Friday, November 27, 2009

Sallymills in Limerick

Called to one (at least one) of the food stalls at the Grand Parade Christmas Market, occupied by Sallymills, cake makers from Limerick.
Picked up a couple of their tartlets, one with berries, and another with apple. The standard is quite similar to Heaven’s Cakes. Cost 2 euro each and worth it.
They do artisan cakes, desserts, wedding cakes etc and also deliver.

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

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Ashburton Bar in Cork


Warm. Comfortable. Friendly. Cosy.
All words that could be applied to the Ashburton Bar last night.
There weren't that many in – it was bad night weather wise. A dozen or more were scattered around, some chatting, some reading the newspapers, others watching the TV, still discussing the Henri hand ball!

It is a different story when there is a Premier or Champions League game on the big screen. Then the “Ash” is full, with plenty of "slagging" going on between the various sets of fans.
But I enjoyed a chat and a couple of well served pints in the calmer atmosphere last evening.

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

Heineken Ireland in Cork


Enjoyed my recent visit to the Kiln, the hospitality “pub” of Heineken Ireland.
There are no public tours of this brewery and unlikely to be according to a spokesman who said the modern computer controlled processes, largely conducted out of sight, weren't conducive to a tour situation. ”Who wants to see a few people pressing buttons?”
So if you want to get to the Kiln you’ll have to rely on an invitation. I have been lucky enough to get a few over the years and things have changed there in the last 12 months.
Previously, you had a choice of Heineken products e.g. Murphy’s Stout plus Heineken and Amstel lagers. But since the Dutch giants took over the other brewery in the city, you may now sample Beamish Stout and Fosters Lager.
It is still a little strange to see the two rivals now advertised side by side on posters around the Kiln. But I took advantage of the occasion to enjoy a few pints of Beamish this time. Variety is the spice of life!

Check out my review of Heineken Ireland - I am cork - on Qype

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Oriel House Hotel in Ballincollig, Cork

Enjoyed a re-union meal at this Ballincollig hotel last evening. There were about one hundred at the function, much more at a farmers’ meeting in the next function room, but the staff dealt comfortably and efficiently with the demand.
The food was excellent. There were three choices of starter and three of main course (beef, chicken, cod). The chef didn't take the easy way out. For instance, the fish came in an inviting herby crust. The vegetables – mange tout, green beans and carrots – were well cooked, not too hard, and not too soft. Dessert consisted of a “medley” of small portions. We had ten people at the table and all were very happy indeed.
Service couldn't be faulted and the banter with the staff was a part of a very enjoyable evening indeed.

Check out my review (and map) of Oriel House Hotel Leisure Club - I am cork - on Qype

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Old Oak in Cork

Made my way to the Vision Centre today to see the Tony O’Connell photos but the North Main Street venue is closed on Mondays.
On my way back through town, felt like a coffee. The Old Oak was close at hand so I called in. Don't be fooled by the short frontage on Oliver Plunkett Street – this is a substantial bar.
A friendly reception awaited me at the counter and the smiling assistant, all gloved up for hygiene, served me a decent cup of coffee plus a blue-berry muffin for just €2.00. Yes – two euro for the two. There are bargains to be had.
It was easy to find a seat in mid afternoon, though there was a good scattering of customers in. Had a quick look at the lunch menu and saw that again the prices were quite reasonable. Waved to the barperson on the way out and got another smile. Enjoyed the short break and I’ll call again.

Check out my review of The Old Oak - I am cork - on Qype

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Heavens Cakes in Cork


This five year old patisserie stall in the English Market is well named. Here you get the tastes of pastry paradise, made locally!
My latest purchase consisted of two French style tartlets: one a Berry and Almond mix, the other of Lemon Curd, €2.00 each. Both were delicious.
Service is always good and, while the wrapping may not be quite up to the French standard, it is not far off it and, in any case, is totally adequate.
Web is www. but it didn’t work last time I tried it.

Check out my review of Heavens Cakes - I am cork - on Qype

Arbutus Breads Ltd in Cork

The Arbutus Bread company is one of the best known in Cork and has quite a few outlets, including O’Keeffe’s at St Luke’s Cross. Had an opportunity yesterday to sample a couple of the products.

