Thursday, July 29, 2021

Peckish? Parched? Arthur Mayne's got you covered, outdoors for now.

Peckish? Parched? Arthur Mayne's got you covered, outdoors for now.

Once upon a time, customers used to troop into the Pembroke Street chemist in search of a cure for bellyaches and headaches and all the aches of a previous century. The current crew of customers are seeking an outdoor place to wine and dine as the venue is now a wine bar cum restaurant, part of the ever expanding collection of Cork Heritage Pubs being “curated” by the indefatigable Benny McCabe.

While they have some outdoor seating on both Pembroke Street and Phoenix Street, the main batch is between Mayne’s itself and Crane Lane (another McCabe house). It is narrow, fairly well enclosed and pretty well protected with high sides and above you’ll have a blue (hopefully) sky. Cork Heritage Pubs have decided not to operate indoors until all the staff are vaccinated.

Pork Belly

We met some of the staff when we called for an evening meal during the week and a lovely bunch they are, efficient and helpful, know their drinks and food and they helped make our visit a very pleasant one indeed.

And another bonus of calling to Heritage pubs is that you’ll get to enjoy craft beer as they have their own brewery over on the Coal Quay. I’m always happy to quaff a can or a glass from the Rising Sons and we enjoyed both the Changeling Pale Ale (best ale in the world up to 5% in 2018) and the Sunbeam Lager during our meal.


They have quite a range of choice on the food menu as well and it all looks fairly priced. And they serve breakfast (from 10.00am), lunch (up to 3.00pm) and evening meal (up to 10.00pm) here everyday plus brunch (10.00am to 3.00pm) on Saturday and Sunday.

We started our evening meal by sharing a helping of mussels served in a bowl of broth and served with a Rustic Baguette (8.95). The mussels were excellent. The baguette didn’t look much on arrival but then I found out it was warm and semi-sliced I tucked it and it certainly proved a generous and tasty add-on to the mussels.

There is no division between starters and mains here as such, so you can pick and choose as you wish. There are quite a few obvious small plates such as Chicken Liver and Brandy Pâté Served with Toasted Crostinis & Quince Jelly and Hummus Served with a Rustic Baguette. And there’s a handy side or two such as Rustic Potatoes €6.95 (Twice Cooked Potatoes with a Spicy Aioli Topping & Bravas Seasoning). You might feel like sharing - there’s a cheese board, a meat board, and a combination of the two.

For my mains, I picked the Surf & Turf Slow Roasted Pork Belly & Grilled Scallops with Black Pudding Crumble, Asparagus & Apple Cider Sauce (€13.95). This was definitely mains, packed onto an oblong plate. Great sauce, lovely spicy black pudding and a very enjoyable piece of belly, crispy on top. On the other hand, the Coxinha (9.50) didn’t quite do it for us. The Pepper Salsa was about the best part of these Pulled Chicken Croquettes (filled with a cheese-y chicken).

Finished off with a couple of well made desserts, each generously sized, at six euro apiece. The Dark Chocolate and Cherry Tart was the “heavy” one, tasty and filling. The Passionfruit Mousse with Biscotti was the lighter one of the pair. Happy out after all that as we strolled out the back door onto Phoenix Street - you enter via Pembroke Street!

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

A Quart of Ale± #62. On the craft journey with a mixed session: IPA, Wheat Beer, Saison and Berliner Weisse

A Quart of Ale± #62

On the craft journey with a mixed session: IPA, Wheat Beer,  Saison and Berliner Weisse

Blacks Coast to a double

Blacks Wild Atlantic West Coast IPA 4.5%, 330 can

Colour is a pale orange, hazy of course, with a soft white head (dip a finger in and taste the citrus-y hops).  Aromas too proclaim the hops, a big hitting quarter of Citra, Cascade, Mosaic and El Dorado. And the hop muscle is again evident on the palate. But you’ll soon note the balance here between the various elements as we end up with a superb crisp beer, quite a thirst quencher as well.

