Showing posts with label Barnabrow. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Barnabrow. Show all posts

Monday, February 11, 2019

Barnabrow and Chef Bowes Rise to the Occasion. Again!


Barnabrow and Chef Bowes Rise to the Occasion. Again!
Skeaghanore Duck

The Gourmet Evening at Barnabrow House is becoming quite an occasion in East Cork and once again Geraldine Kidd’s charming venue and the skills of Chef Stuart Bowes combined to give us an evening to remember. 

Donie O’Brien of ENO had a selection of wines to be proud of and very enjoyable they were. And the occasion was further enhanced by music from the violin duo of Áine O’Halloran and Teresa Foley (known as Violini).

We began with a Cava and Canapé reception. As the glasses sparkled and the music played, there was time for a chat before entering the dining room proper. Quite a few of you will know this room as it is here they hold their well-known wedding meals. With its pointed gothic windows and high vaulted ceiling, it has a church like interior though the seating is more comfortable!

Cahermore Pork
More organic Cava at the table as the amazing Bouillabaisse was served. We had to do a bit ourselves as the Hegarty’s cheese came in little shreds on a side plate. Just added those to the soup and the magic happened as they complemented one another superbly, not to mention that rouille and the chefs top notch sourdough.

The Ballotine was just superb, again that match with the fig and the cinnamon spiced bread so really spot on. And the young slightly oaked Rioja was an easy drinking accompaniment. That high standard continued through the remaining courses. And again it was often the “little things” that enhanced the dish, like the Golden Raisin and Wild Garlic cream with the superb Duck Breast, even the tasty base on which the petit fours were served. 

Stuart Bowes had flagged that duck in his wee speech to the guests, proud to use produce such as Caherbeg and Skeaghanore, insisting on the importance of “local” and “using what’s on your doorstep”. “We are excited to do this, this quiet time of the year.”

Geraldine Kidd, now in her 23rd year here, is obviously proud of Stuart’s contribution over the past seven years and has battled to hold on to him against quite a few “poachers”! She was thrilled that word of these occasional gourmet evenings has spread beyond the Cork borders as she welcomed guests from Dublin and Clare.

Donie O’Brien and his ENO wines are regulars here and he was very proud of the organic Cava by Pares Balta that we started with. He loves Baron de Ley too, the producer of the Rioja. “They don’t buy in grapes, use all their own, a guarantee of quality”.
Turbot

I must say that the Pouilly Fumé was gorgeous. Richly flavoured with tropical fruit and with a “concentrated minerality”. This was followed by another beauty, the Ribera del Duero, another organic wine. “It is 100% Tempranillo, 8 months in new oak, vanilla..aromatic, clean and fresh and will be great with the duck!” And so it was.

Violini stayed with us for the evening. They are classically trained and stylistically versatile. “We play movie soundtracks, pop and rock songs, big band jazz, latin, blues, and the best loved Classical music.”  If you want music for events in hotels, manors, castles, concert halls, or for special occasions big and small, contact them out at violinicork.ie@gmail.com, also at 087 779 5031.

Dessert

The Menu and Wines
Bouillabaisse with Hegarty’s Cheddar, Rouille, Country Sourdough.
Cava Pares Balta organic

Ballotine of Caherbeg Free Range Ham Hock and chicken, fig, watercress, Pain D’Epices
Baron de Ley Club Privado Rioja 2016

Irish Atlantic Turbot, Pearl Barley, Gremolata, Pickled Ballyhoura Mushrooms, Chicken Essence
Chatelain Pouilly Fumé Abbaye St Laurent 2016

Roast Skeaghanore Duck Breast, Polenta, Savoy Parcel with Confit leg, Golden Raisins & Wild Garlic Cream
Camino Romano Ribera del Duero Pares Balta Organic

Iced Nougat Parfait, Apricots, Rhubarb, Archers
Chateau Caillou Sauternes 2007.

