Friday, October 30, 2009

The Good Wine Show

The Good Wine Show 2009 (13-14 Nov at the Clarion Hotel)

Join us for a wonderful two day event featuring three of Cork's leading independent wine merchants, purveyors of fine food, and daily prize draws at this sample-and-buy event.

Over 100 international wines to taste and buyDelicious foods and gourmet treats on offerPrize draws for wine cases and food hampers

Show and ticket details at

Friday, November 13th, 2009

The Good Wine Show is open from 3 PM - 8 PM.

Wine Tastings: All day.

Food Purveyors: All day.

Prize Draw: 6 PM - Drawing for a "Best in Show" mixed case of 12 worldly, wonderful and very drinkable wines courtesy of all three wine merchants.

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

The Good Wine Show is open from 11 AM - 4 PM.

Wine Tastings: All day.

Food Purveyors: All day.

Prize Draw: 3 PM - Drawing for a Luxury Food and Drink hamper packed with posh nibbles, three bottles of wine and your very own set of wine accessories.

You can purchase tickets for one day or two online or at retail outlets across Cork.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Counihans Bar in Cork


Jazz and football overlapped at Counihan’s on Sunday afternoon. Dropped into the Pembroke Street bar to see the Mary Stokes Band but instead found myself watching the closing quarter of the Liverpool v Man U game on the big screen and not a seat to be had.

But soon the happy Liverpool bunch in front of us left and the six of us grabbed the table and chairs, right in front of the bandstand. Mary came on and passionately and energetically blasted out the hard blues for two hours or so giving ample time to the highly talented lead guitar player to show his talented hands do their hot stuff, so hot you looked for smoke! Great show and the sounds came out so well (by comparison with Ocean’s 6 who never quite got the technical bit right the previous day).

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Scotts Bar Of Caroline St in Cork


They say the best time to test a pub is when it is under pressure. With the jazz weekend upping the numbers, Scott’s of Oliver Plunkett Street was packed this Saturday afternoon.

Food was flying downstairs while upstairs was packed for the jazz and the show by Ocean’s 6 in particular. The staff were busy but passed with flying collars. Service was top notch. No big delays at the counter while the tables were quickly cleared of plates and glasses.

One table did collapse but the staff were quickly on the job and minutes later there was no trace of the collapse.
Prices too seemed to be reasonable enough at this popular music venue and, by the way, the music was great as Ocean’s 6, who play swing, soul and rock and roll, put on a two hour plus show packed with energy and variety, They drew the audience in and we all left happy!

Check out my review of Scotts Bar Of Caroline St - I am cork - on Qype

Friday, October 23, 2009

Synergy Restaurant in Cork


Jazz was in the air this evening as the annual Cork Jazz Festival kicked off.
I spent a pleasant hour or more listening to Des Hopkins and his accomplished Dixieland band in the Kudo’s bar in the Clarion before heading into the Synergy, the hotel’s main restaurant.

By comparison with the evening before in Les Gourmandises, this was ordinary fare indeed but, at the same time, there was little wrong with it and it would stand comparison with many of the local restaurants. It just emphasised the point that LG is in a different class, perhaps a league of its own.

Starter in Synergy was a Chicken Salad. Good quality chicken pieces, well soaked in good quality olive oil, along with some leaves mainly bay spinach, made for a tasty starter.
Main course was Pork loin and apple, along with a cider sauce. Presentation was nothing to write home about, just a pork chop with an apple slice and then repeated. But the pork and the apple were of excellent quality and the sauce was a treat. The roast potato was only fair but the veg in the side dish, while routine, were up to standard. All in all, a tasty treat for €21.50.
Had started with a Siete Sauvignon Blanc, a pretty decent wine, in the bar and continued with another in Synergy; cost was €5.75 per glass. Not a bad meal at all but a long way short of the league that LG plays in. Service, both in the bar and Synergy, was excellent in the Clarion. And by the way, they were doing a roaring trade in food in the bar.

