Showing posts with label Ardsallagh. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ardsallagh. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Local and Seasonal. Tempting choices in Princes Street as Nash 19 supports local producers

Local and Seasonal. Tempting choices in Princes Street as Nash 19 supports local producers

Nash 19, founded in 1992 by Claire Nash,  has expanded, during and post-Covid, from a restaurant into a Food and Gift Shop, Wine Bar, and Sternview Gallery. Changes galore then in the Princes Street venue but one thing remains and that is Nash’s unwavering support for local producers. 

We joined the queue at No. 19 last Friday and, after a warm welcome, were soon seated and studying the extensive menu, a menu that changes more or less daily. The produce may be local, quite a bit from the neighbouring English Market, but that doesn't mean that the restaurant is exempt from outside influence: it won't be the same old same old. You’ll see words such as Dukkah, Bouillabaisse, Sashimi, Stroganoff, and Tzatziki scattered on the menu pages. 

The local producers are also acknowledged and, on the day, names such as Tim Mulcahy (Chicken Inn), Cashel Blue, Hederman, Gubbeen, Bandon Vale, Waterfall Farm, K. O’Connell fish, Rossmore Oysters, Longueville Cider, Union Hall fish, Garryhinch, and Ardsallagh Goats, were among those included.

The choice here is quite amazing. I counted about 20 dishes (six of which were marked with a little fish drawing at the side) and didn't include desserts - didn't make it that far! Lots of wine is available too, of course, more so than a few years ago. My drink on the day though was one of the very best around, the superb classic Sparkling Apple Juice from Con Traas at the Apple Farm in Cahir.

For all that though, the star of our two courses was the House Pâté, Chicken Liver "Free Range", Crusty Sourdough, and Pickled Plum (13 euro). Claire herself is very proud of this one and rightly so, the best paté we’ve had this year.

I had been tempted by the Pork fillet and Garryhinch wild Mushroom Stroganoff, Rice dish but went instead for the Goats Cheese Salad, Ardsallagh Soft and Ash, Candied Nut, and Conference Pear (16.70). CL usually opts for this type of dish so when she didn't I did and enjoyed it, especially the two versions of the cheese and those candied nuts and the salad of course.

Salads are now shifting from the crisp summer leaves to the more robust type and that was also the case with CL’s Chicken Breast Salad Bowl, "Free Range", Relish, Dukkah, Tzatziki (16.70), another seasonal local and well-appreciated dish.

We would have had liked to linger a while longer and check out the desserts but we were on a tight schedule (very rare for us these days!) and had to move on and say goodbye to Claire and the smiling helpful staff, still busy as we departed at 2.30 or thereabouts. 

* By the way, if you are thinking of calling in for lunch at weekends, remember it is a busy place, so do make a reservation. Find all the details you need here  

A short preprandial stroll, full of history.

As you exit Nash 19, turn left and head south. 

An early 19th-century one-arch bridge, significant in its own right for the quality of its design and construction (according to takes you over the south channel. Walk now to nearby St Finbarr’s South “the oldest Catholic church still in use in Cork City”.

Parliament Bridge is a limestone structure, built in 1806. It is also important to the river and urban landscape and is still in use as an important thoroughfare for the city.

Just five minutes after leaving the restaurant, we arrived at The church, also known as the South Chapel. This is even older than the bridge and was built in 1766; is a rare Catholic Mass House of the period. Located below the High Altar you’ll see the life-size sculptured figure, "The Dead Christ”, by the famous Cork sculptor John Hogan (1800-58).

On a day when some new street sculpture went up at the corner of Oliver Plunkett St and Princes St to be instantly flashed around the internet, I was on a “mission” to get a photo of the Hogan work. The fact that we were married there on a snowy Shrove Tuesday in 19whatever also had something to with it!

From the church, it took us just about five minutes to get to Nash 19 for our lunch.

