Showing posts with label Market Lane. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Market Lane. Show all posts

Friday, November 28, 2014

Elbow Lane Brew & Smoke House. Best of goods in small parcels.

Elbow Lane Brew & Smoke House

Best of goods in small parcels

Best of goods in small parcels. An old Irish saying beloved of mothers.

And like many old sayings, there is some truth in it. Take the Elbow Lane Brew and Smoke House in Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork. The brewery here is so small, they call it nano rather than micro and the restaurant area, which can accommodate 25, is one of the smallest if not the smallest in the city. But you certainly get good stuff here.

Got the tour from Gerry O’Sullivan (you'll know him from the Castle Cafe) yesterday morning and you can see he enjoys his work here (he is also a home-brewer!). But then you realise that all the crew you meet here are on the same level of enthusiasm. Take a look at the top right of the menu and you’ll read: We’re really round of the beers that we make here. This is not marketing speak. It is true!

Perhaps, that enthusiasm has rubbed off from their beer guru Cuilan of White Gypsy. Elbow Lane folk are loud in their praise of the help and advice give by the pioneering Templemore brewery, especially Cuilán and Jamie.

The new Cork brewery is divided into two floors. The brewing and fermentation takes place downstairs while the conditioning takes place above. To save space, Gerry explained that they have an initial multi-purpose tank replacing the mash tun and lauter tun that you see in bigger breweries. Everything starts here and then the spent grain is neatly removed in its perforated container by a small hoist and no need for anyone to pop into the vessel with a shovel!

Gerry explained that hops can be added at different stages to the wort but with different effects. In general, hops added early in the boil will contribute more bitterness, but at the expense of flavor and aroma. Hops added at the end will have a more pronounced flavor and aroma, but will not contribute significantly to the bitterness of the beer.
Gerry, Conrad and brewer Russell
Hygiene is all important and is given the highest priority here. And Elbow Lane have also invested in temperature control, a key element in helping the brewer. Patience is also required, especially with lager. A German style lager can take up to six weeks while an Ale or Stout will be ready in 12 to 14 days.

There is a set of conditioning tanks upstairs - again you’ll see much bigger ones in other craft breweries. They are also known as Bright Beer Tanks. But the beer goes in cloudy. “All our beers here are unfiltered,” Gerry tells me. “They are naturally cloudy.”

The Cascade hop is one of the most popular and indeed, Gerry tells me there could well be a shortage of this particular type in the near future. They use it sparingly here, in pellet form. All the Elbow Lane beers are relatively lightly hopped, mainly because of food matching considerations. You don't want an over-hopped beer destroying the food flavours.

Indeed, the new brewery owes it existence to the food produced in the restaurants, Elbow Lane itself and big brother Market Lane next door, nearby ORSO and the Castle Cafe in Blackrock Castle. Owner Conrad Howard says they wouldn't have started a standalone “retail brewery”. But this one fits really well with the company's four food outlets, each with its own style. The Brewery has kegging and bottling facilities but that is to distribute the beers to ORSO and Blackrock. Market Lane is piped into the system!

And what kind of food do they do downstairs in the Elbow Lane Smokehouse? Well, very popular stuff by the looks of it. You'll find it difficult to get a seat after 7.00pm. Head chef Stephen Keogh is the man in charge and his pride and joy is the wood grill imported from the US.

Virtually everything you get on your plate here has been through the in-house smoker, the smoke coming from apple wood. Oak is used under the grill and here the T-Bones, the duck and fish (last Thursday night it was Sea Bream), is finished off.

And it really is going down very well. “There is a great feedback from all age groups”, says a delighted Gerry. “What’s your favourite?”, I asked. “Oh give me a T-Bone with that smoked Béarnaise butter and I’ll be a happy puppy!”

Sounds very good indeed. Pity it was early in the morning when we met! Must go back and try the cooking, the ribs are also highly rated. And it is a very different menu.  Even the desserts! Where else would you get Passion Curd, eucalyptus and tamarind jelly?

At present, there are some five beers in the Elbow Lane range: Elbow Lager, Wisdom Ale, Liberty Porter, Angel Stout and Jawbone Pale Ale. Check them out here. Oh yes, you may also drink wine here, even tea and coffee!

Elbow Lane
4 Oliver Plunkett Street
021 239 0479.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Know Their Onions in Market Lane

Know Their Onions in Market Lane
Just after 12.30pm on Friday, I joined the queue going into Market Lane. We were seated in no time and the place was buzzing, customers chatting, staff welcoming, smiles and a happy buzz all round. And the food wasn't bad either! Excellent actually.

