Showing posts with label Ballycotton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ballycotton. Show all posts

Friday, May 20, 2022

Take a walk in Garryvoe.

 Take a walk in Garryvoe

Fog was shortlived!
Pics taken 14.05.2022


Garryvoe Hotel on left

Sand, sea and lighthouse, with wisps of fog

Man and child

No fog now!

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Cush Ballycotton Plates Up To Its Michelin Bib Gourmand Rating

Cush Ballycotton Plates Up To Its Michelin Bib Gourmand Rating

Halibut “Grenobloise”

Michelin say their Bib Gourmand stands for “good quality, good value cooking”. And you’ll certainly find that in Ballycotton’s Cush under chef Dan Guerin.

The restaurant space is comfortable and uncluttered with views to the harbour below and the lighthouse. Just like the family owned and run traditional pub and comfy bedrooms, also under the Cush name (taken from a local pathway), the welcome is warm and uncomplicated, the service friendly and efficient.


Tandem's "Casual" Viura
And speaking of local, local produce features throughout the menu whether it is the greens and veg from Greenfield Farm, the meat from O’Farrell Butchers, or the free-range poultry from East Ferry Farm. But I find that, not unexpectedly, fish is the star of the menu and, of course, that is local, mostly ultra-local from the pier below and from Richard Guerin in particular.

And it was the fish that provided the highlights for us during last week’s dinner. Halibut is one of my favourites and the dish here was superbly cooked and presented. It was billed as Grilled Wild Irish Halibut “Grenobloise”, new season Green Asparagus, Vadouvan Spiced Langoustine Sauce. The fish was perfect, soft and seductive, the asparagus plump and yielding, and that slightly spicy exotic sauce brought it all together so well.


Satisfactory sounds too from the other side of the table where CL enjoyed her Roast Loin of Monkfish, broccoli purée, Green Field Farm leeks, Clementine and Caviar butter sauce. There was the usual swapping, of course, and neither of us could find fault (not that we were particularly looking for one - we come to enjoy, not to nitpick!).  Just another faultless gem from Guerin’s kitchen, the veg and sauce expertly chosen to make the most of the fresh fish and there was a particularly delicious duet between the Monk and purée. 

We shared a superb little pot of mashed potato that came with the fish. No doubt plenty of butter but again Bib Gourmand quality, just like both our mains here. They offer a short list of sides including Charred Hispi Cabbage Nduja Breadcrumb and also Home cut fries.


In between courses we sipped from our wines and watched the newly arrived swallows on a wall just outside the window who seemed to be watching us or was it the stellar food. You rarely see Viura* as a house white in Irish restaurants. Tandem's gorgeous Casual, with its elegant nose and vibrant mouth, could change all that. The wine, from Navarra, was superb with the halibut. We also enjoyed the Quinta do Crasto Branco from Portugal, a blend of local grapes, aromatic, crisp and fresh and ideal for the scallops and monkfish. 

Our meal had begun with Scallops and Quail, both eye-catching dishes. CL had the Seared West Cork Scallops, Boudin Noir, Vadouvan Spiced Sauce. Eye-catching and taste-bud tempting and altogether irresistible. And much the same could be said of my Roast Quail, pear and blackberry chutney, green asparagus, pickled walnut and Madeira sauce.


And we also finished well. One dessert was Salted Caramel Tart, Grue De Cacao Tuile, blackberry, vanilla ice cream; the other Baba, soaked in Valentia Island Vermouth, whipped vanilla mascarpone, new season blood orange. Another two empty plates remained, ready to go back following a full set of empties, and it was time to return home as we sang the praises of Chef Guerin and Cush in general.

  • By the way, they offer a three course set menu for €38.00. Very good value at this level as it includes quite a few of the regular dishes and is a terrific introduction to the food here.
  • Read more on the restaurant website here.
  • View from our table
    Also on this mini-trip: A short walk in the Ballycotton sun

  • * Viura in Rioja and Navarra but known as Macabeu in other parts of Spain.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

A Short Walk In Sunny Ballycotton

 A Short Walk In Sunny Ballycotton

We were in Ballycotton for dinner at the Cush last week and had a little time on our hands so we took a short stroll from the pier to the start of the cliff walk.

