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Monday, April 3, 2017
Cork’s Radisson BLU Hotel Reveals Luxurious New Ground Floor Revamp
Restaurant is renamed Maestro’s’
Had many an enjoyable evening in Little Island while growing up nearby but last Thursday's event in the Cork Radisson Blu, as they revealed its luxurious ground floor revamp and officially renamed the lovely new restaurant Maestro's, was rather unique.
There was a little nervousness among the Radisson crew early on but soon that dissipated as the guests began to enjoy the occasion. We were greeted warmly with champagne, wines and cocktails.
We were soon seated and the music added to the feel-good mood. The restaurant staff took the chance to show their paces and there were tables groaning with all kinds of goodies. Lots of them!
Elke O'Mahony recommended the chowder and she was spot-on! It was excellent, perhaps my favourite too. But then the dish alongside it, Salmon Chorizo risotto, also had its fans. Even the bangers and mash were high class. Indeed there was something for everyone, especially when those desserts appeared. Oh my!
A few short speeches then from Shane Fitzpatrick, the hotel's General Manager and from Colette Walsh, Director of Sales & Marketing. Then it was time for fun and games and prizes galore to be won. The big prize was, of course, for renaming the beautiful new restaurant where we were seated.
The hotel ran a renaming contest on social media. Suggestions came through in their hundreds, with people offering names both on social media and at the hotel itself.
After weeks of deliberation, the team of judges decided to opt for a name that was put forward by a guest staying at the hotel. The successful entrant chose the title ‘Maestro’s’ and given that the restaurant is a finely-tuned machine that is operated with care and with a friendly but professional approach, the name seemed to be the perfect fit.
With the winner opting to stay anonymous, Shane, the General Manager, decided that the amazing prize of dinner for two for a full year should go to a worthy cause. “We discussed how best to allocate the prize given the circumstances and it was unanimously agreed that it would be a well-deserved treat for the dedicated staff of Cork University Hospital,” Shane revealed. “They collectively do such great work and we would love to reward them in any way we can, so we will be offering the prize to them and we hope they will use it and enjoy it as they see fit!”
While he delighted in awarding such a hard-working team, Shane himself received a phenomenal accolade at the recent Shining Star Awards at the Park Inn by Radisson, Heathrow Airport. Fending off stiff competition in a category that included all GMs from Rezidor in the Western Europe region, comprising approximately 60 hotels, Shane scooped the title of ‘General Manager of the Year’. The prestigious award reflects his exceptional approach over the past 12 months to team building and development, customer service and financial excellence.
Speaking at the launch event, Colette Walsh, Director of Sales & Marketing, revealed Shane's win and paid tribute to her colleague’s amazing achievement and praised both his work ethic and motivational approach.
Also clearly delighted with the success of the hotel’s launch event, Colette said: “We are so thrilled with how successful our launch event has been and more so, we are ecstatic with the reaction of those who attended. Now that we have officially revealed our new look, we can’t wait to welcome both new and regular customers and to give them a taster of what the ‘new and improved’ Radisson BLU Cork has to offer. We are prouder than ever as a team to show off our beautiful hotel!”
The significant project, which incorporated The Great Island Ballroom, the chic hotel lobby, stylish Banks Bar and over 40 bedrooms, culminated in the complete revamp of the hotel’s restaurant. Now sophisticatedly adorned with plush carpets, mahogany furniture and brown leather booths, the restaurant is the cherry on top of the hotel’s brand new look.
Of course, I had to check out that stylish bar too. Having been in quite a few hotels who didn’t offer Irish craft drinks over the past week, I was delighted that the first thing I saw was the trio of taps for the Franciscan Well beers. Great to see this leading international chain supporting local and I drank to their future success with a delicious pint of Chieftain Pale Ale. Cheers Radisson! Here’s to many more years in Little Island.
