Monday, January 31, 2022

Have you been "Upstairs" at The Quay Coop? If Not, Now's the Time to Call.

Have you been "Upstairs" at The Quay Coop? 

If Not, Now's the Time to Call.

It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.

Covid 19 has been the most recent of ill winds but even the omnipresent pandemic proved the truth of the old saying above. Just take a look at Upstairs, the restaurant at the Quay Coop, now one of the most beautiful dining rooms in the city. And, while you are there, in the former pawnbrokers premises, take a look at the revamped menu. And order some of the magnificent vegetarian food on offer.

With Covid restricting much of the restaurant’s normal activity, the Coop got working and gave the Upstairs a beautiful renovation and, while they were at, gave the menu an upgrade as well. Customers, without doing anything much, are the winners.

We dropped in last week and soon found ourselves seated by one of the best windows in the house, overlooking the quay itself, taking in the passing people and traffic, all the while enjoying the nicely judged heat from the stove a few yards away. And, when we got enough of the passing scene outside, we turned our eyes to the feast of art on the walls, the work of local artist Eileen Healy.


But not before those same eyes had studied the new menu. The mains looked like serious dishes so we decided to share a starter and later, with first impressions confirmed, a dessert.

Took a while for me to settle on my mains. Had been looking at the Tarka Dhal but in the end picked the Pizza for the day. The Dhal would have been the more adventurous choice but something about the Pizza attracted me and I had no regrets, after all I can always call again! 

Enjoyed my  delicious base topped with sweetcorn, peppers, red onions, tomatoes and a handful of rocket, served with an excellent salad. Great colour, flavour and texture with those sweetcorn and onions leading the way. The pizza base itself was also delicious and stayed that way, never hardened at all, right to the end. 

CL meanwhile was quite enough, a good sign, as she tucked into her substantial Enchilada which was packed to its generous limits with Mexican spiced three bean vegetables and served with melted cheddar, guacamole, sour cream and salsa. 

Quite a choice of starters here also. We thought the Mezze Board might be the one. It came in two sizes and, even though sharing, we went with the smaller one. A good pick and 9 euro well spent in a terrific selection of Artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, traditional hummus, dolmas, toasted almonds & marinated olives served with seeded pitta . One of the very best of its kind that you’ll find in the Cork area.

Dessert? Well, one will do and our server diplomatically dropped it in neutral territory and quickly withdrew! 😉. Was reminded of a veteran soccer referee when asked for advice about hopping the ball between two players. “Just throw it in quickly,” he advised “and move back.  I once got an expensive watch bursted by staying too close”. Our server was in no such danger but that Frangipane (Mixed berry almond tart with whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream)  certainly tested one’s manners!

And we didn’t have any drink! They have an excellent wine list, lots of organic wine, and the full array of craft beers from the Baltimore crew that run the West Cork brewery. Great service in a very comfortable venue. Well, worth a call. And do watch out for their 10 euro lunch menu.

Upstairs at The Co-op is open Wednesday to Saturday from 12 noon with last orders at 8pm. Please make an advance reservation. Walk-ins are accommodated whenever possible. 

Upstairs Art

Pic via Quay Facebook
“Working from life keeps my work alive, figures, shoes, clouds, landscapes, flowers..I’m based in Cork City Ireland,” says Eileen Healy (right) whose work is hanging in all three rooms of the Upstairs Restaurant. “Ideal as wedding gifts, birthday gifts,” says the artist.

Upstairs are delighted to be able to show her work this winter: “Eileen recently announced the sale of her life’s work in an effort to secure a longterm home for her future. …. The housing shortage brought on by the banking crisis over 10 years ago still means that many people struggle to secure a home in Ireland and we applaud Eileen for highlighting this issue for the arts community.

You may have noticed I’m on a kind of “one, two” kick these days, usually consisting of a meal plus something else like a walk in a wood or a by the seaside or a visit to an attraction. This time, by coincidence, it was a visit to another art exhibition, this  the ODYSSEYS at the Crawford Art Gallery. 

It marks the centenary of James Joyce’s modernist masterpiece Ulysses. The exhibition offers an exploration of journeys through art, from Ancient Greece to present times, with a special focus on James Joyce’s often overlooked relationship with Cork. Odd isn’t it how the rebel city has never claimed this particular rebel?

