Showing posts with label Arbutus Breads. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arbutus Breads. Show all posts

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Up Down Bar & Grill. Downtown, Upstairs. Room with a view.

Up Down Bar & Grill
Downtown. Upstairs. Room with a view.
Basil in the box.

Where will you get an elevated view of Cork’s Patrick Street while you dine? Where do they grow herbs on their window sills alongside your table? Where will you get three starters for twelve euro? In the same place, where you’ll get good food and good value: the Up Down Bar & Grill on the city's main street, opposite the legendary Tom Murphy Menswear. These days too you may well get to see some progress being made on the old Capitol Cinema site that backs out onto Patrick Street.

But let’s forget the outside attractions and get down to the menus, the food and the drink. The wine list is short but covers most varieties, about six available by the glass. And there are another six of higher quality (Chablis, for example) and higher prices too of course. Sometimes you may prefer a beer and Up Down has a selection from Eight Degrees Brewing. We certainly enjoyed our Barefoot Bohemian Pilsner (draught) and they also offer the Eight Degrees stout, pale ale and red ale in bottle.

Pork starter
 The price for single starters is five euro but, yes indeed, you may have three for twelve. The Chicken Wings were my choice. On the night, they were served Asian style with a sweetish sticky sauce and sesame seeds but the style varies from day to day. In my case, they were delicious.

CL meanwhile was tucking into her Pork rillettes (Braised Pork, Black Pudding Crumble, Apple Compote, Celeriac Mash, Black Garlic Puree). Another good starter, though she would have preferred less mash and maybe a wee gherkin or two!

I loved the smoky aromas and flavours as I made my way through my mains: Assam Smoked Barbary Duck Breast, Stir Fried Greens, Plum and Tamarind Caramel. It is served pink. A tasty well-cooked dish for €15.00.

The other mains was their burger (€10.00). No shortage of quantity on her plate of Hereford Beef, Smoked Carrigaline Cheese, Tobacco Onions, Baby Cos, Matt’s Barbecue Sauce, Tomato, all contained (just about) in an Arbutus Bap. She enjoyed that and a side dish of big fries that cost, like all sides, three euro.

We were fairly full after all that so decided to share a dessert from the brief list. Each dessert costs €6.50 and our plate of truffles consisted of Tempered Pistachio Cream Stack, Jameson Truffle and Burnt Cocoa Powder, Cherry Truffle, White Chocolate Tossed in Toasted Coconut, Sea Salt Truffle. The White Chocolate was my favourite and that wasn't shared! While you are on the desserts, you might like one of their teas, coffees, maybe a hot chocolate. All available and, like everything on the night, served with a smile.

The restaurant, which opened last October (2015), is upstairs but you may check the menu in the well lit entry hall before you ascend the stairs to a big bright room and a warm welcome.

Up Down Bar & Grill
71-72 Patrick Street, Cork
Phone: 021 424 8872
Text: 085 271 3888
Opening Hours -
5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Tue: Closed
Wed-Fri: 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Sat-Sun: 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
5:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Sunday, February 21, 2016

One Farmers Market. One Restaurant. Weekend: Douglas, Les Gourmandises

One Farmers Market. One Restaurant
Weekend: Douglas, Les Gourmandises
I took the opportunity at the weekend to get to the Douglas Farmers Market and also to revisit Les Gourmandises in the city centre.

The farmers market has now moved from Dunnes Stores car park to a new spot in the centre of Douglas village, on the plaza by Marks & Spencers. It is a compact location and the reports are good. It is open on Saturdays, from 10.00am until 2.00pm.
Old Millbank Salmon Pate - with some chunky bits added!
Some excellent stalls here, including the Rocketman, Badger & Dodo coffee, Ballycurraginny Farm vegetables (not forgetting their gorgeous Joe’s Farm vegetable crisps), Arbutus Breads, O'Driscoll's Fish from Schull, Old Millbank Smoked Salmon, Woodside Farm, Brendan's Burritos, Sonny’s Broth, West Cork Pies, Green Field Farm, Ballycotton Free Range Farm, O’Leary’s Mountain Lamb, Cloud Confectionery, Dingle Cookie Company, Volcano Wood-fired Pizza, Mealagulla Orchards, Barry’s Nurseries, Clothilde Compotes, along with some others. Guest stalls too feature.

