Showing posts with label Tipperary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tipperary. Show all posts

Monday, April 24, 2017

Two Tipp Top Cafés. Stef Hans & French Quarter

Two Tipp Top Cafés

Stef Hans & French Quarter

Mezze

After seeing the venerable buildings, including Hayes Hotel, in the square at Thurles, the Source Arts Centre around the corner is something of a pleasant surprise and even more pleasant when you find yourself in the cheery bright room where Stef Hans serve up delicious food.

The Café supports local suppliers (including the Apple Farm, Toonsbridge Dairy, O’Dwyer Butchers, Irish Piedmontese and Le Caveau wines) and they are listed on the multi-choice menu. There are even more choices on the specials board and the friendly staff will point those out to you as well.

Prices are good here and we started off with a plate to share for just €7.50. This was the Mezze Platter, served with hummus, dips, and olives and home bread comes. And a delicious starter it proved to be.

Chicken
 CL picked the Fish of the Day (15.00), supplied by Daly’s. This was Cod with vegetables (carrot and tender stem broccoli) and salad and served with delicious chorizo potato. The fish was as fresh as you’ll get and cooked to a T.


We were getting quality and quantity here and that was underlined with my choice: The Coronation Chicken open sandwich served with organic leaves, house pickle, chutney and fries, a simple dish, well priced and a well judged mix of great flavours and textures. 
The Source in Thurles

Earlier in the day, we had called to Tipperary Town, smiling at the sign on the way in that said: “Welcome. You've come a long way”. Not that long really as the town is just over an hour from Cork.

Time though for a cuppa and we found the very thing, and a Cork connection, in the French Quarter Café in the Excel Centre. It is run by Loic and Anne Marie (well known in the Cork’s famous Lobby Bar in the years before its closure).
Pear & Almond in French Quarter
 So we had a lovely chat in this busy spot. From the café’s name, you’d be thinking pastries here and you'd be right. We were tempted straight away. From the big line-up, we picked the delicious Pear and Almond Tart and a Rhubarb Tart and they went down well with good coffee (for me) and tea.


And if you come at lunch-time they will cater for you as well: no shortage of savoury dishes including paninis, wraps, sandwiches (with all kinds of fillers), salads and quiches. Indeed, if you are on the road early, you'll find them open from 9.30am on weekdays, 10.00am on Saturdays.

See more details of my Trip to Tipp here, includes visits to Farney Castle and Holycross Abbey.
The Excel (right) in Tipperary Town

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, September 11, 2012

Aherlow House Hotel Spanish Chef. Local Food.

Aherlow House Hotel
Spanish Chef. Local Food.
View from the dining room.

Had a mini-break recently in the spectacularly located Aherlow House Hotel and enjoyed it immensely. Great views and terrific food. Not forgetting the friendly service.

That service started and ended with the reception crew but, in between, was also seen and appreciated in the bar and the restaurant. They serve food in the bar but we went for the appropriately named Treetops Restaurant.

Its huge windows give you a massive view over the Galtee mountains to the south as does the outdoor seating area. But it also dishes out some gorgeous food, much of it supplied locally. On the evening we were there, the beef and lamb came from near neighbour Tom Lewis, the veg was supplied by Eden Growers (Tipperary Town) while the fish came from Atlantis Seafood in Kilmore Quay. Well done to Spanish chef Jose.
Clockwise from top left: Pavlova, Smoked Salmon, Cheeseboard, wine, steak,
duck with fennel, grilled Asparagus & Peppers.

Smoked salmon was available at dinner and at breakfast and that, coming from the Burren Smokehouse, was a delight. Great too to see cheese makers Gubbeen, Cashel Blue and Cooleeney represented.

I had that very Smoked Salmon, with poached Tiger Prawns and a rocket and lemon dressing, for my top drawer starter while CL was also very happy with her gorgeous Grilled Asparagus, Roast Red Peppers and Coriander dressing.

I had some of that Lewis beef in the shape of a Pan Fried Ribeye Steak with Homemade Onion Rings and Sweet Potato Chips. Tender, delicious and cooked as requested. The other mains, another winner, was Breast of Duck with roasted Fennel, Celeriac Fondant, Caramelised Pear with a Honey and Thyme Sauce. Cracking stuff.

Dessert too was well up to standard, especially that Cheeseplate, served with a Tomato and Apple chutney, Celery, Grapes and Artisan biscuits. I enjoyed my Mess of Pavlova with fresh Raspberries and Strawberries and Chantilly Cream.

And the wine came from Spain and quite good it was: La Cruz Tempranillo and Syrah, a delicious warming blend, red berries and spice, from Finca Loranque Vino de la Tierra de Castilla.

The four course meal cost €35.00 per person, set price, while the wine came in at €22.00. No wine at breakfast, but again a terrific choice, including that Burren Smoked Salmon. Terrific friendly place to stay and all very helpful with queries on the local attractions, especially the lovely walks, many of which start close to the hotel.