As you can see it was a beautiful evening with the temperature reaching 18 degrees, swallows ducking and diving and seagulls soaring. That short but enjoyable stroll was followed by a superb meal in Cush.

Cush above and below with a couple of very early birds! We had a lovely dinner
here after the walk. Details on the blog here!

View from our table

The Mary Stanford lifeboat 1930-1959.
Now retired!

This little swallow looks on the hungry side.
It had landed on a wall just outside Cush window

Sunday, August 8, 2021

In Praise of East Cork. Food. People. Place. Worth a Visit!

In Praise of East Cork.
Food. People. Place. Worth a Visit!

Friendly people, great food, attractions on land and sea, both natural and man-made, make East Cork a gem of a place to visit. From the fantastic 13th century St Mary’s Collegiate Church in Youghal to high class Fota House Gardens and Arboretum, both free to enter, there is a treasure chest of places to visit in the area.
Fota Wildlife

Let me take you on a trip to see part of it. We’ll also enjoy some delicious meals as East Cork is a foodie’s paradise with top notch venues including Sage,  Barnabrow (ideal for weddings), Midleton’s pioneering Farmers Market (every Saturday) and the food mecca of Ballymaloe.
Christy Ring

And, before or after Barnabrow and Ballymaloe, do take the opportunity to visit the  medieval town of Cloyne. It is one of the hidden gems of the area, its skyline dominated by the large medieval Round Tower and across the road is St. Colman's Cathedral built in 1270/80 and still in use. Famous Cloyne people include the 20th century hurler Christy Ring and the 18th century philosopher George Berkeley, both of whom are remembered here: Ring's statue is by the GAA field and Berkley's tomb is in the cathedral.
Lunch at The Farmgate

Coming from the city on the main Cork-Waterford road, take the Cobh exit ramp and head for breakfast or lunch, right to Bramley Lodge, or left to The Bakestone Cafe at Ballyseedy.  Now, set up for the day, go over the nearby bridge to Fota Island and its many attractions.

If you have kids, go to the Wildlife Park; if not, walk through the renowned Fota Arboretum and maybe add a tour of the Georgian House or take a cuppa and a treat at the Bakestone Café here. If you like it around here, you may also try the high class  Fota Island Hotel and Golf Resort. Other top class hotels in the area include the Raddison Blu (Little Island) and the Castlemartyr Resort.
Maire and Victor welcome you to O'Mahony's Watergrasshill

Moving on, go over the Belvelly Bridge (take a long look at the recently renovated castle) and you’ll soon come to Frank Hederman’s famous smokehouse. You are now on Great Island where the cathedral town of Cobh is situated. Much to do here including the Sirius Art Gallery, walking tours (including the Titanic Trail and Spike Island), harbourside bars and restaurants and of course the Cobh Heritage Centre which tells of forced deportations and also the tales of the ill fated liners, The Titanic and the Lusitania. Need a snack and good coffee? Why not try Seasalt by the water. Also look out for Ellen's Kitchen and the Quays Bar & Restaurant.
Mitchel Hall on Spike Island

If you have four or more hours to spare, be sure to take the ferry over to Spike Island. It is a fantastic tour, great guides, so many interesting things to see and do, much of it related to its historic military and prison life, but also superb walks and views out over the harbour. Very Highly Recommended.

Fota House and arboretum; walled gardens too, plus a café

From Cobh, boats take you across to Spike and also on harbour tours. Maybe you’d just like to walk around the town; I did so recently, taking in the Holy Ground, the Titanic Garden and the Sonia O’Sullivan sculpture, and you may check it out here. Perhaps you'd prefer just to sit on the decking at The Titanic Bar & Grill and watch the boats go by.


Whiskey Sour in Jameson
Time now to head out of the islands and head east to Midleton and a tour of the Jameson Experience. If you give the right answers here, you’ll end up with a certificate of proficiency in whiskey!