O’Driscoll’s, no matter where you find them (Midleton and the Coal Quay are among their venues), are always popular. We often go for the popular fish but this time the red gurnard caught our eye. So that was the main course for Saturday. And we got our starter across the way from Old Millbank. They had a nice tub of Salmon Pate (with one that included a few chunks of the salmon as well!).
Red Gurnard at O'Driscoll's
Lunch too came from Douglas, a pot of that delicious aromatic Chicken Broth by Sonny (we added some noodles). It is a Vietnamese broth and the proper title is Phỏ Gà and was a recent Taste of the Week. Check it out here, if you have a chance.

The other main purchase was some shoulder of pork from Woodside for Sunday's dinner, the order to cook it low and slow. We got an unsolicited recommendation from another customer who thought it was fantastic and told us his 93 year old mother is thrilled with it as it reminds her of the real taste from a long ways back.

Some low and slow cooking too in Les Gourmandises on Friday night. Slow cooked beef, braised carrots, baby onions, and smoked Gubbeen lardons, with a delicious red wine jus, was my superb main course, with a side plate of sauteed potatoes. CL’s choice was also excellent: Braised lamb shoulder with smoked potatoes, braised onion and Savoy Cabbage.
We had a fine choice for starters. We had eaten some of them before including the excellent Prawns in Filo pastry with Mango jelly and Mango creme fraiche and the Roasted on the Bone Quail with coconut, cumin, basmati and apricots.

My pick this time was the Carpaccio (named after the Venetian painter) of Spiced beef, tomato, pickled and shaved parmesan while CL took the Castletownbere Crab Salad, brioche croutons, peaches and piccalilli. Both good but, next time, we may go back to the brilliant prawns and the quail!

Desserts again had no shortage of choice, up to seven, including a selection plate for sharing. No sharing this time though! My pick was the Warm Chocolate Fondant with butterscotch centre and vanilla ice cream. Pretty good. CL was delighted with her Caramelised Apple Tart with Five Spice and cinnamon ice cream. All good. No tea or coffee though, not at €3.65 a cup!
New location, in centre of Douglas
There is a good selection of house wines, all Old World, and all at €29.50 a bottle or €8.50 a glass. Haven't seen that kind of uniformity anywhere else! My glass was a 2012 Portuguese blend of Tempranillo, Castelao and Syrah, called Pinta Negra Tinta, nice and smooth with dark fruits. CL sipped happily from an organic wine, Fontana Bodegas from Castille (Spain), a 100 percent Tempranillo (2014).

There are quite a number of possible menu variations and you can get to try the excellent food here for less than the €47.50 (the cost of our 3-course menu). There is also a Prix Fixe menu and here you may have three courses (from a more limited selection) for €32.50. Most nights, maybe not all night, you will get tapas to share, two main courses and a glass of wine each for €39.50 for two people. Stay up to date on all menus and special offers by checking their Facebook page here.
Oh La La! Chocolat! 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Ryan Brothers Have The Recipe

press release
Ryan Family have a winning recipe.
Michael (left) and Declan Ryan

~ Winner of Georgina Campbell Ireland’s Natural Food Award 2016 announced as Declan Ryan's Arbutus Bread, Cork ~

~ Winner of Georgina Campbell Ireland’s Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year 2016 announced as Michael and Catherine Ryan’s Isaacs Restaurant, Cork ~

Well respected and long established independent food and hospitality guide ‘Georgina Campbell’s Ireland’ has just announced their top recommendations for the best places to eat, drink and stay for the year ahead (2016). Scooping two of the top accolades, in separate categories, are Cork based Arbutus Bread – an artisanal wholesale bakery specialising in sourdough and yeast breads, which won the Natural Food Award, and Isaac’s Restaurant located on Mac Curtain Street, Cork serving seasonal and local dishes, which won Best Casual Dining Restaurant. The cherry on top of this outstanding achievement is that both businesses are owned by brothers Declan and Michael Ryan. 

Commenting on behalf of Arbutus, Declan Ryan beamed saying, “We are absolutely thrilled to be named the Natural Food Award Winners, it really speaks to what we are all about in terms of ethos. Arbutus Breads are committed to producing natural artisan products without chemical additives to traditional methods, as we know this delivers the best product quality and customer satisfaction. There is nothing better than the smell of freshly baked bread and it is a credit to all our hard working team at the bakery to be recognised in this way.” 

Speaking on behalf of Isaacs Restaurant, Michael Ryan welcomed the news saying, “It is always great to be told people like what you are doing, you put your heart and soul into each dish and to be recognised by a respected guide such as Georgina Campbell’s Ireland is the icing on the cake!” 