Serving the people of Cork since 1800, the Oyster Tavern may have been one of the pubs visited by Simon and Stephen Dedalus in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. ‘Stephen watched the three glasses being raised from the counter as his father and his two cronies drank to the memory of their past.’

Coal Quay Celebrations (2014)

Joyce was not overly impressed with market smallholders, not clear if it was in the English Market or the Coal Quay. He wrote: One humiliation has succeeded another, the false smiles of the market sellers, the curveting and ogling of the barmaids with whom his father flirted.

More on ODYSSEYS here.

"The False Smiles of the Market-sellers." Dublin Visitor sums up Cork Experience.

"The False Smiles of the Market-sellers." 

Dublin Visitor sums up Cork Experience.

Dublin's Fort-foot features in the exhibition poster

Odysseys is the title of a current exhibition at the Crawford Art Gallery (in the Gibson Galleries) and marks the centenary of James Joyce’s modernist masterpiece Ulysses. 

It is about travel and journeys of all kinds, within ourselves and without, in particular those of Joyce, with a particular focus on his Cork connections. Odd isn’t it how we rebels have never claimed this particular fellow rebel?

All those who journey require food and drink and in the exhibition and in Joyce’s writings of course there are many references to food and drink and Cork. Joyce’s grandparents were salt merchants, operating in an area around George’s Quay, Douglas Street, Dunbar Street, White Street and South Terrace.

Joyce pic (and Ulysses cover) in a Dublin shop, via Pixabay

Later, with the family in Dublin, Joyce referred in his writings to a restaurant known as Jammets and it is also mentioned by the artist Kernoff (who is featured in the Crawford). 

Quite a posh place - Charlie Haughey and his chosen few loitered there regularly; it started in 1901 and lasted until 1967, the restaurant that is, not Haughey’s loitering. It was the kind of place you went to after theatre to eat oysters and drink liqueurs (served by waiters who spoke French or German).

And it had a nickname: The Underdones.  Why? Because of the French way of cooking steak rare.

Back in Cork, Joyce experienced many of the city’s hotels and restaurants. The Victoria Hotel (in the news recently) is mentioned in  A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Joyce was a guest here as were John Redmond,Michael Collins, Winston Churchill, Liam Cosgrave, and Charles Stewart Parnell (not all at the same time!). 

Sing song with the ladies of the Coal Quay, waving their shawlies,  from 2014

In Odysseys, you will see a facsimile of an advertisement for Newsom's Café de Paris (in Cork!). Newsom & Sons, which first opened in 1816, was located  on the corner of Marlboro Street and Patrick Street (later Woolworths). 

“They had set out early in the morning from Newcombes [sic] Coffeehouse, where Mr Dedalus' cup had rattled noisily against its saucer, and Stephen had tried to cover that shameful sign of his father's drinking bout of the night before by moving his chair and coughing' (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man).

Mahrea Cramer Lehman has a painting hanging in the exhibition titled Market Lane from the Oyster Tavern, Cork. Serving the people of Cork since 1800, the Oyster Tavern may have been one of the pubs visited by Simon and Stephen Dedalus in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Stephen, as you probably know, was Joyce's literary alter ego

‘Stephen watched the three glasses being raised from the counter as his father and his two cronies drank to the memory of their past.”

He was not overly impressed with market smallholders, not clear though whether they were operating in the English Market or the Coal Quay. The exhibition includes a painting by Agnes Frost called Stall Holders, Coal Quay.

Joyce wrote: One humiliation has succeeded another, the false smiles of the market sellers, the curveting and ogling of the barmaids with whom his father flirted. Stephen was not too pleased with the father’s behaviour either, it appears. 

The exhibition also includes a film, narrated by Flicka Small, on the author's connections with Cork.

Joyce summed it up in Ulysses (who had quite the Odyssey himself): Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love, but always meeting ourselves. No escaping the latter.

Curated by Flicka Small and Michael Waldron, ODYSSEYS runs until April 3rd 2022.

Combined this visit with lunch Upstairs at the Quay Coop. Details  here.

Beer of the Year 2022. Early Contenders! Wicklow Wolf Tours are back!

Beer of the Year 2022

Early Contenders!

January: Whiplash Dry the Rain Double Decoction Dunkel

December: Lough Gill Mac Nutty Macadamia Nut

Beer of the Year 2021: Brehon Brewhouse Oak & Mirrors Two Stacks Whiskey Cask Aged Imperial Porter.