Another little can with a big and pleasant bang from the crew at Blacks! And the beer title is also pretty much bang on the money. So there you are, both coasts covered by two small cans.

Blacks Ace of Haze DDH Cryo Hazy Session IPA 4.2%, 330 can

Hazy, of course, a foggy gold, soft white head. Citrusy in the aromas. And that citrus, along with the hops of course, shows up as well on the palate, lots of long lasting flavour, lots of good stuff in a little can.

Blacks always aim to produce “beers with passion, personality and lots of hops” and hit the bull’s eye here with this hazy juicy and sessional New England style, brewed with extensive whirlpool hops and double dry hopped with Idaho 7, Citra, Simcoe and Mosaic cryo hops. Food pairings suggested are: Eggs Benedict, Asparagus Risotto.

The Blacks are Sam and Maudeline.  Not too many guys get a home-brew starter kit as a Valentine's Day present. But that’s exactly what Clonakilty girl Maudeline presented to Sam some years back. And the Farm Lane brewery was founded in 2013. 

Not too sure Maudeline expected that Sam would soon start borrowing kit from the kitchen. The hair-drier has been used to heat surfaces so that labels can be applied  and a food mixer has also been pressed into brewery use. Blacks now have a distillery on the premises, turning out their own gin and Ireland’s first rum and have also laid down their whiskey. Watch this space - as always.

Rising Sons Mayhem Hoppy Wheat Beer 5.2%, 440 can Bradleys

A hazy pale gold is the colour of this Cork City beer, no shortage of carbonation, a soft white head. Bananas feature most in the aromas, clove not so much. The palate, where you get a mix of citrus and banana, is immediately refreshing.

The label describes it as a hoppy wheat beer and that seems accurate enough. The Facebook post, announcing the canning of Mayhem, differs a bit, calling it “our most requested seasonal” and “a hoppy saison”. In any event, it is a refreshing well-made beer. Enjoy. 

Geek Bits

Malts: Lager, Wheat, Munich.

Hops: El Dorado, Hallertau Blanc

By the way, all their beers (apart from Midaza ) are available to take away in 32oz cans - you heard right - nearly a litre of beer! And they fill the growlers directly from the bar so that you can enjoy it as fresh as can be.

Wide Street House Saison 5.5%, 440ml can Bradleys

A hazy light gold is the colour of this saison from Wide Street in County Meath. It had been “elected’ to their core range, the punters obviously liking the mild banana aromas and flavours, and a touch of peppery spice;  the bitterness factor is mid-range.

They say this is a  “classic representation of the Belgian Saison style” and is “Fermented with Saccharomyces cerevisiae var diastaticus saison strain”. The hop Saaz also plays a key role in all of this. The malt is Vienna which is well suited for relatively pale coloured beers. Typical application is to enhance the colour and aroma of light beers.

By now,  the soft white head has almost entirely disappeared and I’ve still to make up my mind. As a beer, it; it is not bad at all, quite interesting. Not your usual saison. Think I may have to do a direct head to head with a Dupont.

Info on the label: Unfiltered, unpasteurised and can conditioned, containing yeast sediment.

Brú Blurry Furry Berliner Weisse 3.8%, 440ml can Bradleys

Colour here is a close to orange, a slight haze and a light fluffy head that soon vanishes, bubbles galore though.

They say: A modern interpretation of the classic Berliner Weisse style, Blurry Furry is a tart wheat beer with an injection of sweet fruit flavour. Delightfully sour and intensely refreshing, it’s both fruity and tart, making it a perfect choice for the hot days. Showcasing a stunning and meaningful illustration of a sloth, we are inviting you to slow down and enjoy this easy-drinking beer.. 

Aromas show the sweet side but you meet the tart side with the very first sip. Not the tartest intro ever, mind you.  It is clean, crisp and refreshing and a decent drink these summer days

Healthy doses of Passion Fruit, Orange and Guava, listed in the ingredients, contribute to the sweet side of this Berliner Weisse and you get the mild spiciness from the weizen yeast. 

