Showing posts with label Black's Brewery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Black's Brewery. Show all posts

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Carole's Back with Crackpots Encore.


Carole's Back with Crackpots Encore. 
Hake
It’s a big bravo to Carole Norman on her return to the Kinsale restaurant scene. Three years ago, she closed the doors on the original Crackpots. But couldn’t stay away and you’ll find her now every weekend at Crackpots Encore in Cork Street. You’ll also find a warm welcome, good food based mostly in local produce and, if it’s a Friday evening, you’ll have the bonus of Billy Crosbie on the piano and a guest (or two, perhaps!). 
Platter

Carole has that hospitality gene in abundance and the trademark warm welcome had us settled even before we are seated and studying the menu. A menu with a twist. Instead of starters, you are offered Platters. Have one for yourself or order a bigger one for sharing. Great variety and good value too. And yes, you may also have soup, oysters perhaps, mussels too.

Those Platters include Spanish Tapas, Patés on Parade and a Seafood Platter with prawns, oysters, mussels, and smoked salmon included. Hard to resist the superb Taste of Ireland (Irish cheese and charcuterie, including spiced beef from the local butcher just up the street) and a helping of Ballymaloe Relish! 

The table tops are a decent size here but if you get one of those large platters, it makes for a tight squeeze. A delicious one though as we found out when we shared the Middle Eastern, a board loaded with Falafels, creamy Hummus, pomegranate tabouleh, roasted aubergine, artichoke hearts, olives, toasted pitta breads, stuffed vine-leaves.
Curry

There is a long wine list here, quite a few available by the glass as well. All kinds of spirits too and some gorgeous cocktails. I went for the local Black’s beer, always enjoy their superb ale.

Chef John Paul McCarthy comes into his own with the Plat du Jour, which features a short but ever-changing list of main courses with something guaranteed for fish lovers, meat eaters and something too for the vegan/vegetarian. You might find a Rib-eye steak, a pan-seared chicken supreme, a Monkfish red Thai curry, or a  mixed bean chilli, for example.
A classic

Our set of choices included a Baked fillet of Hake with teriyaki glaze on shredded Pak Choi, chilli and garlic and with basmati rice (or fries) and it was perfectly cooked, well presented and a terrific combination. We choose the rice and that also featured in another excellent dish: Chicken Massaman Curry, slow cooked in Thai spices and coconut milk and served with basmati rice and a green salad.

Other mains on offer on the night included Roasted Cauliflower cutlets, with a smoked tomato and red pepper sauce and olive tapenade and a Rib-eye with caramelised red onions, peppercorn sauce and hand-cut chips.

We had made an early start and as we were looking at the dessert menu, the punters were streaming in. It was Friday night and it was obvious that quite a few regulars had booked around this time, knowing that Billy Crosbie would soon be tinkling those ivories. He soon was and the lovely buzz increased. From Abba to Andy Williams, Beatles to Buble – Billy can play “almost” anything!!

We just had to be somewhere else later on but enjoyed our sample of Crackpots craic as we shared a dessert. Like some of Mr Crosbie’s numbers, this was a classic: Poached Pears in mulled red wine. And it was a terrific version. The list is short but also includes an excellent Irish cheese plate. If you’d like something small with your coffee, you can treat yourself to the local Koko chocolates. Pity we had to go. Next time we’ll give yourselves more time at Crackpots Encore.

3 Cork St, Kinsale, Co. Cork
tel: 087 649 1322

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Jim Edwards. A Kinsale Classic. After All These Years!


Jim Edwards. A Kinsale Classic.
After All These Years!
Scallops starter, also available as mains

Jim Edwards is a renowned restaurant in the renowned foodie town of Kinsale and it has been serving up classic fare since 1971.

And while some of those beloved classics are still on the menu, Jim Edwards is not slow to support new producers and new products in the area. Just a peep at their drinks list confirms this, with Kinsale Mead, Stonewell Cider and beers from Black’s of Kinsale and 9 White Deer (Ballyvourney) on offer. 