First up was the baguette with seeds in the crust. This was an excellent bread, enhanced by the addition of the seed.

My favourite of the two supplied was undoubtedly the Red Wine and Walnut. A very tasty creation indeed which looks like being another winner for this high class local company.

Check out my review of Arbutus Breads Ltd - I am cork - on Qype



Very enjoyable session at the Good Wine Show in the Clarion yesterday.

First up were the Curious Wines (Bandon) section where we got off to a lively start with a mouthful or two of Aureus Cremant de Loire. They had a terrific selection and definitely the best leaflet on display.

Then called to the Carrigaline based Karwig Wine stand where again we availed of excellent information delivered in a friendly manner. While they have wines from all over, their strongpoint is the quality and quantity of their German and Austrian wines and we particularly enjoyed our sample of the Wohlmuth Riesling.

Then it was on to Bubble Brothers, the city based merchant. Again, the staff were informative and friendly and we got a big welcome from the rep of the Australian Xanadu estate on the Margaret River, four hours out of Perth.

This estate was once owned by an Irish family (Lagan) but recently taken over by the Rathbones who have just relaunched the wines. And they are good and it was here, after talking a “consultation” break at the food tables (Irish and French cheeses from On the Pig’s Back, bread from Arbutus and smoked duck from Ummera), that we decided on their 2007 Next of Kin Cabernet as our Best in Show! The 2009 Next of Kin Sauvignon Blanc Semillon is not bad either!

Then, the day still young, we headed down to Kudos Restaurant with a 20% discount voucher from the show (which is on again this Saturday from 11.00 to 16.00).

Ummera Irish Smokehouse in Cork

Ummera is a small family company , in Timoleague (West Cork), that produces smoked products from pork, chicken, salmon, eel and now duck.
The duck is not yet listed on the product list as Ummera’s Anthony Cresswell told us at the tasting yesterday that is was on trial. But that trial period is likely to be short as it is a very tasty product indeed.
They have share of stockists around the country but the only Cork City centre outlet is the Organic Stall in the English market. For more info on stockists and products check out the website – you may also order online.

Check out my review of Ummera Irish Smokehouse - I am cork - on Qype

Friday, November 13, 2009

Kudos in Cork

Kudos is the quayside restaurant of the Clarion Hotel and well worth a visit.

Went there this evening after the Good Wine Show upstairs and, armed with a 20 per cent discount voucher from the show, took a table and thoroughly enjoyed the Asian inspired meal.

Started with a house platter: spring rolls, skewered prawns, salad, skewered chicken and so on plus two dips. Delicious. Followed that up with a smashing Beef Teriyaki (€14.00). Had tasted some good wines at the show but the Australian Four Sisters Shiraz (€6.75 a glass)in the bar was as good as any in the show.

I was served by a mixture of nationalities but all were friendly and efficient and indeed informative. Will call again

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

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Boothouse Bar in Cork

The Boothouse is a thatched pub cum eatery in Upper Glanmire, adjacent to the church, a few miles from the north side of the city. It was recently voted the Newstalk FM Pub of the Year.

The food is largely traditional. Bacon and cabbage and farmyard chicken were on the menu today, a menu that hasn’t changed much over the past decade or so. Maybe the attitude is why fix what isn’t broken.

I went for the chicken, my favourite. Slightly drier than usual but still very tasty and I polished it off. Dessert was another favourite: creamed rice with jam. As usual, I came out a satisfied customer.

The menu is stuffed in small writing on a backboard but the place was warm and comfortable and the service was friendly and well up to standard.

It is a place I’d call more often – if the menu was altered from time to time, not necessarily dropping the favourites.

Check out my review of Boothouse Bar - I am cork - on Qype


Pandora Bell Ireland launches a

Luscious Range of Soft Honey Nougat

A dream come true for nougat lovers and gourmet foodies.. Limerick based boutique confectionery label Pandora Bell has launched four flavours of Honey Nougat, just in time for Christmas.