Blurry Furry is part of their Urban Jungle range that celebrates the brewery’s adventurous side. “Find your spirit animal with Urban Jungle.”

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Taste of the Week. West Cork Food Company Pizza Sauce.

Taste of the Week.

West Cork Food Company Pizza Sauce.

Did a bit of a supermarket blitz on a recent morning, on the hunt for semi-sundried tomatoes but not a packet nor a jar to be had in the local SuperValu or Aldi. But what I did spot (in Aldi) was this jar of West Cork Food Company Pizza Sauce and that turned out to be a winner later that evening. No bother in nominating this as Taste of the Week.

We used it on a pizza made on the Gozney, using the Gozney dough recipe, adding this sauce, some of Johnny Lynch's Macroom Mozzarella, olives (Kalamata from Olives West Cork via Neighbourfood), a few dabs of the Ballyhoura Mushrooms Garlic Scapes Pesto along with (instead of the sundried version) some tomatoes to which we had added oregano and a few drops of Balsamic vinegar. One of best yet and that sauce was key!

They say: At the West Cork Food Company we believe that what makes our food unique is the people and land the produce it. Our classic pizza sauce is made of tomatoes with a pinch of herbs and a hint of onion, that's it! Enjoy on your favourite pizza or add to pasta to create an authentic Italian Neapolitan dish.

Can't find any internet presence for West Cork Food Company, aside from one post (a blank map of West Cork on Instagram).

The address on the jar is:

Unit 15 Údarás Industrial Estate

Ballymakeera, Macroom, Co. Cork.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Fota House, Gardens and Arboretum. Photos Friday 23rd July 2021

Fota House, Gardens and Arboretum

Photos Friday 23rd July 2021


The East Wing! Fota House

Ye Olde Pump

Lily pond, lots of this green sludge too


East Wing

Bakestone serving in the shade at front of house

Loving the natural balance of these sparkling wines. Cava and Pét-Nat, from where the birds sing. #equilibrinatural

Loving the natural balance of these sparkling wines. Cava and Pét-Nat, from where the birds sing. #equilibrinatural


Entre Vinyes Funàmbul Brut Nature Reserva 2017,  11.5%, 

€23.50 approx. Manning’s, Ballylickey; Mary Pawle

Fresh and dry, this elegant Cava is one for your shortlist; elegant yes, but full of energy and flavour (apricot and apple) and with amazing balance, all with a mineral note lingering on to the end. The mousse is creamy and smooth. New to the Mary Pawle portfolio, this is pleasure to drink and Very Highly Recommended.

Three varieties,  Xarel·lo, Macabeu and Parellada varieties, are in the blend. The wine has been aged for 24 months. It has been produced by Maria Barrena ( she also makes the Pet-Nat below). She is one of the trio at Azul y Garanza in Navarra (whose wines we feature regularly). They each have a personal project as well and Maria found here in Catalunya, the lure of recuperating Pep’s old vineyards drawing her to the Baix Penedès.

With an average age of 60 years, these vineyards are in the natural environment of Foix, surrounded by oak and pine forest, under a dry climate and on a porous soil (which swallows the water) and limestone, very poor and shallow, with hardly any organic matter. The great biodiversity present creates a unique ecosystem that naturally regulates the balance of the vineyard. Here, working in an artisanal way, Maria has produced some terrific wines including this Cava. #equilibrinatural

Cava info (via

If Cava differs from most sparkling wines in something, it is in the production method. The years and technological advances have made it possible to improve processes, but what has remained unchanged is the essence of caring for the vineyard and quality viticulture in addition to the so-called traditional method, which provides Cava with its main characteristics and one of its secrets of his excellence.

