Showing posts with label Metropole Hotel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Metropole Hotel. Show all posts

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Rest. Relax. Restore. At The MET


Rest. Relax. Restore. At The MET
Pic from The MET

Have you seen the refurbished dining facilities at the Metropole? Very impressive, well designed and ultra comfortable, plush, relaxing whether you’re in for a pint or a cocktail, a steak or a sandwich, a cuppa or the full afternoon tea. Dress up and come on down and restore, relax, rest. And the food is good too!

We got the grand tour of the McCurtain Street’s Grand Old Lady in midweek, eye-popping, jaw dropping. The inviting bar is a superb introduction and a superb Old Fashioned set the tone for the evening.
Fillet

Old Fashioned

I enjoyed mine in the afternoon tea area, just out of sight (and sound) of the bar, a green tinged oasis of peace and calm - well we were among the first in. Might not be so calm if you have a group of ladies in sampling the savoury and sweet offerings of the classic Afternoon Tea. The MET will have some variations on the theme.

The jewel in the crown though is the restaurant, just behind the bar, a 45 seater. Oh but what seats. Again the decor is superb, along much the same lines as the Afternoon Tea room, beautifully lit and comfortably furnished and linen on the solid tables.

The wines (they have quite a selection here, many by the glass) were being poured as Head Chef Stuart Dardis introduces the new menu that has been designed for the late Autumn and mid-winter. Stuart explained that there had been many in-house tastings as they selected the dishes and is very proud of their local beef offering (we would soon find out why!).

Lots of sharing going on as the kitchen team did their best to help us get a good idea of what they had to offer. I got to taste two of the starters. One was the Roasted Asparagus, smoked bacon crisp, crispy egg finished with a silky Hollandaise sauce. Tasty stuff as was the Parmesan Cheese Shortbread Biscuit, spring vine tomato compote and goats cheese mousse. Other starters on the menu include a Saffron Risotto, Smoked Salmon, Burrata, and Pan Seared Scallops, also a Soup Du Jour.
Asparagus



And then it was time for McCarthy’s Grass fed 8 ounce fillet of Hereford Beef, served with a few tomatoes, tender, perfectly delicious, top class. On the side there were Gratin Dauphinois and Garlic Roasted Violet Potatoes.
The mains are more or less fifty fifty between meat and fish and our fish was an excellent Pan Fried Fillet of Hake with crispy kale, black pudding grits and a white wine cream sauce. Other mains include Catch of the Day, Sea Bass, Braised Beef Short rib, and also Rib Eye Steak.


Four desserts on the new menu. The ones we enjoyed were a Classic Pecan Pie with a dollop of vanilla cream (this could become a favourite of mine!) and a Strawberry Mille Feuille with mascarpone cream. Other temptations were Petit Choux Buns with hazelnut ice cream, warm chocolate sauce and also an Almond and Raspberry Bakewell Tart. 
Dessert

To get more detail on The Met menus (they also do lunch here), their provenance, and wines, check here.  




Sunday, September 24, 2017

Oysters Galore on the Cork Gourmet Trail


Oysters Galore on the Cork Gourmet Trail
How many did you eat?


“I had nineteen oysters last night,” claimed a London visitor to the weekend’s Cork Oyster Festival. And that “last night” was just the official launch. I’m still wondering how many she managed during the Gourmet Trail on the following day. 

The trail visited five venues and some had up to three restaurants combining. There were so many opportunities to indulge in the delicious crustaceans she must surely have doubled the tally from the previous night!
Gin cocktail in a cup at Cask

And there were even more plates of the tasty oysters available at the after party as the various groups found their way back to the ballroom at the Metropole Hotel, the Festival’s headquarters. Oysters, more drinks and music. Well done to instigator/organiser Sandra Murphy and her crew.

Sandra was with our group on the trail and our be-hatted leaders were Kylie from the International Hotel and James from the Imperial. We were last to leave but our intrepid guides had us back good and early to join the after party.
Sushi at The Met

Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald had opened the festival on Friday night and the oyster event added to the terrific buzz around town as Culture Night drew the crowds. Guests at the launch were treated to oysters (included cooked versions) by Haven Shellfish and there was also some tempting sushi available with bubbles and wine and, of course, Murphy’s Stout from the sponsors.

On Saturday at noon, the ballroom was full but, after a Kinsale Gin and Tonic, we were divided into groups, met our leaders and headed off on the trail. More gin, part of a cocktail in a cup, at our first stop, the stunning Cask, just across the road. Lots of tasty bites here too and time also to begin to get to know our fellow trailers.
Cornstore were displaying their Himalayan salt (used to age their famous steaks).