The Ryan family have a long history of being at the cutting edge of the culinary arts having previously achieved Ireland’s very first Michelin star at Arbutus Lodge.  The following year, Ireland had two Michelin starred restaurants, Arbutus Lodge and Cashel Palace both owned by the Ryan Family. 

In 1992 Michael and Catherine Ryan along with Canice Sharkey opened Isaacs Restaurant in what was once a 18th century warehouse on Mac Curtain Street. This atmospheric venue has since gone from strength to strength with the support of next generation Emma Ryan who has recently joined the team, winning numerous awards, including this latest gong from Georgina Campbell. The dining experience at Isaac’s is regularly praised by leading food critics and guides and most importantly by its food loving customers! 


Michael was not the only brother to put his experience and talent to good use as following the sale of the Arbutus Lodge in 1999; Declan who decided retirement was not for him, converted a garage at his house in Montenotte, Cork into a bakery and travelled to France to gain additional expertise. From humble beginnings Arbutus Bread has moved into a much larger premises in Mayfield, Cork and grown to now produce 2,000 loaves of a variety of breads every night, still made by traditional methods and using only natural, additive-free ingredients. Today the thriving bakery has seven fulltime bakers and is run by Declan and Patsy Ryan along with David Matues, head baker and from the next generation Darragh and Elaine Ryan. 

Another family member has also got the food business bug as Philip Ryan (son of Michael and Catherine at Isaacs Restaurant) has established himself as a successful entrepreneur, introducing Cork City’s newest gastro-venue Brick Lane, and is an key organiser of a food and beer festival with locations in 4 cities across the country under the brand of ‘Oktoberfest Beag’. The Ryan family certainly have that winning recipe.

For more information on Arbutus see and for more on Isaacs see

Thursday, August 20, 2015

New Stalls at Midleton Farmers Market. Getting Better all the time

New Stalls at Midleton Farmers Market
Getting Better all the time
Gorgeous Chanterelles from Ballyhoura Mushrooms at last Saturday's Market

Midleton Farmers Market, the original farmers market, was founded fifteen ago by Darina Allen and local farmers and has gone from strength to strength. Hard to get a stall there now but there were some newcomers last Saturday when I visited.

Space is limited but vacancies occur from time to time, particularly when a successful producer (Cobh’s Just Food, for example) outgrows the stall.

So now you may buy BBQ Jerk Chicken from Le Kiosk, vegetarian from Buddha Bites, coffee from Doppio, also doughnuts and ice cream from another stall. Check out the list of stallholders here, even if it is a little out of date!
Loving Salads, just one corner of their huge selection
Originals such as Woodside Farm, Frank Hedderman, and Ballymaloe are still very active here, side by side with more recent arrivals such as Jason Carroll’s Loving Salads and the Lobster Man. The Lobster Man has live lobsters and crabs, and sometimes brings a giant example. Do watch out for him. And watch out too for Jason who is due to open a cafe in Academy Street.

By the way, Hederman and Arbutus Breads are in the running for the Irish Times Best Market Stall. Best of luck folks.
Like all farmers markets, the atmosphere here is relaxed. Do your shopping, have a chat with stall-holders such as Barry Tyner (he sells fantastic patés) and Deirdre (she'll tell you all about the Arbutus range). Jane from Ardsallagh Goat Cheese always has something interesting to chat about, especially in the food line. Indeed, what you find is all the producers have time to talk to their customers and are very enthusiastic about the market in general and keen to spread the word.

Then take a break, have a cup of coffee and listen to the music. It is a terrific way to spend a Saturday morning and you’ll have excellent produce in your bags and enough of it to keep you going over the weekend.

Other local markets on Saturday include Douglas, Coal Quay, Skibbereen, Bandon and Crosshaven. See countrywide list, compiled by Bord Bia, here .
Newcomers (above and below)

Midleton celebrated its 15th anniversary last May and here’s what stall holder Ballymaloe Cookery School wrote then:  It has been an outlet not only for the many artisan producers of the area, but also for high profile food producers that have had stalls at Midleton Farmers Market, including Clodagh McKenna, Darina Allen, Arun Kapil of Green Saffron Masaalchi and Frank Hederman of Belvelly Smokehouse. The market has also been featured in many TV shows, including the Ear to the Ground, Nationwide (Irish TV series), Rick Stein's Ireland and @Clodagh's Food Trails which has seen by viewers across the States and Australia as well as the UK and mainland Europe, helping position Ireland, and indeed Cork, as a major food destination.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tea in Vintage Bone China. And Much More in The Workshop.

