Friday, July 12, 2024

The Met Summer Special Menu

press release

The Met Summer Special Menu

The Metropole Hotel is excited to announce the launch of its highly anticipated Summer Special menu at the Met Bar & Restaurant. Designed to tantalize taste buds and celebrate the vibrant flavours of the season, this exclusive offering is set to become a highlight of Cork’s dining scene. Guests can now indulge in a two-course dinner accompanied by a choice of a glass of wine, beer, or a soft drink for just €32.50 per person. Available seven days a week from 5 PM, this culinary delight promises an unforgettable dining experience.


The Metropole Hotel’s Executive Chef has crafted a selection of dishes that showcase the finest local ingredients, ensuring a memorable meal that reflects the best of summer produce. The Summer Special menu features a variety of mouth-watering options to suit all palates.


**Large Plates:**


- **Fried Halloumi, Carrot & Orange Salad**: A vibrant mix of shaved fennel, micro coriander, and mustard & orange dressing, perfect for a light yet flavourful start.


- **Warm Duck Salad**: Pulled confit duck leg, fried potatoes, mixed leaves, red onions, and watermelon rind drizzled with honey dressing.


- **Rigatoni Pasta Primavera**: Seasonal greens, ricotta, pea purée, lemon & mint oil, Hegarty cheddar, and black pepper for a hearty vegetarian option.


- **Double Irish Hereford Cheeseburger**: Grilled flat mushroom, Bandon cheddar, baby gem, beef tomato, grilled bacon, pickles in a brioche bun, served with skinny French fries and truffle mayonnaise.


- **Roasted Massala Glazed Squash**: Channa massala, roasted beets, chickpeas, pickled watermelon rind, and poppadom, an explosion of flavours and textures.


- **10 oz Tim Mulcahy’s Chicken Supreme**: Accompanied by potato & N’Duja terrine, kale, wild mushroom, hazelnuts, and pink peppercorn and Jameson sauce.


- **McCarthy’s Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder**: Channa massala, chickpeas, roasted squash & beets, pickled watermelon rind.


- **Union Hall Grilled Hake**: With roast potatoes & seasonal greens, pea purée, tartare condiment, and charred lemon.




- **Raspberry & Plum Clafoutis**: Candied walnuts, salted caramel ice cream, and marinated raspberries.


- **Mango, Passion Fruit, and Soya Posset**: Exotic coulis, candied hazelnuts, and fresh mango.


- **Dark Chocolate Marquise**: Candied hazelnuts, Amarena cherries, white chocolate & almond tuile, vanilla ice cream.


- **Seasonal Rhubarb & West Cork Strawberries**: Clonakilty set yogurt, honey granola, poached rhubarb, fresh strawberries, strawberry ice cream.


Each dish is thoughtfully created to contribute to our zero food waste targets, ensuring sustainability while delivering exquisite flavours. Guests are encouraged to follow @themetcork on Instagram for the latest updates and to book their table through the link in the bio.


The Metropole Hotel invites all food enthusiasts and those seeking a delightful dining experience to savour the Summer Special menu at the Met Bar & Restaurant. Book now and enjoy an evening of exceptional cuisine in the heart of Cork.


press release

Oisin and Dee with Dennis Dempsey (left) and Birgitta Hedin-Curtin (right)

Dee Laffan and Oisin Davis are on a mission to highlight the finest Irish food & drink pairings through their brand new podcast "Beár Bia." Translated to English as Food Bar, Beár Bia's key focus is that local foods taste best when enjoyed with local drinks and Ireland is no exception. Furthermore, pairing our native food native food & drinks is a vital means to develop our Irish culinary culture. 
It can be accessed on SpotifyApple or wherever you get your podcasts. 

How does Beár Bia work?

Each episode will have a different focus - whether it be pairings from a particular county, from an event, a bar or restaurant, a specific ingredient or cooking method, or themed around a food or drink brand.

We invite Irish food & drink producers for a round-the-table, fun-filled tasting, and discussion. Brewers chatting with cheesemakers, distillers hanging out with chefs, etc - all of it recorded, filmed & photographed for the podcast.