Hadn't been in for  a while but was glad to see that French Onion Soup (€5.95) still on the menu. It is still gorgeous, full of standout flavours and I just love the added Gruyere and Croutons. Reckon I’ll always be looking out for that one.

Our other starter was also a beauty: Baked Ardsallagh goat’s cheese, caramelised pear and spinach on a quinoa and walnut tart with a beetroot, orange and rocket salad (7.95). I know quinoa doesn't always get a good press but this was a delicious good looking combination, full of attractive flavours and textures.

The high standard was maintained throughout. My main course, a vegetarian one, was the Moussaka with aubergine, fennel, beans, cinnamon, lentils and cheddar cheese with a feta, orange and rocket salad. Loved this, full of juicy flavours and some good chunky bites there too, all for €13.95.

The big spender choose the Spiced Lamb Shoulder with Bombay aloo potatoes, organic leaves, pickled cauliflower, shallots and mint and cucumber raita (11.95). She would have preferred a few more potatoes but made short work of yet another delicious dish from the Market Lane kitchen.

No time unfortunately for their tempting desserts. Indeed, with an evening visit to a local brewery on the cards, I didn't even have a glass of wine. And here you get a generous glass, 187 mls no less; besides, the price is in proportion to the full bottle price. And they have some lovely craft beer on offer as well, including their own Angel Lane Stout. Watch out for more of their own beers in the very near future as their very own Elbow Lane Brewery nears completion.

Market Lane, open seven days a week, caters for all sizes of wallet, all sizes of stomach! That goat’s cheese salad, for instance is available in two sizes. If you are in a hurry, you may avail of their Special €10.00 Lunch Offer of Soup, Half-sandwich, mini-chocolate pot and tea or coffee. Quite a bargain.

And watch out as well for their 3-course Early Evening Meal which has some great choices and indeed includes many of the regular main courses. A great way to get to know a really good quality good value restaurant. And, by the way, you won't be on your own. Always a buzz here.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Dining at the Castle

Dining at the Castle Café
The sky cleared as we arrived at Cork’s Blackrock Castle this week for lunch in the Castle Café. and, from the bright front room - there is also an inner room - we had a close-up view of the 16th century castle under a beautiful blue sky.

Blackrock Castle is located on the banks of the River Lee, about 2 kilometres from the heart of Cork city. Nowadays, it houses the CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory and, in the small grounds, the Castle Café.

It is  a very popular spot for lunch. We had arrived rather early, about 12.30pm, last Wednesday, but had to wait in line for a table. After a short spell, during which we studied the menu, we were led to our table. The menus are already there as they use them as table mats, just as they do in Market Lane, a busy city centre restaurant run by the same firm (ORSO is also under the same umbrella).

The Elbow Lane Brewery, soon to come onstream if reports are correct, is also part of the group. For the moment, at least in the Castle, you can sample the craft brews of Dungarvan Brewing and Eight Degrees Brewing in bottle. On draught, they have a White Gypsy red ale and I sampled, and very much enjoyed, a glass of that (€2.30) with the meal.

Service was pretty good here, even if all tables were full. Presentation and delivery of the food was fine and what was supposed to be warm was warm and water was refilled without having to make a request.

We had two good salads as our mains. One was the Slow cooked ham with honey glaze, roast sweet potato, watercress, sundried tomatoes and grapefruit dressing (€10.95) and the other a Caesar Salad with Romaine Lettuce, classic Caesar dressing, parmesan shavings and croutons (€8.50) enhanced by the addition chicken and Bacon (€2.50).

But it was the starters that had us talking, as both were superb. Mine was the Seared Escalope of venison with leek and thyme risotto (€8.50). The strongly flavoured meat was well matched with the soft and gorgeous risotto.

Homemade crab fish fingers with lemon cucumber pickle and quince jelly (€7.95) was another gem, a well cooked main ingredient enhanced by the pickle and jelly. Big marks for each of these. Curried prawn dauphine with a seafood sauce and watercress salad was another starter I'd have liked to have tried. Next time!

Castle Café, Blackock Castle, Cork.

Saturday, August 20, 2011



Enjoyed some fantastic Blasket Lamb at Market Lane on Friday night. Our special: “Noisette of Blasket Lamb (on spinach) with feta and roast vegetable pie, chap potatoes and lamb jus.The lambs roam free, grazing on the diverse herbage of the sea soaked island. This diet of heather, herbs and grasses give the lamb its unique flavour.”

Free range is good but free range besides the sea is even better going by this experience. It was beautiful, tender and full of flavour.

