Friday, March 28, 2008


TREACY’S of Ballincollig

First impressions on a recent visit to Treacy's Bar/Restaurant in Ballincollig were good: busy and lively and it definitely has a buzz. It is well laid out and spacious, though you would want to watch out that you don't end up sitting on a stool at your table (they will get you a chair, but if you are sitting down for a reserved meal you would expect to have a chair there in the first place).

They do a decent range of dishes with a matching range of prices. As regards prices, the only quibble I would have is with their main courses, particularly the fish courses which cost in the mid twenties and could be a lot less – tell you why later.

The starter I chose was a Tapas selection. Cost was about €9.90 and was well worth it. The platter contained fish pieces, chicken pieces, bread with tomato and mozzarella, along with little bowls of piquant olives, sundried tomatoes etc. Quite tasty and enough for two on the one platter.

The main course I chose was the fish of the day, Red Snapper, which weighed in about the €22.00 mark. The fish was good quality but it was overwhelmed by what came with it. It was served on a massive mound of rice which looked like Ayers Rock on the plate. The side dishes were a bowl of roasted Mediterranean vegetables (slight smell of burn here) and a version of potato grattan which didn't add anything other than bulk to what was already an overcrowded plate.

It was just too much in quantity, too little in quality, and a suggestion for Treacy’s would be to take a look at what Market Lane in Oliver Plunkett Street can achieve with such a fish dish. Less can often be more! Quite a lot, certainly of the rice, went back. Now, I reckon, if less was served in the first place, that would bring down the costs and lead to a keener price for your main dish.
The Advisor took Chicken Snitzel at a very reasonable €14.40. Again there was nothing wrong with the meat (in fact, it was of a very good standard) which was served on a bed of fried mashed potato. The tasty enough sauce came in its own bowl but then came the overkill: a plate full of salad and a dish of undercooked chips. Another case of where quantity rather than quality won out.

Finished off with two mugs of coffee, good quality and reasonably priced at €1.90 each. The wine was also excellent. It was a Ca’vive Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie, cost €19.90, four euro less than the same bottle cost in Treyvaud’s of Killarney a few weeks back.

Saturday, March 15, 2008



For your evening meal try Treyvaud's on the High Street, Killarney (064 33062), a popular if slightly expensive restaurant run by two Swiss brothers.

The efficient service and attention to detail starts the moment you walk in the door. The service is not at all intrusive, just sufficient. Obviously the attention to detail includes the food selection and preparation.

Most of our party had fish – I had the Hake special at €24.95, which I thought was a little over priced. The fish was perfect and had been cooked to perfection and the same applied to the seasonal vegetables that accompanied it. Everything was perfect. No complaints.

But for that price, one might have had expected some little innovation or variation, that the chef, with such perfect ingredients, would challenge himself. By comparison with the sea bass dish in the Market Lane (see separate post), the hake, while not at all a letdown, far from it, suffered.

Desserts, all reasonably priced at €6.50, were very good value and I enjoyed my Passionfruit Cheesecake. Other desserts that came to our table included Bread and Butter puddings and Panna Cotta.

A bottle of well balanced Pinot Grigio cost €23.95, at the lower end of the wine list, though the house wine, red and white, cost less than €20.00, if I remember rightly.

If you are in Killarney at lunchtime, Mac’s, near the Tourist Office is good bet, with a huge menu and service with a smile.

If you find yourself on the Ring of Kerry at lunchtime, particularly in Caherciveen, try the Times Square cafe in the Eurospar complex at the southern end of the town. There they do a great soup in the house; it is gluten free and served in a generous bowl, though they term it a cup, and they also sell it in combination with Paninis (6.95) and toasted sandwiches (5.95). They also have tempting pastries and free-trade coffee. Again service is with a smile and there is a relaxed atmosphere in the cafe.

(picture: Carroll's Cove , near Derrynane, 12.03.08)

Saturday, March 8, 2008



First impression was that this place was so small but as they say the best is to be found in small parcels and certainly the first visit to Castelli's Italian Restaurant in Prince’s Street was well worthwhile. The room is cosy, comfortable and seats about 30. Service is friendly and efficient.

From the nine or starts on offer, we both choose the Mussels (With tomato, onion & basil). The soup-like accompaniment certainly lifts the mussels to another tasty level. Top marks for this one.

My main course was a medium size pizza: Primavera (Aubergine, olives, tomato, pesto, peppers & red onions). It was done to a T, well endowed with the vegetables and a pleasure to polish off. The Advisor plumped for their version of Pollo alla Cacciatora (Chicken, onions, tomatoes chilli in tomato sauce, with fries or potatoes). The difference is made by the chilli and, while this dish too went down well, the extra spice may not be to everyone’s taste, so watch out for that.

A 50 cl carafe of house wine (Soave), medium dry with quite a robust flavour cost just €11.00.

The full bill came to a few cent under €55.00. Great value and it seems their early bird is even better value. So now you know!

Castelli’s own words:
Offering an excellent selection of Italian and Mediterranean dishes, Castelli's is the perfect place to enjoy casual lunches and sophisticated evening meals. The "early-bird" specials are particularly popular: a three-course lunch. The restaurant has daily specials as well as offering a regular selection of pasta, salad, and pizza dishes. Its small, warm surroundings allow for good and fast service. Perfect espressos and cappuccinos are available to round off a good inexpensive meal.
Contact Details: Princes Street, Cork - 021 427 3888