For our second episode, we were kindly granted access to the huge array of different Irish food & drinks producers that were at the Bord Bia Bloom festival in Phoenix Park last month. Our goal was to look at how we could celebrate pairing some of the best Irish drinks there with Irish food products but in their most simple state. That way we could demonstrate that even something as easy to prepare as an Irish cheese on a cracker could taste amazing alongside an Irish beer. 
The producers and their brands we worked with for the special Bord Bia Bloom episode were:

- Ann Rudden of Aine's Chocolates of Cavan whose chocolates we paired with county Galway's Micil Distillery's Irish Cream Liqueur. Its founder Pádraic Ó'Griallais joined us.

- Dennis Dempsey of Kinsale Mead in Cork shared some of his Wild Atlantic Mead to pair with Birgitta Hedin-Curtin's wild smoked salmon from the Burren Smokehouse in Clare.

- Caitriona Keavney from Cooleeney Farm in Tipperary joined us and we paired some of their smoked brie with the dark mild beer from David Walsh Kemmis' Ballykilcavan Brewery in Laois.

Each pairing was individually recorded at the Bord Bia Bloom festival. Between them all we covered what is most likely Ireland's oldest food & drink combo, an ideal starter style pairing and a decadent Irish dessert.

The first season of Beár Bia will feature 12 episodes and will be broadcast fortnightly.


Egawa Sushi: A Fusion Frenzy in Cork City's Kyle Street where Japan meets Brazil.

Egawa Sushi: A Fusion Frenzy in Cork City's Sushi Scene
You'll find her in Kyle Street. Not the girl from Ipanema!

Move over, California rolls! Cork City's sushi scene just got a splash of vibrant fusion with the arrival of Egawa Sushi on Kyle Street. You'll find them in the former Brazilian Golden Bites space, Egawa offers a unique twist – Japanese sushi with a Brazilian flair - note the international flags (Japan and Brazil!) displayed on their Instagram.

Intrigued by the eye-catching artwork around the door, I decided to peek in, lured by the promise of something different. My Katsu Curry-loving companion couldn't tell me anything about the sushi (their loss!), but their glowing recommendation for the Katsu piqued my curiosity further.

A Take-Out Feast for the Senses

Egawa offers both dine-in and take-out options, perfect for a quick lunch or a relaxed meal at home. I opted for take-out, drawn to the substantial Urumaki rolls (double the size of Hosomaki for a hungrier appetite). The Tuna and Avocado Uramaki stole the show. This beauty, priced at €15.00, featured melt-in-your-mouth raw tuna, creamy avocado, a touch of Japanese mayo, and a symphony of textures with fried garlic, sesame seeds, and scallions. Every bite was a delightful explosion of taste and texture, with the included wasabi, ginger, and soy sauce adding the perfect finishing touches.

A World of Flavors to Explore

But the Urumaki adventure is just beginning! Egawa tempts with a variety of other options, including Salmon Uramaki, Grilled Salmon Uramaki, and a truly unique Egawa Uramaki, which combines tempura prawn, tuna and blow-torched salmon. Feeling adventurous? The Sundried Tomatoes Uramaki might be your perfect match.

And that Katsu Curry? It's waiting to be explored alongside a whole host of other menu options.

Experience Egawa Sushi

Head down to 18 Kyle St, Cork, T12 K263 and get ready for a flavour fiesta. Their friendly staff will welcome you with open arms, and you can find all the info you need (including online ordering) on their Linktree [] Their Instagram [] is a treasure trove of mouthwatering photos and will have you planning your visit in no time.

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Beer of the Week. Kinnegar’s mixed 4-pack. Cold IPA. Pale Ale. Pilsner. Raspberry Grisette

Beer of the Week. Kinnegar’s mixed 4-pack. 

Cold IPA. Pale Ale. Pilsner. Raspberry Grisette 

Donegal’s Kinnegar has just launched their summer adventure into 4-pack territory and this very convenient format is out there to be enjoyed. “Look forward to a refreshing journey through these four great beer styles. We don't often indulge in tasting notes but this time we set Sean the task of putting the experience in words.”

