Sunday, June 11, 2017
Stellar Food and Crew at the Castle Cafe
Some go to Blackrock Castle to learn about the Universe, extreme life forms on Planet Earth and to explore life in outer space! Some go to explore the local food on their plate in the Castle Cafe. And it is very good food indeed as we discovered on last week’s visit where we enjoyed a delicious meal in a delightful venue.
The iconic Cork landmark dates back to the 16th century but the Caste Cafe is much younger than that. Indeed, the Market Lane group (which includes the cafe, Market Lane itself, Elbow Lane and ORSO) is celebrating ten years in business. And congratulations are in order!
It may be in a castle but the café is an easy-going informal place catering to locals and visitors alike. Service is friendly but very much on the ball. You have quite a selection of menus to choose from including A La Carte, Early Evening Offer, Set Lunch, Set Dinner, Children's Menu.
We were on the A La Carte, with quite a lot of choices. For the mains, I skipped the normal courses and the selection of salads and, for a change, went for a pizza.
From five, I picked the Goats Cheese, charred aubergine, soft egg, pecorino, spinach and truffle oil. Each and every element, even the baby spinach that had been added at the last minute, looked well and tasted well. And it was excellent overall.
CL’s choice was the Lamb tagine, sweet potato, pearl couscous, tzatziki and homemade flat bread. It was another excellent combination and she loved it but the portion was very large indeed.One good thing about the cafe is that they have their own Elbow Lane beers and I enjoyed a pint of the Wisdom Lane Pale Ale. No shortage of wine either and plenty of soft drinks too, including home-made lemonades.
We enjoyed two excellent starterss. CL especially loved the broth that came with her mussels, full description: Local Mussels, Rosscarberry Black Pudding, shallot, cider and cream broth.
Mine was the Bresaola, olive and anise tapenade, Gorgonzola and pickled kohlrabi. Delightful mix of textures and flavours, especially the kohlrabi.
Just room for a shared dessert: Mango and passionfruit sorbet with fresh fruits. It was a lovely finalé, not least because of the excellent mix of fruit. So it was two happy diners who took a lingering look at the castle as we strolled down to the nearby public car-park.
More info on the Castle Cafe website here.
Friday, March 16, 2012
Quite a big turnout for the Scally SuperValu led Food Fest that took place on Wednesday night in the Blackrock GAA club premises. I arrived quite early but already the place was buzzing; many were sampling the food available at a string of stalls and others keen on getting the best seats for the cooking demonstrations.
Tom and Mary Scally were naturally delighted with the interest and the big turnout and the chance to meet their customers in a more relaxed situation. We were greeted, like everyone else, with a glass of wine and few nibbles on the way in and then headed for the stalls, well spread out around the hall and in another room nearby.
Quite a lot of interest in the handmade cookie dough by Gookie and also in the tasty products – enjoyed their salmon pate – by Kinsale’s Blue Haven.
Headed over then for a chat with Avril from Rosscarbery Recipes but just time to say hello as she was busy with the queues for her sausages and blackpudding and also for her “secret recipe” bread!
West Cork Meats had some tasty ham there and then there I stopped at the Old Creamery Cheese stall. Must say I like their stuff, especially that marble looking porter cheese and I notice they have now added a lovely blueberry cheddar.
Dunmanway based Insanely Good were there with their range of delicious sauces, including a Classic Pasta Sauce and a Fresh and Fruity Curry Sauce. Carrigtwohill based Fresh Farm Salads make our favourite Coleslaw and also other 100% Irish salads.
Came across two cheese stalls next. Carrigaline has always been a favourite here and, by the way, they do cheese biscuits as well. Have tasted the Horgan’s cheese previously also. Sampled the Brie this time and liked it.
"Fresh is best" aptly sums up the situation with food and it seems to me that Supervalu do better than many. I’ve been in a few of their stores over the past few months and was very impressed with the amount of local food available in outlets in Skibbereen, Riverstown (Glanmire) and Ticknock (Cobh).
The Scallys too underlined that trend with a very impressive selection of breads displayed in the hall. And they were also serving up some tempting samples of their cooked dishes, really loved the fish cakes in the photo. These are cooked every morning and ready for the customers (in bigger sizes than the samples photographed!).
I may have missed out on a few, certainly missed the sample chowder from the Good Fish company . Overall though it turned out to be a very enjoyable evening. Well done to the Scallys and to all the producers who put their best foot forward on the night.