Local gins include Kinsale gin, Blackwater gin and Black's gin. while local whiskeys include Pogues from West Cork and the world famous Midleton Very Rare. With the best of spirits available, there is no shortage of cocktails. Produce suppliers, some long-standing, are listed on the back of the menu.
Mussels

And there is no shortage of food choices here. You may dine in the Gastro Pub or in the restaurant. The Gastro Pub menu (including a sandwich selection) and A La Carte menu are available from 12pm to 10pm daily. In addition they have daily specials and a value menu also available all day. No wonder the venue has been declared  “a standard bearer in Kinsale's distinguished culinary culture” by  the McKenna Guide.

We were glad to see the A La Carte menu available from lunchtime on when we arrived there about one o’clock on a recent Friday. Soon we were seated by the window and reading our way through the choices. By the way, from exchanges at a nearby table, we heard that you can pick and choose from the various menus.
Monkfish classic

The mussels and oysters come from nearby Haven Shellfish and I picked the rather traditional starter (they don’t really do cutting edge here in any case) of Kinsale Mussels toasted with Garlic Breadcrumbs. Very tasty, with a well prepared salad. And CL too was very pleased with another excellent appetiser, this of Pan Seared Scallops in garlic and basil with a cauliflower purée.

We sipped our Black’s ale as we waited for the mains. Unbeknownst to ourselves we had chosen two house classics and looking back we can appreciate how they’ve stood the test of taste and time. Both were superb.
Lamb

One is the flavoursome Mint and Herb Crusted Rack of Slaney Valley Lamb with a rosemary and garlic jus. Beautifully cooked, neatly presented, as were all our dishes. 

Our other mains was the Medallions of Monkfish, pan fried with ginger, spring onion chill and lime dressing. Another superb combination, no shortage of quality here. And no skimping on quantity either.

And, just in case you haven’t enough, in another nod to tradition, they serve three sides as well: potatoes gratin, seasonal vegetables and fries.

It was a fairly busy lunch service in the restaurant and no problem to the staff as they kept the food coming and helped the customers make their choices, patience needed in some cases!

We did have a look at the dessert menu but, having been well fed, decided to give the sweet stuff a skip and finished off with an excellent cup of Maher’s coffee, another local business supported by Jim Edwards. Roll on the 50th celebrations in 2021!




Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Visit Courtmacsherry. Small Place. Lots to see and do.


Visit Courtmacsherry.
Small Place. Lots to see and do.



The West Cork village of Courtmacsherry, just about an hour from the city, is within easy reach for a break of a day or two. Here is what I got up to on a recent visit.

On the way down, I stopped in the lovely well kept village of Kilbrittain. Here they have on display the skeleton of a huge Fin Whale that got stranded on the nearby shore in 2009. 


The impressive skeleton is mounted near a playground. From here, you can take a short woodland walk and see the old Kilbrittain Castle  to your left on the way down. Cross the road to a peaceful spot near a small waterfall. If you feel like doing more walking, there is one through a forest here or you may just prefer to walk back up either via the path you originally took or on the road itself.

If it is dinner or lunch time, then you’ll be in Timoleague in a few minutes. There are a couple of good restaurants here and the one we most recently visited is the excellent Monk’s Lane just about a hundred yards away from the village’s ancient and famous abbey ruins.


Courtmacsherry is just four kilometres away and there is an easy flat walk between the two villages. Courtmac, as most people down here call it, is attractive whether you approach by car or on foot.

We came in by car on this occasion and booked ourselves into the ten room Courtmacsherry Hotel. Small it may be but it has a big hearty welcome for you.
Kilbrittain Walk

If it is Sunday, I’m told they do a amazing fish platter in the hotel. If you’d prefer something lighter at lunchtime, then try Diana Dudog’s Food Depot, a truck which parks up by the beach every Sunday.

Before lunch, or after, you might fancy a walk through the nearby woods. This is something you must do if you come in May as then the flowers of the bluebells and the wild garlic put on a big show here. If you are a “real” walker, then keep going - there’s over forty kilometres of the Seven Heads walk ahead of you!
Wild Garlic in Courtmac wood

Most people will head back to the village, I reckon. And recently quite a few are heading to the newly opened restaurant, The Lifeboat Inn. We enjoyed a lovely evening meal here and also a beer out on their new terrace overlooking the harbour.

if the sun shines, then you have a beach at your doorstep, just outside the hotel. Fancy something more dramatic? Then head over to the spectacular Dunworley beach.
Lunchbox from the Food Truck

Even though Courtmacsherry may not be the biggest place, I know you’ll find your own spots in which to wine and dine in the general area. And be sure to bring those walking shoes. And the camera - sunsets are spectacular down here but I was never up for the sunrise! 