Cold IPA 5.3%, 400 ml can Bradleys

Colour of this Cold IPA, a once-off by Kinnegar and part of their new 4-pack this summer, is a light gold with bubbles galore racing to the soft white head. Peach, apricot and grapefruit feature in this light hoppy beer with a very refreshing finish indeed.

Kinnegar report it as a big success.  “Can’t you make it part of the core range?” they’ve been asked.

Wondering what a Cold IPA is? I was. It is an IPA fermented at lower temperatures than what is normally used to ferment an ale. Brewers often use a lager yeast or a combination of a lager and an ale yeast. Kinnegar: “Another riff on a tune we’ve been playing with for the past year. Practice makes perfect.”

Hazy Pale Ale,4.5%, 440 ml can Bradleys

This session pale is light straw and cloudy. The American hops have endowed Kinnegar’s latest iteration of this quaffable popular style with quite a backbone of tropical fruit, citrus and pine and just a moderate bitterness. Refreshing as expected and ideal for a session.

Sean’s verdict: “Juicy, sweet fruit, high drinkability. An indispensable summer companion. One will not be enough.”


See updated Beer of the Week index here


Pilsner, 5% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys

This latest lager from Donegal is straw-coloured with a soft white head and tons of bubbles rising. Much like the craft lagers we know in this part of the world but with a hoppy punch. A touch of lime runs through it to the refreshing finalé. Well worth a try and another excellent can in the 4-pack.

They say: An old-world style with new-world flair courtesy of its distinctive New Zealand hop profile. 

Sean’s verdict: Citrus (lime), grape, clean bitterness

Raspberry Grisette, 3.8% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys

Grisettes are refreshing, low-alcohol beers with origins in the Hainaut province of Belgium. They are crisp, medium/light-bodied, citrusy beers—brewed to be endlessly approachable. It is also supposed to be a summer beer. I’ve waited long enough for summer, so here goes.

Our Raspberry Grisette from Kinnegar has an orange colour with a short-lived white head and lots of micro-bubbles. It is crisp and dry with a fruity tang from the raspberries. I reckon loganberries would have given it a real kick-ass tang. As it is, this is a very refreshing low alcohol beer indeed. Recommended pairing: with a summer’s day if you can find one in 2024. Preferably outdoors.

Sean’s verdict: Crisp, dry, citrus, raspberry. Sean doesn’t waste words. 

A Taste of Tradition: Connemara Smokehouse on the Wild Atlantic Coast

A Taste of Tradition: Connemara Smokehouse 

on the Wild Atlantic Coast

Tasting Plate

Nestled right on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, Connemara Smokehouse is a haven for seafood lovers. Founded in the 1970s by John and Bridget Roberts, this family-run business has become internationally renowned for their mastery of traditional Irish fish smoking, with Graham and Saoirse Roberts now at the helm.

The Smokehouse has achieved esteemed Économusée status, signifying its importance in cultural tourism. Step inside the factory shop and be greeted by a tempting array of smoked delights – salmon, tuna, mackerel – each boasting the Connemara Smokehouse signature. But the exploration doesn't stop there.

A dedicated discovery area allows you to delve deeper. A member of staff will take you through the informative displays and captivating photos illustrating the various steps, from filleting and salting to the fragrant beechwood smoke that infuses each piece of fish. If you want to learn more and are really keen, why not book a guided tour?

The Smokehouse

From Smokehouse to Café: A Culinary Journey

After immersing yourself in the art of smoking, you might find yourself craving a taste. Thankfully, the Roberts haven't missed a beat. Their new café, situated just across the yard and offering stunning ocean views, beckons you to linger a while longer.

The menu, as expected, celebrates the bounty of the sea. The perfectly smoked fish takes centre stage, and you can try a delightful selection. 

Our favourite at lunch was the Tasting Plate packed with Organic Smoked Irish Salmon, Smoked Salmon Mousse, Gravadlax (from a recipe created by Graham’s mother), Honey Roast Smoked Salmon, Wild Plain & Peppered Smoked Mackerel served with traditional brown bread, soda bread toasts and house salad. 