Click on the links to read a fuller account of the brief stay.
Glen of Aherlow  Cahir Castle  and the Swiss Cottage.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

TWO FANTASTIC WINE EVENTS

Gary (left) with Samuel

TWO FANTASTIC WINE TASTINGS / DINNERS


Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wines has been in touch to enthusiastically fill me in on two big wine events he has coming up next month.

“Last April we had a visit from Samuel Guibert and a very momentous tasting in Hickeys Cafe in Clonmel. Ever since this tasting, I have had many people asking about a return visit. I am delighted to announce that Samuel is coming back and bringing his world famous Mas de Daumas Gassac with him. And if that’s not enough to get you all excited, then I should tell you that we are having two events.”

TIPP FOOD MEETS FRENCH WINE

The first wine dinner is on Thursday evening October 20th with Samuel in fellow Tipperary Food Producers Network Inch House. Nora Egan’s Black Pudding is famous the world. Inch House is also very well known for its fine dining restaurant. This is a unique opportunity to sit down with a member of one of the iconic wine families of France and taste some of the best wines in the world. Contact Red Nose Wine on 052-6182939 or Inch House on 0504-51348 to buy tickets. Tickets are only €60 for 4 courses and a selection of wines including the Grand Cru Red & White. Places are limited.

CORK STOP
If you can’t make Inch House, then there is a tasting the next day, Friday October 21st in one of Ireland’s iconic food destinations, Ballymaloe House. Gary: “We are co hosting the tasting with Curious Wines, our Cork friends in wine. The tasting will include a vertical tasting of the Grand Cru Mas de Daumas Gassac red, a unique opportunity to taste multiple vintages of this iconic wine. Tickets are only €15 and are available online, in the shop or also from Ballymaloe and Curious Wines.”

The seated tasting will be followed by a separate wine dinner in Ballymaloe House, at 9.00pm, where 4 courses will be served with a selection of the Daumas Gassac wines including the Mas de Daumas Gassac Red. Tickets for the wine dinner are available only from Ballymaloe House and are priced at €85, including 4 courses, tea/coffee and wine.

Friday, August 5, 2011

RED NOSE WINE


RED NOSE WINE

My call to Gary Gubbins at his Red Nose Wine premises in Clonmel last week began with a lovely cup of Pónaire coffee made not far away in Annacotty. Pónaire, by the way, is the Irish for bean and Gary also sells this prize winning coffee here but, of course, his main business is selling wines.

The company motto is: Life is much too short to drink bad wine. Gary works hard at ensuring his Tipperary customers, along with his on-line fans, get that little something extra.

It would be easy to go for their big producers and the well known brands but small producers around the world put a great deal of hard work and time into their wines and often come up with gems. Gary spends quite a deal of his time searching out these good wines for his discerning customers whose opinions are sought and respected.

I agree with Gary here. I have spent extended holidays in France over the last three summers and have seen the hard work and care that goes into producing wine on these usually small family run farms. It is good to be able support them and their counterparts in other countries. Important too, if wine is not to go the bland way of mass produced beer.

Gary’s shop customers can taste before they buy: “Tasting is a large part of our communication mechanism and we have a wine tasting area open every day in our retail wine warehouse, with between three and five wines to sample on any given day.”

Needless to say, I sampled a few and I’ll be letting you know about some of them in the near future. In the meantime, why not call to the shop or have a look at the website.

There are bargains to be had, particularly among his new Australia wines, all subject to a 20% cut for the month of August. I like the look of the Bleasedale Range from Langhorne Creek but famous wines areas such as the Barossa and McLaren Vale are also represented in Clonmel.

If you have a special occasion coming, Gary can cater for that too. He has champagne and Prosecco and don't forget the connoisseur’s corner. So why not call in to the Business Park in Clonmel and sample that coffee before or after a tasting.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

THE APPLE FARM


THE APPLE FARM


Enjoyed some exceptional plum jam at lunchtime. Spread it out on some pieces of a sliced bloomer from ABC in the English Market and..Wow!!.


Bought the jam last week from the Apple Farm in Tipperary. Just brilliant. If you can’t find it in stock in Cork, drive up to Cahir. It is only up the road. Worth it! It is very easy to get to and something to do on a bad day.


The shop is on the edge of Con Trass’ fruit farm and is a few miles outside of Cahir on the main road to Clonmel. Of course, you may also buy online.


Con makes one of my all time favourite Irish drinks: Sparkling Apple Juice. They were actually bottling some of it as I visited.


Stocked up on that (plus one of Sparkling Apple and Blackcurrant Juice)  and also loads of the well known Karmine Apple Juice. Jars and jars of jam: apple, strawberry and that fabulous plum!


The apple harvest doesn’t begin until later this month and we were between strawberry pickings and there were none ready but should be there in abundance this week. But there were lots of those plums and we got a pack or two.


Soon we were on the road with two big boxes full of fruit drinks, jam and fruit. Apples have been grown in this area for hundreds of years, and since 1968, Con Trass has been planting more orchards to increase supply. Read all about this fascinating venture here. Every county should have at least one fruit farm like this. Maybe Con might start a chain!