Also called champenoise - due to its French origin - the traditional method is distinguished by carrying out the second fermentation in the bottle, unlike most sparkling wines in the world that use other methods


Entre Vinyes Oníric Pét-Nat 2020, 11.5%, 

RRP €16.60. Regular stockists include Ardkeen Foodstore, Waterford/ Little Green Grocer, Kilkenny/ The Vintry, Dublin/ Toon’s Bridge, Dublin & Cork/ The Connemara Hamper, Clifden/ Mortons of Galway/ URRU, Bandon/  Lettercollum Kitchen, Clonakilty/ Organico, Bantry/ Mannings, Ballylickey/ Bridge St, Kenmare/ Taste, Castletownbere; Cheese Press Ennistymon / Mary Pawle.

The Parc Natural Del Foix, mentioned in the Cava story above, is also the source of this pétillant and is also made by Maria Barrena. Not everyone is familiar with the term Pét-Nat. So what is this Pét-Nat wine they are all talking about? It is an abbreviation for pétillant naturel, the French term that roughly means naturally sparkling.

Is it then a copy of champagne? Not so. It is the other way around if anything, as Pét-Nat has been around longer. Pét-Nat is bottled while still undergoing its first round of fermentation. The French call this process “methode ancestral” and you may see that on some labels.

You may see “bottle fermented,” or the Italian “col fondo,” (more or less a  pét-nat Prosecco). The crown cap and a little bit of sediment are other clues!

The method is pretty widespread across the wine world. Most are fun and good with food, especially lighter dishes. Uncomplicated, authentic and quite diverse, Pét-Nat puts the sparkle on your dinner table or even picnic spread. It is bubbles without the hefty price tag.

Oníric in Catalan translates as dreamer and Entre Vinyes is a personal project of Maria Barrena (Azul y Garanza in Navarra), the aim being to rescue old forgotten vineyards and restore a balanced ecosystem. This 60-year vineyard, surrounded by a rich biodiversity, is in the Baix Penedes region (in Catalonia) close to the Med. The grapes for the pét-nat are Xarel-lo (mostly) and Muscat.

Colour is a cloudy yellow/lemon. On pouring, you create a large white “head” but it won’t hang about. This is easy drinking, approachable and refreshing, with good depth and length. And of course, it has that pleasant sparkly tingle. White fruit flavours and just enough acidity to balance, make it harmonious all the way to the lip-smacking finish. A wine for sun and fun. Highly Recommended.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

A Quart of Ale± #61. On the craft journey with a mixed session, rounded off by a superb Yellow Belly "Red Noir"

A Quart of Ale± #61

On the craft journey with a mixed session, with this superb Red Ale the final can of the four. 

Yellow Belly “Red Noir” Dark Red Ale 4.5%, 440ml can Bradleys

They say it’s a dark red and it is, very dark, more black than red with a slim milky-coffee coloured head (shortlived). Aromas, caramel and toasted malt, are pleasant, if modest. You get much the same but more intense on the palate, caramel, chocolate prominent here. It is very smooth, very flavourful, very dark. Just wondering have Yellow Belly come up with a new style here, the dark Irish red ale?

They say: How a Red Ale is supposed to taste. Mild aromatics of sweet toasted malt and light smoke entices the drinker to this dark decadent red ale. What follows is a velvety smooth beer with a complimentary combination of chocolate and dark forest fruit flavours on the tongue. 

Style: Dark Red Ale

The Wexford brewery didn’t quite realise that it had a big hit in this one in its earliest incarnation, regarding it as a seasonal if not a one off. But popular demand has its way and, since early this year, they responded to demand and now Red Noir is part of their core range. I can understand why and very happy that the Belly took notice! Tending more toward the simple than the complex yet simply superb!

Geek Bits 

Malts - Irish Pale, Cara Gold, Wheat, Roast Barley

Hops - Cascade, Huell Melon.

