Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cork - Eating & Drinking - Pubs & Bars - Bars


Downtown Saturday about six. Started at Lapps Quay to see the tailend of the annual Ocean to City Rowing event. Quite a buzz, a few hundred people, bars and restaurants busy and food stalls doing a roaring trade. We had to leave the food as we were heading for the Soho Bar & Restaurant.

Called into the Clarion to show my advisor the Atrium. While there, accidently met one of the management staff, a very pleasant fellow who gave us a little tour, that included the impressive Synergy Restaurant. It can seat up to 150 but which is well laid out with little semi-private areas where a couple would not feel overwhelmed by the crowd. So we said thanks very much for that and started out for SOHO.
We went through Patrick Street and came across a ragged looking Eastern European band (not really sure where they were from but their literature was in Cyrillic script) playing what sounded like gypsy music.
They were very active and an entertainment in themselves (they play The Roundy this Wed June 3rd) and then they were unexpectedly joined by a guy wearing his CK underpants and a ball and chain. He danced and they surrounded him as they played and we all had a laugh.

The feel good experience continued in SOHO. Starters were pan seared scallops followed by Pan seared duck. Both were top class and so too was the wine, a Fleurie AC Beaujolais Cru, Gamay 2007 (by Mignot). Desserts didn't disappoint either and they were a Lemon Tart and a Sticky Toffee Pudding.
There is quite a range of prices here so you can stick to a budget or go for broke. The atmosphere, the lay-out and especially the service – we had our best waitress in a long time, friendly and helpful – were all excellent.
Check out my review of Soho Bar and Restaurant - I am cork - on Qype

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


An All Ireland Food & Drinks Skills Conference will be held in Cromleach Lodge, Sligo on Wednesday 20th May 2009.

Sharon Sweeney is involved in a Food Training Network (Taste4Success): "We have organised this day long event on facing challenges and opportunities, promoting products and where to cut costs and differentiate in the Food & Drinks business.I would be grateful if you could let your readers know this event is on."

"The event is a platform to pull together food companies in the North, West Midlands to present our needs to Forfas and (hopefully) the Tainiste's Office re our contribution to Food in Ireland and for us to seek for greater importance and indeed funding towards food companies development and training here. Other bodies such as Taste Council of Ireland and Hugo Arnold as well as Good Food Ireland will be speaking at this."
"Join Food Industry Experts, on facing challenges and opportunities, promoting products, where to cut cost and differentiate, food demonstrations and much more…

Guest Speakers: Alan Nuzum, CEO Skillnets
Marie Bourke, Forfás, Human Capital and Labour Market Policy Department
Geoff Lamb, Business Development Manager, Food & Drinks Sector Skills
Margaret Jeffares, Managing Director and Founder of Good Food Ireland
Hugo Arnold, Head of Quality Assurance, Good Food Ireland
Peter Ward, Chair of Taste Council, An Bord Bia, artisan food producer
John Gorman, HR Manager - Green Isle/Northern Foods/ Goodfellas Pizas, President of the Irish Institute of Training and Development
Eoin Magennis, Policy Research Manager Cookery

Demonstrations by: Peter Ward, Chair of Taste Council, An Bord Bia, artisan food producer Sharon Sweeney, Leading designer and creator of innovative cakes and handmade Chocolates of Cannoboe Confectionery Moira Tighe, Irish Chef of the Year 2000 and Chef/Owner of the famed Cromleach Lodge Country House Hotel & Ciúnas Spa

More info
- Sharon Sweeney - Cannaboe Confectionery - 0719644778

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Cork - Eating & Drinking - Restaurants


It was an hour past my lunchtime and I was in Emmett Place, the right place and time to try out Luigi Malone’s all day (up to 5.00pm) menu.

No regrets, very enjoyable, good food, good value, friendly service. Main course was a Jambalaya: chicken, prawns and tomato salsa with tagliattelli. Spicy, tasty and filling. Cost was less than a tenner and a glass of wine on this menu cost just 3 euro.

Finished off with their famous Toberlone Cheesecake with a cup of coffee and the cost for the combination was €5.90. The cheesecake was lovely –though I didn't particularly notice anything that would make it famous – and the coffee was fine.

Enjoyed the break and would recommend the place.
Check out my review of Luigi Malone's Restaurant - I am cork - on Qype

Friday, May 1, 2009


During a recent short trip to Kilkenny, I enjoyed a meal at Fleva's. For a couple of Euro less, you get a three course at Lautrec Bistro (St Kieran’s Street). Portions are probably bigger here (not that they are small in Flevas) but quality is high. I enjoyed my braised lamb and the unusual dessert of orange tasting semolina with blueberries. They also do a Plat du jour for €21.00.

Wines at each establishment started around €5.75 per glass but the best glass of wine I had was at the big Left Bank Bar, down by the Castle. Most of the bars here are small but this highly decorated bright place has soft sofas and a roaring fire and bamboo plants growing to the high ceiling. I took my six euro glass of Merlot over to one of the sofas and didn't leave for an hour, a very enjoyable hour indeed.

It was a quick and enjoyable visit to the place that bills itself as Ireland’s Medieval City – not quite true. Officially it may well be a city but many towns are as big and you do have to work to find the medieval bits. The population is about 22,000, not much more than that of Douglas. It is about the same as the non city of Tralee and much less than non city Dundalk (35,000)! But obviously the Cats won the argument some time ago! Same as they’ve won so many hurling titles – now you can’t take that away from them!

For more on Kilkenny go to:
Check out my review of Lautrec Bistro - I am cork - on Qype


Historic Kilkenny is a short enough trip from Cork or Dublin.

Highlight is the gallery in Kilkenny Castle, a must visit, but you can take or leave the tower (don't think you’d get planning permission for it nowadays).

Countryside is pleasant with some fine ruins (Jerpoint Abbey for example, a much better visit than the remaining bits and pieces of Duiske). Some lovely villages too within a short distance of the city, particularly Inistioge (Don't forget a visit to nearby Woodstock) and Graiguenamanagh (on the Barrow).

Arriving in the town, had lunch at the hotel, the Kilkenny Inn (a mid range decent enough three star, quite close to the small town centre). Lunch was a Cajun chicken in a tortilla, with chips and salad, all for less than a tenner. Nicely done and good value.

Kilkenny seems to be a favourite trip to for the Dublin food critics (also hen and stag nights - check that out when booking your hotel). You could fall over the many awards around the place. The door at Fleva (High Street) is loaded with Bridgestones. It is well worth a visit. I had a three course early bird there for €26.00. Mains was Pork with cheese and a mustard jus and the desert, bread and butter pudding with whisky soaked raisins, looked and tasted amazing, should have taken a photo.
Check out my review of Flevas - I am cork - on Qype



Sometimes, I’m wary of returning to a restaurant where I’ve had a good meal. Milano though passed the stress test with flying colours.

We again had pizza: the Padana, which has rich goat's cheese, spinach and red onion with tangy caramelised onion confit and a drizzle of garlic oil and the Giardiniera which has asparagus, artichokes, mushrooms and fresh red peppers with santos tomatoes, olives and garlic on a rich sauce of tomato and pesto.

I thoroughly enjoyed the latter. I had a piece of the Padana but thought it a little too sweet for my taste (the caramelised onion), but it did go down well at the other side of the table.

Drinks aren’t that cheap at Milano. They do the well known Peroni beer and it did go well with the pizzas but at close to €9.00 for a 60cl bottle, it is expensive.

One of the desserts was Tiramisu. Quite a chunk of it arrived on the table – much more that what you’d get in Italy – and it was absolutely gorgeous.