Maher’s Coffee, Barry’s Tea, Petit Fours.

Head Chef: Stuart Bowes, Sous Chef: Adrian Kaszynski.
Wines: Donie O’Brien ENO.

If you missed out on the Gourmet Evening, you can still try Stuart’s cooking and the marvellous produce (both from his producers and the Barnabrow walled garden) during Sunday lunch at Barnabrow. See the menu here
Sweet dreams
Morning walk

Monday, December 31, 2018

Taste of the Season. Barnabrow Christmas Pudding


Taste of the Season
Barnabrow Christmas Pudding
Beautiful texture, amazing flavours

This year, Aberdeen born Chef Stuart Bowes gave the famous Barnabrow Christmas Pudding some added punch, packing it “with the locally distilled Jameson Whiskey and soaked with a double potion of Guinness”.

The pudding was dark, laden with fruit, bound with butter, laced with fresh spices, sprinkled with fairy dust, sweetened with local honey and carrot from their Victorian walled garden. The whisky and stout also helped moisten it.

For all that, there was a certain textural lightness about it, nothing like the heavy unappealing almost indigestible dark slabs served up in some establishments. It was a delight to dispatch and was our Taste of the Season.

Roughy Fruity had them on sale in the English Market. Perhaps they have some left! I suspect there may still be some on offer at Sunday lunch in Barnabrow! And I see that they have a Little Christmas event next Saturday afternoon.

Barnabrow
Cloyne, Co. Cork
021 - 465 2534

Friday, August 17, 2018

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

In Praise of East Cork.
Food. People. Place. Worth a Visit!
Town crier in Youghal
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 and Kevin Ahern’s 12 Mile Menu,  Barnabrow (ideal for weddings and a leisurely Sunday lunch), 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.

Barnabrow
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 the Wildlife Park; if not, walk through the renowned Fota Arboretum and maybe add a tour of the Georgian House. 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.
Garryvoe walk

Moving on, go over the Belvelly Bridge 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.
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

Cruise liners call here regularly during the season, with a carnival atmosphere in the town on the days they are in port. And here 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 statue, 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.

Sonia

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 one in the distillery). Plenty more outside, including Ferrit & Lee and the family friendly Granary now celebrating twenty two years in business.
Cork Harbour

Dessert at Radisson Blu, Little Island
There will be detours, of course. One that I like is off the Whitegate road, out of Midleton. Look out for the signs for East Ferry and enjoy a walk by the estuary and maybe reward yourself with a well cooked meal at Murph’s, a restaurant with a lovely view.

Another suggested detour - 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!

And if you're in this area at the weekend, 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.
Dinner at Sage


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. Be sure to take a look at the impressive Cookery School gardens, not forgetting the Shell House and their truck cafe during the summer. And don’t forget Golden Bean coffee roaster Marc Kingston is also based here.
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 Pier 26.
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. 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. 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 do try and get your hands on the local craft beers, including Ireland's first organic Red Ale, made by the dedicated team in the town’s Munster Brewery; they also do tours. Amazing apple and pear drinks, including their unique Ice Wine, coming from Killahora Orchard (near Glounthaune).

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.

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

Ballynatray House, by the Blackwater

(revised 17.08.18)
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.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Sunday Lunch Supreme at Barnabrow


Sunday Lunch Supreme at Barnabrow
Smoked salmon

When you think of Barnabrow, I bet you think of weddings. They are good, very good, at weddings here. But they do much more besides, including a tremendous Sunday lunch, local produce superbly cooked and presented by Head Chef Stuart Bowes. At twenty four euro for two courses and twenty eight for three (with tea or coffee also included), it is also excellent value.

We were back there last Sunday, the first wet one in a long time, for a lovely leisurely lunch. Not so leisurely though for the chef and his crew. Barnabrow is getting quite a name for its breads. The preparation started on Saturday and the sourdough was finished off on Sunday. I can tell it was well worth the wait, as good as you’ll get anywhere. Though you may not get it exactly like this anywhere else as Chef Bowes, reckons local kitchen conditions play a part in the final outcome.