Tea in Vintage Bone China.

And Much More in The Workshop.
Soups and Arbutus bread
On the way to The Workshop from the roundabout outside Cork Airport, you’ll see Tea Rooms emphasied on the direction signs to the Ballygarvan venue. You’ll also see pink bicycles. But tea is the thing here. Loads of different varieties and, yes, it is all served in beautiful vintage bone china.

You may have the Workshop Cream (contains coffee and has a “pleasant Bailey’s taste”). Some of us might rush for the Ginkgo anti-aging tea or maybe the Elixir of Life. There is the Green Tea China Gunpowder (refers to the shape!) and the aromatic Blood Orange. A dozen or so of intriguing mixes and then, of course, there’s always Barry’s.

Not a tea-drinker? They’ve got top class coffee for you as their supplier is Badger & Dodo and the friendly efficient staff here will let you have anything from an Americano to a Mocha.

It is not tea and coffee and cakes here all the time, though they have huge range of tempting cakes and pastries too.

It gets a bit more serious as lunch-time looms. We started recently with two massive bowls of soup - they had two specials on that day. I enjoyed the Carrot and Cumin while CL had the Roast Red Pepper and Sweet Potato combination. Actually there is a very good deal here: cup of soup and any sandwich for just €7.50.
A Pair of Pies, again with Arbutus bread
They offer a good selection of sandwiches and if you are looking for something even more substantial why not try one of their pies. These vary from day to day but they had two on during our visit, one beef, one chicken, and we were well pleased with them.

Indeed we were pretty full but no way were we going to leave without trying some of the sweet stuff even if we had to share their gorgeous Rhubarb Meringue Cake.

The china is not the only vintage stuff here in the Workshop. There is much more for people to browse through and even buy. Don't think they'll be selling the old looking phone by the desk. It is a replica and in use as their land-line! But you’ll also see stand-on weighing scales, binoculars, books, and more. You’ll hear the music from the old record player.

Oh, on your way out, be sure and say hello to their hens. They, the hens, will be insulted if you don’t as, after all, they are prize-winners, their rosettes on display on the restaurant.

And where did the Workshop get its name? Well, the father of the current owners originally used the building as a carpentry workshop. Much more to see and eat out there, so do pay a visit


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Taste of the Week. Medieval. Magical.

Taste of the Week. Medieval. Magical.
Medieval loaf by Arbutus Bread

The Medieval loaf from Arbutus Bread doesn’t look all that attractive. It looks dark and ancient, something that a serf might eat but surely not his knight! But, don’t judge the book by the cover.

Arbutus say it is “for cheese lovers”, “delicious with a fresh goats cheese or other cheeses or superb on it’s own”. And it is.

But now I have another way, a very delicious way indeed, my Taste of the Week. I find the loaf keeps very well but, for some reason, decided to toast a few slices the other morning. And then I added a decent slather of a city honey that a friend had given me from his own bees. Serendipity! Whatever, it is gorgeous, fantastic texture and flavours from the warmed fruits and nuts and the honey sinking in to the bread. Try it!

Ingredients: Wholemeal Flour, White Flour, Water, Sourdough Cultures, chopped Figs, dates, Almonds, Walnuts, Hazelnuts & Organic Cider Apple Syrup. It is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Seaweed Bread Debuts in Midleton Farmers Market. Irresistible Salads also.

Seaweed Bread Debuts in Midleton Farmers Market

Irresistible Salads also.
New to Arbutus: Seaweed loaf (left) and San Fran sourdough
Arbutus Bread, pioneers in the real bread field, are on the move again. Called in to Midleton Farmers Market last Saturday morning and a delighted Dee was on hand to show me their new Seaweed Bread and I was delighted to taste this beauty.

Dee and Declan are rightly proud of this loaf but very keen too to acknowledge the contributions of Galway’s James Cunningham, who produced the seaweed ingredient, and also the help given by John and Sally McKenna.

Brilliant really, isn't it, how people in the real food area (also in the craft brewing sector) cooperate with one another, in the style of the old time meitheal. More and better products are the result and we (the customers) are all winners.  James Cunningham summed it up over the weekend:  “I love that someone can take my produce and give it a life in their produce. Pretty cool.”

Might be some tweaking to be done yet - the final loaf may be a little higher on profile but it is good. As Dee says this is “We will be doing it in a  Boule sourdough to start. A work in progress, first loaf today, so lots more trials to do.”
Salads galore
Dee says the salt content has been reduced to allow the seaweed flavour shine through. But don't worry, you won't be tasting seawater here or anything like it. Just an excellent well made bread. In any event, and I'm quoting the McKenna’s here, seaweed doesn't absorb a lot of salt - just sea minerals and vitamins.