It was probably the best lamb that I’ve tasted - ever. Much of credit here must go to the chefs at Market Lane. After all, you may have been give the best gem in the world but you unless you set it off well, the sparkle is wasted.

And what a setting on this plate. That feta and vegetable pie was gorgeous; the chap potatoes (which included some minced lamb) even more so. And the cost was a very reasonable €19.50.

I think you can be assured that whatever lamb this restaurant comes up with next – the Blasket is running out fast – will also be treated and served up well! And then there is so much more here on a very expansive menu. Something like 14 main courses, ranging from €12.96 to €24.49 (for fillet steak).

One that caught my eye for the lower amount was Slow cooked West Cork ham hock with creamy leeks, baked potato and broccoli. How about the Pan-fried hake fillet with broccoli, bok choi, bell peppers, sautéed potatoes and a walnut lime pesto for €16.28.

Enticing starters too. Sweet potato with Crozier blue cheese, spinach, dates and roasted pine nut oil for €7.63. I had started with a bowl of marinated olives and my dessert (all €6.00) was Layers of white and milk chocolate mousse with walnuts and Cointreau sponge. Wines range from €4.90 a glass to €29.50 a bottle and there is also a good selection of other drinks.

You could eat here for a month and not repeat yourself. And it is lovely lively place. The staff are all courteous and helpful and, on this occasion, all were very enthusiastic indeed about the lamb. And rightly so as it turned out. What a treat!

Monday, March 14, 2011



Market Lane is always a good bet when you’re in town and wondering where to go for lunch. I was in the area on Friday and called in and enjoyed it.

Quite a range of prices on the menu. For instance, the mains go from €10.95 to €16.95. I went for the Spaghetti with pan fried tiger prawns, marinated salmon, roast vine tomatoes, cream and parmesan (€16.95). A beautiful well balanced and colourful bowlful and I was very happy with it.

The other main dish ordered was Pan Fried Hake fillet with broccoli, bok choi, peppers, sautéed potatoes and a walnut and lime pesto (€16.95). Quite a plateful and, aside from the fact that the broccoli piece was pretty much on the hard side (house style here), a really gorgeous and very satisfying mid-day meal for the hungry person across from me!

Desserts all cost €6.25. I should perhaps have selected the mini-chocolate cup at two euro but greedily picked the Chocolate and Bailey’s Tart with hazelnut biscuit base with cream, of course. The whole thing, including the crispy base, was really gorgeous.

The other dessert, Orange and Vanilla bread and butter pudding, was huge, even looked big as it was carried across the floor. Probably too much for just one person but it was very very tasty. Two coffees (no wine!) brought the total to about €51.00.

Market Lane, by the way, have recently taken over the Cafe/Restaurant/Bar at Blackrock Castle. They do lunch seven days a week and evening meals on Friday and Saturday. That venue is now on my list!

Thursday, August 26, 2010



What value at Market Lane this evening. 

By chance, I choose a starter and main course that were on the €20.00 early bird. Starter was Pork and Liver Paté with pickled red cabbage followed by Slow cooked Ham Hock with Savoy Cabbage, Sautéed potatoes and Cauliflower cheese. From three desserts, I choose the Chocolate Pot to go with my included coffee. Of course, it wouldn't have been value at all had the food not been up to scratch. But it was just scrumptious.

My non-financially challenged other half went a la carte and started with the Olives at €2.95. Most starters, by the way, cost about €7.50. It was a massive bowl of Olives and we shared both olives and pate. Her mains was a Tempura of Monk fish with lemon and herb potato cake with a tomato, olive and saffron ragout €18.95. She a very happy overall, even though she thought the ragout was a bit too strong for the fish.

The place was busy, busy. People were being turned away before seven bells struck, not a seat to be had. Busy or not, the standards were high. Service, with a smile and a chat, was top class all through.

Oh, nearly forgot the wine. We had a 50 cl carafe of the house white: St Marthe Sauvignon Blanc, with decent flavour, body and length and excellent value at €12.00.
021 427 4710

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Must admit I was a happy camper after a recent visit to O’Keeffe’s (St Luke’s), a treasure trove of top class artisan foods. The produce is mainly local but one of my purchases was a pack of Hazer Baba Turkish Delight, all the way from Istanbul. Pistachio was embedded in the sweet sweet cubes and that made for a slightly more chewy version, more satisfying than the normal coated “jelly”.
Met some very satisfied diners this weekend. One couple had been at Market Lane, another in Kudos and a larger group at Tracy’s in Ballincollig.
Not so satisfied was a customer of BB’s in Ballincollig who thought €2.80 was very expensive for a cup of Coffee-to-go; in addition “they were very slow”. By way of comparison, Quiznos in Merchant's Quay, sells coffee for €1. Reference: grapes_of_sloth on Twitter.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


At the Market Lane, I have been meaning to try the Jack McCarthy sausages with potato mash, gravy onions, steamed vegetables and Yorkshire pudding, for some time. Got my chance at lunch today and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have had some soggy sorry Yorkshire puddings over the years but this was superb and the entire dish came in under €13.00

A slice of quiche tart with a generous helping of potato salad and baby leaves was another of the main dishes at our table and that too got the thumbs up.