And local plays a big role here. When Stuart arrived here over six years ago from the Hayfield Manor, he began to revitalise the walled garden and that is now a key supply source for him. And he relies on local suppliers for much of the rest, including meat and fish.
Black pudding

As we sample the sourdough, we take a look at the menu. There is a choice of four starters, four mains and four desserts. There’s Whipped Ardsallagh Gloats Cheese listed and also a Potato and Leek Soup with truffled cream.

My pick though is the Oak smoked salmon with Garden Beetroot, caper and herb dressing and vegetable crisps. The salmon is top notch, moist and smooth and full of flavour and is enhanced by the dressing and also by the combination with the crunchy chips made locally by farmers Sandra and Joe Burns. A lovely dish.

The Clonakilty Black Pudding Salad, with crispy potatoes, Feta, apple and semi-dried tomato dressing is quite a plateful but OBC makes short work of it, enjoying the flavours and the textures. This dish is very popular at wedding dinners and we can see why!
Beef

Courgette are now in season and feature on the mains menu, served with new potatoes, sauce vierge,  garden basil pesto and Parmesan cream. The fish option is Seared fillet of Seabass with Garden Courgettes, sauce vierge,  garden basil pesto.

OBC goes for the Chargrilled Chicken Supreme, new potatoes, garden herbs, Ballyhoura wild mushrooms and Parmesan cream. Another delicious combination.
Chicken

My pick is the Roast Sirloin of O’Connell’s beef, with horse-radish creamed kale, roast shallots and red wine jus. Magnificent. Cooked to perfection with unreal flavours and that creamed kale was something else. 

Dessert
And, speaking of something else, the side dishes were also superb, beautiful roast potatoes (nicely judged fat and salt applied) and outstanding vegetables (enhanced with a scatter of chopped almonds). Nothing went back, not even a sliver of an almond!

And dessert? We could have had Red Wine Poached Pear stuffed with Praline, Valrhona Chocolate Marquise with summer berry, or a selection of ice-cream and sorbet. But we could manage just one between us and enjoyed the Roast Peanut Parfait, with strawberry sauce and (very tasty) marshmallows.

Coffee followed as did some gorgeous rum and raisin petit fours. As we drove home, we were thinking that the excellent meal might have had one or the other nodding off during the World Cup final but no danger of that as France and Croatia served up a goal fest.





Monday, February 19, 2018

Outstanding Gourmet Night. Thanks to Barnabrow Chef Bowes


Outstanding Gourmet Night.
Thanks to Barnabrow Chef Bowes

Blood Orange and Burrata

The Barnabrow Gourmet Evening is becoming a must-have ticket. Head Chef Stuart Bowes, with the aid of sous chef Adrian Kaszynski and team,  put on a top class multi-course meal last Saturday evening, highlight following highlight, and each course well paired by Donie O’Brien of Eno Wines.


Stuart has been at the lovely 30 acre estate for the past six years. “It is a happy working relationship,” says owner Geraldine Kidd as she celebrates 21 years in business here. “One of friendship as well. Stuart is a very patient person with a passion for food and makes so much of his own stuff here. He and Adrian are a well-oiled machine.”

The big restaurant, with its church style windows, was packed for the occasion and, after a reception with Canapés and organic Cava, we were led to our seats and soon began with an amazing dish: Ballyhoura Wild Mushrooms, Ardsallagh Goats Cheese Polenta, Crispy Hens Egg, Pangrattato. Just a big “wow” all round and even better when sipping the Pa Road Pinot Noir from Marlborough. The owners are friends of Donie’s, friends worth keeping as this wine is an excellent rich, ripe and elegant. Fresh and enlivening and with woodland aromas, it certainly did the business with the mushrooms.
Crispy egg and mushrooms

A good standard had been set and would be maintained all through. Indeed, the next course was one of my favourites. The Lobster Agnolotti, White Cabbage, Cognac, was innovative and delightful, the soft texture of the pasta, the crunch of the cabbage, the flavour of the lobsters and the pairing with the Chatelain Sancerre all added up to a sensational experience. 