Why seaweed bread? And what exactly is the “magic” ingredient? Dee explains: “Noribake, which we are using, is a natural organic Irish product which we have in abundance. The benefits are:
Natural immune stimulant & gut flora modulator;
Lowers GI index of baked goods;
Allows salt and sugar levels to be reduced in line with EU trends;  
Anti-staling effects of formula extends shelf life of baked goods;
Alginate content gives consumer the experience of being   ‘fuller for longer’.”

And Arbutus haven't stopped at that. They have also introduced a new sourdough, moving away from the French style that has served them, and us, so well, to a new more folded San Francisco version. So there you are. “Two healthy loaves for you,’ says Dee.

Jason Carrell’s Ginger Room Salads is a new attraction at this pioneering East Cork market and I had lots of recommendations to call to his stall. And he has an inviting display, a huge range of salads, all in colourful matching bowls (brought back from his travels in Fiji, I’m told).

Organic veg from Ballymaloe
Just had a quick chat as we made our purchases (Jason was very busy and sells out every day). But do note that his huge range of “tasty healthy funky style salads” are also available at Wilton (Tuesday) and Kinsale (Wednesday) as well as Midleton (Saturday).

Got to call to some of the long-standing stalls as well including pioneers Ballymaloe who had a fine display of, among other things, organic vegetables; Hederman's close by had no shortage of their quality smoked fish, got a lovely piece of pork from Noreen of Woodside, fish from O’Driscoll’s, a selection of mushrooms from Lucy of Ballyhoura Mushrooms and a bag of big juicy red apples from another stall. All the while the music played, the coffee flowed as did conversations and laughter. Will only get better on the Saturdays ahead!

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Workshop. Pairing Teas and Desserts!

The Workshop

Pairing Teas and Desserts!

Had an unusual pairing exercise at the lovely Workshop Tea Rooms near Cork Airport on Tuesday. In the “gap” after the mains, I was trying to match teas with desserts. That's a new one! It worked out well though and indeed the excursion into the narrow country road at the rear of the airport proved well worthwhile overall.

The Workshop itself, in an old carpentry workshop, is a little bit unusual. True, it is a restaurant, tea rooms and coffee shop but it is also a display of vintage and antiques, everything from old style cups and saucers to a cart full of flowers, writing boxes to antique chairs, even including a large poster of Bertie Ahern. Everything, or almost everything, is for sale here!

Having passed the old family pram on the way in, you’ll have a warm greeting and then realise that that is really a record player in the corner playing some old style music. As you visit the bathroom (do, whether you need to or not) you’ll enter through a pair of haberdashery doors (from East Cork in the 1820s) and you’ll wash your hands in an old ship’s sink. And do check in the vampire mirror before you exit!
The Workshop, just a year on the go, is busy for lunch and soon we see why. Some great sandwiches here and you may get a cup of soup and and a sandwich for just €7.50.

We ventured a little upmarket! I went for the special of the day, a chicken pie (8.50) while CL took their Tapas, really a chicken salad (8.00). The Pie was top notch, lots of very flavoursome chunky chicken pieces topped with creamy potato and a couple of slices of Arbutus bread on the side. Arbutus too with the excellent chicken salad, another very attractive dish.

Coffee is by Badger & Dodo, so that spells quality. They have a lovely list of teas and, as I hinted above, we took our time picking ours. Mine was the Workshop Cream (roast coffee beans, jasmine flowers and natural aroma). “It’s creamy,” they say, “with a pleasant coffee/Bailey’s taste.” In any event, it went very well indeed with my perfect slice of Coffee and Walnut cake.
And the second match was also spot-on! The tea here was the Rain Forrest (named after their mom's family). It poured red, and exotic flavours were provided by hibiscus, apple pieces, currant, candied mango, pineapple and banana chips. A superb drink and went ever so well with the really well made Apple Crumble, complete with real fruit chunks and real crumble.

Desserts costs €4.50 each and the teas came in at €3.50 for a large pot each. We thought we were getting a cup each so I'm afraid we left a lot of tea behind. We’ll know better the next time. And there will be a next time as we very much enjoyed the whole experience, including the unusual setting and friendly service.

The Workshop
Lios Cross
Co. Cork

Call 021 2373033 or text 085 7666755

Tue - Sat: 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
Sun: 11:00 am - 5:30 pm