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

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.







Sunday, February 19, 2017

Barnabrow’s Gourmet Evening Exceeds Expectations

Barnabrow’s Gourmet Evening Exceeds Expectations
Exceptional Wine and Food Pairings
Calm, before the gourmet storm
Fine food, paired so well with gorgeous wines by ENO, featured in Barnabrow House last Saturday night as owner Geraldine Kidd continued to celebrate 20 years in business in the lovingly-restored manor house and 30-acre estate which dates back to the 17th century. The gourmet event was held in the majestic, medieval-style banqueting hall, with its gothic windows, a splendid room that sets a grand, yet relaxed tone.

Chef Stuart Bowes, who came to the East Cork venue some five years ago with an impressive pedigree - he once cooked for 2,000 people at the Sydney Opera House - came in for praise from the owner: “He made us pull our socks up!”

Stuart  thanked everyone for coming. “It was quickly booked up. We have the best ingredients in the planet around here and my ethos is to keep it simple.” He pointed to the Périgord truffles, the Kerry venison and the blood orange from Sicily as probable highlights.

Donie O’Brien of Eno Wines had carefully selected wines to match the dishes and we enjoyed an organic Cava, Pares Balta Cava NV with the opening soup: Soupe de Poisson, Gruyere and Rouille. The Rouille sauce is most often used in the cuisine of Provence, most often with bouillabaisse and indeed the lovely soup had strong echoes of the southern French fish soup.

Ballotine

We had already been welcomed into the beautifully decorated venue, where Barnabrow hold their wedding feats, with a glass of the Cava. Donie congratulated Barnabrow and promised a real wine treat and he was fully justified in doing so. Most of ENO wines come from small producers and many are organic.

And, indeed, the next wine was the star of his selection, the next match a highlight of the evening. Stuart’s Ballotine of Organic Chicken and Ham Hock, Hazelnut, Pain d’Épices was paired with J. Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay 2015 from California. 

The producer is a “real perfectionist”. The wine has been fermented and raised in oak yet Mr Lohr, a former NASA employee, has judged it all very finely indeed. No wonder, Ashford Castle are about to include it and its amazing aromas, flavours and texture, on their list.

Truffles
Speaking of aromas, next up was the Winter Black Périgord Truffle Risotto. Another outstanding and superbly executed dish from the Bowes kitchen. No oak used in the production of the matching wine, a light and fresh Pinot Noir from the Auvergne. A lovely wine with spice, fruit and finish but the Truffle dish was the star of this round.

That was followed by the main event, the Wild Venison, Roast celeriac, Savoy Cabbage, Blackberry. A simple dish but every element played a part. The Venison was perfect, I loved the cabbage and the blackberry was a great idea.


Venison

And ENO came up with another terrific match: Baron de Ley Rioja Reserva 2012, very smooth and rounded, opulent and rich, very much the complete wine. Decanter Magazine declared the 2010 version “best in Spain”.

And before I forget, the service here was intuitive and unobtrusive, efficient and friendly. And continuing in a sweet vein, we next enjoyed a sweet and rich cheese course: Truffled Brie de Meaux, honey, Poppy Seed Dorrito. Just like every other course, the quantity was just spot-on, the quality never in doubt.


Truffled Brie de Meaux

And we also had a rich and sweet wine: Quinta Seara d’Ordens LBV Port 2007. So much sweetness in one drop, one little sip was enough each time. What a match. Perfect!

And dessert saw those oranges take to the stage, or at least to the table, in an eye-catching palate-pleasing Blood Orange Trifle. Superb. And still time to finish off with a selection of Petit Fours and tea or coffee.

Blood Orange Trifle

Time to rest!


The carefully designed menu and the matching wines made it an evening to remember and impressed the many guests, some here to check Barnabrow as a possible wedding venue, others (based on past experiences) back to enjoy .

Geraldine Kidd’s enterprise 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) and, don't forget, for Sunday lunch. Check it all out here