Autumn Dining in the Crawford Gallery Café's Tents
There are leaves under my feet as I approach the gallery. We are heading for lunch, dining outside in the two cone-topped tents. Leaves on the path. Leaves gather in little clumps on the roof of the tents. Leaves on the carpet which a staff-member brushes away. But, as one long side of the structure is open, replacements rapidly rustle in.
The other long side - the two tents are joined together - has colourful panels of summer plants, some fauna too, and a row of heaters. They offer to turn one of those in our direction but, warm enough, we decline and enjoy our meal in comfort.
We are here, in the Crawford Gallery Cafe in Cork city centre, for a slightly late lunch (table reserved) and the autumn sun and light wind, plus the walk downtown, has put a little edge on the appetite. We have the menu immediately and there is a quick decision. Not that the menu is short, far from it, there is quite a choice here.
It is an interesting menu, always is, closely reflects the seasons, from breakfast through lunch there’s never a dud dish here. There’s an excellent little wine list too and many appealing pastries but we would have to leave those, leave the Devilled Kidneys, the Roast Marrow Bone, the Leek (autumn!) and Cheddar Cheese Tart. Leave too the Tagliatelle with all’s it tempting flavours, the Hake and Chips, the Shepherd’s Pie.
We settled on these two below, after a little spat, a full scale war averted with a decision to share and the fact that our mouths were stuffed with some of excellent brown bread they gave us to fill the gap between order and delivery. Indeed it was hardly a gap at all, certainly not a noticeable one.
|The exterior where the points of the tents echo that of the gallery itself.|
CL had first go at the Crawford Spinach and Mushroom Pancake (with cucumber pickle, Horizon Farm leaves and hollandaise sauce). This was seasonal and rather special and terrific value at 14 euro, the price of a cocktail in many places. She said it was one of the best pancakes around and I agreed that it was half of one of the best. Joking aside, this is Highly Recommended!
And we’d say much the same about the Crawford Toastie, sixteen euro worth of Gubbeen salami, buffalo mozzarella, cheddar, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes, with leaves. Actually the leaves, from Horizon Farm, were especially good as was the dressing. And the toastie itself was the star on the plate of course with that robustly delicious salami from West Cork and well judged quantities of cheese and pesto, really well assembled and presented.
|Mrs and Mr Rembrandt (from 1636, when he was 30)|
Our servers were very pleasant and efficient and we paid indoors where the café itself was very busy as well, even if lunch hour (last Tuesday) was well over for many by now. Under pressure, as our parking disc was close to expiry, we left our visit to the Rembrandt prints in the gallery to tomorrow and made a beeline for Bradleys in North Main Street where I made a dent in the recently received supply of beers from the Brehon Brewery in County Monaghan. Their Ulster Stout was my personal beer of the year last year.
So on the morrow, there’s a trip back to the gallery - where I’ll give my contact details to the young person at the door again - to see the prints of the 17th century Dutch artist. Later, a short stroll will take me to the 19th century English Market, particularly to the second stall that my friend Margo Ann has opened up under the Roughty Fruity banner. By the way, here’s a Cork (or Kerry) lesson for you: the correction pronunciation is Ruthy not Ruff-ty; the name comes from a river and valley near Kilgarvan, Co.Kerry!
|Tools of the trade. One section of the exhibition shows how |
the various types of prints (engraving, etching, etc) are made.
And we did all that on the following day (day before yesterday) plus a stroll around the ramparts at Elizabeth Fort and a little shopping at Roughty Fruity’s additional stall in the English Market and also at the new Cameron Bakery shop in Parnell Place (an addition to their Washington Street store).
Oh, by the way. I like leaves, both when they are on the trees and on the ground as they are these autumn days. Love to hear the rustle as the wind shifts them about. But, while they can block drains and make places slippy and must be moved from such locations, I find it hard to understand when even tiny congregations are immediately met with brush and blower and rapidly shifted out of sight!