Showing posts with label cocktails. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cocktails. Show all posts

Friday, July 17, 2015

St Patrick's Distillery Launch

St Patrick's Distillery Launch
At Coughlan's (l to r): Andrew Desmond (Whazon), Cyril Walsh and
Barry Fitzgerald (both St Patrick's)
The team at St Patrick's Distillery in Douglas could hardly have picked a better venue for their recent launch than Coughlan's Bar in Douglas Street and will be hoping that some of the pub's longevity will rub off on their new venture. Coughlan's is close to 200 years old, a very lively 200 years as it is a recent winner of the IMRO Music Venue of the Year Award. Check it out here.

Lovely, lively old pub in Douglas Street

The St Patrick's Range.
It includes four gins including an Elderflower and also a Sloe and Honey. Indeed that Sloe and Honey featured in the most popular cocktail of the evening, the Sloe Heaven!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Taste of the Week. Cocktail in a Tea Pot!

Taste of the Week.
Cocktail in a Tea Pot!
At Blairscove House.
The Woodward Rose cocktail
We were checking the cocktail menu before dinner in Blairscove House in Durrus last week and CL decided on the Woodward Rose. The description looked promising: Hendricks Gin, St German Elderflower liquor, Karmine Pressed Apple Juice, and Raspberries. She got a bit of surprise though when she was served with a tea pot, sitting in a cup.

The cocktail was in the tea pot and it was then poured into the cup and was perhaps the best cuppa she ever had, our Taste of the Week! In the bad old days of prohibition in the United States (1920-1933), people used all kinds of containers to hide the alcohol, the tea pot being one suggested by Hendricks. By the way, dinner in Blairscove was top class as you may read here.

See also (from this trip): Dinner of Delights at Blairscove House
Walking on Sheep's Head Peninsula
Castlefreke and Rathbarry, The Castles And The Wood

Staying at Blairscove House. A Perfect Place.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Spring Time at The Cornstore

Spring Time at The Cornstore.
Day and Night Delights

Aged beef and amazing béarnaise sauce
The Cornstore has marked the coming of Spring with a trio of new menus: new Cocktails, a new Lunch line-up and a stunning Early Bird which gives you quality at an excellent price.

I sampled the Early Bird in mid-week and was very happy with it. No shortage of choice here. You have five starters to pick from, six main courses and four desserts. It is available Monday to Saturday and the three course menu will cost you a very reasonable twenty five euro but do get in before the cut-off time of 6.30pm.
Both the starters were perfect. CL’s was Buffalo Mozzarella and Beef Tomato Salad (Toonsbridge mozzarella, pea shoot and balsamic). The cheese was so fresh, hard to beat unless maybe you go to the dairy itself. My Duck Parfait, served with their own award winning Fig Whiskey Chutney and Sourdough Toast, was another perfectly judged gem.

Cornstore always have their eye on the season and wild Garlic featured in CL’s delicious mains: Roast Cod on a Wild Garlic Risotto with tomato vinaigrette. Here were aromas and flavours to beat the band, a top notch combination.

And so was mine, though it carries a modest three euro supplement. The Cornstore are renowned for their aged beef and so I couldn't resist the Aged Beef Fillet Medallions with Caesar dressed leaves, home cut fries and béarnaise sauce. Oh my! I could have eaten each element on its own, nothing else, and been happy. But put them all together like this and my palate was beyond happy!

Good variation on the mains on offer. Also available were: Brazed Flat Iron Steak, Oven Roast Chicken, Truffle Burger (this is mega!), and Thai Green Vegetable Curry. Other starters on the night were Soup of the Day, Quinoa Salad and Peppered Calamari.

And the seasonal theme continued as we moved to dessert. My delightful choice was the Rhubarb and Lime Posset with Madeline biscuit while CL enjoyed her Fruit Salad with a Raspberry Sorbet.

There are Lite Bites, To Share plates, and a long list of mains on the Lunch Menu. But the section that caught my eye was the Set Lunch. Here you may have 2 courses for just 15 euro, picking from five starters and five mains (including that Truffle Burger). Three course come to twenty euro.

