Showing posts with label Out of the Blue. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Out of the Blue. Show all posts

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Dine by the Water

Dine by the Water
Superb food and superb views

Bunnyconnellan's
I’ve been very lucky this past few years to have dined in some well placed restaurants and cafes, places from Cork to Donegal that have a dining room with a view over water. Sometimes over a river, maybe over an estuary, over a lake perhaps, and then sometimes over the ocean. I was lucky too to have brilliant weather in most of the places.
Carrig Country House

Caragh Lake is in Kerry, not too far from Killorglin, and you have great views over its waters when you dine in the splendid Carrig Country House
Screebe House - their photo

There are some similarities between Carrig House and the lovely Screebe House  in Connemara; great food and great views. 
Blairscove

And in West Cork, near Durrus, there is Blairscove House. Here you can enjoy a splendid dinner and views over Dunmanus Bay.
Breakfast view (just a small section of it!) from the Trident's Pier One

There are no shortages of views in Kinsale. One of my most recent visits was to Man Friday on the hills above the bay Man Friday. And another recent visit was to the Trident Hotel, right in the town and so close to the waters that you think a boat is going to come through the dining room windows.
Sunrise at Garryvoe
The Samphire at the Garryvoe Hotel has expansive views of Ballycotton Bay and the lighthouse, excellent food too.
Hake at Celtic Ross
The views at Rosscarberry’s Celtic Ross, where French chef Alex Petit maintains a high standard, are quieter but no less pleasant.
Cliff House View
Ardmore’s Cliff House is renowned for the food, the views over the bay and their 3-word tweets!
Pier 26
Back again to Ballycotton and to Pier 26. This restaurant overlooks the harbour and the lighthouse island and the fish is highly recommended, of course! And down in Schull, L'Escale is right in the harbour area; the lobster here is a must try.


And if you really want a 360 degree ocean view while dining then take a trip from Ringaskiddy in Cork to Roscoff in Brittany on board the Pont Aven.  Splendid food and views!

Dingle

For harbour views, you'll find it hard to beat the sights as you come and go to Dingle’s Out of the Blue. And close by is the Boatyard. Fish will be on the menus of both for sure. Then again, there's a splendid view of Cork Harbour from the tea rooms at Camden Fort Meagher (below).
View over Cork Harbour from Camden Fort Meagher

Rosapenna

No shortage of seaside restaurants in Donegal. One of the best is the Seaview Tavern in Malin Head village even if the view to the sea is somewhat interrupted by the cars parking across the road. No such problems at the Rosapenna Golf Hotel, whose dining room overlooks Sheephaven Bay and the beach at Downies. Further west, the bar at the Cove at Portnablagh, another top restaurant, overlooks a different part of the same bay.

Perhaps the best ocean view is that enjoyed from your table in Bunnyconnellan’s, a very pleasant view and very enjoyable food here at this renowned Crosshaven (Cork) venue.
Islander's Rest on Sherkin
Back to West Cork and to Baltimore and Le Jolie Brise where I’ve sometimes enjoyed a dish of mussels as the day drew to a close with the island of Sherkin out in front. Speaking of Sherkin, the Islander's Rest sure has great water views!
Ostan Gweedore
Hard to top that. One view that comes close, maybe level, maybe even better, is from the Donegal restaurant of Ostan Gweedore where there is the most fantastic view over the beaches and the waters of the Atlantic.

Turbot at Electric Fish Bar
Perhaps you prefer river views. One of the best in Cork is from Electric, especially from the Fish Bar. From the first floor of the South Mall building, you have fine views of the southern channel of Lee to the west and to the east.
River Lee Hotel, top left
Also in the city, you hand almost dip your fingers in the Lee as you wine and dine at the Weir Rooms of the lovely River Lee Hotel.  
View from the Spinning Wheel in Dripsey Garden Centre

The Spinning Wheel, above the same River Lee, is at the very popular Griffin’s Garden Centre in rural Dripsey. Here you can enjoy some of Granny Griffin’s delights as you watch the water-skiers speed by down below.