Mescan “Seven Virtues” Lager 4.9%, 330ml bottle O’Briens Wine

It’s got the nice golden lager colour and billions of bubbles rising up to the soft white head. A bit of citrus and grass (not that grass!) in the aromas. On the palate, it is a bit more than your usual lager - it is after all dry-hopped. But it is crisp and refreshing, easy-drinking. Well worth a try!

They say: Virtues lager is the first in a series of one-off brews. Crisp and slightly dry hopped, a nod in the direction of both tradition and innovation.  Serving Temp 2 - 4 °C. Note that serving temperature, somewhat lower than usual.

Mescan always pay attention to matching their beers with food and last year even invented the Mescan Food-Pairing Wheel, designed to take the angst out of matching beer and food. It’s an easy way to pair each Mescan craft beer with the foods that complement it. It’s available on the website and is easily printable from a pdf format. It’s a useful resource for all the home chefs who are exploring new options in their kitchens during the pandemic.

The Mescan Food-Pairing Wheel was developed by Inge Roels, a Belgian expert in food-pairing who has worked with the brewery since its early days. She has produced a guide for nine Mescan beers so far – Mescan Blond, Westporter Stout, Mescan White, Mescan Red Tripel, Mescan Extra, Mescan Saison, Mescan Special Reserve, Seven Virtues Lager and Seven Virtues Lambik.

“Mescan craft beers are exceptionally suited to enjoying with food”, said Cillian Ó Móráin of Mescan Brewery, “We were inundated with queries as to the best pairings from consumers and from restaurants and bars. We wanted to create something simple yet effective that would help people enjoy our beers with the optimum foods – hence the Mescan Food-Pairing Wheel was born”.

Check it out here to see what goes with this lager. 

Rascals with Hopfully “Siamese Dream” Pale Ale 4.5%, 440ml can Bradleys

This Pale Ale collaboration between Rascals and Hopfully brings you a bagful of Far Eastern flavours, specifically coconut, pink guava and lime zest (all listed as ingredients).

There’s a hazy yellow colour. Aromas are rather modest. But it certainly delivers on the palate reaching, as promised, every corner with aromatic sweet pink guava, lime zest and coconut. A delicious easy-drinking ale, nicely-timed for the summer!

They say: The beer is brewed with Sabro and Sorachi Ace hops. The latter is a Japanese hop known for its lemon, coconut and even bubblegum properties. Meanwhile, Sabro hops offer fruity and herbal flavours and aromas, with noticeable coconut, sweet citrus and tropical fruit characteristics. Overall you’ll get a nice coconut hit up front, followed by a gorgeous tropical sweetness from the guava, and then in the finish there’s a spirited citrus payoff from the lime zest. Oat malt and Vermont yeast ensure a smooth mouthfeel and enticing hazy appearance.

For the geeks

Malt: Pale Malt, Torrified Wheat, Oat Malt

Hops: Sabro, Sorachi Ace

Yeast: Vermont

Other: Lime Zest, Coconut, Pink Guava Puree

ABV: 4.5%

Otterbank Brewing “Mates Rates” Tart Session IPA 4.9%, 440ml can Bradleys 

Poured this a little too vigorously and got myself quite a head, a head that was slow enough to sink. Actually a fingerful of that head gave me the clue that citrus would be a factor. Light gold is the colour and there’s no shortage of carbonation activity. And citrus is a key feature on the palate; refreshment’s another. A sour for sure but a well balanced one. Sour is not my favourite style but the balance here keeps me onside.

Otterbank are described as a brewing and blending outfit and the brewer is none other than Declan Nixon of Yellow Belly, themselves known for their sours. Otterbank is a bit on the side. By the way, this was brewed at Third Barrel by and for Otterbank who are based in Muff, Donegal.

The label also informs us that the malts are Pils, Cara, Clair, Wheat, and Oats while the hops are Pacifica and Citra (used in the dry-hopping).

By the way, Session is also used on the label. I’d have thought that the abv would have to be at 4.5 or under to earn that tag. What do you folks think?