Next stop was the Oyster Tavern, another lovely venue where I enjoyed an excellent meal recently. The oysters here were provided by the Electric Fish Bar, great spot to visit. The Oyster Tavern themselves came up with delicious sliders and bowls of chips. 

Amicus were also feeding us with Tom Durcan beef, including carpaccio and teriyaki versions, and more, though their seasonal desserts, Kitchen Garden Rhubarb Fool and the Foraged Blackberry Fool, were irresistible.

Down the stairs then and out into the lane for another group photo before winding up Patrick St and visiting the Bodega where Rachel’s and Cornstore were also lining up with their offerings. The Bodega sushi (one pickled vegetable, another was smoked salmon) went down a treat. 
Sandra rallies her troops as the rain arrives

Mike Ryan of the Cornstore - terrific dinner there recently - was the oyster “supplier” and he had a welcome variation called Angels on Horseback (the dish is typically prepared by rolling shucked oysters in bacon and baking them in an oven). 

That was excellent though I noticed quite few voicing a preference for the battered prawn version! Rachel’s had a couple (at least) of show stoppers, including a shot of Tomato Water and a shot glass packed full of lobster.

So back to the Imperial Hotel (for the second time in a  couple of days) and they had help from Jacques and Arthur Mayne’s.
Imperial desserts

Loved that Medjool Date from Jacques plus the superb desserts by the hotel itself. The savoury bites by Arthur Mayne’s (Avocado mousse with prawn, Caprese Bites, and the Chorizo and Chickpea Ragu) were outstanding.
Caprese minis by Olivo

One more stop and soon we were enjoying Margherita time at the newly opened Tequila Jacks. The drinks were eagerly awaited and easily downed. Food too, of course, hot stuff by our hosts and some cooler bits from Olivo, the Italian restaurant at the Cork Airport Hotel.
Margarita?

Tacos Mechados, Roasted Chicken taquitos and Shrimp Rellanos were among the Jacks offerings while the cool bites from Olivo included a lovely mini Caprese and also a Parma wrapped asparagus. 

More food anyone? No! A second round of Margaritas was coming to its conclusion and, suitably fortified,  it was time to brave the rain and the wind that had arrived midway though the trail and traipse back to the Metropole. 

And if you did wanted to increase you oyster headcount, there were trayfuls of opportunity to do. I did see the visiting London couple but didn't get a chance to check her final oyster tally! 

The Prosecco and wine flowed (enjoyed a Rioja blanco, well maybe two!), and then a final chat or two before saying goodbye and heading to the taxi. 
Tasty dips at Tequila Jacks

Once again, well done to Sandra and the crew and here’s to seeing you all and more in 2018!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Chock-a-block City. Culture Night 2017

Chock-a-block City

Culture Night 2017
Isabelle busy at On the Pig's Back
Progress is slow as we enter the English Market on Culture Night. Little by little, it becomes clear that there are two lines in the packed old building, one going one way, another going the other way, both going slow! But you want to turn? No bother. Crowds yes, but courtesy abounds. A smile and then a gap and you’re on your way.
Tim and Jack McCarthy

On our way to a plate of local food. Eat it a counter or from the top of a cask. Eat it with strangers, from Cong, from Conna, from Congo. Who knows? Who cares? The music plays. The conversations start, flow on, on the food, the new baby, the dog, the new house, the turkey sexer (yes, that came up too).
Metropole sushi
Time to move on. Like the Arc-de-Triomphe roundabout, it is easier to get out than in, particularly if you're not too pushed where you exit. We weren't. Where next? There a gang of steel drummers playing by Brown & Thomas, a circus in North Main Street.
Justin introduces his Bertha's Revenge to
Cllr Des Cahill, ex Lord Mayor
We had been in North Main Street earlier, at a very well attended wine tasting in Bradley’s. Music outside the door there too. Master of Wine Mick O’Connell was conducting the tasting on behalf of Findlater's, introducing new wines he has sourced for them. Some gems there, from Portugal and Crete and Bordeaux, though it looks as if the Roqueterre Reservé Carignan 2016 from the Languedoc was “flying out the door”.
Jamie of Haven Shellfish at the Met
Superb stop in Nash 19 in Prince's Street where our generous host was, as ever, Claire Nash. She had some of her local producers lined up. Rupert was there with his cool cider and warm apple brandy from Longueville House while Justin Green was tasting his amazing Bertha’s Revenge gin.