And don’t forget the fishing rods - you can hire a boat and perhaps spot some of those sharks and whales that visit here. A year ago, we saw a basking shark but wouldn’t really have known what it was but for the shouts of some excited locals on the cliffs beyond the walk in the wood.
Donworley. Kids below. Cows above.

And, on the way home, you might fancy calling to the Farmers Market, held in nearby Bandon, every Saturday morning. Clonakilty has one on Fridays. Bandon’s not the biggest a round but the quality is high and you’ll find plenty of good food for dinner and that will save you having to go shopping when you get back home.
Courtmac sunset
See other recent posts from this area:
Courtmacsherry Hotel
The Lifeboat Inn
Monk's Lane



Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Courtmacsherry Hotel. Welcome to the Club.


Courtmacsherry Hotel. Welcome to the Club.


In some multi-starred hotels, the fuss they make of you is about as genuine as a Trump tweet. Not the case in the 10 room Courtmacsherry Hotel. Here, the chats are warm and real. You feel you’re part of a social club, you’re not a stranger here.

How about this for social? On a recent Saturday, May 19th, they were catering for a wedding, two communion settings and, yes, two matches on the big screen. And the season hadn’t really started yet. They admit they are struggling a bit to finish off renovations before they go full-time on June 1st. In May, it is open just Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

I was kind of sorry that I wasn't around there on the Saturday but had a great time in Courtmac and surrounds on the sunny Friday. We got that real down to earth Irish welcome and were soon shown up to room number six. 

By the way, if you are booking in here, do ask for a front facing room. Number six has three fairly large windows and two of them have views over the magnificent Courtmacsherry Bay. The renovations hadn't passed it by either and it had all we needed: tea-making facilities, bottled water, new carpet and mat, and a very comfortable bed.

On the way in, there were dozens of people enjoying themselves, not in the hotel's Seven Heads Bar, but in the sun outside, dining and drinking. The hotel building, which dates from Victorian times (you’ll note those high ceilings), provided shelter and also reflected the sun back to diners and drinkers. There is a lovely old tree in the middle of the manicured lawn and lots of rustic style tables and chairs there as well.

On the way down from the city, we had stopped at Kilbrittain (mainly to see the huge skeleton of the fin whale), taken a stroll on the gorgeous beach at Dunworley and had reacquainted ourselves with the bluebells and wild garlic in full flower in Courtmacsherry Wood.

A week earlier, we had dined at the excellent Lifeboat Inn and had spotted their garden and terrace overlooking the bay. It was too cold to sit out on that occasion but we weren't going to miss out this time. Strolled down through the village and called to the Inn. Soon we were out on the terrace, enjoying the splendid views and also enjoying a well deserved pint of ale from Black’s Brewery in Kinsale.

We would renew our support of local in the Seven Heads that night with a gin, also from Black’s. They are not just a brewery, you know, as they also produce this excellent gin and more recently a rum! 

Later, I said I’d try out another gin from Shortcross, one I hadn’t tried before. The lady serving got a bit of a shock when she keyed it in and saw it was costing €10.50 a shot! Something wrong there, I thought, this must be some kind of super-premium. But it was late, the gin was in the glass with the ice so I went ahead with it. An excellent drop indeed but not worth that much! So maybe you'd better check the price if you are ordering it there!

While most of the day to day eating is done in the bar, or outside if the sun shines, breakfast is taken in the eye-catching Cork Tree Bar with its recently exposed original stone walls and unusual candelabras. And it is a very good breakfast indeed. If you like the Full Irish, you’ll get it here, even a mini version if you'd prefer. Plenty of variety with various eggs dishes, waffles also, and kippers. I went for the Scrambled Eggs with the top notch Ummera Smoked Salmon.

