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We arrive at the K Lounge in the Kingsley Hotel just as a busy lunch service is starting to wind down. But we are far from the first arrivals for their “classic Afternoon Tea”.
A little bit of luck has brought us here. Back at the Cork Summer Show, we bought a lovely snack at the Kingsley stand and filled up a coupon and that very coupon was the lucky one, earning the two of us this gorgeous and rather well balanced treat.
We started off with the savoury pieces, off the bottom of three tiered plates. These included Egg and Mayonnaise sandwiches, a very tasty Cheese, Ham, and Relish sandwich, a Tuna wrap and Smoked Salmon on brown bread.
Had begun with tea and continued with it as we moved to the middle plate. Here we had superb Scones, a delicious Carrot Cake and their own sweet Tea Cake. Lovely stuff and time now for a pause in the very comfortable chairs as we switched from tea to coffee for the final part of the treat and took in the view of the river flowing by outside. Indeed, we might well have been outside had the weather been as hot as it had been a few days earlier.
So now, so sweet! I started with the Lemon Meringue and finished with the chocolate mousse. In between, the pleasure was uninterrupted as I introduced my palate to Shortbread biscuit, Orange Macaroon and Coffee Cake (perhaps my favorite).
All Afternoon Teas here are served with home-made jam, Kerry butter and whipped cream.
And the menu changes and might include some scrumptious raspberry tartlets and coffee and chocolate opera cakes; a selection of freshly baked plain and fruit scones; smoked salmon and capers mille-feuille and goat cheese and sun blush tomato tartlet. And there is also a Gluten Free Afternoon Tea option available.
Much as we enjoyed our visit, I wouldn't be taking Afternoon Tea every day. Indeed, next time, I could well go for the lunch as that menu continues to be available until 5.00pm. Some tempting items listed, among them Crispy Skeaghanore Duck Breast Salad and a very impressive list of Munster Farmhouse cheeses featuring favourites such as Cashel Blue, Gubbeen Smoked, Milleens, Coolea and Cooleeny. The K Lounge, by the way, is just one of a number of dining options here.
Got a celebration coming up? An anniversary, a birthday, a modest Lotto win? Where do you take forty or fifty people in Cork? Here are three suggestions.
Curran’s in Adelaide Street is one. I was there late last year for a 60th with about 30 people. We were accommodated in an upstairs area, which we had to ourselves. You can have a set menu (with a certain amount of choice) or you can go a la carte. The service and the food are excellent and the restaurant also has a good choice of wine and beer (some of which is on draught).
Most recently I was in the extremely comfortable and spacious Kingsley Hotel on the Carrigrohane Road. The celebration here was in the Arc suite. The bar is just outside the room but there is ample table service for drinks. This was a full three-course meal, plus tea or coffee and it was a great night. The only disappointment was that the rack of lamb was mostly underdone and had a high amount of fat.
The barbecue at the Silversprings Hotel is also worth considering. They have a grass area with garden furniture, overlooked by a patio, all backed up by a spacious room indoors. Just as well the room was available on our visit: the weather broke at just the wrong time and we all had to move in for the food.
It was typical barbecue fare: chops, kebabs, hot dogs and salads. It was top class and, with the very reasonable €15.00 a head tariff, very good value indeed. There was no bar in the room but the main bar is very close and they will carry your drinks to your table.
Morans have re-furbished this hotel in recent years but I remember working with PJ Hegarty Ltd in the foundations in 1962 . I had special permission from the ITGWU (thanks to Gerry Cronin in Connolly Hall on the Lower Glanmire Road) and was paid four shillings and ten pence an hour, two pence more than the general worker. I operated a steel-bending machine and helped the steel fixers. This as regarded as semi-skilled work and that was why I got the extra few pence. It was good money for a teenager on his summer holidays.