I had started with one of my favourites, the French Onion Soup with gruyere and croutons, and finished with a mini chocolate pot (€2.00) and coffee. Very enjoyable as was my companion’s Banoffi.

Enjoyable also was my excellent glass of wine, a Domaine de St Marthe Syrah 2004 (FR), and that came in about €6.50.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Cork - Eating & Drinking - Restaurants - Irish


Downtown Friday night and time on your hands before mealtime? Call in to Counihan’s. Enjoy a glass of wine and live jazz (starts at 6.00pm).
Did just that last night and then headed for Market Lane. It is a no booking establishment so we had to wait a few minutes for a table.
With a glass of excellent Chenin Blanc (5.90) at hand, I tucked into the Pan-fried Sea bass with sweet potato mash and a chunky salad (the spring onion pieces were quite robust, perhaps too much so for anyone whose teeth aren’t what they were), wilted greens and tarragon butter sauce €18.95. I had no problem on that score and enjoyed the good quality dish.
I wasn’t as impressed with my dessert: Orange and vanilla bread and butter pudding. It was well presented but quite ordinary and I could not give more than five out of ten. However, the other dessert at the table, a Mango and passion fruit sorbet with fresh fruit, was very highly rated.

All in all, it was another good meal at a reasonable price in the deservedly busy establishment. A good way to sample the cooking here is the Early Evening Offer: soup, main course (big choice), mini chololate pot and tea or coffee for €20.00, Mon - Thurs.

Market Lane, 5 Oliver Plunket Street, Cork. 021 4274710,
Check out my review of market lane - I am cork - on Qype

Monday, March 23, 2009


View of Gruyere

Enjoyed my lunchtime visit to a very busy Market Lane last week.

Started with the French Onion soup, with Gruyere, and it was a very good start indeed. Then on to the haddock dish, served with potato and chorizo. A magnificent plateful and very very tasty.

I had been on the lookout for a white fish dish as I strolled town and looked at a few menus (Isaac’s, Boqueria, Star Anise, Continental) before I settled on the market lane and they sure didn't let me down.

That meal confirmed the Oliver Plunkett Street venue as my top lunch venue. There is extra value there these days: a lunch special at €10.00 and an early bird at €20.00. Well worth a try!

I can also confirm that my favourite Chinese is still Ying’s Palace in Mayfield. Checked out the local opposition, the Orchid in Ballyvolane, recently but my opinion is that there is better, in terms of both food and value, available at Ying’s Place.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Market Lane


Tried to beat this gloomy weather with lunch at The Continental today but it was closed for a holiday break. Followed the Advisor and her brolly, what a lethal weapon, across to Market Lane and what a lunch we enjoyed.

Naturally smoked Haddock with sautéed potatoes, broccoli, Chorizo and an onion cream sauce, absolutely gorgeous, plates cleaned.

Desserts: a White and Dark Chocolate Mousse for me and a Pineapple capriccio with a Blackcurrant sorbet for herself. We could have ended up licking the plates.

Two coffees and two glasses of house wine brought the bill to €57.00.

FOOD SOURCES: go to North Main Street and get your Italian bits and pieces at Casanova’s delicatessen La Botteghina. I got some Almond Cookies (€2.90) there recently. Dunk them in your dessert wine and enjoy!

O’Herlihy's at St Luke’s is a good place to go to get artisan breads and cakes along with other fine foods. Parking is terrible but it is worth it!

Anyone got any info on Bromley Lodge (to your left by Slatty Bridge) before you cross the bridge to Fota. Car park was packed there last Saturday but I couldn't call.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My Favourites in Cork



Favourite high end restaurant: Jacques

Favourite Bistro: Isaacs

Favourite medium priced restaurant: Market Lane

Favourite Italian: Casanova

Favourite Chinese: Ying’s Palace

Favourite Hotel restaurant: Pembroke Grill in the Imperial.

Favourite pizzeria: The Brick Oven in Bantry.

