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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.
Monday, August 3, 2015
Cork City Tourism Briefing.Music, Dance, Butter and Beer.
|Franciscan Well's Noel. Chieftain Pale Ale On Tap.|
Last week’s Cork City Tourism Event in the Atrium of the City Hall Offices was well attended, hotels and other stakeholders well represented. Also present were representatives of city attractions such as Blackrock Castle, Lifetime Labs and Elizabeth Fort. Speakers at the event, opened by Lord Mayor Chris O’Leary, outlined what had been done in the recent past and what is now being done and planned.
I was interested in the food and drink aspect, not just the tasty canapés. The Butter Museum had a stand here, butter was made and soon we tasted it on a well made brown bread. Washed that down with a glass or two of Chieftain Pale from the Franciscan Well.
|The Coca Cola BikeShare a big success|
Recent success for T.E.A.M. include the Lee Sessions, the Pulses of Tradition Show and the Coca Cola BikeShare Scheme. Indeed, we had members of Pulses playing, singing and dancing in the atrium. Also there were enactors from Elizabeth Fort and Blackrock Castle, including a wandering sea captain looking for his ship. Check out the Castle and Gunnery Tours that run until the end of August.
T.E.A.M. were keen to get the word out about the new city website www.cork.ie - it has a dedicated tourism section. Providers BitBuzz are extending the availability of free wi-fi around the city and their partnership with City Hall seems to be going very well indeed. The partnership with CIT in Blackrock Castle has been a successful one and could now lead to a breakthrough at Cork City Gaol. Cork Airport’s Kevin Cullinane was upbeat, promising more connections and more collaboration.
The Cork Convention Bureau outlined their recent successes in bringing conferences, small and big, to the city and are looking for ambassadors to help expand that success. So if you have contacts abroad, either through your work, hobby or sport, do contact them. Check the site and see what other ambassadors have already done for the city.
|Pulses of Tradition|
- A brilliant video about Cork, made for the Tourism section, was given to those attending. I shared it on Facebook and it is already passed the 500,000 reach and heading for 200,000 views. Check it out here and don't forget to share it. The more we pull together, the further we will go.
Friday, January 17, 2014
Dining at the Castle Café
The sky cleared as we arrived at Cork’s Blackrock Castle this week for lunch in the Castle Café. and, from the bright front room - there is also an inner room - we had a close-up view of the 16th century castle under a beautiful blue sky.
Blackrock Castle is located on the banks of the River Lee, about 2 kilometres from the heart of Cork city. Nowadays, it houses the CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory and, in the small grounds, the Castle Café.
It is a very popular spot for lunch. We had arrived rather early, about 12.30pm, last Wednesday, but had to wait in line for a table. After a short spell, during which we studied the menu, we were led to our table. The menus are already there as they use them as table mats, just as they do in Market Lane, a busy city centre restaurant run by the same firm (ORSO is also under the same umbrella).
The Elbow Lane Brewery, soon to come onstream if reports are correct, is also part of the group. For the moment, at least in the Castle, you can sample the craft brews of Dungarvan Brewing and Eight Degrees Brewing in bottle. On draught, they have a White Gypsy red ale and I sampled, and very much enjoyed, a glass of that (€2.30) with the meal.
Service was pretty good here, even if all tables were full. Presentation and delivery of the food was fine and what was supposed to be warm was warm and water was refilled without having to make a request.
We had two good salads as our mains. One was the Slow cooked ham with honey glaze, roast sweet potato, watercress, sundried tomatoes and grapefruit dressing (€10.95) and the other a Caesar Salad with Romaine Lettuce, classic Caesar dressing, parmesan shavings and croutons (€8.50) enhanced by the addition chicken and Bacon (€2.50).
But it was the starters that had us talking, as both were superb. Mine was the Seared Escalope of venison with leek and thyme risotto (€8.50). The strongly flavoured meat was well matched with the soft and gorgeous risotto.
Homemade crab fish fingers with lemon cucumber pickle and quince jelly (€7.95) was another gem, a well cooked main ingredient enhanced by the pickle and jelly. Big marks for each of these. Curried prawn dauphine with a seafood sauce and watercress salad was another starter I'd have liked to have tried. Next time!
Castle Café, Blackock Castle, Cork.
Castle Café, Blackock Castle, Cork.
|Phone||(021) 435 7911|