Best of January 2022 Short List

Lager +: Whiplash Dry the Rain Double Decoction Dunkel; Whiplash Immolator Triple Decoction Smoked Dopplebock; Whiplash The Mash & The Fury Double Decoction Märzen.

Oats IPA: Hope Overnight Oats IPA.

Session IPA: Porterhouse Sundown Session IPA

American Pale Ale: O Brother The Chancer APA

Barleywine: Brehon Brewhouse Red Right Hand Barley Wine Beer

NEIPA: Porterhouse Renegade New England IPA

Stout: West Cork Stout X Stout West

Blonde: Killarney Golden Spear Blonde

Best of December (2021, for 2022) Short List

Brown Ale: Lough Gill Mac Nutty Macadamia Nut.

Single Hop IPA: Eight Degrees Citra Single Hop IPA 5.7%

Cask-Aged Porter: Brehon Brewhouse Shanco Dubh Porter 8.8%

Coffee & Oatmeal Stout: Third Circle Shot In The Dark

Pale Ale: Lineman Fluid Dynamic Extra Pale Ale.

Single Malt IPA: Eight Degrees Full Irish 6.0%

Session: Whitefield Brewery “Woodville” Session Pale Ale 4.3%

Pilsner/Lager/Helles: Whiplash Das Model.


Wicklow Wolf Tours are back!


Sunday, January 30, 2022

Taste of the Week. Ardsallagh Goat's Cheese - Phantom Pyramid

Taste of the Week.

Ardsallagh Goat's Cheese - Phantom Pyramid

The Ardsallagh Goats Cheese Phantom Pyramid, inspired by the French 'Pyramide de Pouligny', is made with Pasteurised Milk in East Cork.  It is a most delicious semi-soft cheese with an irresistible creamy texture inside and lightly ash-ed on the outside which develops a white bloomy rind. It is our Taste of the Week, bought from On The Pigs Back via Neighbourfood.

It is very versatile indeed, so you won't have to confine yourself to the usual beetroot combinations but don't neglect them either as the two are a classic combination and available in many restaurants. You could, for a change, try an Oven Roasted Beetroot Salad with Candied Walnuts, and Rocket leaves with this cheese.

It can be the main piece of many a salad and you'll see it served with thinly sliced pears. We tried it with those very pleasing Medjool dates (chopped) and it worked a treat, especially with Marques De Poley Oloroso Montilla-Moriles (O'Briens Wine).

Here's another simple one: the cheese, tomatoes thinly sliced, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle this, or indeed similar salads, with the Big Red Kitchen's Spiced Plum & Port Jam (I got mine from Roughty Fruity in English Market but it is widely available).

And another: the cheese, chopped Medjools, some sliced grapes, and add as much as you like of the Ballymaloe Cranberry and Mór Wild Berry Gin Sauce. Delicious, especially so with a glass of Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2021 (at O'Briens Wine).

Thursday, January 27, 2022

A Quart of Ale± #89. On the craft with West Cork, Journeyman, Whiplash and Killarney. News from Rascals, Kinnegar, BeoirFest

A Quart of Ale
± #89

On the craft journey with a session of West Cork, Journeyman, Whiplash and Killarney

West Cork Stout X Stout West 5.5%, 500ml bottle Bradleys

From Ireland’s most southerly brewery comes this Stout x StoutWest Milk Stout. Black as the Baltimore night with a slowly sinking tan head on top. Mild aromas of chocolate and coffee and a hint of cinnamon. And these continue to the palate, the milk chocolate still moderate, pleasantly so, with a sweet touch of honey and lemon. 

Not one of those beers that blows you away. None the worse for that. This is more on the traditional side, sails rather than horse power, steady as she goes, she’ll get you home, relax and chat as your boat comes in. A decent finish.

They say: Located in picturesque Baltimore on the shores of the Atlantic, West Cork Brewing Company, hand-brews each brew “using our own well-water and the most traditional methods. We hope it does for you what it has done for us - bring friends together.”

Geek Bits

Grain – Pale ale malt, flaked barley, flaked oats, roasted barley, chocolate and carafa III.

Hops – East Kent Goldings.

Water: Brewed using our own spring water.