Never know what you might see passing as you dine in Cobh
You have no shortage of harbour views in Cobh where you’ll find The Quays and The Titanic Bar & Grill.  And you’ll also find pleasant estuary views not too far away at Murph’s  in East Ferry. 
Kenmare Bay
The Boathouse at Dromquinna, near Kenmare, is also well situated, right on the northern flank of the bay. And, in Limerick, the place to be is Locke Bar
Locke Bar's water-side tables

The Puffin Cafe on Long Strand, Castlefreke, Co.. Cork, is my latest addition (09.07.17). It overlooks that long beach and the ocean.

Have you a personal favourite view over water while dining? If you'd like to share, please use the Comment facility below.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Don't you know you’ll get piles? The Fantastic Dingle Taste Trail.

Don't you know you’ll get piles?
The Fantastic Dingle Taste Trail.
Fenton's Fizz
“Would you ever get up off the cold street. Don't you know you’ll get piles. At least couldn't you put your jacket under you?” 

We two were sitting (on seats) in the closed Dingle street, outside the An Canteen door, enjoying a beer with another couple. But one of the four was sitting on the street surface, as there were no more seats, when a young Irish Mammy came along and started on him. It was a laugh a minute for a while after that as the young woman sat near us and the banter continued. Only in Ireland. Maybe only on the Dingle Taste Trail. Priceless. And no ticket required! 

We had spent a few hours on the Taste Trail.  It was time for a drink and one of the best places for craft beer and cider at Dingle Food Festival, anytime really, is An Canteen. Got a great welcome, including a tasty beef sandwich, from Brian and Niall and a smashing pint of Indian Pale Ale from Andrew of Killarney Brewing Company.

Raclette (also Fondue) at Little Cheese Shop
That Ale by the way is called Scarlet Pimpernel in memory of Killarney man Fr Hugh O'Flaherty who saved 6,500 people during WW2. A glass of the regular Golden Spear Blonde Ale also got the thumbs up.

The Taste Trail at the annual Dingle Food Festival is one of the very best. The quantity of choice is amazing as close to 80 outlets take part, officially! And the quality, while it can vary, is mostly of a very high standard, sometimes really top class. And the value per bite is incredible. A book of  tickets can be bought at any of the participating outlets and in the festival office and then you can go and sample wine, beer, whiskey, fish, meat, pizza, desserts and more.

We enjoyed our few hours on the trail on Saturday afternoon and had some memorable stops, particularly at Fenton’s, Out of the Blue and finally at An Canteen. There was a big delay at our first port of call as the Fish Bar on the Marina seemed surprised by the massive crowd that turned up for their Tandoori Prawns on a skewer.
Waiting at the fabulous Global Village
But there was no problems with queues elsewhere. Yes, there were queues for sure but all moved quickly along. There was one other disappointment though in that the Liam O’Neill/Derry Clarke charity event at O'Neill's art studio was unavoidably confined to Sunday.

Fenton’s had a massive line, out on to Green Street, through the full length of the restaurant, right into to the back garden. But it moved along nicely and soon we were sitting down eating a couple of delightful organic Dexter Beef sliders and then sipping a Sloe Gin Royale Pink Fizz.

The drink was a mix of gin, made from locally foraged sloes, and prosecco. A wee amount of the red gin was poured in first, and then the prosecco was added to change the colour to pink. But the big kick remained in the bottom of the flute and that last mouthful was an ambush of liquid delight! By the way, all this (beef plus fizz) cost us six tickets (12 euro worth).
Music on the trail
More top class stuff to eat and drink at Out of the Blue. They had a few choices but we went for the two ticket option: Roasted halibut fillet with steamed smoked cod, rocket and toasted hazelnut pesto, roasted red pepper and garlic pesto, and celeriac mash. And that was washed down with a small glass of Verdejo (just one ticket).

The Boatyard next door had their tables out in the sun and here we stuck with the fish theme, a lightly spiced Fish Curry.
Fenton's (top) and
Out of the Blue


Up along Green Street after that and down Main Street heading for Orchard Lane to see the Trade It exhibition that featured producers from all over Europe, from Poland, Finland, Spain, UK and Ireland and more. It was scheduled for 2.30 to 4.30, but my jaw dropped when we arrived at 3.30 and found an empty tent. It had all finished up. I had really been looking forward to that.

