.

Meanwhile CL was thoroughly enjoying her fish dish, a regular on the menu: Oven baked fillet of hake, with tomato and aubergine fondue, potato rosti, salsa Verde, apple balsamic. Another delicious delight from the Atlantic via the Mews kitchen!
Dessert
Quite a wine list here too, and delighted to note that it included a few by local organic wine importer Mary Pawle. With the fish, we sipped a glass of the Raimat Abadia, Chardonnay/Albarino. Earlier still, while checking the menus, I’d enjoyed a cool drop of Tio Pepe sherry.

Just like the mains, there’s a great list of starters here, lots of local producers mentioned throughout. I enjoyed a starter and a half, a trio of crostini: Dressed Dingle crab and shrimp with avocado salsa; Duck wontons with plum chutney; Blue cheese with hummus and chilli jam. CL did well too with her Baked field mushroom, filled with hummus, topped with Cashel blue cheese and chorizo, quinoa and pickled carrot, berry vinaigrette.
Breads

This turned out to be one of the best meals for us in a long while. And the finish was well up there too, even if we had to share the Rhubarb and white chocolate panna cotta, orange sorbet and amarena cherry cookies, each element a gem.


Sad to have it all come to an end but it was two happy customers that stepped out into the Kenmare night. Very Highly Recommended.


The Mews
Henry Court, Henry Street, Kenmare, Co. Kerry
Phone: 064 6642829
email : info@themewskenmare.com


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Mulcahy’s Kenmare. Superb Food On Main Street

Mulcahy’s Kenmare
Superb Food In New Main Street Venue
Halibut
Sit yourself down on one of those high-backed leather chairs and study the menu. You could be in a capital city but just outside is Main Street, Kenmare, Co. Kerry and you are in the new ultra comfortable Mulcahy’s Restaurant.

You've admired the new curved bar on the way on, maybe you’ve stopped for an aperitif. But now it is time to make your choices. And don't forget the specials. As you choose, some gorgeous breads are delivered to the table, along with a Green Olive Tapenade, good butter too of course.
Sausage of lobster and prawn
And before you get to the starters, there is an amuse bouche. This evening, we get a goats cheese and beetroot creation, a few little spoonfuls of deliciousness. I put that little spoon to more good use too, finishing off the tapenade that wouldn't fit on the bread!

For a starter this evening, from the specials board,  I could have picked the Braised Beef, white onion, puréed mushrooms, and bone marrow. I know one customer who did and his tweet was ecstatic! I picked a good one too: a Boudin of Lobster and Prawn. Quite a “sausage”, with a delicious sauce! Our other starter, also from the specials, was Scampi with Marie Rose sauce.
Pork Belly
The main courses were something else. Halibut is a gorgeous fish but here it is quite a treat, served with mussels, bacon and clam cream. My choice here was Pork Belly served with Salt Baked Celeriac, Chorizo and puffed crackling, another gem. The mains are accompanied by perfectly cooked vegetables: crunchy sugar snap peas, a smooth mashed carrot with cumin, and croquette potatoes.

Fairly full after that lot, even though the pace had been relaxed all through. Service was excellent as well, friendly, informative. They couldn't persuade us to take dessert though but I did enjoy a sweet finalé thanks to a wee glass of their Crasto LBV Port, elegant, sweet and spicy, a more than able substitute for the listed but unavailable Warres. So it was with a nice warm feeling that we left the new house of Mulcahy. Very Highly Recommended.

Mulcahy’s Bar & Restaurant,
Main Street, Kenmare,
County Kerry
064 6642383 or 087 2364449

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Food and Drink Spotting

Food and Drink Spotting
Walnut and Date cake via Lorge Chocolatier Kenmare.
See his delicious chocolate and nougat and more at
this weekend's Kenmare Food Carnival.
Farmer's Market for Camphire International Horse Trials & Festival

Local food and craft producers from across the region are set to feature at the Camphire International Horse Trials which will take place in west Waterford from July 26 to 28.

For those with a sweet tooth Maurice Butler from the Dungarvan based Butler’s traditional Ice cream will be on hand to ensure visitors enjoy some of Ireland’s finest handmade Ice-cream, Baldwin’s Farmhouse Ice-cream from Knockanore and Candy Rock Lane from Cork will also be on hand with sweet treats.