Favourite Dessert: While the desserts in Jacques are excellent, my vote goes to Jacobs on the Mall for its Date and Butterscotch Pudding.

Hard to go wrong here as you will get a decent lunch in most places in town, especially Market Lane. The outskirts are also well served: try Killumney Inn on the west, The Boot House on the north and the Elm Tree on the east. You will get a good roast of the day in any these.

For something different why not try Boqueria, the Tapas Bar in Bridge Street. On a recent visit I enjoyed a bowl of paella (loads of chicken and shellfish and served with a tarty side salad, for a €10.00). Just to add a note of caution, a glass of wine here (starting at €7.00 and mostly from Catalonia) is a full 25cl, a third of a bottle, and substantially more than your usual glass.

Monday, August 11, 2008



The Lunch menu in the Market Lane is not that much different from the Evening Menu.

And the Seafood soup (€6.95) is not that much different from the ordinary soup (€4.95). At lunch today, the advisor got the regular soup, a nice tomato one. I got the Seafood variety which was the same tomato soup with cheese shreds, croutons and a few fishy bits added. Both were quite good – no complaints on that score. But I felt they took the lazy way to an extra two euro with the seafood soup.

The Quiche, well made and studded with pieces of tomato, pepper and even nut, was very very tasty and was served with an herby potato salad and leaves (which were beautifully dressed). It was excellent, a lovely main course for lunch.

We opted for the our usual desserts here and, with a half litre of house white, the bill came to €56.90.
Market Lane is highly recommended. The phone number is 021 4274710 (note that they don't take bookings for less than six people).

Friday, July 11, 2008


Not like mother used to make it!

That was my first thought as my Orange and Vanilla Bread and Butter Pudding arrived on table during a recent visit to Market Lane, a quite competitive restaurant at the lower end of Oliver Plunket Street.

This was a superb sweet, moist with a very negotiable crust on top and so so tasty. I had to fend off attacks from the other side of the table. I must admit a counterattack or two as well as the Raspberry Sorbet with Fresh Fruit was also a smashing dessert.

Main course was Hake with a Dill crust and Lime sauce, the most expensive on the keenly priced menu at €17.95. The fish, served with scallions and salsify which provided a welcome crunch element, was top class and the meal, which followed an introductory bowl of olives (€2.50), was excellent overall.

From my own point of view, my own taste, I thought the Dill crust was a little on the heavy handed side. Dill, as those of you who poured gripe water into the kids in the good old days will know, has quite a perfume and a heavy application of the curst tended to overshadow the fresh fish. Sundried tomatoes were also part of the dish and again I thought they were bit too much for the hake. On the other hand, the cherry tomatoes were absolutely spot on and very juicy and tasty.

These are small personal points and tie in with my own philosophy on food which is simply: keep it simple - good ingredients and not too many of them.

Wine was a medium dry Chenin Blanc, Cape Storm – South Africa. Pure fruit driven, zingy with a slight apple flavour.

Saturday, February 9, 2008



The Market Lane restaurant, on the lower end, close to Parnell Place, of Oliver Plunkett Street is a welcome addition to the scene in the city.

We called in last night (Friday). The place was very busy but we were soon seated and each of us started with a bowl of delightful marinated olives.

Main course was Grilled Sea Bass (bream normally) with a Mediterranean vegetables and bean cassoulet. It was a happy combination. The fish was the star of the show but the accompaniment was delightful also. This dish needed nothing else, well aside from a 50cl carafe of the house white (11.50). In this case, there was no need for chips or mash or any other bulky stuff to disguise the poverty of the main ingredient. Brilliant.

And the superlatives didn't stop there. There was room for dessert and I chose the Banoffee, a real banoffee this time as the three main ingredients were all present, the banana, toffee and biscuit base all combining to make a very sinful whole. The Advisor had an equally tempting Warm Berry Crumble and spoonfuls were swapped across the table.

The total cost, two portions of olives, two bass, two desserts and wine came to about €65.00. Service was efficient and friendly. So we paid up with a smile and a promise to return.

The Restaurant’s own info:
Market Lane is a new restaurant and bar over two floors that offers great food and amazing value. We use ingredients from The English Market and local artisan producers to make up our menu which has a wide range of fish, salads, meat, game and sandwiches, in addition to coeliac and vegetarian dishes and a healthy kids menu.

We take bookings for parties of six and over. For parties of fewer than six we operate a walk-in policy. Should there be no table available immediately, our large bar is fully licensed. Our upstairs section can accommodate up to 65 people. Reservation queries can be made by telephone to 021 427 4710 or by email . The website is