The Cornstore cocktails aren't just a fast drink. Did you know that preparations can take up to 14 days! Didn't get a chance to sample the new mixes but Cornstore’s Mags O’Connor is enthusiastic: “The final exclusive menu, just launched, will delight everyone from the cocktail connoisseur, to the person taking their first ever sip of the clever creations”.   

“Vodka, gin, whiskey and rum are infused with various fruits and vegetable based elixirs for up to 14 days. Time works its magic to create infusions that are at their ultimate flavoursome peak. Think vodka infused with chilli, gin infused with Earl Grey tea, lemon and peel, whiskey infused with plums or rum infused with dried apricots.”


Friday, October 31, 2014

Island of Asian Street Food at Phô

Island of Asian Street Food at Phô

Hawkers Corner in City Pub!

The Phô Mule.
The island of Penang, part of a Malaysian state of the same name, is renowned for it street food. Not surprisingly, as it is a melting pot of many cultures with India, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and the Malaysian mainland itself all relatively close by. 

Here, hawkers with their rickshaws join together in the marketplace. These are specialists, one an ace in Prada, the other in curry, another in noodles, this one in Rendang. People come from miles around to sample their wares.

Thankfully, you don't have to go to Penang. Chef Prakash, known locally here as Kash, who grew up on the island surrounded by it rich culinary landscape, has brought the authentic know-how with him to the new Phô in Douglas Street. 

The menu is extensive and there is also a Phô Kids Menu. Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Kids and the strength of the spices (1, 2 or 3) are all clearly marked on the menu. No shortage of drinks either, non alcoholic, teas, coffees, wines, and local craft beers all available. And also a list of very original cocktails!

Okay. Where to start? The Roti Prata is proving very popular. This is an Indian influenced flat bread, fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside, and Kash tells me it is “an all day thing in Malaysia, 24/7”. It is proving very popular in Douglas Street. You may have it plain with a fragrant Lentil Curry (I enjoyed that very much) or with a number of fillings, including Chicken or Egg or Curry. Phô customers use it as a sharing dish while they wait for their main course.

Rice dishes include Thai and Malaysian Curries. The latter are spicy gluten free, originating from Penang Island. And, of course, there is Rendang, a spicy (#2 on the spice scale!) meat curry, served with Jasmine Rice. I loved the beef version but would happily try the others.

Beef Redang, served with Jasmine rice (not in shot!).

The next section comes under the Hawker Corner label. You, or the kids, won't go wrong here, even if you may not get the pronunciations right.  Try the gorgeous flavours, textures and aromas of the Khaw Pad Bay Krapow, Thai stir-fried rice with prawns and sweet basil.

Flat noodles feature on the Char Koey Teow, Malaysian stir fried flat noodles with prawn, slow smoked duck and pork sausage, bean sprouts, dark soy sauce and duck eggs. Phew, hard to pronounce but easy to eat and one of my favourites. Talking of pronunciation, Phô is pronounced “Faa”.

More noodles, big fat roundy ones, on the simpler Hokkien Mee. These are Udon style noodles cooked with pork liver and soy sauce. Delicious. Other noodle dishes include Phô Bo (from Hanoi) and Penang Prawn Noodles.

Vegetarian dishes look inviting with Pasembur and Poh Pia available. Indeed, next time I go back I might well pick the Pasembur as I had a sample of the Sweet Potato and Peanut Sauce and it is superb.

And everyone can tuck into Phô’s one desert. Indeed, everyone should try this at least once. It is a gem called Ais Kacang, shaved ice with screwpine jelly, grass jelly, rose agar agar, palm seed, rose water syrup, palm sugar syrup or ice cream. The most delicious glassful you'll get anywhere for €4.50. Cooling too if you’ve indulged in the spicier dishes!

Dessert (left) and right, from top, Hokkien Mee,
Char Koey Teow, and Khaw Pad Bai Krapow

While I was sampling, I kept cool with another lovely drink, a Lassi. This is a popular refreshing Indian influenced yogurt-based drink. Mine was Mango flavoured and you can also get it in Peach!

They are very proud of their Cocktail list here and rightly so. You will see one or two old standards there, including the Singapore Sling, but most of the cocktails have been created specially for the new restaurant/bar and are inspired by the South East Asian regions.

