Showing posts with label O'Hara's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label O'Hara's. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

FX Buckley. Exquisite Steak in Dublin City

FX Buckley
Exquisite Steak in Dublin City
No shortage of beef here!


Ended up with James Joyce in Dublin the week before last.

Just name-dropping, really. I was in the FX Buckley Steakhouse in Pembroke Street, another Dublin institution, and had just finished an exquisite steak dish. No room for dessert but certainly room and inclination for their James Joyce cocktail made with Powers Pot Still Whiskey, Triple Sec, Rosso Vermouth and lime juice.

Francis Xavier Buckley opened his first butcher shop on Moore Street in 1930 and this soon became a well-known Dublin institution. Since then it was part of a natural progression to open their own steakhouses around the city and serve their famous beef from their butchers to your table. You’ll find them in Pembroke St.,  Crow St.,  Ryan's Parkgate St.,  Bull & Castle (near Dublin Castle) and at The Pub @ FXB Monkstown.

With large glass-fronted fridges behind me, I thought my 8 ounce fillet looked a bit lonely on the plate with its little pot of pepper sauce (30.00). Of course, I could have had ordered a larger size or more sides than just their Beef Dripping Chips. But is was perfect. Exquisitely so. Tender and full of flavour and big enough too, a succulent sufficiency. And those chips. Must be the best around!
Meanwhile, CL was tucking into her Six ounce medallions of fillet beef, served with spring onion mash, shallots, mushroom and red wine jus (23.00). With all the steak dishes, you can order extra sides.

The Irish “grass-fed heritage steaks” are normally Angus or Hereford but from time to time, they may have Dexter or Irish Moiled meat available. All will have been aged for 28 days by the time they reach your plate.

The only steak that features on the A La Carte starter list is the Fillet Steak tartare. There are some great choices here including Black Pudding Croquette; Carlingford Lough Oysters; Asparagus, poached egg and Hollandaise; Foie Gras and Duck liver Paté.
CL was delighted with her Kilkeel Harbour Scallops, served with a Buckley black-pudding, with crushed mint peas and hollandais (13.50). A terrific combination with, surprisingly, the peas playing a starring role.

My choice was the FX Buckley cured salmon blini, with chive crème fraîche and mustard honey dressing (9.50). Went through that one fairly quickly, I can tell you, very tasty indeed.

What to drink? We had been at a wine-tasting that afternoon so settled on beer in Buckley’s. The fact that they have their own ale helped. It was a nice one too though I preferred the large bottle of O’Hara’s Pale Ale. By the way, there is no shortage of wine here. It is a massive list with the reds in the majority, some very expensive, some very affordable.

And no shortage of cocktails either. When it came to making up my mind, I decided to stick with the locals and Mr Joyce. And I enjoyed his company very much indeed.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Lovely stay at Lakeside Hotel on the Shannon River


Lovely stay at Lakeside Hotel on the Shannon River
Lough Derg
Spent a two very enjoyable days in Ballina, County Tipperary, last weekend, staying at the Lakeside Hotel, a lovely hotel on a little rise on the east side of the bridge that connects Ballina with Killaloe, its Clare “cousin”. Many people don't realise there is a Ballina here at all but it is  lovely riverside place in a very central location and is a great gathering point for boats and indeed there are cruises available on the Shannon and into nearby Lough Derg.

Was never quite sure whether I was in Tipp or Clare. Some places, you read the hotel is in Tipperary, some places they say it is in Clare and then you also see the address is given as Killaloe/Ballina! Maybe they are playing it safe as the flags outside the hotel - they were blowing stiffly last weekend - include both the Tipperary and Clare county flags and even Saturday night’s entertainer said he had to be careful where his feet were when making remarks that might favour one county over the other!
The ducks win this race for food!

That Saturday night session was one of the highlights. We had just enjoyed a lovely meal at the nearby Tuscany Bistro in Ballina and were settling into the hotel bar (where they have a full menu with lots of local producers featured) when the tall lanky singer with a great line of patter arrived on the scene.


His audience, including two couples from Thurles celebrating their 40th anniversary with friends, were all in good form and the singer enhanced the mood with standards from Bob Dylan to Christy Moore, popular songs such as simple 60s pop to The Fields of Athenry. And all the time, I was sipping away at some excellent Red Ale by O’Hara’s, a warm fire nearby.


Ballycuggeran Beach

We don't get a  chance to eat in the hotel’s restaurant, except for breakfast on each morning. Breakfast was totally buffet on the  busy Sunday morning but we were well catered for. Lots of juices and cereals and no shortage either of hot stuff (you could help yourself to the full Irish or any abbreviated version you wanted). Some nice breads and pastries also available. Not too many people there on Monday morning and instead of the hot buffet you were able to order. Either way, it was excellent.


Our room was very spacious and comfortable, all mod cons including TV, hairdryer and Tea/coffee and we had a very comfortable sofa to sit on. The bathroom (bath and shower) was large and very well equipped and no shortage of toiletries.


Rossmore on Lough Derg

They have a lovely garden out front but we weren't sitting there on this occasion. But we did take the walk down to the river. Sunday morning was better and brighter and we drove up the western side of Lough Derg. Ballycuggeran Beach, one of a few if not the only Blue Flag freshwater beach in the country, was our first stop and a pleasant one, even if some of the paths were flooded.