The shop and café

Liquid Accompaniments and More

To perfectly complement your meal, the café boasts a curated selection of wines. Picpoul de Pinet, a refreshing white, is the house favourite, available by the glass or bottle. Sauvignon Blanc and Albarino offer other fish-friendly options, while Valpolicella (by Rizzardi) caters to red wine enthusiasts. Rosé and Prosecco round out the selection, ensuring there's something for everyone. Don't forget to explore their range of soft drinks, including my favourite, Cahir's Apple Farm's super apple juice. Tea and coffee lovers are also well catered to, with a variety of brews available.

Gravadlax was
my favourite on the plate!
So I bought some.
Planning Your Visit

The main dining area resides upstairs, offering a comfortable space to savour your meal. However, if you prefer a more casual setting, there are a few tables downstairs and even some outdoor seating. Orders are placed at the downstairs counter, which doubles as a shop. Here, you can stock up on your favourite smoked fish, browse their selection of branded merchandise, and even discover other local  foodie treasures.

My Top Tip

For the ultimate Connemara Smokehouse experience, start with lunch! Order the tasting plate – it's a fantastic way to explore the diverse range of smoked fish on offer. This will not only tantalise your taste buds but also help you make informed choices when purchasing from the factory shop. And, to extend the Connemara experience at home, don't forget to visit their website for a treasure trove of recipes that will help you unlock the full potential of your smoked fish purchases.

Also on this trip: Foyle's Hotel

Moran's Oyster Cottage

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Stepping into the Past, Embracing the Present. Victorian heritage with modern comforts at Foyle's Hotel, Clifden

Stepping into the Past, Embracing the Present. 

Victorian heritage with modern comforts at Foyle's Hotel, Clifden

. Celebrity chefs. Not really. Recognise anyone? Gerard King's painting is always a talking point in Marconi's

Imagine sinking into a plush armchair in Foyle's Hotel's foyer. The ornate wooden staircase whispers stories of a bygone era, transporting you to a time of classic elegance. 

Foyle's, a cornerstone of Clifden's hospitality for generations, seamlessly blends its Victorian heritage with modern comforts. Spacious rooms and wide corridors exude a sense of grandeur, while updated features ensure a touch of contemporary luxury.

More Than Just a Stay: A Local Experience

Foyle's is a rare gem – a family-run haven where tradition meets friendly service. The staff go beyond helpfulness, transforming into local guides. They'll recommend hidden gems and share fascinating tales of Clifden's rich history, ensuring you get the most out of your visit.

Mullarkey's Bar: Where History Meets Craic

Stroll into Mullarkey's Bar, one of Clifden's premier music venues. This lively pub, located within Foyle's but open to all, welcomes both hotel guests and local characters. Weekends often feature national and international acts (check with the hotel social media for details). Mullarkey's is renowned for its infectious energy, impromptu gigs, and the quintessential Irish "craic". Be sure and try the local Bridewell beers and the Micil spirits (includes a peated whiskey).

Sky Road, Clifden

Start the day with an Irish fry. This is the mini version!

A Feast for the Senses: The Marconi Restaurant

Indulge in culinary delights at the Marconi Restaurant. Savour melt-in-your-mouth Connemara lamb drizzled with a rosemary garlic jus, or tempt your palate with pan-fried hake bathed in fragrant garlic lemon butter.   The kitchen's focus is on fresh, seasonal ingredients sourced locally where possible, specialising in Seafood and traditional Irish favourites. Take time to have a look around you as it is full of interesting artefacts covering the history of Connemara and the hotel and more. Expect an efficient and friendly service and creative cooking, all offered at a fair price in a relaxed ambience.

Housing for a
ship's compass

A Whimsical Journey Through Time

Between courses, be captivated by the eye-catching memorabilia adorning the walls. Photos (even paintings) of legendary guests mingle with nautical treasures, including a full-sized merchant navy compass housing. Immerse yourself in history – you're dining where Alcock & Brown's transatlantic triumph echoed through the parish and pioneer Marconi established his most easterly radio station in the early 1900s.

Large posters add a touch of whimsy. One features a dramatic recreation of the New York Times headline announcing the Titanic's sinking. Another, a colourful Spanish bullfight poster, playfully depicts one Eddie Foyle sharing top billing with legendary matadors. 