No shortage of cafes and restaurants here (indeed there's a café in the distillery). Plenty more outside, including the accomplished Ferrit & Lee, and the friendly Granary now celebrating twenty two years in business. Not forgetting the excellent Farmgate.

Farm Salad at Ballymaloe Cookery School's Garden Café Truck

There will be detours, of course. One that I like - you may need a driver here - is to head towards Ballyvolane House near Castlelyons. Lots to do here, including fishing and glamping, and it is also the home of Bertha's Revenge Gin!

Be sure and call to the 200 year old O'Mahony's Pub in Watergrasshill. Superb local food and drink, music also, extensive sheltered outdoor areas and ways and means to keep the kids happy.
Featherblade of Beef, signature dish at Ferrit & Lee

Next stop is Ballymaloe, the home of modern Irish food. You could spend a day here. Maybe an overnight stay to sample the world renowned cooking. Call to the cafe for a mid afternoon or mid morning  coffee. And don’t forget Golden Bean coffee roaster Marc Kingston is also based here. Be sure to take a look at the impressive Cookery School gardens, not forgetting the Shell House and their truck cafe during the summer.

Food trucks are quite a new phenomenon in East Cork and you'll find them wherever people gather including Ballybranigan beach, Knockadoon cliff walk, and Ardnahinch beach.
Krug tasting in a Ballymaloe cornfield

In the nearby seaside village of Ballycotton, take a stroll down to the pier and see the fishermen come and go, maybe take a boat trip to the lighthouse on the nearby island. If you feel you need to stretch the legs, then there is a spectacular walk  along the cliff tops. After all that exercise, treat yourself to a gorgeous meal at CUSH or Seachurch. Don't overlook the Trawl Door (shop, café, ice-cream and deli).
View from the Bayview Terrace

If you need to overnight, then the Garryvoe Hotel and its top notch Samphire Restaurant, with great views over the bay, is close at hand. And across the bay, there's its sister hotel, The Bayview; great views here also. Closed in winter but, when open, check out the superb cooking of chef Ciaran Scully, an example here.
Ballycotton cliff walk

Youghal is the final town, on the Blackwater and just shy of the border with Waterford. On the way, you could stretch the legs in Killeagh’s Glenbower Woods one of many attractive walks in the East Cork area.

Just a few minutes from the village, you'll find the lovely food market on Joe's Farm (the family themselves renowned for their vegetable crisps); you can find superb local produce here, much of it from the farm. They also hold special events for the public, eg cutting sunflowers in August and harvesting pumkins later in the year.

Perhaps you'd prefer to take in the magnificent views on the two walks in nearby Knockadoon. In Youghal, take a boat trip on the Blackwater. If you want a mid-day salad or sandwich in the town, then the Sage Cafe will take good care of you. Just alongside is the newly refurbished Clock Gate Tower, a must visit!

After all the activity, you deserve to rest up for the night. Enjoy a meal in the Old Imperial Hotel on Youghal's main street, maybe just a drink in its old Coachhouse bar, maybe both! Aherne’s, of course, is famous for its seafood and they too have rooms.
Samphire at Garryvoe Hotel

And, before leaving the area, don’t forget to visit Ballynatray House, a Blackwater gem.
Dinner at Brook Inn

If, at the end of a day's touring, you find yourself heading back towards the city, then do consider the Brook Inn near Glanmire for dinner. It is a lively buzzy place and the food is good there too.

Fancy some amazing apple and pear drinks to bring home? How about a unique Ice Wine? Check out Killahora Orchard (near Glounthaune). We can also recommended some top notch cheeses including Ardsallagh, Bó Rua and Ballinrostig.

Enjoy East Cork, the food, the place and its people!

Ballynatray House, by the Blackwater

(revised 07.08.21)
If you have a cafe, restaurant, visitor attraction, not listed here, please let me know and I will do my best to visit with a view to inclusion in next revision. You may also use the comment facility below.