Showing posts with label local. Show all posts
Showing posts with label local. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Burren Brewery

The Burren Brewery
Ireland's Smallest Micro-Brewery!

When you walk into the Roadside Tavern in Lisdoonvarna, you see the normal beer dispensers on the high counter. But then, in the middle, you see something totally different: three unusual taps labelled Gold, Red and Black.

Owner Peter Curtin has his own brewery here, “the smallest micro-brewery in Ireland”, and the taps, designed by a local artist, dispense his lager (Burren Gold), ale (Burren Red) and stout (Burren Black). And very tasty they are too, as we discovered after a tasting of the three.

The brewery, just over 12 months old, is upstairs and Peter showed us up his stairway to heaven! It is all neat and compact. He has got some very good gear here and a great love for the task as we found out. And the pub is the only place that you can get these beers.

The pub itself, just a few miles from the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher, has a very long history, in family hands since 1893. But the Curtins were also bakers and that history goes back even further, hundreds of years. Nowadays the pub is also noted for its food and, this year, was voted “Best Gastro-pub in Munster” by the Restaurants Association of Ireland.

 Timing wasn’t quite right for us to eat there but the menu is filled with delicious dishes such as traditional Irish bacon, Cabbage and Parsley sauce and a slightly less traditional rendition of Irish stew (featuring local Burren beef in place of the more typical lamb).

Pride of place is given to several dishes featuring Smoked Fish and Eel from the family's award-winning Burren Smokehouse, run by Peter and Birgitta Curtin. Try the Burren smoked fish platter which is served with organic leaves from nearby New Quay. The Burren Smokehouse  is literally a few yards down the road and well worth a visit. And they have a great shop there too with local products from other producers. You may also buy online.

And don’t skip dessert in the Tavern. Peter says they are fabulous, homemade by Fabiola's Patisserie in Doolin. Fabiola has worked in Michelin starred restaurants and you may also sample her pastry delights at the Cafe in the Doolin Crafts Centre.

Food and good beer. What more do you want? Well, you get much more in this bar as there is a fantastic music programme throughout the season. That series is drawing to a close now but not before paying a massive tribute to Micilín Conlon (who played in the pub for all of 57 years) over three nights (26th,27th,28th of October). And, on the Saturday and Sunday (4.00 to 6.00pm), there will be a tasting combining the local beers, breads and cheese. Sounds great.

If you like a laugh, you’ll never be short of one with Peter and his crew in the Roadside. His sense of humour was seen at its sharpest recently when he more or less hi-jacked the Thursday set aside for Arthur and instead designated it Peter’s Day with pints of Burren Beer selling at three euro.

The beers are very popular with tourists. They are good, really good. So why not call in if you are in the area. Worth a detour, as they say in the best guides.

 Also visited: Cliffs of Moher   Wild Honey Inn  St Tola Goat Cheese Lahinch area Ballyvaughan Tea and Garden Rooms The Burren

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Rory Allen and Joleen Cronin

Hard to believe that Nash 19 is just 19 years “old”. It is so much part of Cork City that we assume it has been there for decades.

The name was almost accidental. Claire Nash had to come up with a name for company registration purposes in double quick time. She noted the street number on the paperwork and was inspired to add it to her own name and hence Nash 19.

Little did she know that 19 Princes Street would go on to become one of city’s favourite restaurants. The esteem in which Clare, her staff and her restaurant are held was very evident on Friday night at the 19th anniversary bash, attended by our 200 people including Lord Mayor Cllr Terry Shannon.

 The restaurant has seen a big increase in size since its opening day and other services (eg shop, food to go, catering services and so on) have been added. Read all about it here 

Despite the place being packed, we had a terrific night, with some great little dishes, starting with early season Galway Oysters. Many of her local producers (who are grateful for her encouragement) were present.

The English Market is a regular call for Nash 19 and representatives from here included O’Connell’s Fish and Tom Durcan. Kanturk’s ebullient butcher Jack McCarthy was in top form, kept on his toes by son Timmy, an able dealer himself and well able to match the rapid fire quips from Jack.

Spoke too to Evening Echo editor Maurice Gubbins, there with a party from Fermoy. Kinsale PR ace Jackie Dawson, daughter of the famous international Ronnie, was looking forward to the rugby game on Sunday.

Speaking of internationals, had a terrific chat with Sinead Gunnigan who recalled her trips to soccer internationals (when Jack Charlton was in charge) with her late uncle John, a great man for local soccer in Cork and well known in the drinks business in which he worked.