More: All beers are unfiltered, unpasteurised and vegan friendly as only whirlfloc (carrageenan moss) is used to aid in clarification.

Killarney Golden Spear Blonde 4.8%, 500ml bottle Bradleys

This blonde is a honey blonde from Killarney, with a foamy white top that slides down slowly enough. Lots of bubbles spouting up through the clear beer.

Refreshing from first contact, with its malt character “from several specialty malts and a touch of wheat” showing well. There’s a modest floral aroma and enough hops on the palate to balance this easy-drinking beer. Easy-drinking from me means no rush, take it easy and enjoy. As you’d expect with an IBU of 30, the finish is quite dry, lipsmackingly so!

The brewery relates the legend that gave rise to the name:  Fionn Mac Cumhaill, Ireland’s heroic warrior and hunter, often hunted on the shores of the lakes of Killarney and throughout the McGillycuddy Reeks. One day while climbing Torc mountain, he was attacked by a magical, ferocious boar. With a single blow, Fionn killed the lunging boar in mid-air with his fabled golden spear. Savour a pint of our delicious Golden Spear while toasting our legendary warrior!

No food pairings on the Killarney website but, last summer, I enjoyed this with Free Range Rosscarbery Pork Belly (Thai spices, roasted turnips, peanut rayu, and fresh apple salsa), at the Garden Restaurant in Liss Ard (West Cork).

Killarney update

"Construction is well under way at our new brewery, distillery and visitor centre on the picturesque Ring of Kerry, with views of the MacGillycuddy Reeks and lakes of Killarney. This state-of-the-art facility will meet growing demand for our beers and with a custom built malt and grain distillery, it will be home to our luxury spirits portfolio. The €24 million investment, a stunning one-of-a-kind 62,000 sqft complex, will be Ireland’s largest independently owned facility. It will provide a cultural home to the thriving business, local employment and meet the growing demand for premium Irish products and experiences."

Journeyman Juicy IPA 5.9%, 500ml bottle, X-Mas present

Journeyman’s Juicy IPA has a murky orange colour with a white head that hangs about a while. It is hoppy for sure, no shortage of fruit flavours, thanks in large measure to generous dry hopping. This is another well made beer in the Cooper’s Special Batch series brewed for SuperValu and Centra.

It is produced by the Pearse Lyons Brewery at the Stationworks Brewery in Dundalk, a new brewery opened in late 2018 on the site of the former MacArdle Brewery (closed 2001, after 140 years). Stationworks was the name of a Newry brewery that Lyons (via parent company Alltech Beverage) bought a few years earlier and that name was reused in the Dundalk brewery where the award-winning own-brand Foxes Rock range (also available in SuperValu) is also produced.

There’s an interesting MacArdle’s “tribute” site here 

Whiplash The Mash & The Fury Double Decoction Märzen 5.8%, 440ml can Whiplash Online

This is a lager, though you would not say so if you were going solely by the colour which is a darkish red topped by a tan head already fading to a thin disc. This lager is “at the dark end of the spectrum”. Aromas are complex, rum and raisin, caramel too.

And that caramel and raisin are prominent on the palate in this amazing beer with its unreal depth of flavour. No doubt it is hard to classify this one, but is fermented with their influential lager yeast and “lagered until it’s ready.” It is ready, according to Whiplash (who should know!), so give it a lash and enjoy it from first whiff to that slightly sweet finish.

Geek Bits:

Dark Munich Malt

Aromatic Malt

Vienna Malt

Magnum Hops

WLP833 yeast.

They say: Our lager series continues with The Mash & The Fury, a hyper traditional Double Decoction Märzen…..For the uninitiated, decoction is the age old process of boiling a portion of the mash to better utilise undermodified grain. As malting technology has improved, this has become an anachronism and most modern brewhouses are now built without the means to decoct mashes. Only the few who still believe that the distinct caramelisations that decoction produces cannot be imitated still employ this sorcery. We are one of those breweries.

Brewery News

On the lookout for Rascals Big Smoke?

You should be..

The Big Smoke returns! This exceptional imperial stout has been brewed in collaboration with The Dubliner Liberties Distillery, in whose bourbon barrels we aged a smoked porter for over half a year. The results are sublime and intense: a rich, smoky 12% stout with subtle hints of chocolate and vanilla, underlined by a gently warming bourbon taste. The complex malt bill includes beech-smoked and oak-smoked barley for a rounded fragrant smoky flavour as well as chocolate malt and chocolate wheat for hints of dark, bitter cocoa. Magnum hops provide a clean bitterness and hint of spice.