Friday, October 6, 2023

Superb Garryvoe Hotel lunch, followed by a walk on the beach

Superb Garryvoe Hotel lunch, 

followed by a walk on the beach

Their famous Prawn Cocktail

The forecast for the upcoming Saturday promised an unseasonal 20 degrees plus. I looked out the window on the Tuesday before and thought to myself it is blue sky and sun now. Why wait until Saturday?

Ardsallagh, on a different level!

We headed east making the Bayview our port of call. But got a sinking feeling as we pulled in and soon found it was closed. No panic. Headed off towards its big sister at Garryvoe and soon found ourselves sitting in the very bright comfortable Lighthouse Bistro, the day-to-day restaurant here in this lovely hotel. We have also enjoyed some delicious meals in the more exclusive Samphire, their prime dining venue.

Marvellous crumble!

Sipped a Jameson Black Barrel as I read the menu that led with three specials Chef's Roast (*beef, we were told) with Red Wine Jus; Daily Catch (salmon) with Lemon & Chive Cream; and 
Golden Fried Haddock, all served with Creamy Potato Puree and Vegetables of the Day.

Moved on down the line to some lighter dishes, soups, toasties, wraps, salads and so on and made out choices there. We are big fans of Ardsallagh and CL picked the Crostini, with Ardsallagh Goats Cheese & Spicy Ballymaloe Relish and Squashed Cannellini Beans with Garlic and tomatoes. Top marks for this combo, really high quality, especially the cheese, the famous relish and the beans, all for €10.80.

Sticky. Sweet!

No shortage of options and some humming and hawing before I ordered their speciality: “Our Famous Dublin Bay Prawn Cocktail, Crisp Gem Lettuce, Sauce Maire Rose® & Our Homemade Brown Bread”. (€18.00). Not your usual stuffed glass full of large rubbery prawns but a free form and generous serving in a bowl. Absolutely gorgeous, including the salad and the sauce and two slices of their really excellent brown bread.

We were in good form after these two dishes and desserts (all €7.50) were ordered! CL is a bit of an expert and gave their Warm Oat & Apple Crumble with Vanilla Ice-Cream a big thumbs up, one of the best for sure (I did manage to beg a mouthful!). As it was, I was just as happy with my decadent choice of the Sticky Toffee & Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce & Vanilla Ice Cream.

Said goodbye to the lovely crew that served us and headed out to the sun and the beach, promising we’d be back!

The hotel from well out on the beach.

Life's a beach

There are two longish walks that I like in East Cork, both by cliffs, one in Ballycotton, the other in Knockadoon. Each has an island but only Ballycotton has a lighthouse. Thereby hangs a tale.

The original site chosen in 1846 was on Capel Island near Knockadoon. The wreck of the famous paddle steamer Sirius just west of Ballycotton Island in 1847 with great loss of life caused a rethink and a decision was made to stop building on Capel and build two lighthouses, one on Ballycotton Island and the other on Mine Head, Co. Waterford.

Ballycotton Lighthouse has been operating for over 170 years and up to 30 years ago was manned by lighthouse keepers. There are tours available to the lighthouse and other trips in the area. See, the source of the info above for more information.

Starlings in the sun

The walk in the gorgeous warming October sunshine along the Garryvoe beach, after our excellent lunch, set me thinking about the lighthouse - well, it is pretty prominent and I knew I read somewhere that they had started building one on Capel. So back home, I “did the Google”. Very much enjoyed that walk by the way. Don’t think I've ever seen the buildings by the lighthouse so clear and sharp from that distance. 

In between, a trawler moved in parallel with the beach and more than likely some of that catch ended up on local menus such as Cush (Michelin Bibbed), Ballymaloe House and the two hotels at either side of Ballycotton Bay, the Bayview and Garryvoe. By the way, if ever you see plaice on the menu in either of the two hotels, then you’re in luck, especially if it is cooked by Ciaran Scully at the Bayview!