For bookings and enquiries, visit www.radissonblu.com/en/hotel-cork or call 021 4297000
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Wines from Spain Take Over in Little Island
|Meeting up at last with Mary Pawle|
Met some old faces and some new at the large 2014 Wines from Spain Tasting at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Little Island (Cork) last Wednesday. As a teenager I was often up and down the road, then a country lane, outside Ditchley House where the hotel is located. Good stories there, but I think I'd better stick with the wines.
With a sherry workshop with César Saldaña, Consejo Regulador Jerez, imminent, time was pressing so I didn't have the chance to get to all the tables but I was determined to get to one in particular. I've been chatting on Twitter, on and off, from home and abroad, to Mary Pawle, so it was great to meet up in person and taste some of her gorgeous organic wines.The 2012 Lignum Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay) and the 2011 Lignum Negre (Garnacha, Carinena, Cabernet Sauvignon), both DO Pinedes, are her “flagship” wines and one can taste why. Well worth trying. From the same organic producer, Albet I Noyo, comes a terrific Tempranillo Classic 2012. This is truly excellent. “The vineyard are very proud of this one, “ said Mary. “They feel it is a true expression of the Tempranillo.”
|Sparkling! Brid Carter|
Always delighted to meet the folks from Karwig and they had Frank and Marcus in attendance. Started here with a couple of whites produced from the Airen grape but, wouldn't you know it, it was an Albarino that caught the taste buds here, a complex well balanced 2011 effort by Vina Almirante. Keep an eye out for this as it has been highly rated by Decanter.
Bren Smith of Mackenway was next door to Karwig’s and he had some tempting reds on offer including the Museum Real Reserva 2006. If the budget doesn't stretch to the 2006 (22.99), the Vinea Crianza 2009,from the same producer, is recommended at €17.99.
In between, there are two other reds worth looking at. One is the Coto de Imaz Reserva 2008, a Rioja Tempranillo, and the other is the Las Rocas Garnacha which has lots of flavours and a good dry finish. Do you like Verdejo? I do and I’d recommend their Montespina 2013, DO Rueda, by Avelino Vegas, fresh, clean and zesty.
|Simple label says much.|
At the James Nicholson table, the Paco Garcia Seis 2012 Rioja Tempranillo went down well though perhaps not quite as well as the Baltos 2011 Bierzo by Dominio de Tares, made from the local Mencia grape. But the big news here was the imminent departure of their long time rep Conor O’Brien. He is off to pastures new and he introduced us to his replacement Richard Reeves, well known from his time at the Chop House in Lismore. Best of luck to both of them.
My introduction to Brid and Colm Carter, the friendly couple behind Honest2Goodness wines, came via a refreshing drop of their gorgeous cava, the DDLV Brut NV. No wonder I was impressed as this is produced by Dominio de la Vega, three times best Cava producer in Spain! Brid and Colm’s wines come from organic certified producers and from suppliers who farm with respect for the environment.
When I went back to their table for the reds, Colm introduced me to “a steel fist in a velvet glove”. Frenchman Francois Lurton’s Tinta de Toro 2011 is impressively smooth yet so well balanced that its 15.5% abv is well disguised. Bodega Los Barrancos, in the Granada area, is organically certified and their 2008 Corral de Castro is another gem. Indeed, they had a very impressive line-up of reds here and another ace was the Tres Patas 2008 (DO Mentrida), a blend of Garnacha and Syrah.
|Superb Cava from Honest2Goodness|
You can see that Colm, on his wine travels, gets to areas others just don't reach. Next time, I must take a closer look at their whites and, of course, have another sip of that Cava.
By the way,while on a drive through La Rioja one day in 2012, I called to a few vineyards, the last being the unusual glass-cubed Bai Gorri near the ancient town of Samaniego. We were received by a young Spanish lady who had learned her English in Cork, right here in Little Island!.
|Ins & Outs at James Nicholson.|
Conor O'Brien (left) and replacement Richard Reeves.