While Donie might rave about New Zealand Pinot Noir, when it comes to Sauvignon Blanc he cheers for the Loire. “This is Sauvignon Blanc at its best. Sauvignon is now produced all over the world but they never match the Loire.” The Chatelain, with is summer meadow aromas, its citrus fruit and mineral character, is a beauty.
Lobster Agnolotti, white cabbage

Time now for the big red and the Cuvée Raphael, Chateau Parenchere, Bordeaux 2013, was just the job with Roast Squab Pigeon, Smoked Potato, Celeriac Gratin, White Dandelion. This fifty fifty Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon is “one of the classics” said Donie. Very concentrated, smooth, full-bodied, mellow and rich with autumnal red fruits and excellent with the game dish and its accompaniments. Another well thought out plate and yet another well-executed.
Pigeon

And there was yet another beauty on the way, this the Toonsbridge Burrata, Blood orange, Corinader Seed, Lavosh. The occasion gives Stuart the opportunity to get some “unusual ingredients” and the blood oranges were one example. He didn't have to go to Sicily for the Burrata. That was made in Toonsbridge just 24 hours earlier. The superb Lavosh was made right here in Barnabrow. What a fantastic combination, another of my favourite courses (truth to tell, I liked them all). 

Must say chocolate pairs well with me! And so I was delighted to see Hot Valrhona Chocolate Mousse, Blackberry, Vanilla Ice-cream, Pain d’Epices appear in front of me. The ice-cream was “hidden” under the warm chocolate and the contrast in flavour and texture and temperature was a pleasant ambush! Delighted with dessert.
Valrhona

At this stage too we were enjoying sipping our Chateau Caillou Grand Cru Classé Sauternes 2007. Grand Cru Classé means it is one of the very best, very sweet on its own but, with rich desserts, it displays amazing richness and power yet has acidity enough. Donie filled us in: “They practice low yield, so the fruit is concentrated; it is rich and powerful and the flavour lingers.” Enjoyed that too.

We weren't quite finished yet as the Petit Fours appeared, some chocolate truffles and old fashioned delightful jellies.  A lovely end to an evening of gourmet pleasure.

I was a guest at Geraldine Kidd’s Barnabrow which is a superb location for weddings (the majestic, medieval-style banqueting hall, with its gothic windows, sets a grand, yet relaxed tone), for corporate events, for celebrations of all kinds (birthday parties, christenings, naming ceremonies, and Christmas parties), rooms and holiday cottages too and, don't forget, for Sunday lunch. Check it all out here.

Menu

Cava & Canapés (Pares Balta Cava)

Ballyhoura Wild Mushrooms, Ardsallagh Goats Cheese Polenta, Crispy Hens Egg, Pangrattato
(Pa Road Pinot Noir, New Zealand 2014)

Lobster Agnolotti, White Cabbage, Cognac
(Chatelain Sancerre, Loire 2016)

Roast Squab Pigeon, Smoked Potato, Celeriac Gratin, White Dandelion
(Cuvée Raphael, Chateau Parenchere, Bordeaux 2013)

Toonsbridge Burrata, Blood orange, Corinader Seed, Lavosh

Hot Valrhona Chocolate Mousse, Blackerry, Vanilla ice-cream, Pain d’Epices

Bewley’s Coffee, Barry’s Tea, and Petit Fours.

Dessert wine was Chateau Caillou Sauternes 2007

Head Chef: Stuart Bowes. Sous Chef: Adrian Kaszynski. Wines: Donie O’Brien of Eno Wines.