Beautiful BarnabrowAn East Cork Hideaway
We came in off the narrow twisting road and drove up an even narrower lane, where trees meet overhead, donkeys and ducks in the small fields. The sun was shining brightly as we approached the inviting restaurant, set in trees with parasols and tables outside. We could well have been on the continent but were in one of East Cork’s delightful venues.
Barnabrow, twenty years in business under Geraldine Kitt, is renowned as a wedding venue. But we were here for Sunday lunch and, as always, chef Stuart Bowes delivered, much of the produce coming from the nearby walled garden.
The restaurant is also rather special inside. It is here in in this spacious lovingly decorated room that the wedding feasts take place. With its pointed arch windows there is a semi-religious look to it. And your servers come and go into and from what looks like a confessional.
We nibbled on fresh and delicious sourdough (with Glenilen butter) as we studied the menu, two courses for 23.50, three for 27.00. Children may have half adult portions (though various goujons are available too) for 13.50.
|Kilmore Quay Hake, soft potato puree, Fennel, Olive & Citrus salsa, Port reduction.|
This was our other main dish. Superb. Empty plate went back!
Creamed celeriac, truffle and toasted almonds were the ingredients of the soup but, with the day being so warm, we decided on something else. CL went for the Clonakilty Black Pudding Salad, Crispy Potatoes Alsace, Feta, Apple and Tomato dressing. Quite a substantial starter but full of great flavor and texture.
I had been looking at the Ardsallagh Goats Cheese with confit red onion and hazelnut dressing but picked the Salmon Rillette, Cream Cheese, garden beetroot, and poppy seed dorito. With contrast provided by the dorito, this was a smooth and rich delight.
|Lamp, stuffed pepper on right.|
There was beef (with Ragu of Ballyhoura mushrooms) and lamb on the mains. I had enjoyed the beef on a previous occasion so this time choose the Roast Leg of Kildare Lamb, Stuffed Piquillo pepper, Apple and Garden Mint Relish. A superb combination, every bit playing a part, and, for sharing, the sides (especially the full-of-flavour carrots) were just brilliant, looked well, tasted even better.
We were thinking of sharing a dessert but, under some gentle persuasion, went for broke! The deciding factor here was Mum's shortbread, Stuart’s Mum that is! And that shortbread came with the gorgeous Lemon Posset with crushed raspberries, a major step-up on the little jars you often get. And, yes, Mum’s shortbread was class.
|Vegetable side dish|
The other dessert enjoyed was the Iced Parfait of sea salt and caramel with marshmallows and strawberry sauce. I had a idea this was going to be excellent and it was. Just the job before we headed off into the East Cork sunlight for a stroll around the grounds which boasts a view out towards Ballycotton Bay and the lighthouse.
With all the different buildings, the various sheltered outdoor nooks and corners, one with a good area of decking with seating, the trees and flowers, the animals, the walled garden, it is a great location for a wedding and this is the heart of the business. There is even an adjoining accommodation “village”.
In addition, the house (with is many different sized rooms) and grounds accommodates quite a few corporate functions, some serious, some fun. And do watch out too for special events, such as a Valentine’s weekend getaway.
Well done to Geraldine and her team on the twenty years and here’s to another twenty!
|I confess, I ate well|