Showing posts with label Trident Hotel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trident Hotel. 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.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Superb Evening Meal at Pier One. And So Much More at Kinsale's Trident Hotel

Superb Evening Meal at Pier One
And So Much More at Kinsale's Trident Hotel
Three sails power this boat to harbour. View from the Trident bedroom
Pier One is the main restaurant at the refurbished Trident Hotel in Kinsale and we enjoyed a lovely evening meal there recently. If you'd prefer something more casual then downstairs at the Wharf Bar is the spot to go, a lovely room with food all day long. And drink too, of course. 

Indeed, if you’re one of the many that likes a drink outside these summer days then, between car park and the harbour, the Trident have their self contained Foredeck Bar with some seating for your comfort.
Duck confit

There was a coach load of visitors dining in Pier One when we arrived. But it was no bother to the efficient well practised crew on duty and the service at our table was top notch all through. We had menus, breads and water as soon as we seated and then got on with the “work” of making choices!

And we had plenty to choose from. Here, they buy local “as much as possible” and we could see that, from the breakfast in the morning to the drinks at night. Drinks featured included Blacks of Kinsale, Franciscan Well, Stag Ban, Killarney Brew, Stonewell Cider, lots of Irish whiskeys, gin by Dingle and Kinsale and also Kalak vodka. 
Crab

I enjoyed a Crested Ten (one of Ireland’s most under-rated) in The Wharf, excellent service here too by the way, and they too were busy with people dining and drinking, some watching the British Open. The bar has a nautical feel – designed by local yacht designer, Rob Jacob, to resemble elements of an old sailing ship, it is complete with portholes, decking, vaulted panel and beam ceiling and rope-wound galleon masts.

But back upstairs to Pier One. Once we took our eyes off the collection of Knuttle on the walls and the activity on the water outside, the boats coming and going, we made up our mind. My mains would be Roast Crispy Duck (a half!), with wild berry, apple compote and citrus jus while CL went with the Seared Monkfish with carrot crisps and a Vermont Cream Butter Sauce. 
Duck

The duck was surrounded by orange segments and I certainly enjoyed this more exotic style, very well cooked by the way. And so too was the monkfish, a more simple dish though with a most gorgeous sauce, and another excellent combination. The side dish, of lovely vegetables, included courgette, celery, carrot and leek on the side. And all the while I was sipping my Kinsale Pale Ale by Black’s.

The starters had been excellent also. My Pan fried crab claws, with garlic and coriander, were as good, if not better, than any I've come across previously. And The Trident style Duck Confit was dispatched, with no little pleasure at the other side of the table.
Monkfish

The high standard was maintained with dessert. This time there was no sharing as we each picked the delightfully presented Rosscarberry Strawberry Shortcake, Crème de Menthe cream, Vanilla and Raspberry Sauce. Quite a plateful and a great sweet way to finish.

We would be back in Pier One for breakfast. They lay on quite a spread here, with real cheese and ham included. Loads of fruit too, plus breads and cereals. And a choice of hot dishes of course, including the full Irish (and any variation you wish) and a fish option. We both went for the Eggs Benedict and, with the local Barrett rashers and the eggs by Riverview making a lovely impression, that set us up for the day.
Dessert

The 75 newly refurbished bedrooms include an executive wing comprising 30 rooms and a penthouse floor of 9 luxury suites, all with breath-taking views of the harbour and enchanting town of Kinsale. The hotel has a private marina, onsite parking and a wide range of state of the art facilities for conferences and is an unforgettable venue for family occasions.

We stayed in one of those refurbished bedrooms and, with the sun obliging both in the evening and morning, we had splendid views of the harbour. The decor is restful and the spacious room had all we needed, including hairdryer (well, I didn't need that!) and tea-maker.
The Foredeck Bar, with some of Trident rooms on far right

The hotel is three-sided (the water's edge completes the square) and all rooms  have a view of the harbour. While walking along the corridors, I was struck by the restful colour combination, mainly white and grey on the walls, blue and grey in the carpet, and a little extra colour in the curtains. All very peaceful throughout. A really lovely place to stay, good rooms, good food, and just about four minutes from the very heart of the town.
Room with a view


Lots to visit here, most notably Charlesfort. But don’t forget the wine museum in the smaller Desmond Castle. One of the new attractions is the Old Head Signal Tower and Lusitania Museum, a community effort alongside the Old Head itself. Good stories here and also splendid views over the ocean and the land, especially over the old head itself.
The Old Head of Kinsale, with Lusitania Memorial Garden in foreground

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Neil McGuigan in Kinsale. Where Everybody Knows Your Wine

Neil McGuigan in Kinsale
Where Everybody Knows Your Wine

  

Neil McGuigan of Australia’s McGuigan Wines was delighted to be back in Ireland - where people pronounce his name correctly. It had been a busy week for the Chief Winemaker, with engagements in Dubai and Malta and then time out in London to celebrate the company being named International Winemaker of the Year for a record fourth time.

