Showing posts with label Rolf's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rolf's. Show all posts

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Rolf’s in Baltimore. Local Produce. Continental Touch.

Rolf’s in Baltimore
Local Produce. Continental Touch.
Quail and apricots
Lots of eating places in Baltimore. I’ve been to a few but last month’s visit was my first to Rolf’s Country House and it was an excellent meal in a lovely room with a friendly and efficient service all through.

Some rich fare on offer here, cream sauces feature in many dishes, and there is quite a middle European touch to the desserts. Here you can find (not necessarily all together) a Flemish Apple Tart, a Black Forest Gateau, Frederike’s Chocolate orange cake and do watch out for the Swiss Chocolate Tart.

Not all heavy though! My starter was the Fresh Brown Crab, served with salad and Marie Rose sauce (10.50). An excellent dish, flavour from the waters from the nearby ocean well matched with the classic sauce. CL too got off to a tasty start: West Cork Black Pudding, on a bed of caramelised apple and served with pan-fried quail eggs (9.50).
Starters and sunset
Quite a good wine choice at Rolf’s. Indeed, they have a wine-bar as well. But would we have red or white? In the end, we settled on the Vier Jahreszeiten Spatburgunder (31.00). This velvety Pinot Noir with its excellent aromas and flavour was a decent match for the various dishes.

Mains for me was the arresting 2 Quails Deboned, flambéed with cognac, and served with apricots and a cream sauce (24.00). This was dispatched, with delight. The sides of potatoes and vegetables were also cooked to perfection and CL got rice with her classic Beef Stroganoff, flambéd with vodka and served with onions and mushrooms and, yes, enriched with a cream sauce (24.50).
Desserts (6.50) were not going to be ignored on this occasion! If you are giving into temptation, you might as well go all the way. More cream with CL’s delicious strawberries, vanilla ice cream and shortbread biscuits. And mine? Well that was Gertrud’s Dark Swiss Chocolate Tart, a sumptuous treat (including cream!). For the finalé, I did very much enjoy a glass of superb Warre’s Otima 10 year old tawny.

After all that, I had to “race” the mile down to the seafront to get a few photos of the spectacular sunset. Just about made it!

Aside from the restaurant and all day cafe, Rolf's also have The Private Dining Room, now available for parties of 10-14 people.

Rolf’s Country House
Baltimore Hill, Baltimore, Co. Cork
Phone: +353 (0)28 20289
email :


Monday, July 27, 2015

36 Hours in West Cork. Not that I was counting!

36 Hours in West Cork
Not that I was counting!

Baltimore sunset
I was thinking of Garrett Oliver, master brewer at New York’s Brooklyn Brewery, while I was eating lunch at Union Hall’s Coffee Shop last Thursday. Garrett related at the Ballymaloe LitFest how people, on first drinking one of his beers, tell him that it is so good it doesn't taste like beer. Garrett tells them, with some satisfaction, that what they have been drinking before is not real beer.

Well, here in Union Hall, our first call on our most recent trip to West Cork, I was eating real panini. I’m sure there are other good paninis out there but it is superb here, like nothing I've ever tasted before. It was packed with chicken, brie and pesto, all adding up to great flavours and terrific textures.
 The menu is short here as you'd expect but quality is high. And that is underlined with CL’s Quiche of Roast peppers, feta, Ballymaloe Relish. After that and a good cup of coffee we were on our way.

Having been in West Cork regularly, particularly this year, I were looking for one or two different things to see and do. West Cork obliged. Big time.

Graveyard on Myross Island
 After the Coffee Shop, we headed for Myross Island and found it. Drove up the narrow road to the graveyard which has terrific views over the Atlantic, including the nearby Rabbit Island. Next call was to Reen Pier where we ran into Jim Kennedy. He runs Atlantic Sea-kayaking and has his base here in this beautiful place.

We got some great views of it as we took the narrow road, rising up above the water, heading for a bridge that would take us to the other side and down to the peace and calm of Castletownsend with its distinguishing tree in the middle of the street, acting as a roundabout.

On the road above Reen Pier
 Baltimore was our destination for the night but there would be another stop or two on the way. First was the amazing Lough Hyne (the unusual seawater lough) and it was quite busy with many enjoying the sunshine, sitting around, swimming in the clear waters and others walking on the wooded hill above and getting fantastic views over the coast.

After all that activity, I felt we deserved a drink and knew just where to get it. On the way into Baltimore, we stopped at Casey’s Hotel. They have recently opened a microbrewery here and some of their Sherkin Lass Pale Ale went down a treat in the beautiful beer garden that overlooks the waters of Baltimore. They also do a red ale.

Rolling hills of West Cork
 Time then to check in at our accommodation. This was in Rolf’s. The Haffner family have been here for over twenty five years and their restaurant, where we enjoyed a terrific dinner at night, is well known. It is a great place to stay too, a fine and friendly base for the area.

In the morning, we were down on the pier, hoping to get a place on one of the boats going out to see the dolphins and, hopefully, a whale or two. But we had no luck. The lesson here is to book in advance.

 So off we went to the Sheep's Head peninsula and stopped at the car park high in Seefin. We were almost sun-burned here a few months earlier but this day turned cloudy for a while and a strong wind greeted us as we climbed along the marked trail on top of the ridge. We got as far as the megalithic tomb before deciding to turn back. Not the best of days up there but still well worth the effort.

Down then to Old Creamery Cafe in Kilcrohane. This is a spanking clean spot with a menu of sandwiches, paninis, and salads and some home baking. We went for tea and some of that baking. I picked a Raspberry and Lemon Curd Sponge and those raspberries, fresh from the garden, were spectacularly juicy.

Courtyard garden at Rolf's
Refreshed now, we drove up the other side of this spectacular peninsula, heading for Durrus. Our stop though was at Ahakista to pay our respects to the three hundred plus victims of the Air India bombing disaster twenty years ago. Quite a few mementos, mainly wreaths, scattered here since the commemoration last June. Such a waste of life, such sadness.
Megalithic tomb on Sheep's Head
The sun was out as we headed over to Schull to see Walter Ryan-Purcell of Loughbeg Farm (now an open farm that you may visit). Walter, his wife and son, were up in Schull and we met them outside the Bunratty Inn, a gorgeous sun trap! Walter is well known in food circles and great to see the success Loughbeg is enjoying with their Oat Loaf. Look out for it in your local SuperValu.

Sweet! Old Creamery Cafe
 Down then to the pier and we were tempted by the fish dishes on offer at L’Escale but had a date in Rosscarbery and, after a walk on the path alongside the harbour in Schull, we headed for Pilgrim’s in Ross. Hadn't been there before, but is is easy to find as it is right smack bang in the centre of the village.

Ahakista's Air India memorial
 We were pleasantly surprised by the very high standard of the food here, a standard that many high class restaurants would find hard to match. We thoroughly enjoyed our few hours in Pilgrim’s before motoring back to the city.