The Summerhouse Café from Lismore will be onsite with their popular local produce along with Helen Murphy’s Catering whilst Volcano Wood Fired Pizza will serve up delicious artisan pizza from their mobile wood fired pizza oven.

According to Festival Organiser, Billy Garvey, “Visitors to Camphire will be able to sample some wonderful local food produce whilst enjoying all the equestrian action of the Trials.  Furthermore, the wonderful views of the Blackwater valley provide a truly unique setting to enjoy what will be a great weekend in our outdoor Village.”

Free Wine and Poetry!
Don’t miss the Free wine at Felix Dennis's poetry readings this week in Dublin and Cork - there's gallons of it, according to Stuart of From Vineyards Direct. Dennis is “one of the most popular, critically acclaimed poets of recent times attracting thousands of dedicated fans across the globe”. Check him out here
 €20 - Tickets / €10 Concessions (Includes pretty much unlimited FVD Wine.....a good time guaranteed). 
Dublin - Thursday 11th July
The Button Factory
 Cork - Saturday 13th July
The Firkin Crane  

Galway’s Masquerade Extravaganza

A carnival of masked revellers, led by a lively band, will wind through Galway’s medieval streets on Saturday 28th September during the highly anticipated Gala ‘Mardi Gras’ style masquerade event, sponsored by Tindal Wine Merchants.

Combining five bands, three venues and one great party, the evening is tipped to be the 2013 festival highlight! Guests are invited to don their most colourful clothes and captivating masquerade masks as they venture on the movable feast. In each of the three venues, guests will indulge in a different course of delicious seafood while being entertained by live performances ’til the wee hours.

The Galway Oyster Festival has been hailed by the Sunday Times as “one of the 12 greatest shows on earth” and ranks in the AA Travel Guide among Europe‘s 7 Best Festivals as well as most recently winning a place in the Independent UK 10 Best Food Festivals.

As this vibrant city pulls out all the stops for The Gathering, 2013 is the year to taste the celebrated hospitality and vibrant atmosphere that is gloriously Galway. More info from info@galwayoysterfest.com

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

24 hours in Kenmare

24 hours in Kenmare
View of Kenmare Bay from the Sea Shore guesthouse
An unexpected call led to a quick decision to head for Kenmare for a recent overnight stay. No rush on the way down so we took the “long” route: lunch at Manning’s Emporium and a trip around the Beara Peninsula.


Kenmare Bay
The Sea Shore, a well named guesthouse, just about a mile from the town, was to be our overnight base. We got a terrific welcome from Owen on check-in and a welcome cup of tea before we even thought to ask for it. Met his wife Mary Patricia at breakfast in the morning, quite a breakfast I might add, and she filled us in on places to visit and so on.
Kenmare town
Of course, we had been out the night before for a meal, this at the well known Lime Tree. Many of you will know of this restaurant over the years but did you know that it is now owned and run by one of its former chefs Michael Casey?
The Lime Tree
It remains a top class dinner venue. My starter was the Oak Smoked Kenmare  Salmon with celeriac and apple remoulade and a caper and red onion salsa. Excellent also was the Warm Sneem Black Pudding salad, served with crispy fried potato cubes, apple compote and blackberry vinaigrette.

Duo of lamb
On then to the mains. Mine was the superb eye-catching Duo of Lamb: a mini shepherd’s pie (served in its own pot) and a rack of locally sourced Kerry lamb with a confit of garlic and thyme juice, all served on a board. The other main course was also top notch, also so well cooked, and it was Pan-fried breast of Skeaghanore free range duck with a rhubarb and ginger chutney, apple and a cassis jus.

On the following morning we visited Bonane Heritage Park which is crammed full of archaeological sites of all descriptions, including a Stone Circle and a Ring Fort, all within easy walking distance. Amazing.

Nearby also is the Lorge Chocolatier and that also is worth a visit. Soon we had a bag full of chocolates, nougats, marmalade, honey and other foods. All great, though I didn't realise 'til later that the honey came in a plastic jar!