Very happy with that. And very happy too with their buffet table. Some great fruit there including fresh strawberries (I assume they were Bushby’s but I didn’t ask), good choices of juices, and also brown bread and tempting pastries and service was friendly (as ever) and efficient too, just one lady keeping the show going without any fuss whatsoever.

And, as we left on Saturday morning, heading for a final walk in the woods and then a visit to Bandon Farmers Market, the staff were getting the outside area spic and span for the visitors (while the bouncy castle was being readied for the kids). The soft covers, having been removed overnight, were being replaced on the chairs and the parasols were being put in place. Another sunny day ahead, another busy one at the friendly little hotel. And hopefully many more in the season ahead.

Just in case you can’t get a booking here in the 3-star hotel, why not try their holiday cottages situated in front of the magnificent woodland and overlooking the bay. All the cottages have central heating, two spacious bedrooms (sleeping 6+) and two fully tiled bathrooms with shower downstairs, towels and linen are supplied.

There is a barbecue area where you can sit out and enjoy the view in a relaxing atmosphere. The cottages come with parking, garden, free Wi-Fi and use of hotel facilities when it is open.

Other recent posts from this area:
The Lifeboat Inn
Monk's Lane

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Other Side of Monk's Lane


The Other Side of Monk's Lane
Temple of Good Food and Drink in Timoleague
Perfect Pork

A country classic, for sure. (McKenna’s).

Those in the know happily take a drive out from Kinsale and Cork city to enjoy Michelle O'Mahony and Gavin Moore’s lovely restaurant. (Georgina’s Campbell’s Ireland Guide).

I have seen the future and it’s in Timoleague. This is a pub that manages to be utterly unpretentious but which also ticks every conceivable box.. (Irish Mail).

Most of you know by now that Monk’s Lane, a gastro-pub in Timoleague, is a must visit. But did you know, that across the lane, they now have a Gin Bar and a private dining area. And, indeed, in the lane itself, there is a beer garden, part of it covered, an inviting summertime venue.
Just some of the good beer (and cider) available here.
That Gin Bar is well endowed and serving a long list of Irish and English gins. The Irish list is as long as your arm, the English almost as long as the other one.

And another distinguishing factor here, since they opened, is the craft beer menu. No  messing here with a token bottle or two. Quite a few by draught and even more by bottle. We were there the other night and I enjoyed Roaring Ruby Red Ale by the West Cork Brewery, one of the best red ales I've come across, fantastic body and flavour all the way from Baltimore (not too far really!).  CL's pick was the Black's 1601 lager.



Here too you may have an aperitif, White Port and tonic for instance. Wine of the Week perhaps? A white from Italy, from Puglia, a Garnacha from Navarra. And there are three  cocktails on offer: based Black’s of Kinsale gin, a Longueville Mór Martini and a Gunpowder Gin du Jour. Wines, by the way, come in five different sized servings, starting with a convenient 100ml.
The burger and salad

You'd never know by these opening paragraphs but we did come here for the food and glad to say it is as varied and as good as ever, local produce well cared for, well cooked and neatly presented and delivered to the table with care and a smile. And at a fair price too.

So let us start! There are eight or nine starters to choose from and also a trio of sharing plates, virtually all featuring local produce. CL picked the Crozier Blue, apple and candied pecan salad. Hard to go wrong with that combination and it was superb, that creamy blue, those delicious nuts.

Mine was a bit more exotic: Lamb Quesadillas, with salsa fresca, salad and lime yogurt. That, with a couple of dips, one cooling, made the taste buds sit up and take notice! Have to say too that the salad leaves in both starters were as fresh as could be and well dressed, simple stuff, simply well done. By the way, each of these starters was also available in a large size.
Crozier Blue salad

On then to the mains and again we were picking from a good long list, everything from Haddock Fish and Chips, to Sea Trout, to 10 ounce sirloin. Garlic and Thyme Marinated Pork Medallions (17.95) was one of our picks and it was served with spring onion mash, char-grilled red onions, apple and raisin chutney and a cranberry gravy. Silence reigned while that was being demolished!

