Monday, February 7, 2022

Bakestone Beef Hits The Spot After Wild Side Walk

 Bakestone Beef Hits The Spot

After Wild Side Walk

Nothing like a walk on the wild side to work up an appetite. And that old saying was proven once again last week when a walk on the very windy Harper’s Island was followed by lunch at the nearby Bakestone Café in the Fota Retail Park near Cobh Cross, just a few minutes away from the island wetlands.

There weren’t that many on the wetlands but it was a different story when we entered Bakestone for lunch. It was 2.00pm or so and the place was pretty full and this was a Tuesday. There is no booking though, walk-ins only. But they have a big open and bright space there and also quite a lot of tables in a well sheltered area between the glass wall of the main building and the garden centre around its south and east walls.

The first thing you see as you join the queue (a small one in our case) is a large breakfast menu and this is their signature offering. Many of my friends go there and enjoy it: all kinds of eggs, plain or  Benedict, Florentine, or Royale.  Then there’s Pancakes and French Toast and after that well you can try a pastry or cake from a large selection.

The lunch menu is not as extensive and, on a recommendation from our server, I picked a Beef Brisket Sandwich, the beef pulled, and served in a delicious bun packed with the meat, various greens and pickled cucumber. 

I picked from a large selection of salads and got myself a Beetroot one and also a Leaf one, each adding a euro to the basic price so that the sandwich cost a very reasonable €8.35 in total. They also do quiches here and they cost €6.25 each before add ons.

That beef sandwich was just the job after the walk and I was soon tucking in, really enjoying the flavour and the textures.  But is was quite substantial and it was finished at a slower pace! By the way, I noticed that quite a few people at nearby tables were enjoying breakfast dishes even at the hour!

After a pause, I decided on a cup of coffee and a pastry. Coffee is by Badger and Dodo so you are guaranteed a decent cup of Joe and I confirmed that for myself. The cake, a White Chocolate Tartlet with raspberries, was a really sweet one and half of it was packed into a serviette to be finished later on!. The main conclusion from the visit was that, next time, I would test that obviously very popular breakfast menu!

Harper’s Island Wetlands

The wetlands, open everyday 9.00am to 4.30pm, are a relatively new visit in the area. The entrance, with a small car park, is on the old Cork-Waterford Road, on the left roughly halfway between Glounthaune Village and Bakestone, just beyond the railway station but before the Elm Tree Pub.

Goodbye Geese!
Once parked, you make your way over an ugly concrete bridge and soon you are walking  onto the island. To your right, you can see Glounthaune village, straight ahead is the Cork-Waterford dual carriageway (the N25 or the East Cork parkway - its more fancier name), but mostly, including to your left, you see the wetlands and the various bits and pieces of this part of the backwaters of the massive Cork harbour.

Then you reach the first of the hides, a solid timber structure with plenty of openings for visitors to see the various birds. There are another two hides in the map and other points from where you may get close-up views. But nothing’s guaranteed as regards the wildlife and I was about to depart when I spotted the four large white geese in the distance.

What is guaranteed is a good long walk. When you come to the end of the first path (good solid surface, works vehicles have to get around here too, though there is no traffic as such), there is a looped walk that brings you back to this point again. 

Then you walk back to the car park with a view of houses on the slopes to the immediate north and you should be able to see too the house and farm where Killahora Orchards grow some of the earliest-ripening apples in Ireland and produce some very innovative products with their harvest. More on the wetlands here.

Other attractions close to Bakestone are Fota House and Arboretum, the Fota Wildlife Park, Barryscourt Castle (closed at present for OPW works), and Cobh (with its many attractions) is not too far away.

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