We didn’t touch the chocolate at that point as we had a lunch date at the Boathouse in Dromquinna. This restaurant is on the northern bank of Kenmare Bay, quite a setting. It is a lovely spot and they do excellent food there. The same menu runs from 12.30pm until closing.

CL very much enjoyed her starter portion of  Mussels in a gorgeous white wine cream sauce while I was delighted with the Potted Crab Mayonnaise, with crispy capers and tortilla chips. Off to a good start then.

Next up for me was the mains portion of mussels and I wasn't disappointed. CL’s choice was the seared fillet of Hake and this too was top notch, looked very well and tasted even better. 

Just time for dessert then (before heading to Killarney for a family visit) and this was the spectacular Boathouse Knickerbocker Glory. Try it sometime! And do try Kenmare, well worth a visit, even if for just twenty four hours.



Stone circle at Bonane



Monday, February 25, 2013

Davitt’s of Kenmare, an excellent base

 Davitt’s of Kenmare, an excellent base
Kenmare in the evening
 Spent a few days in Kenmare recently. I was based in Davitt’s  in Henry Street and am glad to say it was a delight to stay there. We had a lovely welcome and our upstairs room, away from the street, was spacious and, with two big skylights, quite bright as was the spotless bathroom. Just in case you don’t like too much light, I’d better let you know the windows had pull-down blackout blinds!
Kenmare in the evening (2)
We had prior dining arrangements for the evenings but thoroughly enjoyed our breakfasts, not least the friendly chats with Mary. She told us that they have been there about 14 years. The well kept place, which also includes a restaurant and bar, is a credit to them. The feeling of space applies throughout and even the corridors along the different flights of bedrooms are well lit compared to higher classed accommodation. Just to finish off about the breakfasts, I must say that the choices were huge, everything from the Full Irish to cereals and seeds and yoghurts and fruits and juices, virtually anything you’d want really.

Parking was no problem to us in the middle of February but could be one later in the year, though that applies to Kenmare as a whole. Davitt’s do have a small area at the back and we used that all the time but it is really small. The parking on-street is by meter and there are some good car parks not too far away. Still, if you’re hauling cases, go to the back if you’re not lucky enough to get a spot on the street outside.

Kenmare in the morning
Kenmare itself is a lively town with some great hotels and restaurants, more than you’d think. It is also a terrific base for local touring. Indeed, it gives you a gateway both to the Ring of Kerry and to the Ring of Beara. Walking, cycling or driving, you’ll be well placed for some of the best scenery in Ireland.

And watch out too for terrific local festivals. Mary was very enthusiastic about the traditional gathering there on the 15th of August and a newer one, the Kenmare Food Carnival , is also attracting the crowds and this year’s event is scheduled for the 12th to 14th of July.

By the way, if you need a taxi while in Kenmare, you could try A1 Taxis (087 2910584 and 087 3560011). Davitt's booked them for us for one trip and we found them friendly and efficient and their fares seemed reasonable.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Warm Welcome in Mulcahy’s

Warm Welcome in Mulcahy’s

Walked in off the cold of Henry Street to the warmth of Mulcahy’s Restaurant one evening last week. For a second or two, thought there was no one home but that was just the dim lighting in the Kenmare restaurant.

The cold outside was soon forgotten and, after a warm welcome, we were shown to our comfortable seats and, now accustomed to the lighting (it wasn't that dim!), began to study the menu, with the helpful staff reminding us of the specials board and also advising us of one or two minor changes.


Sampled a couple of tasty breads as we began to make our minds up and indeed there was also a lovely Amuse Bouche, goats cheese and beetroot, delivered to the table.

There were seven or eight starters to choose from, including the soup at €5.50. I picked the Hen Egg, twice cooked, Asparagus, Iberico Ham and Garlic Hollandaise (€7.50). Quite a combination of tastes and textures but really well balanced. The other starter also went down very well indeed. It was that bit different: Cannelloni, Prawn, Salmon and Lobster, Bisque, and Parmesan (11.00). 


They use a great deal of local produce here and fish is obviously going to feature strongly. Again there were seven of eight choices for mains and three were fish: Halibut, Scallop and Lemon Sole. We weren’t complaining. On the contrary!

