Sunday, September 27, 2009



Do you want to dine in RTÉ's "The Restaurant"?
Are you a foodie who loves to eat out?
Do you know your chilli from your cayenne?
Then we want you!

We would like to invite any interested members of Irish food and wine blogs to apply to be a diner on our upcoming series.

The Restaurant is back for its seventh series on RTÉ One. In each
episode a 'celebrity' head chef will take on the culinary challenge to
produce a top class, three course meal with two value-for-money wines.
The celebrities who become chefs for a night will be people who have a
passion for food and dining. The programme will give the "chef" the
opportunity to "go pro" for one night and serve up a real restaurant
meal. The resident critics are Tom Doorley and Paolo Tullio, with one
other special guest critic each week.

The identity of the "mystery chef" will remain secret to all in "The Restaurant" until after the
meal. Before the chef leaves the kitchen the critics will decide whether the meal is worth a star rating of between one and five. When the celebrity chef's identity is revealed they sit down with critics
to find out how they fared.

Dining at 'The Restaurant' involves becoming a 'critic' for the
evening. We need YOU, as our diners, to get involved in the experience
and to voice your opinions on the food and wine being served to you.

Vision Independent Productions are looking for diners for the series
which will be filming on location in The Wineport Lodge in Athlone
on Monday 19th and Tuesday 20th October.
So if you think you're up to the challenge of
critiquing the menu the mystery "chef" whips up in the kitchen, we
want to hear from you.

For more information or to get involved please contact:
Telephone - 01 864 1444
Mobile - 085 77 080 52
Email -
Don't forget to include your contact details - Name, address, phone
number and tell us a little about yourself and your interest cooking
and dining.

September 27, 2009 1:10 AM
Lorna Hartnett
The Restaurant
+353 85 77 080 52
+353 1864 1444

Friday, September 25, 2009


Got US roots? This may be of interest   ....

We're working on a really cool project this weekend. A major cable network and Parade Magazine are shooting a PILOT episode searching to find a unique, home grown recipe that deserves the title "America's Best Recipe."

It's free to sign up and submit to the casting call, so feel free to forward on my message.


Justin Moodley

Wednesday, September 23, 2009



(The itinerant labourer)

An Spailpin Fanach is a traditional music venue in Cork City; not surprising then that some of its lunchtime food is traditional.

Tomorrow it will be bacon and cabbage in this city centre pub but today (Wed 23 Sep) Irish Stew was high on the lunch menu.

We had started with a smashing vegetable soup, tasty, straight from the pot and no extra salt added. Then came the stew, a plateful of smashing food. Loved it and finished it off before staying on the trad path with a well made apple tart. A cup of decent coffee rounded off an enjoyable hour or so.

Check out my review of An Spailpin Fanach - I am cork - on Qype

Saturday, September 19, 2009



I always found the Rochestown Park Hotel of a high standard when catering to large groups. I hadn’t been there for some time until recently for a club function where the attendance was around the 170 mark.

There has been a change of management at the venue but you need have no worries about its ability to cater to a large number (indeed, there were other large functions going on simultaneously in various parts of the building). Started with Vol au Vent and then soup. Each was of a good standard and neither had this salty taste that you often get in this type of situation.

The main course was beef or salmon. I had the beef. It was excellent as were the vegetables (broccoli, carrot, cauliflower – all cooked well, nether too hard nor too soft). Then we finished off with a medley of mini desserts and a grand cup of coffee.

Service was top class, helped along by the fact that they had an “overseer” on the floor, making sure that all the tables were well covered.

Check out my review of Rochestown Park Hotel - I am cork - on Qype

Friday, September 18, 2009


For more on Mayo trip see:

Ballina - Eating & Drinking - Pubs & Bars - Pubs


“Situated in the heart of Ballina this extensive pub is really warm, welcoming and cosy. Providing the very best in food and drink, their carvery lunches are superb. A haven for the tourist or the weary shopper the Broken Jug is also very popular with the younger age group. The friendly and efficient staff will make your visit here truly memorable.”