I wasn't doing too much talking myself either as I made my way through quite a delightful plateful: Chorizo and Rosemary Infused Wagyu Beef Burger (18.50) , on a flour bun, topped with melted buffalo mozzarella, homemade aioli, tomato chutney, sautéed onions, hand-cut chips and salad. Some wild garlic in there too. All good, the beef outstanding, loved the chutney, the chips of course and again that salad played a key role providing colour, flavour and crunch.
Be sure and check out the lane to the left!

We were feeling fairly full at this point and dessert was being turned down until we were “persuaded” to share the Rhubarb and Ginger Cake with ice-cream and cream. It didn't last long, the ginger adding a certain “je ne sais quoi” to the combination! 

Just goes to show that one ingredient can lift and distinguish a dish. We had seen it earlier with the chorizo in the burger, the candied pecan with the cheese. Get the big things right and use something small to make the difference. Looks like they do that here a lot. Worth a trip not to mind a detour.

Monk's Lane
15 Mill Street
Timoleague
Co. Cork
tel: 023 884 6348
Web: http://monkslane.ie/ 

See other recent posts from this area:
Courtmacsherry Hotel
The Lifeboat Inn
Monk's Lane


Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Lifeboat Inn. Courtmacsherry's Gastro Pub Up and Running


The Lifeboat Inn.
Courtmacsherry's Gastro Pub Up and Running

The Lifeboat Inn in Courtmacsherry is not open a year yet but is making quite an impression in the village. Serving good local food, much of it from the nearby waters, in a casual atmosphere has been the aim of David O’Halloran and chef Martin Buckley since they started here last summer and already it is paying off for them. 

Indeed, they have “expanded” across the road where an inviting terrace has been set up with views over the water. I reckon that will be buzzing in the months ahead. So, a tip for motorists: drive slowly here and allow that server (it may well be David as he looks after front of house) get across the road!

We were there recently and the menu , as promised, has lots of fish and seafood: cod, black sole, John Dory, crab claws and prawns. And quite a bit more as well. The menu is short enough but I prefer to see a short list and high quality, and that's what you get here.

Surprisingly enough, the wine list is a long one with lots of choice. The outstanding Craggy Range Te Muna Sauvignon Blanc features but the New Zealand wine is one of just a few from the New World. We enjoyed the Tandem Wines Casual Rosé and an Albarino, both from Spain, two of about ten whites available by the glass. 

A few more from the New World in the reds, where I spotted the lovely Finca Florencia Malbec from Argentina; some excellent European offerings too, ranging from 22 euro to 130. And there is a bar right there in the middle offering the usual suspects plus an outstanding local craft beer by Blacks of Kinsale.

We had five starters to choose from and my choice was their Prawns in garlic and white cream with crispy sourdough on the side to soak up the cream. A simple enough dish, delicate and delicious and pleasurably dispatched. 

CL’s opener had more texture, more flavours, also a little bit more robust, and the warm Haulie’s Black-pudding salad served with apple, walnut and crispy hen’s egg was also a winner.

Aside from the fish dishes, the mains may also include a Beef Burger in a Brioche Bun with Gubbeen Cheese and Tomato or a Sirloin Steak with all the trimmings.

My choice though was the Wild Mushroom Risotto with herbs and shaved Parmesan. This was one of the best I've had, just perfect and, at €14.00, good value also.

CL meanwhile also struck gold with her Cod with a Parmesan crust, baby potato, roast cauliflower, and wild garlic (no doubt from the local wood where we had earlier walked through swathes of it in flower). The fish was pristine, the whole dish a delicious combination of textures, flavours and aromas (19.95). Go for this if it is on when you visit!.

We were tempted by the desserts but eventually decided to share the cheese board. And we got a generous selection - Milleens, Hegarty’s Cheddar and Cashel Blue - served with an outstanding pear and fig chutney and plenty of bread and crackers. Another one to look out for!

Probably not surprising that the offering is so good here. Both David and chef Martin have put in long years learning the trade in London and Dublin before settling in Courtmacsherry. Their Gastro Pub is truly up and running and well worth a call, even if it is just for a glass of wine or beer on the terrace.