Still there were plenty of market stalls in the Lane and we had a few samples of various foods, including a marvellous Goats Cheese from Helen of Knockdrinna. And then we had a little bonus when Chef Marc Murphy of the Dingle Cookery School gave a demo (how to cook hake) at their stand.

Next, we headed for An Canteen and that hilarious meeting with the Irish Mammy!



Mark Murphy demo

Friday, January 2, 2015

Ten Top Dinners. And Lunches. 2014 Highlights

2014 Highlights


Excellent for Dinner
Oysters at Au Mille Saveurs


Le Flora (onboard Pont Aven)*
Ravioli. Le Flora
Sage*  
Zuni (Kilkenny)*
Sage. The 12 Mile Plate

Amicus
An Canteen (Dingle)
Blair’s Inn
Brook Inn
Cafe Gusto
Cafe Serendipity
Church Lane (Macroom)
Club Brasserie
Cornstore
Electric F
ely Wine Bar (Dublin)
Fleming’s
Greene’s
Huguenot
Jacque’s
La Dolce Vita
Market Lane
Mitchell’s (Clifden) F
O’Connor’s (Bantry) F
Oysters F
Pier 26
Rising Tide F
Star Anise
The Square Table
Tuscany Bistro (Ballina, Tipperary)
West End (Killarney)


Excellent for Lunch
Barnabrow




Bakestone Cafe
Ballymaloe Cafe
Bramley Lodge
Bula Bus U
Castle Cafe
Greenbarn (Killeagh)
Griffin’s Spinning Wheel
Isaac’s
Iyer’s
Pie Cafe (Dingle)
Sage (Youghal)
The Workshop
Toons Bridge Dairy


Excellent Hotel Dining Rooms
Cork International Hotel
River Lee Hotel


Newcomers to Watch
Aroi
CoqBull
Heather (Gap of Dunloe)
Huguenot
Pho Bar
Square Table


* Exceptional meal on visit
F  Great for fish
U  Most unusual lunch venue (in a parked bus)


All above visited last 14 months. Lots of other good places out there. If I didn’t get to your place last year, maybe we’ll meet in 2015! Hard to keep track - might need a reminder!








Friday, October 10, 2014

Out of the Blue. Where the best fish go.

Out of the Blue.
Where The Fab Fish Go



Dingle was all abuzz for last weekend’s annual Food Festival. Not easy to get a restaurant booking on Saturday night and one of the most sought after tables was at Out of the Blue on the waterfront. Tim Mason’s 12 year old fish restaurant, powered by two French chefs, has a colourful “hut” type frontage. But don’t worry. The building, which goes back a bit from the road, is solid and the cooking is spectacular.

After emails, phone calls and texts, all a few days earlier, they managed to squeeze us in late on Saturday night. Met one of my twitter pals at the wine bar on the way in. “You’re in for a treat”, she said. And, boy, was she right! The good vibes continued with the smiling welcome and service was a delight all the way to the final cheery good nights.

They have quite a wine list normally but had added a string of specials for the Food Festival. I didn't go further than the first one. I like my Verdejo and, with the fish in mind, choose the Mesta Verdejo Organic 2013 from the Ucles region in Spain. Inviting aromas are followed by a clean and refreshing palate; a very enjoyable wine. Was also tempted by the Cres Richards Marsanne-Roussane (a favourite blend) but was very happy with my Spaniard.
Amuse, soup, and crab

Didn't need to touch the wine for a while though as we started off this special festival tasting menu with a glass of prosecco to accompany Mackerel Pate and home cured Salmon. The sea, oh the sea,  gra geal mo chroi! Great flavours and texture had us humming.

And that was followed by a Pumpkin and Fennel and Curry Soup with some sautéed scallops lurking in the gorgeous warming mix. Eating and drinking in this well blended bowl. Then it was the turn of the crustacean: crab balls and crab toes with a mango and chilli pesto. Looked well and the flavours were clean and brilliant. The sea, oh the sea!

And then another chorus as the “main event” arrived. This was the magnificent duo of fish: roasted turbot with morelle crumble, pan-fired John Dory with tarragon and horse-radish sauce, with a mini pumpkin stuffed with ratatouille and basil. That ratatouille was brilliant, could have eaten it on its own but, combined with the two fish, the whole ensemble fully deserved the main event tag. It must have been full-tilt in the kitchen at that point but no sign of any turbulence on this superb plate.
Main event

Before dessert, we had baked camembert with rhubarb and pear chutney. I enjoyed mine but there was a mixed reception, some thinking that the mustard dressing with the salad was just too much!