The opening paragraph comes courtesy of the Broken Jug itself, a pub cum eatery in the Co. Mayo town. It is warm and friendly but the bare timber furniture and backless seating is more for the “younger age group”!

The restaurant section is a shade more comfortable and the food is very good, the service friendly and efficient and the prices reasonable.

The other night, I started with a magnificent chowder, very very tasty (indeed one of the best I've come across) and not suffocated with cream as happened in a Cork venue recently.

Main course was a lasagne. It was almost top class, and would have been but for it being a little overdone in the heating which made some of the edges too hard. Overall though – the cheese and mincemeat were excellent – it was a fine dish, served with chips and an undressed well mixed salad.

Dessert, there were about five choices, was homemade apple tart with cream and, yes, the apple was real chunky stuff, just the way I like it.

I have given it four stars but three and half would be more like it - if you're over forty!

Check out my review of The Broken Jug - I am cork - on Qype
For more on Mayo trip see:



The Downhill House Hotel, on the Sligo Road, was our Ballina base for a recent trip to County Mayo.

The Hotel, in a wooded riverside location quite close to the town centre, is well up to its 3 star rating.

All the staff are friendly and efficient; the rooms and public areas are comfortable, the leisure centre is popular and the Hotel also boasts well kept gardens where you can sit and stroll.

We enjoyed an excellent evening meal there: braised shank of lamb with an exceptional red wine sauce. A bottle of red from one of the Bordeaux chateaux cost just €20.00.

Service here is also friendly though sometimes a bit over attentive – you don't need your glass of water topped up each time you take a sup!

The breakfast was also very good and the full Irish was perhaps the best that I’ve come across.

If dinner is not included in your package, the restaurant prices can be very stiff and this is where the bar comes to the rescue.

Prices are reasonable here and the chef’s special often includes two or three items from the restaurant menu. We had a mild chicken curry one evening and it was a superb example of the type.

Check out my review of Downhill House Hotel - I am cork - on Qype

For more on Mayo trip see:

Thursday, September 10, 2009



Quite a lot of hype recently about the Fishy Fishy Cafe in Kinsale. Believe it – no tall tales here.

A late burst of summer tempted me to the coastal town and quite a lot of tourists too. Got in early for lunch this Thursday, just ahead of a posse of international visitors.

Started with the local mussels, served with fresh basil and lemon butter. Well done, tasty and a promising start, as were the accompanying pieces of freshly baked breads.
Main course was Brill, one of the day’s specials, served with creamed cabbage and a mustard sauce along with some well dressed fresh leaves. Simple and simply beautiful. Just what I like – the Brill was the star and it wasn't overwhelmed by anything else on the plate. Perhaps it could have been a little less costly than the €23.90 tag.
Had myself a lovely glass of very dry Riesling (forget where it came from) for €5.90.
Didn't really associate dessert with a fish restaurant for some reason but had a look when the list was offered. Glad I did. Had a smashing fresh fruit trifle. It was beautifully presented and was melt in the mouth stuff.
Service was excellent, friendly, smiling and efficient.

Check out my review of Fishy Fishy - I am cork - on Qype

Thursday, September 3, 2009


At the Market Lane, I have been meaning to try the Jack McCarthy sausages with potato mash, gravy onions, steamed vegetables and Yorkshire pudding, for some time. Got my chance at lunch today and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have had some soggy sorry Yorkshire puddings over the years but this was superb and the entire dish came in under €13.00

A slice of quiche tart with a generous helping of potato salad and baby leaves was another of the main dishes at our table and that too got the thumbs up.

I had started with one of my favourites, the French Onion Soup with gruyere and croutons, and finished with a mini chocolate pot (€2.00) and coffee. Very enjoyable as was my companion’s Banoffi.

Enjoyable also was my excellent glass of wine, a Domaine de St Marthe Syrah 2004 (FR), and that came in about €6.50.