While we were among just a few diners - we were in very early - it would be advisable to book ahead, especially if you are going down just for the meal as they tend to get full early on at the weekend.

The Lifeboat Inn
Main Street
Courtmacsherry
Co. Cork
Tel: (023) 886 4656
Twitter: @the_lifeboatinn 
Web: www.lifeboatinn.ie 

Other recent posts from this area:
Courtmacsherry Hotel


Monday, April 23, 2018

Danny Martinez Doyle’s Hiberno-Iberian Chowder is Champion in Kinsale All Ireland Cook Off


Danny Martinez Doyle’s Hiberno-Iberian Special
 is Champion in Kinsale All Ireland Chowder Cook Off
No doubt about it, Cronin's chowder was a winner, many "came back for seconds and thirds".
Note Danny's little helper.

Sunshine and fish drew the crowds to Sunday’s All Ireland Chowder Cook Off at Acton’s Hotel on Kinsale. And they were ready, quite a shoal crowding in at the first minute to sample the dozens of chowders on offer from most parts of the country. There were entries from Antrim to Beara and from Kenmare to Kildare, 26 in all.
 Head Chef Lee Mastin serving up a beauty from Sligo's Draft House
At the end, there were big congratulations for the winner, Dan Cronin’s Bar and Bistro from Newcastlewest, County Limerick, led by Chef Danny Martinez Doyle. Donegal’s Waterfront Hotel were second while the Marine Hotel from Ballycastle, Co.Antrim, got the nod for third.


The large marquee was packed as CL and myself tasted our way around. Quite a few of the stands were pro-active and had staff meeting and greeting you out on the floor with their samples. The standard was high and both of us had the top three (not necessarily in that order) on our shortlists along with a few more.
Tasty canapés from the Waterfront Hotel


Indeed, we had sampled Danny's excellent chowder - they described it as an Irish-Spanish combination - early on, a little chorizo among the elements lifting it well out of the ordinary and we put a star on it straight away. 

Ready for the off in sunny Kinsale

The Waterfront had some lovely seafood canapés on their table and a very nice chowder as well, nicely seasoned with a high proportion of shellfish.

Mike from the Cornstore checks out the crowd
I didn't come to the Marine Hotel until late in my round but immediately noted it as a contender, the seaweed based chowder an innovative and delicious bowl. I think if it had been up to the two of us, this would have been the winner!


Cork’s Cornstore are noted for their fish offering and they certainly came up with something different, a very tasty clam and bacon chowder served in the hollow of a parmesan bun. And not just chowder; they also provided a mini-dessert of posset. 
The Waterfront, a popular stop

Some jazzed up their offerings with alcohol, one had brandy, while the Cork Airport Hotel used Eight Degrees beer. Quinlan’s had a more traditional embellishment, a delicious crab claw. They and Cornstone were also on our short-lists.

There were some very tasty breads on offer but I’m afraid we didn't manage to sample very many of them. There is only so much you can eat! The bread from Jinny’s Bakery was excellent but the best that we tasted was the Seaweed Sourdough from Kelly’s of Wexford. 
I enjoyed this one from the Marine Hotel

In between, we found the calm of the smaller adjoining marquee and refreshed with a reviving sample of Black’s new rum, thanks to Sam and Maudeline, the busy couple behind the go-ahead local brewery and distillery.
Liam Quinlan greets visitors to his stand
So big congratulations to Danny and his Newcastlewest crew on their well deserved win. It was their first time entering and they take over from the 2017 champions the Beara Coast Hotel who gave it their best shot again this time.


There was huge delight in County Limerick gastro-pub: “The response to Danny’s Chowder was just incredible as many came back for seconds and thirds and looking for the recipe! Huge congratulations and very well done to Danny, Fiona and all the team”. And so say all of us! And well done also to the organisers, the Kinsale Good Food Circle.
The overflow at the back door!




Thursday, July 27, 2017

Superb Evening Meal at Pier One. And So Much More at Kinsale's Trident Hotel

Superb Evening Meal at Pier One
And So Much More at Kinsale's Trident Hotel
Three sails power this boat to harbour. View from the Trident bedroom
Pier One is the main restaurant at the refurbished Trident Hotel in Kinsale and we enjoyed a lovely evening meal there recently. If you'd prefer something more casual then downstairs at the Wharf Bar is the spot to go, a lovely room with food all day long. And drink too, of course. 