Check out my review of Synergy Restaurant - I am cork - on Qype

Les Gourmandises Restaurant in Cork

Different Class

Chocolate Brownie on a slate doesn’t promise much as a dessert but you should try it at Les Gourmandises Restaurant in 17 Cook Street. In fact, you should, I should, try everything at this different class establishment as there are pleasant ambushes in every course.
My starter last evening was mackerel on a red onion bed along with a goat’s cheese panacotta. The advisor had a tasting starter, samples of chicken liver parfait, prawns in filo and a cup of parsnip soup. Besides we both drew from the delicious fresh breads. A very promising opening.
Main course for me (like my starter) was the chef’s recommendation: ham hock moulded to a cylindrical shape, standing on a disc of smoked ham which in turn stood on a bed of Savoy Cabbage, the sauce being apple purée and sage. Well and originally presented and beautiful to eat.
The other main course was another brilliant dish: bream with aubergine purée and a cherry tomato and sage sauce. Gorgeous.
We each had the chef’s recommendation for dessert: a rice pudding, served with, on the side, caramelised banana and that smashing Chocolate Brownie! Just the thing to finish off a smashing meal and put you in the mood to call again.
There is decent selection of wines by glass, half bottle and full bottle. We compromised on the Puilly sur Loire, a crisp refreshing tingling Sauvignon Blanc with a mineral hint. Just the job!
By the way, quite a few of the meals are served on a slate which enables the chef to use his presentation artistry! And he does!
It doesn’t come cheap – three courses cost close to forty euro although there is a market menu for thirty euro.

Check out my review of Les Gourmandises Restaurant - I am cork - on Qype

Saturday, October 17, 2009


~Boyne Valley Honey Launches Book of Kells National Art Competition~

Tuesday 13th October: Miriam O’ Callaghan today officially launched Boyne Valley Honey’s National Art Competition, aimed at encouraging primary, secondary, third level students and adults alike to get creative!

Entrants are invited to submit a work of art on the subject of their choice, using either the Book of Kells itself, the monks who wrote and illustrated it or life in 9th century Ireland as inspiration.
Three Fine Art Facsimiles of The Book of Kells will be presented to the primary and secondary winning schools and to the individual from the third level and adult category, with runners up receiving cash prizes of €100, €250 and €500.
Miriam O’ Callaghan commented: “It’s a great initiative to start the new education year. The judges are looking for creativity, individuality and real pride in work. The Book of Kells is a national, visual treasure, so we expect exciting works of art to be created!”

Each month from October 2009 to February 2010, a finalist will be chosen from the various categories, with all finalists going head to head in the grand finale in March 2010.

The Boyne Valley Honey Company launched a similar competition in the 80s, Brand Manager Gillian Hennessy comments: “We decided to run this competition again with a noughties feel, so students can use newer techniques and tools that were not around 30 years ago, to showcase a modern feel. Given times of late, the general feeling is to get back to what’s important in life. We hope this initiative gives students the chance to reflect on our Nation’s heritage.”

Judges will include; Malachy McCloskey, founder and chairman of the Boyne Valley Honey Company; Des Egan, renowned poet; Robin Adams, College Librarian and Archivist, Trinity College; Edward McPartland, Fellow Emeritus, History of Art, Trinity College.

The culmination of the competition will be an exhibition of winning entries, with winners being presented their prizes by Miriam O’ Callaghan.

See  for further details / to enter.

* Painting in oils, watercolours, drawings, tapestries, screen printing, embroidery, photography etc. will all qualify. Each entry must be accompanied by three Book of Kells tokens from jars of Boyne Valley Honey.
Closing Date is Feb 28th 2010

Friday, October 2, 2009



The best main dish in Cork this year came my way at The Continental tonight.

The Maylor Street venue was more or less deserted – they do much better at lunchtime when the street is busy – but Agnes and her chef still came up trumps.

Started with complimentary breads (brown and white) served with dips of parsley pesto and beetroot relish. Butter was also on the plate but we went with the other two and found them very enjoyable indeed.

Then came that main course: duck breast with a plum sauce with chilli and ginger (less than €21.00). Absolutely gorgeous and you’d go a long way to find anything as good. Pity the Cork diners can't make their way down Maylor Street and catch up on the good things that this lovely restaurant serves up.

Finished off with an unusual dessert; a banana and brandy cake, served with ice cream. Very tasty but might have went down better had it been served with custard.

Didn't really go through the wine list, just had a glass of the house red (Cabernet Sauvignon) which came in at about a fiver or so.