And then there was quite a finale, a massive multi part dessert: Passionfruit panna cotta, hazelnut, walnut and caramel tart, hazelnut and almond biscuit and a gianduja (a mix of hazelnut and chocolate).  “For a treat” they said. And they weren't kidding. Superb dessert, superb meal. Very Highly Recommended.

See also:
The Dingle Taste Trail
The Dingle Distillery Tour
My Dingle Food Experience

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Dingle Taste Trail. Biggest in the land?

The Dingle Taste Trail

Biggest in the land?
Time to hit the Taste Trail.
No danger of going hungry on the streets of Dingle last weekend. No less than 81 outlets took part in the gigantic Taste Trail, a major feature of the annual Food Festival.

And it wasn't just food outlets. An Siopa Ceol, Liam O’Neill Art Studio (where Derry Clarke served up the local Mutton pie) and Dingle Crystal were among those in the merry mix.

And what a mix! Your tokens (or cash) could buy you anything from a Shark Snack to a Pumpkin Soup, from Vegetarian Sushi to those mutton Pies, from a Dublin Coddle to Dingle Fudge. Not to mention a full range of drinks, including local spirits (Dingle Distillery) and local beer (Tom Crean Brewery).
So where to start? The highly rated Out of the Blue was our first port of call and here we enjoyed their shark bites. Tasty stuff. From a nearby wagon, we got some fish on a skewer.

Time then for a glass (or more) of wine at An Siopa Ceol where Karwig Wines rep Frank conducted a band of enthusiasts through a quartet of whites. The opening wine, a “spritzy” Vinho Verde, provided a cheerful allegro. He brought us down to andante then with a duo of Italians, Passarina and Pradalupo. And the finish, a golden 2007 Monbazillac by Chateau Belingard, was dolcissimo. Bravo Frank.

That pleasant interlude behind us, we hit the trail again. Big queues at Fenton’s for their Dexter mini-burgers and at Finn McCools/Bushtucker Meats for the kangaroo. The vegetarian Raclette at the Little Cheese Shop was causing a lot of oohs and aahs as we passed.

The Karwig Quartet at An Siopa Ceol
 Time now for a pause and a sit-down at the Pie Cafe. Here I enjoyed a Sweet and Savoury Pie and a pot of tea. The Cornish Pasty had one half filled with venison in red wine and chocolate, the other with raspberry and strawberry. Super. Must remember to add this place to my list of Irish Tea Rooms.


We thought we had all the market stalls covered during our morning ramble but, just off Main Street, we stumbled on another packed section in a cul de sac where we said a quick bon jour to Laurent of Buffalolo. The highlight here was a superb Venison Sausage with a blackcurrant mustard by local butcher Jerry Kennedy.


At the Pie Cafe
 Retraced our steps to Main Street and headed down to John Street where we had another top class treat, a buckwheat crepe filled with goats cheese and sun-dried tomatoes at the Creperie Ti Koz.


Didn't have the Breton cider there but, back on the sunny street, the need for a drink asserted itself. An Canteen was (and always had been) our destination of choice.


Classy crepe

The street outside was packed and it looked impossible to get in. But there was no bother. It was just that the punters had moved out to get the sun. At the temporary bars set up around the small restaurant space, craft producers such as Franciscan Well, Porterhouse, Mountain Man, and Tempted? were selling their tasty wares.

Met Daniel Emerson (Stonewell) and Sam Black (Kinsale) and they gave me a sample of a cider and beer mix that they have been collaborating on. When I asked what they were calling the tasty drop, full of flavour and strong at 15% or so, they chimed W.I.P. (work in progress!). Worth keeping an eye on.

A shower brought the crowd back into An Canteen. The rain didn't last too long and soon we were looking for something sweet to finish the tour on. Murphy’s Ice Cream was to be our final stop and here I enjoyed their Atlantic Caramel (honeycomb and butterscotch ice cream). A sweet finalé indeed.

See also: Dingle Distillery Tour and My Dingle Food Experience


The Murphy's menu.