Monday, November 28, 2022

Wonderful Tasting Menu in Rare with chefs Meeran and Chad showcasing the Autumn bounty of Cork and Kerry

Wonderful Tasting Menu in Rare with chefs Meeran and Chad showcasing the Autumn bounty of Cork and Kerry

Teamwork. Concentration from chefs Meeran (right) and Chad (centre)

An rud is annamh is iontach!

Thought I might start with an old Irish proverb: what’s rare is wonderful.

And Kinsale’s Rare 1784 was certainly wonderful last Thursday night when Head Chef Meeran Manzoor and guest Chef Chad Byrne (Brehon Hotel) served up a six course festival of local food in one of the most comfortable dining rooms around.

Lots of nationalities involved in the kitchen and out front, including Rebel Cork and the Kingdom, plus a Rare crew that has people from India and Brazil and from places in between.

Chad, also well known for The Hungry Donkey food truck, brought a treasure trove of goodies from Kerry to the Blue Haven’s premier restaurant, including some of the finest cured and dried meats from Olivier in Dingle, Eileen’s black pudding from Annascaul, the famous Ardfert spuds, Wilma’s cheese, Venison from Beaufort, Wild Sloes and Cromane mussels.

Meeran, of course, has his finger on the pulse of all that’s best in Cork, particularly the growers and fishermen in and around Kinsale, and also adds a well judged touch of his native India. Both chefs and their crew were visible through a large window to the kitchen. They didn’t stay there, coming out regularly to detail the dishes and have a conversation or two with the tables.

And it wasn’t just in the kitchen that Rare excelled. The front of house team, led by restaurant manager Charlie, were busy but that didn’t mean they couldn’t have the odd chat with you. They came to the tables with big smiles, informal but on the ball, you never had to ask for water (or something stronger!).

Cheese, black pudding, potato

Quite a wine list! We started with two engaging whites. One was Carallan Albarino, a fine example of the wine of Rias Baixas,  quite pronounced on both the nose and fruity palate, excellent with the lighter dishes. The zesty Diez Siglos Verdejo, vibrant and intense, from Rueda (the home of the grape), paired well also with the earlier plates.

Love my BoJo

Later we moved on to two stunning reds. Gamay is always on my radar and I plumped for the organic Les Pépites Gneiss, fresh, fruity and nicely spicy. Big thumbs up for that and the same from the other side where CL renewed acquaintance with the multi-grape aromatic, fruity and intense (perfect with venison) Quinta do Judeu.

The dining started with the Organic Kerry Wild Meat Board (by Olivier), all kinds of tastes and textures (that soft goat chorizo!) and all superb. Then on to Jamie’s Oyster from nearby Oysterhaven, beautifully presented and accompanied by Alexander’s Jelly and a Ginger Beer Foam. Jamie’s oysters never disappoint and here the jelly and the foam enhanced it.

Scallop, Sole

And the plates just kept getting better. Eileen’s Annascaul Black Pudding made a huge tasty contribution as it combined with the renowned Ardsallagh Goats Cheese on an Ardfert potato skin!

Up next came the fish, a  two part perfectly cooked wonder with Union Hall Sole and Scallop in a Vol-au-Vent with a little Yuzu in the bisque. Chef Chad: “..really tasty dish of bang in season gear”.


For me the star course of the superb meal came with the Beaufort venison: Sika Deer, Cromane Mussels and Roasted Celeriac. The deer had been roasted for six to seven hours and was beautifully flavoured. The sloe jus was just amazing, a great fit with the meat. And that meat was as tender as can be, yielding easily to the blade of our  “chopper” knife!

A wee pause then before dessert came and that too was rather special: Chocolate, Salted Caramel and Kulfi. Meeran’s dark chocolate walnut cremeux was enhanced by Achill seasalt and Szechuan caramel and crunchy bits. Kulfi is a no-churn Indian ice cream. And there was also an Indian twist to the Petit Four that came in a mini-treasure chest!