Indeed, if you’re one of the many that likes a drink outside these summer days then, between car park and the harbour, the Trident have their self contained Foredeck Bar with some seating for your comfort.
Duck confit

There was a coach load of visitors dining in Pier One when we arrived. But it was no bother to the efficient well practised crew on duty and the service at our table was top notch all through. We had menus, breads and water as soon as we seated and then got on with the “work” of making choices!

And we had plenty to choose from. Here, they buy local “as much as possible” and we could see that, from the breakfast in the morning to the drinks at night. Drinks featured included Blacks of Kinsale, Franciscan Well, Stag Ban, Killarney Brew, Stonewell Cider, lots of Irish whiskeys, gin by Dingle and Kinsale and also Kalak vodka. 
Crab

I enjoyed a Crested Ten (one of Ireland’s most under-rated) in The Wharf, excellent service here too by the way, and they too were busy with people dining and drinking, some watching the British Open. The bar has a nautical feel – designed by local yacht designer, Rob Jacob, to resemble elements of an old sailing ship, it is complete with portholes, decking, vaulted panel and beam ceiling and rope-wound galleon masts.

But back upstairs to Pier One. Once we took our eyes off the collection of Knuttle on the walls and the activity on the water outside, the boats coming and going, we made up our mind. My mains would be Roast Crispy Duck (a half!), with wild berry, apple compote and citrus jus while CL went with the Seared Monkfish with carrot crisps and a Vermont Cream Butter Sauce. 
Duck

The duck was surrounded by orange segments and I certainly enjoyed this more exotic style, very well cooked by the way. And so too was the monkfish, a more simple dish though with a most gorgeous sauce, and another excellent combination. The side dish, of lovely vegetables, included courgette, celery, carrot and leek on the side. And all the while I was sipping my Kinsale Pale Ale by Black’s.

The starters had been excellent also. My Pan fried crab claws, with garlic and coriander, were as good, if not better, than any I've come across previously. And The Trident style Duck Confit was dispatched, with no little pleasure at the other side of the table.
Monkfish

The high standard was maintained with dessert. This time there was no sharing as we each picked the delightfully presented Rosscarberry Strawberry Shortcake, Crème de Menthe cream, Vanilla and Raspberry Sauce. Quite a plateful and a great sweet way to finish.

We would be back in Pier One for breakfast. They lay on quite a spread here, with real cheese and ham included. Loads of fruit too, plus breads and cereals. And a choice of hot dishes of course, including the full Irish (and any variation you wish) and a fish option. We both went for the Eggs Benedict and, with the local Barrett rashers and the eggs by Riverview making a lovely impression, that set us up for the day.
Dessert

The 75 newly refurbished bedrooms include an executive wing comprising 30 rooms and a penthouse floor of 9 luxury suites, all with breath-taking views of the harbour and enchanting town of Kinsale. The hotel has a private marina, onsite parking and a wide range of state of the art facilities for conferences and is an unforgettable venue for family occasions.

We stayed in one of those refurbished bedrooms and, with the sun obliging both in the evening and morning, we had splendid views of the harbour. The decor is restful and the spacious room had all we needed, including hairdryer (well, I didn't need that!) and tea-maker.
The Foredeck Bar, with some of Trident rooms on far right

The hotel is three-sided (the water's edge completes the square) and all rooms  have a view of the harbour. While walking along the corridors, I was struck by the restful colour combination, mainly white and grey on the walls, blue and grey in the carpet, and a little extra colour in the curtains. All very peaceful throughout. A really lovely place to stay, good rooms, good food, and just about four minutes from the very heart of the town.
Room with a view


Lots to visit here, most notably Charlesfort. But don’t forget the wine museum in the smaller Desmond Castle. One of the new attractions is the Old Head Signal Tower and Lusitania Museum, a community effort alongside the Old Head itself. Good stories here and also splendid views over the ocean and the land, especially over the old head itself.
The Old Head of Kinsale, with Lusitania Memorial Garden in foreground