CAREERS at KINNEGAR We’re looking for 2 new full-time players to strengthen the squad: -- Junior in Marketing, Communications, Visitor Experience & Sales -- Brewery Assistant in Packaging -- You'll find full details on our website here: #jobfairy #jobs


Neven Maguire’s Irish Seafood Trail Visits Kinsale Mead

Neven Maguire’s Irish Seafood Trail Visits Kinsale Mead

Neven with Denis (left) and Kate


Often referred to as ‘The Gourmet Capital of Ireland’ it’s no surprise that award-winning celebrity chef Neven Maguire made a trip down to Kinsale for his new TV show ‘Neven’s Irish Seafood Trails’. As a great supporter of Irish food and drink Kate and Denis from Kinsale Mead Co were more than happy to show him around the gorgeous coastal town and of course invite him into their meadery.

Neven sampled the honeys used and they told him all about the fascinating history of the world’s oldest alcohol. Their latest batch of Hazy Summer Mead was in the midst of fermenting, as they explained how they make their fantastic mead.

They finished up the day by the beautiful harbour with Kate and Neven having a chat and sipping on some mead, including their Limited-Edition Barrel Aged Collection with a locally sourced seafood platter from Chef Meeran, Rare 1784 in The Blue Haven Hotel.


The show will be aired on Wednesday February 2nd at 8:30pm on RTE One. Tune in to find out what Neven said of his first taste of mead and what seafood delights he cooks up.


Web: for online orders and stockists


Phone: 021 477 3538

Twitter/Facebook/Instagram: @KinsaleMeadCo

Press release

Wednesday, January 26, 2022


press release


And Just Like That... Award-winning wine brand Invivo X, Sarah Jessica Parker (SJP) is awarded a 92-point rating by global wine authority Wine Spectator, the third consecutive year the wine has received 90 points or more since its 2019 launch. Sarah Jessica Parker announced Invivo X, SJP’s highest score to date to her 7.7 million followers on Instagram recently, with the post clocking up more than 315,000 likes.

Wine Spectator editors review more than 15,000 wines each year in blind tastings and wines scored with 90-94 points are deemed ‘Outstanding: a wine of superior character and style. The new 2021 vintage release of Invivo X, SJP Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand, has already been awarded 90 points by USA critic James Suckling, and comes hot off the heels of a successful second (2020) and first vintage (2019) release.

The Invivo X, SJP Sauvignon Blanc 2021 vintage is now widely available in Ireland including SuperValu & Centra Stores nationwide, selected Carryout stores and all good Independent Off Licenses. Sales of the award-winning drop have increased by 169% in volume from 2019 to 2021 in Ireland, as customers return to repeat purchase the wine due to its outstanding quality.

Invivo Cofounder Tim Lightbourne comments “To see the people of Ireland get behind Invivo X, SJP means the world to myself, my Cofounder Rob and Sarah Jessica. The community really got behind Invivo when we launched our Invivo brand back in 2008 and then Invivo X, SJP in 2019, and we’ve really enjoyed our visits to Ireland over the years. Together with Sarah Jessica, we’ve developed a style of Sauvignon Blanc

that is soft with a subtle oak influence. While it has some classic flavors of ripe citrus, tropical fruits, it has a hint of something savory that offers something different to the breadth of Sauvignon Blancs on the market. We’re looking forward to driving further growth of Invivo X, SJP and we will be releasing a whole new wine collection with Sarah Jessica later this year.”

Sarah Jessica is closely involved in developing her wines with her partners Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron, based in New Zealand, from blending to bottle and merchandise design, and even serving on the board of Invivo & Co. Giving back to the community is also important to the Invivo X, SJP team which

is why they partnered with FEED to provide 330,000 meals to school children in 2021 through FEED’s on- the-ground-giving partners. FEED is an impact-driven brand on a mission to create products that do a lot of good, founded by Lauren Bush Lauren. SJP Wines are distributed in Ireland by Barry & Fitzwilliam.

The Invivo X, SJP Sauvignon Blanc is offered at €18 RRP, and is available nationally at SuperValu & Centra, selected Carryout stores and all independent Off Licenses.