Interspersed are old photos of film stars like Hedy Lamarr and Sean Connery, alongside an unusual painting showcasing famous guests reimagined as chefs. See if you can recognise Winston Churchill or Seamus Heaney among the notable faces!

A Culinary Adventure for All Palates

The Marconi Restaurant's extensive à la carte menu offers a delightful selection with seafood lovers, meat eaters and vegetarians catered for. All mains are served with generous sides of Vegetables and Potatoes. 

A superbly produced Lamb Shank set on a bed of Mash Served with Honey and Thyme infused Batton Vegetables was one of our delicious mains. The other, equally satisfying, was the Seabass with wilted greens and a caper butter sauce. These two illustrated the excellent quality and generous quantity you can expect in this hotel.

We started with Confit of Duck Spring Roll with Asian Greens and a Caramelised Orange & Sesame Seed Sauce and a lovely light Whipped Cheese with Aubergine Chips and Apple. 

The Foyle family's commitment to local sourcing extends to the beers on tap, including the local Bridewell ales and pilsner. While Marconi's also offer a well-priced wine list, we chose a couple of pints of the local ale brewed by Kevin O'Hara in the nearby Bridewell Lane.  When in Rome....

We certainly enjoyed the friendly efficient service and the creative cooking, all offered at a fair price in a relaxed ambience.

Come on in!

A Place to Make Memories

Foyle's Hotel is more than just a place to stay; it's an experience. Embrace the timeless charm, savour delectable cuisine, and create lasting memories in this haven where history whispers, comfort reigns, and the spirit of Clifden comes alive.

Clifden, from a nearby hill

Mural on Foyle's.

Also on this Galway trip:

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Luxurious Low-impact Guesthouse, Barnahown, Opens Its Doors In Mitchelstown

press release
Room with a view. Pic: Kirsty Lyons

Luxurious Low-impact Guesthouse, Barnahown, Opens Its Doors In Mitchelstown

Offering Galtee Mountain Views Plus A Host Of Outdoor Adventures And Experiences

Barnahown, a luxurious new low-impact 4-bedroom Irish guesthouse near Mitchelstown in Co. Cork has opened its doors, offering Galtee mountain views, creature comforts aplenty, and access to a multitude of local wellness, adventure-based, and food-focused experiences.

The sensitively renovated and lovingly-restored 1800's farmhouse provides the ideal base from which to discover the Munster Vales region, an area of outstanding natural beauty which is home to the Galtees - Ireland’s highest inland mountain range and one the country's most diverse hiking landscapes, with almost 30 kilometres of picturesque walking trails to explore.

Low-Impact Ethos:

Barnahown, whose journey from concept through to launch will feature in the latest series of RTÉ’s ‘At Your Service’ - the popular TV show hosted by John and Francis Brennan - when it airs this autumn, is powered by PV (photovoltaic) panels and is insulated to an A-rated level of energy efficiency

The guesthouse’s strong connections to the local community, the establishment of wildlife-friendly hedging on-site, and the chemical-free growing of produce in its kitchen garden, are all ways it actively lessens its impact on the environment. 

Mindful water usage, the avoidance of single use packaging, on-site composting, and the minimising of food waste are other key areas that owner, Ciara O’Brien, pays close attention to.

Barnahown Luxury Galtee Adventures:

Through Barnahown’s bespoke concierge service, Ciara, a Mitchelstown native and outdoor enthusiast who can count summiting Kilimanjaro among her many accomplishments, enables solo travellers and groups to book and enjoy a number of diverse daily excursions.

These include the likes of forest bathing, Ballyhoura mountain biking, tours of Mitchelstown Cave, River Blackwater fishing, and River Suir kayaking.

Creature Comforts:

When guests return to their base in Mitchelstown after a busy day immersing themselves in nature or taking in the town’s rich culture and renowned Georgian architecture, Barnahown, which also welcomes dogs to stay, will provide them with a luxurious home away from home. 