Petit Fours

Quite a wonderful meal and occasion in Rare and there’s a promise of more. So do keep an eye on their socials!




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).

Monday, December 20, 2021

Taste of the Week. Ardsallagh Goats Cheese Cranberry Roulade

Taste of the Week. 

Ardsallagh Goats Cheese Cranberry Roulade 

Ardsallagh soft goats cheese is a white cheese with a creamy texture. This cheese has a gentle flavour as it is made daily from fresh goats milk. That milk has been gently pasteurised. Traditional production methods are used and the cheese is fresh and mild. And very very popular!

And they have a twist on this winner, adding cranberries to make a visually attractive roulade. And the attraction goes beyond the optics as the combination of flavours and textures is something else indeed and now our Taste of the Week.

I bought my roulade from On The Pig's Back (via Neighbourfood) but our Taste of the Week is widely available. Go on treat yourself!

Ardsallagh Goats Cheese

Thursday, December 16, 2021

On The Pig's Back. 'Cork Fayre with French Flair'

On The Pig's Back.'Cork Fayre with French Flair' 

Founded in 1992 by Isabelle Sheridan, On The Pig’s Back has a major presence in the Cork and indeed wider food scene, coupling the best of local produce with an undoubted French Flair - Isabelle is French - as is their motto.

No better way to put it to the test than visit the restaurant in Douglas for brunch or lunch. The menu illustrates the motto very well indeed with local produce from Ardsallagh Goats and Jack McCarthy Butchers often highlighted. It is an expansive menu and I for one could happily eat there everyday for a few weeks without repeating a dish.

When I sat down the other day, having had my covid certificate scanned and telephone number recorded, I had quite a bit of reading to do on the long menu. Found it hard enough to make up my mind but, in the end, went for the Croque Madam (no “e” in the Madam, must be a Cork spelling!). You’ll know there is also a Croque Monsieur but without the egg.

So I had Croque Madam on Arbutus Toasted Brioche, with On The Pigs Back Free-Range Glazed Ham, Emmental Cheese and Mornay topped with a Fried Free-Range Egg. Cost, including a small bowl of a superbly-dressed salad, was €12.90, Monsieur (less well endowed) comes in at a euro less. Money well spent I thought; there are pubs in the area who charge much the same for a lack-lustre roast of the day.

It was l’amour at first bite, the delicious ham, the yielding brioche, that super velvety mornay plus the crowning egg and then that mixed salad on the side adding its own texture and the occasional tarty bite of a thin slice of olive. Mornay is an offshoot of the well known Béchamel (widely regarded as one of the five major French sauces, a mother sauce from which others spring) and is distinguished by its cheese element. You get a lot in this dish for your €12.90!

Madame CL also had a choice to make and her pick is a variation on what has become a local classic over the years, beetroot and goats cheese. Full menu title: Oven Roasted Beetroot Salad with Candied Walnuts, Rocket leaves and Crumbled Ardsallagh Goats Cheese.

The description is a bit understated as this was another well executed and lovely dish, again for €12.90. Two different coloured beetroots featured, there was also a beetroot purée an a few beetroot crisps (probably from Joe’s Farm). Never a problem with that excellent Ardsallagh and those walnuts provided the sweetest bite.

The café and deli in Douglas produces a range of delicious food, supporting local food producers, and is also a busy spot for Artisan food shopping, lunch, food tastings and special events, as diverse as art exhibitions, concerts, plays, food festivals & much, much more. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates.

They are of course still going strong in the English Market, Isabelle’s original venture. There is no cafe here but you will find Farmhouse Cheeses, Charcuterie, Fresh Breads, Irish Artisan Food, and French Gourmet Food Specialities and more, including some of their own produce such as award-winning Pâté and Terrines.

Add in wines and their very large cheese business and you’ll see that this operation (retail and wholesale) has hugely expanded from that single stall back in the 90s. Check it out here at the website.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Sketch opens at the Imperial. Cocktail and Birdcage with Grace and Jazz.