I had to sample one before heading off. The Phô Mule was recommended. “It’s a bomb,” I was told. Pandan leave infused Absolut, Kumquats, Lemongrass and Ginger Syrup, Lime and Ginger Beer. Not like any cocktail I’ve tasted before, it is superb, some beautiful refreshing flavours smoothing down the alcohol. And don’t gulp it down. Sip through the straws and enjoy it all the more.

How about the Phô Mojito? This is made with Cucumber, Coriander, Rum, Lime, Sugar and Soda Water. Kash’s own favourite is the Penang Twang. Ingredients here are Grapefruit Vodka, Lemongrass, Green tea, Lemon juice and Sugar. Cheers!

And best of luck to Brian and Kash. Both men are well known for their successful Fresco Bistro, attached to the Glucksman in the grounds of UCC and very popular in the college and surrounds. No doubt some of their customers there will be among those turning up in Douglas Street to try the well priced well cooked meals. All food is “homemade” in Phô and sourced locally where possible.

Roti Prata

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Enjoying the Cornstore’s Summer Of Aged Beef, Seafood and Cocktails

Enjoying the Cornstore’s Summer
Of Aged Beef, Seafood and Cocktails
Cork’s immensely popular Cornstore Restaurant, on Cornmarket Street, is flying high this year, powered by four “engines”: Aged Steaks, innovative Seafood dishes and a whole squadron of cocktails (led by the special infused mixes). The fourth engine is the service team, smiling, chatty, friendly and efficient.

Got a great chance to try it out when I won one of their recent photo competitions and the prize was a full dinner and cocktails. Got a terrific welcome from Sarah and her front of house team.

First, to the cocktails. My opener was the Cornstore Whiskey Old Fashioned: Plum infused whiskey, angostura bitters, orange peel, and plum jam. Loved it but wasn't quite ready for the concentrated shot of whiskey when I ate the plum at the end!

John Dory
Later on, I absolutely enjoyed the Cornstore Rum Old Fashioned: Apricot infused Rum, vintage port, angostura bitters, orange peel and apricot jam. The Port and Rum worked a treat in combo and, taking my time on this occasion, that apricot at the end proved very enjoyable indeed.

CL’s opening cocktail was one of their “Luxury Cocktails”, a Taiwantini: Hendricks gin, lychee liqueur, cucumber syrup, fresh lime juice, topped with Prosecco. A very cool cocktail indeed, refreshing and, like most of them, easy-drinking!

On manager Mike Ryan's recommendation, she stayed on the luxury loop for her second one, the Balsamicotini: Grey Goose, fresh strawberries, balsamico, fresh basil, fresh lime juice, cranberry juice and strawberry syrup. Another superb combination, so well mixed by Stephen at the bar as we watched in wonder!
The food was absolutely outstanding and it seems to me that the dishes produced by the Cornstore chefs are just getting better and better. Take mussels for instance. They have three takes here and the top one is the Full Irish: a very successful pairing indeed of the mussels and black pudding. Could hardly believe how tasty this proved, helped by the addition of craft cider and chive cream.

Jack McCarthy’s black pudding is also used with the Pan Seared Wexford Scallops but CL went for the delicately delicious Scallop ceviche with baby potato, caper and shaved fennel salad.

Jack’s black pudding is one of the many ways in which local produce is used by the Cornstore. Indeed, they buy local as much as they can and the scallops for instance come from the Amber Mist trawler in Wexford’s Kilmore Quay while the mussels that I so enjoyed are supplied by Kinsale’s Jamie Dwyer. Oh and by the way, it isn’t all cocktails here as you can also choose from a range of local beers by Eight Degrees and Dungarvan Brewing and Stonewell craft cider is also available.
Sorbet still life.
Back then to the main courses. CL spotted a fish dish on the specials: Pan fried John Dory with Queen scallops, sautéed potatoes, organic leaves and a saffron and garlic aioli. The fish was flawlessly cooked on the bone and was totally delicious.

Earlier in the summer, the Cornstore announced that they were aging their own beef and using Himalayan salt in the process (28-35 days is the period). Still plenty of beef left and I picked the simply grilled Fillet, served with mushrooms, onion fricassee, vine roast cherry tomatoes and a foie gras and truffle butter.

It is “the best tasting steak we can produce for our customers”. I think it is the best tasting steak I’ve ever had. Now, I’m told that their Tomahawk cut (for sharing) may be even better. Next time!