Every detail has been carefully considered. The twenty years that Ciara spent working at home and abroad for large multinationals, most recently with Google, means that she experienced her fair share of hotels, guesthouses, and Airbnb’s during her corporate career. This invaluable knowledge of a guest's particular requirements and the little quirks and luxuries that make their stay as memorable as possible has helped inform every creature comfort she offers at Barnahown.

Those wanting to fully immerse themselves in the local food culture can kick off their stay in style by enjoying a curated ‘Cork Shore To Galtee Mor’ tasting platter on check-in that includes either a glass of Irish bubbly in the form of Killahora Orchards’ Fine Perry - a favourite of Ciara’s - or a craft beer from Mitchelstown’s own Eight Degrees Brewing.

Barnahown’s fast charging EV stations will give you peace of mind and take the stress out of having to keep your electric car battery topped up during your stay, while high-speed broadband will keep you connected and enable you to easily share all of your highlights.

Convenient outdoor showers allow you to immediately freshen up after a day full of adventures, with a separate area to hose down any dirty boots or bikes, and there’s no better place to relax than the solar-powered hot tub overlooking the hills and wildflower meadows. An idyllic spot in which to sit back, relax, and savour sunset and the surrounding birdsong.

And if all of that wasn't enough, an honesty bar stocked with tipples from Ireland's top artisan drinks producers including Valentia Island Vermouth, Five Farms’ Irish Cream Liqueur, and Wicklow Way Wines will provide the perfect toast to your day.

When you rise the following morning, a breakfast showcasing free-range eggs from Barnahown’s hens served alongside foods from across the region that are all grown and produced within a 20 kilometre radius will provide all the nourishment you need to fuel an action-packed day ahead.

Local Golden Vale artisan producers, O’Callaghan’s Café & Delicatessen, Horgan’s Delicatessen, Praline Pastry & Chocolate Shop (all based in Mitchelstown), The Apple Farm in Cahir, West Cork Coffee, Cotter's Farm, The Merry Mill, and Galtee Honey are all proudly showcased on the breakfast menu.

Guest Rooms:

Ciara’s regenerative approach to the works undertaken on-site, including lime rendered exterior walls and 1800’s limestone lovingly restored by local craftspeople, combined with a light mid-century aesthetic, provide space for Barnown’s guests to appreciate the bones of the original house.

All four of Barnahown’s faithfully restored rooms - Cush, Lough Curra, Galtee Mor, and Temple Hill - are named after some of her favourite Galtees hikes.

Cush and Lough Curra are furnished with king-sized beds and come with their own en-suite bathroom, while those staying in Galtee Mor and Temple Hill have the added luxury of being able to enjoy the mountain views to the rear of the guesthouse from the comfort of super king-sized beds.

The furniture across all four bedrooms is handmade by local craftspeople and, as it strives to be as low impact as possible from the get-go, all of the eco-friendly Irish-made toiletries found in Barnahown’s en suite bathrooms are refillable, with no single use products provided.

In-keeping with Barnahown’s environmental commitments, minimum two nights stays are standard.

Two night bed & breakfast stays in the Cush and Lough Curra rooms are priced at €300.00 each, with two night bed & breakfast stays in the Galtee Mor and Temple Hill mountain view rooms priced at €340.00 each. 

The ‘Taste The Galtees’ weekend package, which includes the addition of the ‘Cork Shore To Galtee Mor’ tasting platter on arrival and personalised trail planning, is priced at an extra €40.00 per person and must be booked in advance.

Book your Barnahown adventure online via their website,

Commenting on the opening of Barnahown, owner, Ciara O’Brien, said: I'm really proud of the work we have done to bring Barnahown back to life and I'm looking forward to helping guests discover the unique features and workmanship of this special house. 

I would like guests staying here to experience the best of a true B&B; meeting the owner on arrival and sharing the story of the place with them, putting together bespoke itineraries for each individual based on their interests and my love of the local area, and wrapping up each day with specially curated food and drinks from my favourite local suppliers.

Exploring new and less visited areas can sometimes be a challenge without the 'well trodden path' to follow, so my goal is to help guests have a truly one-off experience and do it in a low-impact way that benefits the natural environment and the local community.”