That same gin had been used by Jack and Tim McCarthy from Kanturk in their sausages (no shortage of those!) and of course you couldn't leave without tasting the black pudding. 
Thumbs up from Tim Mulcahy of the Chicken Inn
And great too to meet Jane from Ardsallagh. Lots of new things going on there including her Feta style cheese and also her delicious creamy ash covered pyramid. She also had a selection of cheeses combined with a layer of chutney - the mango is superb. Watch out for these in SuperValu soon.
Market queue

The evening had started for us with a visit to the lobby of the Metropole Hotel where another superb host, Sandra Murphy, welcomed the guests, including Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald. Haven had their delicious oysters both raw (with a tasty salsa) and cooked and the hotel laid on some excellent sushi. And of course, there was a glass of bubbles on hand as well, wine and Murphy’s Stout too.

After that it was out onto the street to join the good humoured crowds making their way on foot and on bus to the many events all over the city. What a night!
Market Music



Monday, June 26, 2017

The Grand Dame Celebrates. Metropole 120 Party

The Grand Dame Celebrates

Metropole 120 Party
“McCurtain Street is back on the map. Is Grand Dame, the Metropole Hotel, never went away and, in appropriate style, she celebrated her 120 anniversary at the weekend. The hotel and especially the ballroom, where so many couples met and married over the decades, was looking splendid as the many guests arrived.

And there were many of the couples who got married here along with former staff members among the invited guests. Newly elected Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald recalled a wedding occasion in his speech. He was a page boy at his aunt’s reception in the Met in the early sixties but admitted to spending most of the day checking out the lift! Indeed, that very lift was a major attraction in the very early days of the hotel when it was owned by the Musgrave family.

“Cork,” he said, “is a great city to work and live in. And also a great city to visit.” He told us that mayors from two of our twin cities will visit this year and he is also looking forward to a visit from the World Health Organisation to mark Cork's designation as a healthy city. “The Metropole has played its part in the development of the city. Long may it continue.”

General manager Roger Russell was next to address the guests and said it was a great opportunity to look back through the memories. “The response has been phenomenal, especially from former team members. What a story she, the Grand Dame, could tell, of the city, of the world. After starting in 1897, the Metropole, which was a temperance hotel owned by the local Musgrave family, quickly established itself."
This week's photo of the hotel's front and, below (from a few years ago), the back is reflected in the Lee

"In more recent times, just forty years ago, it began its relationship with the Cork Jazz Festival and we’re looking forward to the new Oyster Festival in September. I'm very proud to be manager here this evening.” And he finished with a big thank you to the team.

Aaron Mansworth, Group General Manager and Director at Trigon Hotels (they also include the Cork International Hotel and the Cork Airport Hotel in their portfolio), extended a big welcome. “It’s wonderful to be here. I spent five years working in the Waldorf Astoria in New York and there are certain similarities. We had a great team there and a great team here.

And he spoke of the exciting plans for the area and their new “M” hotel to be built nearby on the old PJ O'Hea site. “It is a wonderful project. Will be a huge benefit to the area, especially in terms of jobs. I’d like to acknowledge the local  business people who have put McCurtain Street back on the map. Here in the Metropole, we hope to continue creating memories for life! So please join with me in raising a glass to the wonderful Grand Dame!” 

And that we were all glad to do. The hospitality was terrific. All kinds of drinks: bubbles, beer, wine, cocktails. And chef Shane O’Sullivan sent out a constant stream of delicious canapés. And all the while the band (jazz, of course) played. A lavish party, they promised. And that is exactly what the Grand Dame and the team delivered. Here’s to another 120.
These ladies know how to organise a party!

Let us take a  few “flashbacks” to incidents in the hotel’s history before we finish. Edward VII is reputed to have had tea on the roof of The Metropole when he visited Cork in 1903 for the city’s Great Exhibition. Down the years many more famous personalities have been guests of the Metropole, and included Gregory Peck, James Mason, Frank O’Connor, John Steinbeck, Vittoria de Sica, John Huston and Walt Disney. 

However it was Dawn Adams, the 1950’s British film star, who created the greatest stir when she stayed at The Metropole. When she was attending the Cork Film Festival she requested a bath of milk. Douglas Vance, the famous hotelier of the Metropole, refused such a request as the people of Cork were finding it hard to makes ends meet. The story made headlines around the world at that time.

It wouldn’t be Cork without someone taking the pee!  According to a weekend Facebook post, one Cork comedian said that Dawn Adams eventually had her milk bath and while it was being poured a porter knocked at her door and she told him to go away as she was having a milk bath. He asked if it was pasteurised and she replied "it isn't past my ass yet“.