Sinead was attending the event with her husband Gerry, the Mayoman who heads up the Liberty Wines  operation in Ireland, and he was obviously very happy with the way their  Ca dei Frati (Lugana) was flying. Some good wine in Nash 19 and before we left, Claire treated us to a glass of smashing Turkey Flat Butchers Block (Shiraz/ Grenache & Mouvèdre) from the Barossa – great stuff.

No need for any major formalities on this happy occasion. Claire, who was supported on the night by family members, spoke as did local food pioneer Myrtle Allen. Rory Allen was another Ballymaloe man at the party and he was in top form as was restaurateur and photographer Joleen Cronin from Crosshaven.

While we were enjoying the party, the Nash 19 staff were busy, busy. As always, their usual efficiency and courtesy shone through. Claire herself regularly praises her team and they are a credit to her. I did have time for a small chat with key staff members Mairéad O’Brien and Pamela Kelly. Both were in top form.

All good things come to an end. That was true of the party but Nash 19 itself looks like going on and on. Let’s raise a glass of Ca dei Frati or Butchers Block  to another 19 years.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Never a dull dish at Nash19


As its 19th birthday approaches, Nash19 would be forgiven for slipping into a routine. And, yet, there is a routine here: top class food and excellent and friendly service.

The ingredients are familiar, local gems such as Jack McCarthy’s beef, Crowe’s bacon and Durcan’s beef. Quality is assured by this policy and variety is ensured by the imagination of the chefs. You won't be bored with what comes out on your plate.

The policy works. Just look at the customers coming through. We were in early for lunch today (Friday) and, sure enough, the place was more or less full shortly after one and they were still coming in at two.

Started off with a couple of cups of soup (you may also get bowls). Sweet potato has really shot up the popularity charts in recent years and the Roast Sweet Potato and Cumin soup was tasty, spicy and excellent. I went for the Tomato, Bean and Bacon blend and this too hit all the right boxes, plenty of tasty bits, eating and drinking in it!

Main course for me were the Tuscan Style Meatballs (Durcan’s Beef) in a rich tomato sauce on organic spaghetti. An excellent combination of the three main ingredients, well balanced, light yet substantial.

No shortage of substance either on our other main course: Crowe’s farm reared Bacon Loin with Apricot chutney. This was a tempting combination of excellent tender meat matched by the sweet fruit though the accompanying sauce was a bit on the piquant side.

Christine was looking after our table (it isn’t every day you get served by a Master Chef contestant) and was quite proud of their new wine list. CL had a glass of the Amador Parreno Organic Tempranillo, a nice bit of spice and fruit quite typical of the grape and an attractive price of €4.50 a glass.

With my main course having an Italian slant, I picked the Masseria Pietrosa Malvasia Nera. This comes from the south of Italy and has lovely black fruits with hints of spice.

At this point, we could manage just the one dessert between us and the Strawberry Victoria Sponge with a rich vein of cream was well up to the task. Two cups of classic Bewleys coffee brought the total to a little over €57.00.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Local food, local lingo

Enjoyed a classy Cork on a Fork meal at the ever reliable Fenns Quay this week. This good value menu, even better now since the VAT reduction, includes mostly local food, such as spiced beef, and the menu card itself is “spiced “ up with some local lingo.

You are encouraged to have a starter by “Give it a lash boy” and a dessert by “Era, go on so”.

The food too is served with a smile and certainly put a smile on my face. Enjoyed my starter of Spiced beef and shredded beetroot. On the other side of the table, her regular Warm Chicken Salad lived up to expectations.

Mains for me was one of the evening’s specials: Baked Hake with herbed basmati rice, sautéed French beans, courgette with fennel and salsa rossa. A terrific combination, light and satisfying.

The other mains was Braised Irish Lamb Shank with Green Saffron Spiced Potatoes. The lamb was cooked to perfection and the spiced potatoes really added to the dish. As they say around here: “Savage Cabbage.”

We agreed on dessert: Lemon pudding served with Baldwin’s Ice-cream and a tiny jug of chocolate sauce. Presentation was inviting and the combination – that ice cream is gorgeous – went down a treat.

Wines were Pazos de Ulloa DO Ribeiro 2009 and Domaine d’Angayrac Costieres de Nimes 2008, each at €5.50 a glass.
Cork on a Fork: 2 courses €22.50; 3 courses €27.50.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011



Just been reading the always entertaining and