Halibut doesn’t feature that much on local menus so this was my pick: Roast Halibut, Mussel, Bacon and Clam Cream (26.00). Excellent, as was the side dish of vegetables and potato, included in the price.


The same veg was included in CL’s choice: Lemon Sole with Tomato Brown Butter (22.00).  This is cooked on the bone and served whole. Takes a bit more “work” with the knife and fork but well worth it!

Each of the desserts on the short list costs seven euro, though you’ll pay two more for the cheese plate. Some interesting choices here and I gave it a bit of thought before picking the Rhubarb Mille Feuille. The photo will give you an idea with the rhubarb, in a form of ice cream, between the pastry layers. Very enjoyable, a kind of low key sweet and sharp! CL went for the equally delicious Passion fruit Soufflé with Honeycomb ice cream.



Finished off with a cup of tea. They were out of my favourite Rooibos so I switched to Earl Grey and that was no hardship! There is a big enough wine list here, with some expensive ones, but I settled for a glass of a crisp De Martino Sauvignon Blanc (Chile) that went well with the fish.

Head Chef Bruce Mulcahy is back and Mulcahy’s are once again known as Mulcahy’s with the short-lived Wild Garlic title now redundant. So there you have it. To find them, go to Henry Street, Kenmare, though you may have to park some distance away as the town is short on parking spaces.


36 Henry Street, Kenmare
Hours Thu - Sun: 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Phone (064) 664 2383

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sheen Shines on Valentine’s

Sheen Shines on Valentine’s
Campari in the bar
Sheen Falls Lodge was the classy venue for this year’s Valentine’s Night outing and it turned out to be a cracking meal, though there was not, thankfully, a special menu for the night. A new season just started, new owners and some new staff, saw us get off to a rather slow start but, soothed by an excellent meal and the live piano music, we were very happy at the end.

Enjoyed a drink in the bar, in the Sun Lounge to be precise, before heading to La Cascade Restaurant, nicely lit and furnished and very well staffed and a decent crowd in. First surprise was a very tasty Amuse Bouche: herb baked oyster in shell accompanied by a lively Bloody Marie shot. The taste buds were up and running.



Now for the starters. From a choice of six, I picked the Home Smoked Salmon and Citrus Marinated Sea Trout, served on a crispy coriander sesame flat bread with fresh horse-radish. Very colourful and tasty with the razor flat bread adding a contrasting texture.

The other starter was also well received and that was Confit Pork Belly and Black Pudding with Pear Vanilla Compote and jus, with a liquorish yoghurt. The first three provided a perfect combination while the yoghurt didn’t add much. 

We both started off the wines with a rosé from Provence: Noas, Château Ferry Lacombe 2010 (€9.00 a glass). Not too many people drink rosé during the Irish winter but this was well up to the task. For the mains, I switched to an unremarkable, though quite drinkable, Navara Principe de Viana Crianza Tempranillo 2008 (€7.50 a glass) while CL was very pleased with the Alain Geoffroy 2011 Petit Chablis (€10.00 a glass).

My mains was just perfect: Fillet of Beef with Sautéed artichoke, pommes dauphine and red wine jus. CL was more than pleased with the Pan-fried Cod Fillet, beetroot tarragon sauce, bacon lardons, sweet potato rosti and winter vegetables.


Grand Marnier Marinated Strawberries with Iced Champagne.


The break between mains and dessert was sweetly filled by the sorbet, a really top class one, a little glass containing Champagne ice, Grand Marnier and Strawberries. More like a mini-dessert than your normal sorbet!

Took our time making a pick from the six or so desserts on offer. CL went for the Irish Whiskey and Golden Raisin crème Brûlée with Guinness Ice Cream while my choice was the much more sober Fig Beignets with Fromage Blanc Mousse and Berry Compote, both excellent, especially when matched with superb dessert wines. 

For me it was the Muscat de Rivesaltes Domaine des Schistes 2009  (Languedoc-Roussillon) while for her it was Domaine Chiroulet, Soleil d’Automne 2007 (Gascoigne), each at €9.00 per glass.

It was a long evening but all too soon it was time to settle up, get the coats on (they do that for you here) and head for the taxi.





The basic 3 course meal in this restaurant will cost you €65.00.