On then through places like Whitegate, Mountshannon, Ogonnelloe and into An Cuas in Galway heading for a viewpoint at Rossmore. Had to negotiate a flood or two (nothing serious) and the view was worth it even if the water in the large lake was lively and quite high. Retraced our steps to Killaloe, arriving a little too late to benefit from the Farmers Market, held between the waters, but in time to see Ireland v Scotland. Later in the evening, we were back at the Tuscany Bistro for the presentation of the Pride of Ireland Awards.


Lakeside Hotel

The weather may not have been at its best but we had a most enjoyable couple of days at our base in the Lakeside where the staff were friendly and very helpful. A day or two after coming home, we got an email offering us 20 per cent off on the next visit,. Nice, and one to be seriously considered. This is a lovely part of Ireland and deserves to be much better known.


Derelict in Disguise. Nice paint job in Ballina.
Related posts:
Pride of Ireland Awards 2013-2014

Tuscany Bistro. Superbo. Splendido. Eccellente





Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cornstore's Craft Beer and Food Month. A series of successful pairings

Craft Beer and Food Month at The Cornstore
A series of successful pairings.
Goat cheese starter
 For those who love good food and a good beer to go with it, Cork’s Cornstore is the place to be this month. The popular restaurant is running a Craft Beer and Food Menu every Wednesday and Thursday. I sampled it last week and can highly recommend it. The Menu is proving very popular so the advice is to book ahead.


They have put a lot of effort into the pairings and a beer (or cider) is suggested with each course. You can, of course, swap around to suit yourself. But we went with the suggested beers and found a series of successful pairings.
Ravioli
You have  a choice of five starters. I kicked off with the Porcini Mushroom Ravioli in a game broth with shredded duck leg and celeriac remoulade. This was a lovely dish on its own but, matched with O’Hara’s Curim, perhaps Ireland’s only wheat beer, it was even better, the object of the November exercise accomplished!

The Warm Goat's Cheese was recommended to us and, with poached fig and red pepper and tomato compote, it sure was a gem, But, matched with the flavoursome red ale, the Dungarvan Copper Coast, the balance was spot-on, the result perfectly delectable. 
Venison
Other starters included Crisp Pork Belly with Stonewell Medium Dry Cider, Chicken Wings with Trouble Brewing Sabotage IPA and Pan Seared Scallops with Eight Degrees Barefoot Bohemian. Check the full menu here.

Brown Bread was the unusual but excellent addition to the Wild Venison Stew, also with braised red cabbage and a wild mushroom dumpling. This earthy game dish, a wintery dark in the bowl, had a great complement in the black stout from Trouble Brewing called Dark Arts, an appropriate name indeed. A highly recommended dish!  
Steak
Trouble Brewing’s Sabotage IPA was one of the suggestions to go with the Aged Rib Eye Steak. Recommending it, the Cornstore said that it has a lovely bitter finish. “And really works well with our award winning steak rub and cuts through the little extra fat of the rib eye steak.” Very true indeed, a perfect alchemy of beer and boeuf, the steak served with mushroom and onion fricassee, a half roast plum tomato and pepper sauce.

Dessert and Beer? No problem to the taste team at the Cornstore. The Flourless Chocolate Cake, with fresh cream and raspberry coulis, is a luxury treat, some very expensive chocolate used here, and it was well matched with a small glass of the Franciscan Well Limited Edition Stout, aged in Jameson Whiskey Casks. The stout, a special treat, also doubled up well with the magnificent Cheese Board Selection (with fruit and crackers). 
And then what do you match with their Apple Dessert plate (mini apple crumble, apple sorbet and apple panna cotta)? Why, Stonewell Dry Cider, of course, the dry style of the Nohoval produced cider perfectly complementing the seasonal apple selection. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

O’Hara’s: A Double on The Dark Side


O’Hara’s: The Dark Side
Tasty Stout Double

Most craft breweries would be happy with one good stout but the crew at Carlow Brewing Company  have come up with two, both under the O’Hara’s label. Thanks to a recent win in a competition by distributors Galvin’s Wine, I enjoyed both last night.

O’Hara’s Traditional Irish Stout, 4.3%, Carlow Brewing Company 

Award winning...full bodied...luxuriously smooth. That is what it says on the bottle and it is all of that. Definitely a traditional stout, dry and smooth and full of lip smacking flavour with a finish that says don’t leave me too long on my own.
An award winner as far back as 2000 and still on O’Hara’s first team. Be sure to put it in your selection.

The head though is more cream coloured than white!
Suggested food pairings: Excellent with Seafood particularly shellfish and smoked salmon. Also pairs well with strong flavoured cheeses and dry cured meats such as Parma ham.
Carlow Brewing’s own tasting notes here

O’Hara’s Leann Follain Extra Irish Stout, 6.0%, Carlow Brewing Company

Another award winner. Smooth and powerful and a more noticeable bitterness to balance the complex chocolate and coffee flavours. Full bodied for sure but it purrs on the palate, a Rolls Royce of stout. Indeed, a terrific example – not the only one around! – of how the country’s craft brewers can banish the bland to the bars of yesterday.

Suggested food pairings: Matches well with any strong cheeses or cured meats.  Also goes well with desserts.
Carlow Brewing’s own tasting notes here