Twenty four hours after collecting the trophy, Neil was speaking at Friday's wine dinner in the Pier One Restaurant in the Trident Hotel, with the bow of an ocean-going freighter about 25 yards behind him (it was tied up!). Carole Norman welcomed him on behalf of the Order of the Wine Geese and also introduced Michael Barry of Barry and Fitzwilliam who import the wines.

Neil lauded the involvement with Barry’s saying it is much more than commercial at this stage. “We got Kate (Barry) out to Australia to do a vintage and we sent son Matthew over to Ireland. I reckon we got the better deal!”, he joked.
Frizzante!
They are well known for their Black Label series and are building on that with the intention to go “iconic”. He acknowledged James Busby as “the father of the Australian wine industry”. And he listed other pioneers including Penfolds in 1844 and, joking again, McGuigan in 1992! The early winemakers concentrated on making fortified wines, helping the government get drinkers off the much stronger rum that was then popular.

“Table wine was a late starter and it was only in the 1970s that it took off. Before that we had no idea that we could make wine.” And he pointed to the fact that they started putting the variety on the label and that proved to be their toe-in-the-door of the international market. “We made it simple for consumers and the move helped Australia go forward to Europe and the world.”
My favourite on the night

Then he paid tribute to his family, recalling how his grandfather “got us involved”. His father worked with Penfolds for decades and “we got him to one hundred and he was a wonderful guidance to us”. Neil's brother Brian established the brand “giving me a vehicle to drive”.

“I run a wine company and it is all about the wine. We want to over-deliver on quality at every price point. Purity of fruit is our aim, to see the grape reflected in every bottle. Awards are all well and good but innovation is very important.”

And that had been illustrated as we came in. Our welcome drink was a McGuigan Frizzante (Neil loved pronouncing that one!) and it comes in a resealable bottle. Produced from Semillon grapes, it is “easy drinking, for everyday”. 
The beef, tender and delicious

Yours truly with Neil McGuigan (left)
The Trident kitchen were in top form and our first plate was a delicious Smoked Duck, caramelised plum and celeriac remoulade and the wine here was Tempus Two Silver Series Pinot Gris. Tempus is a “boutique winery” in McGuigan and the wine was “French style, pears on nose, richness on the palate”.

Next plate was a delightful soup with a crunch: Wild Mushroom, Truffle Oil and Hazelnut Soup. And the wine was a killer, perhaps the best of the night, for me anyhow. Any remaining prejudice against Australian Chardonnay will be blown away by one sip of the McGuigan Founders Series. 

“Chardonnay is the prince of white grape varieties. We may have put people off but we have brought the pendulum back. Grapes are no longer over-ripe; these come from the cool climate of the Adelaide Hills.”

It is lovely, elegant and refreshing, an outstanding example of the grape. Neil told me that it is well oaked but you hardly notice it as the freshness is amazing. “Getting the pH right in the vineyard is key”, he emphasised.

After that, we enjoyed the Brioche crumbed scallops, Rosscarbery black pudding, pear and cauliflower puree. While I was really enjoying the Chardonnay, I found the Pinot Gris a better match with this dish!

There was a choice of mains: Port Wine Braised Jacobs Ladder (beef), Brussels sprouts and chestnut potato or Grilled fillet of sea-bream, pumpkin and cumin mashed potato, chilli and coriander butter.

Their 2013 Cabernet, part of the Founders Series, had great balance and was very approachable, just the job for the beef. “We find the Cabernet has lots of early flavour and then tannic at the end but has a hole in the middle! We fill that hole with richness from the oak. Coonawarra is great for Cabernet”.

The wine suggested for the Sea Bream was a Rhone style blend, their Tempus Two Silver Series Grenache (75%), Shiraz and Mourvedre. Rich, vibrant and full bodied, it was soft and rounded and absolutely spot-on with the fish.
Frizzante!

And that Founder Series Cabernet was very much in evidence again as we finished off a superb evening of food and wine and no little chat with a delicious Munster Cheese plate. Neil was on his feet for one final time, extending thanks to the Trident kitchen and staff. 

And he re-affirmed that special relationship with the Barry family. “Ireland is special to us and we will continue working with the Barry family. We are excited, tirelessly seeking new things, new varieties, new styles.” 

A few hours later, he was on his way to catch a flight from Dublin to Dubai, hoping to be back in Australia on Sunday evening. Such is the life of a wine-maker. You can make all the wines you want but someone must get out and sell them! Bon voyage and see you next time.


* McGuigan cultivates grapes in the Lower and Upper Hunter, Mudgee, Cowra, Adelaide Plain and Adelaide Hills, Murray Valley, Barossa and the Limestone Coast and processes in three operating wineries. No wonder they claim to be "The Flavour of Australia".

This fisherman, sculpted by Graham Brett and seated in the
forecourt of The Trident, endured a frosty night.