Friday, July 23, 2021

Blarney Castle Gardens July 21st 2021

 Blarney Castle Gardens

Pics: July 21st 2021

Herbaceous Border

Bamboo archway

Blarney House

Castle and tower

Herbaceous Border

Herbaceous Border

Rose pergola

Western Red Cedar

Design Pop: Talks and panel discussion schedule..


Talks and panel discussion schedule

Design POP will also host over 15 events at the outdoor festival HQ – The Courtyard at Cork Printmakers, Lavitt Gallery, and Backwater Studio on Wandesford Quay:



3:45 - 4:25 pm: Kari Cahill - TALK


5:00 - 5:40 pm: The Project Twins - TALK


6:10 - 6:50 pm: Fiona Kearney. - TALK supported by Cork Chamber of Commerce



11:00 - 11:45 am: Brid O’ Donovan and OHK 

Panel discussion titlePlating Up with Local Produce - Telling A Story with Food Through Photography & Styling.


12:15 - 1:00 pm: THE BIG IDEA presents Kim Mackenzie - Doyle, Jonathan Leahy Maharaj, Eugene Canavan and Amy McKeogh.

1:00 - 1:20 pm: The BIG IDEA Q&A


2:00 - 2:40 pm: Ernest Cantillon (Kinsale Gin and Red Earl whiskey), Tony Speight (WCC roastery) and Laura Edgerton

Panel discussion title:"The Launch"- Launching a new brand and the creative process behind it.


3:10 - 3:40 pm: Studio Anois - TALK


4:10 - 4:50 pm: Jenny- Rose Clarke (Toonsbridge) and Kate Ryan (

Panel discussion title: In conversation with Toonsbridge dairy and the real olive company


5:20 - 6:00 pm: ARDU + MASER supported by Pat McDonnell paints.


RIAI + DESIGN POP present 

4:00 - 4:45 pm in CCAE (Cork Centre for Architectural Education) 

Alastair Hall from Hall McKnight Architects, Sandra O’Connell (RIAI) and Tony Duggan (Cork City council)



11:00 - 11:45 am: Kate O’Neill (The visual loop), Niamh McCabe (Nimcake) and Cathy Angelini (Cathy Flamingo)

Panel discussion title: Interior design - Design and creativity how it impacts our everyday lives.


12:15 - 1:00 pm; Declan O’Flynn (O’Flynns sausages), Tim Stone (Popsicle) and Laura Edgerton

Panel discussion title: Diversifying - The power and importance of diversifying your brand. TALK supported by Local Enterprise Office Cork City


1:30 - 2:10 pm: Simon Roche (HMH/ Bureau), Shane O’Driscoll and Jimmy Rennick(Design Partners)

Panel Discussion title: "The impact creativity has on our lives"- What creativity means to you and everyone else.


2:40 - 3:20 pm: Architect at the edge presents: "Rural + Urban Architecture; how covid-19 has impacted how we live. Frank Monahon (AATE), Alan Macilwraith (JCA) and Rae Moore (Atelier Rae).


4:00 -4:45 pm: Behind the pavilions with all the architects, designers and food producers for a conversation about creating the pavilion.



Design Pop’s annual ‘Milking Stool’ exhibition returns, sponsored by Abbey Woods. This exhibition is a celebration and showcase of the diverse talent of furniture designers throughout Ireland. By challenging each designer to embody their unique design style through the medium of the humble milking stool. This is a unique opportunity to create a modern reinterpretation of this traditional form.

The furniture pieces will be sold through the Design POP website, allowing members of the public and visitors to the exhibition to purchase a stool over the duration of the festival.


RIAI along with Cork City Council will present an exhibition of some of the architecture competition entries for the Bishop Lucey Park redesign.  This will be located in the Cork Centre for Architectural Education. 


Tickets are now on sale for all events, early booking is advised due to limited capacity allowing for social distancing. For full details visit


Design POP is made possible with generous support from Cork City Council and LEO Cork City.


Twitter / @designpopcork