Honey Nougat with Orange and Almonds

Honey Nougat with Almonds and Pistachios

Coffee Nougat in with Hazelnuts in a Chocolate Coating

And Honey Nougat with Hazelnuts in a Chocolate Coating

While the taste is heavenly, the recipes are simple; honey, nuts, egg whites, sugar and cocoa butter conjure up a treat loved in Italy for centuries.
Cork stockists are O'Keeffe's (St Luke's Cross) and Blarney Woolen Mills.
For more info on this and other products (and stockists nationwide) checkout or call Nicole on 086 8241823

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

O'Keeffe's Groceries in Cork


O’Keeffe’s of St Luke’s are listed in the book as grocers but this is one of the best food shops around the city. It is a treasure trove.

While all the usual foods are there, the emphasis is on the artisan food makers. Here you will find delicious home cakes and tarts, the breads baked by the nearby Arbutus Company, the highly rated products of Cully and Sully, the rich chocolates by O’Connail and much much more.

Hot food is also available and there is an in-store bakery, producing a beautiful line of French style products, including a crispy flaky croissant, “as good as any in France” as one happy customer reported to me today.
Besides, there is an excellent wine selection.

And it is not just finished products. Looking for ingredients? Then this store is worth a visit. At the moment, they have a selection of milled flour that you won't find in the supermarkets.

Service is friendly and efficient and the only problem is parking. But the newly revamped St Luke’s area, with its trademark toll-hut back in place, is worth a visit and this shop is worth a short walk from wherever you do find a parking spot.

Check out my review of O'Keeffe's Groceries - I am cork - on Qype

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Woodside in Midleton

Cold wet and windy outside but there was a warm welcome inside from Brian, the host at the relatively new Woodside, a restaurant in Saleen, on the Midleton Whitegate road. Would it be worth the trip out of town on this miserable November evening? The answer? An emphatic yes.

Promising start with a little taster of one of their starters: Tomato Broth, served in a wee glass. As it turned out, I had ordered this Broth, served with a Gin Cream, and it came in a large glass cup with handle. Gorgeous also was the Potato and Leek soup. This soup is often quite bland but the Woodside’s version had bits of bacon through it, maybe even done in a bacon stock, and the verdict was that this the was best such soup we had ever had!
My main course was baked cod with a tomato sauce and on a bed of mashed potatoes with some haricot vert. It was a top class dish and so was the presentation which included a string of nicely cooked but intact small tomatoes still on the vine, still full of juice. The other main course was Duck Breast with Chinese cabbage, a substantial and very tasty dish indeed.
Portions are quite large so didn't take on the dessert offer. Finished with a massive cup of Americano for €2.50. House wines, by the way, start at a fiver a glass and there was a special on the night, a Rioja for €7.50 per glass.
It was a very enjoyable meal, well cooked, well presented and served with a smile and the occasional but unobtrusive query: Is everything alright? The answer all through and at the end was that emphatic yes!
It is a spacious comfortable venue, dominated by a huge almost Breughel like painting of a Nun’s Kitchen. Your host is also a whiskey nut and will put on a tasting on request. Find out more at

Check out my review of The Woodside - I am cork - on Qype

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ballycotton Seafood in Cork

The English Market is long established and one of the highlights of a visit to Cork, everything available from exotic spices to tripe and drisheen.
Not too many fish stalls. My favourite is the relatively recently arrived Ballycotton Seafood, which took over from the Bandon Fish shop.

Called in there recently for some unsmoked haddock and got five large pieces for €14.00. Also had a good chat with the man behind the counter who wasn't at all happy with the prices that local restaurants are charging for fish. “You’d pay 26 euro for one piece of that on a meal out.” He has a point!

Check out my review of Ballycotton Seafood - I am cork - on Qype

Souths in Cork

Cork is one of ten must visit cities listed in the 2010 issue of Lonely Planet and they say the best place to visit in Cork is the Imperial Hotel. Souths is the bar, with its own entrance from South Mall, of this venerable hotel and I met some friends there last night.

Most were driving so coffee was the order of the night and the friendly barman joked that he had never sold so much of it. The place is comfortable – no big crowd there on a Tuesday night – and the service is good and friendly and I enjoyed my glasses of wine.

I’ll be calling again, maybe for lunch at the carvery. You can get a hot lunch here from €10.50 and that (unusually) includes complimentary tea or coffee.