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Outstanding New Zealand Wines

Outstanding New Zealand Wines at Ballymaloe

Sunday afternoon’s trip to Ballymaloe  proved to be a very rewarding one. Not alone did we taste some terrific wines from New Zealand but we were entertained and educated by two of the beautiful country’s top winemakers, Larry McKenna of Escarpment and John Hancock of Trinity Hill.


Ironically both are Australian and went to High School together. They later combined in an early venture in New Zealand before going their separate ways. They are still great friends and a terrific combination at evenings such as this.



While John recognises the importance of terroir Larry, also known as Larry McPinot, is “unashamedly a terroiriste” and tries, very successfully, to emulate Burgundy.



The pair were introduced to the Grain Store audience by Anthony Tindal of the Tindal Wine Company, their distributors in Ireland. John told us that Trinity Hill has been established for just 15 years as he introduced the first pair of his wines.



The first up was the Hawkes Bay Pinot Gris 2011. Beautiful aromas, “Turkish delight!” John said. Even though the wine is a dry one, it has a magnicient texture and fullness and “makes food look good”. This is perhaps the best Pinot Gris I’ve tasted.



Then we tasted the Gimblett Gravels Viognier 2011, another standout wine and again one of the best Viogniers I’ve tasted. Loved its apricot and floral aromas, the rich and soft texture. John recommended trying it with Asian food.



The first of the Trinity Hill reds followed, a Hawkes Bay Merlot 2010, 87% Merlot to be exact, the balance of the blend shared between Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. This, with an abv of 14%, is “more about the fruit. It was a very successful year. This is good value and a great seller in New Zealand. Try it with lamb and rosemary.”



The next wine, the Gimblett Gravels ‘The Gimblett’ 2008, was built to last longer than the Merlot. Is uses the traditional five varieties of Bordeaux (Cab Sauv 43%, Merlot 41%, Petit Verdot 7%, Malbec 6& and Cab Franc 3%). 



“The fruit is from low yielding vines. It is more intense, more concentrated. It is made to age and needs it. It spends 18 months in oak, has good depth, is well balanced and will age for another five years. A food wine!"




All along the evening, the pair had some good discussions and good answers to questions from the audience. Larry told us that almost all the wine is made on the sheltered east coast as the NZ weather comes from the west, just like Ireland’s.

John explained that tannins come predominantly from the skins, also from the seeds and pips, and give the wine that grippy feeling while Larry said that, without tannins, wine has no backbone.

While Larry grows Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay on the Escarpment, the site is “a great place to grow Pinot Noir”. It is a bit of a Prima Donna – Larry described it as genetically instable – but he does very well with it, as his four examples underlined.

First up was Escarpment The Edge, Martinborough 2011. “No oak, simple..fruit driven..for immediate drinking.” Simple maybe but still full-bodied and with a lingering finish.

The Escarpment Pinot Noir, Martinborough 2010, was a “step up in quality” “it was a good year, very healthy grapes...we picked when we wanted to pick over a number of sites. This is what we call a district blend and a fantastic example of what we should be doing.”

The first two were good but the second two, each from a single vineyard, were even better, described as absolutely beautiful by Anthony Tindal and virtually everybody else I spoke to.

The Escarpment Te Rehua Pinot Noir, Martinborough 2010, showed how well Larry emulated Burgundy, though his site has its own characteristics of course. Made from 25 year old vines the wine showed unique complexity along with the usual black cherry and plum flavours.

Really good and then came another gem: Escarpment Kupe Pinot Noir, Martinborough 2010. “The density of planting in this vineyard, our oldest, is similar to Burgundy” and the wine was ”impressively velvety and supple...huge concentration of flavour...I am very happy with it..and really looking forward to seeing the Kupe in 25 years time!”

Nice stories too behind the labels and you can read all about them here. For more info on John’s wines check Trinity Hill.

Alain from the Vanilla Grape in Kenmare enjoyed his trip to Ballymaloe and he stocks the wines. There is a discount available at present and to see more about the wines in Ireland check Tindal Wines. Remember when using the internet that while a company may have with 100s of wines in stock, they may not all be listed on the site; sometimes you may have to phone.