Oriental Martini
Sketch opens at the Imperial.

Cocktail and Birdcage with Grace and Jazz.

You’ll see illustrated echoes of Jazz and Princess Grace when you visit Sketch, the classy new Wine and Dine venue at the Imperial Hotel. Sketches by Ethan Desmond (From the Sketch Up) evoke the good times when Princess Grace stayed here some sixty years ago and also the hotel’s enduring links with the annual Jazz festival in this comfortable corner with its overall Rus en Urbe vibe created, with a light touch, by Sandra Looney of To Have and To Hold.

Les bon temps rouler

Let the good times roll! Grab a buddy and dust off those glad rags and head for the Sketch entrance on Pembroke Street (though you can of course access it also through the South Mall entrance). Here, relax and enjoy a cocktail or two and, of course, a Bird Cage full of top notch snacks, the produce sourced from the nearby English Market.

#2 Birdcage
We had the privilege of doing just that last weekend when the official opening took place. Hotel GM Bastien Peyraud had a warm welcome for his guests: “We are truly delighted to launch Sketch and to welcome you all to the opening. The Imperial family have worked incredibly hard over the past year, and we are extremely proud of our focus on local, sustainability and what we have created overall. The most important thing to us is creating memories and I anticipate Sketch will be a fantastic melting pot of people, style, music, good food and great drinks.”

And fair play to Bastien and his team as they went on to illustrate exactly what he had in mind for the rest of very enjoyable evening with superb cocktails and those tasty Birdcages! 

The mini cocktail on the way in, a welcoming shot of Glendalough Rose Gin and Taittinger, set the mood and, after that liquid amuse bouche, a good time ensued.

Appropriately, the first cocktail delivered to our table was Princess Grace, a delicious one of Ketel One Vodka, raspberries, Triple Sec, their own champagne syrup and Prosecco. 

The opening shot

They have a few smoked cocktails on the regular menu and we enjoyed the Spike Island (Oak Smoked Spike Island Rum Old Fashioned).

The most popular drink of the evening appeared to be the Eau De Champagne. The mix here is Taittinger Champagne, Glendalough Rosé Gin, Homemade Rosemary Syrup, Egg White.

There was a bit of theatrical fun to end with. The final cocktail, Lemon meringue (Ketel One Vodka, Lemon, Pineapple, Homemade Limoncello, Meringue) was served with the selection of petit fours. The ooh and aah bit came when the Meringue was blow torched at the table.

The regular menu has four Birdcages, each inspired by the English Market: Sushi, Charcuterie, Cheesy and Meaty.

The Princess Grace

Our selection, an extensive sample of what is available on a regular Sketch night, came in two servings. First top was Charcuterie & Cheesy with Tom Durcan’s Spiced Beef, Gubbeen Salami, Iberia Chorizo, Gubbeen Smoked cheese, Cashel Blue, Ardsallagh Goats Cheese, and Carrigaline Garlic and Herb. 

Quite a start to the evening and that was soon followed by Meaty, Seacurterie and Vegan and here we were tempted by Fribbins BBQ Glazed Ribs, Imperial Spiced Wings, Southern Fried Tenders, and Asian Duck Roll. The fishy bits were Peeky Toe Crab Roll, Sake Salmon, Torched Seabass and Ballycotton Smoked Salmon. And the third plate had Grilled Courgette, Ras El Hanout Spice, Avocado Mousse, Vine Tomato, Plum Tomato and Basil Bruschetta.

If you do call in, you don’t have to stick strictly with the cocktails and Birdcage. There are small plates of ribs, wings and Ham Hock Croquettes for instance. And, on the drinks side, there are many wines, also Prosecco and Champagne (including a flight for €20.00) listed. There’s a full bar at hand, so plenty of beers, gins and whiskeys to choose from. 

Read all about Sketch, including full menus, here.