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

Bewley’s coffee and tea expertise now on the web

New website includes Bewley’s first ever online store

Irish coffee and tea lovers in search of great taste will now be able to refresh their senses with a feast of new information, an online shop, expert advice and top coffee making tips available through a new website launched today by Bewley’s at is a new online resource for everything to do with coffee and tea from Ireland’s largest fresh coffee and tea company. It includes Bewley’s first ever online store, coffee equipment demonstration videos, interactive maps, a club for anybody interested in tea and coffee and a new booking facility for tables at Bewley’s Grafton Street Café. It will also offer information and training resources to Bewley’s trade customers all over Ireland.

The new website is a one-stop-shop for coffee and tea lovers and is packed full of inventive features, allowing Bewley’s to share its unrivalled knowledge and expertise with consumers. If you want to know the difference between Instant and Fresh Coffee, what’s the best coffee to make after dinner or just want to ask how to store your coffee at home, you’ll be able to tap into the knowledge of Ireland’s top coffee expert and Master Roaster Paul O’Toole on

With expert tasting notes now online, the site encourages consumers to experiment in the differing flavours and blends of coffee and tea. Bewley’s drink preparation guides and hot tips provide in-depth information on how to prepare a perfect cup and the site features a user friendly demonstration video on how to use a cafetiere. The site’s online coffee quiz provides a fun way to discover your perfect coffee. Enthusiasts can also sign up for an on-line club which will keep them updated on the world of tea and coffee. The site is also linked into Bewley’s facebook, twitter, flikr and youtube channels.

Bewley’s new online store will allow consumers to purchase Bewley’s award-winning range of coffees and teas directly on the web at great prices. Whether it’s Bewley’s extensive range of coffees, speciality teas or home coffee machines, everything will now be available to order online for rapid delivery at the click of a button. The site will also sell Bewley’s new coffee capsule machines directly to customers.

The new online club at will allow coffee and tea drinkers to access regular updates on the Bewley’s product range along with special offers, up to date advice and the latest news and developments from around the globe. The club will also include details of rare varieties of coffee which Bewley’s sources internationally and which will be made available in special lots online. Visitors to the site will also be able to view pictures taken by Master Roaster Paul O’Toole on his visits to coffee and tea producing regions all over the world.

Bringing Bewley’s famous Grafton Street Café online, the new site allows visitors to take a 360 degree virtual tour of the café, view menus, make online reservations for tables and to give their feedback and comments on the Café. It also includes information on the Café’s artworks including the world renowned Harry Clarke Stained Glass Windows as well as theatre listings and other events.

Commenting on the launch, Jim Corbett of Bewley’s said:

“It’s unlikely that Ernest Bewley ever envisaged a virtual Bewley’s but he did want to make his company and his Café as open and accessible to everyone as possible. Our new website continues that proud tradition where coffee and tea lovers in Ireland and abroad can enjoy even easier access to Bewley’s famous range of products and unrivalled expertise at”

“As Ireland’s coffee and tea experts, Bewley’s has built up an enormous wealth of knowledge over the past century and a half. We’ve included a number of features in our new site that allow us to share this heritage and expertise with coffee and tea drinkers, so that they can enjoy the best taste available. Consumers can have their questions on coffee and tea answered directly by our Master Roaster Paul O’Toole. They can also brush up on their knowledge of both coffee and tea through the online information and by using Bewley’s expert coffee and tea tasting notes.”

“In speaking to consumers it is clear that they want to move beyond instant coffee and experience the fantastic taste of fresh coffee at home. Our new website, for the first time, provides consumers with all the advice and assistance they need, in one place, to enjoy perfect fresh coffee at home.”

“To further assist consumers we’ve also introduced our new online store to allow consumers purchase any of Bewley’s award-winning teas or coffees, as well as cafetieres and other coffee making equipment, from the comfort of their own homes. Fans of Bewley’s much-loved Grafton Street Café, which attracts over 1 million customers every year, will now also be able to make a booking for the Café online, and those thinking of visiting for the first time will be able to take a virtual tour around Ireland’s most famous Café. We look forward to welcoming many thousands of visitors to in the years ahead.”