Showing posts with label Bryan McCarthy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bryan McCarthy. Show all posts

Sunday, August 12, 2018

A Taste of West Cork Festival. A Personal Selection of the September Events.

A Taste of West Cork Festival
Some of the Best.
There is so much to do in next month’s major festival, A Taste of West Cork: over 250 events, spread over 41 towns and villages and eight islands. And, despite the one hundred thousand welcomes, you’ll find it difficult enough to make your choices. So, this is where my digest comes in. 

While I don’t know West Cork like the back of my hand, I have a decent amount of experience there, including at this festival. So, if you lose patience with the official multi-page guide (especially if you’re reading it online), check out these suggestions divided into BARGAIN, OFF PLATE (eating not essential!), A/N (afternoon), EVENING, and BtB (bust the budget). Some of these are free or have just nominal charges. 

By the way, I have omitted the guest chefs/pop up events. I have mixed feelings on these because I’ve had mixed experience of them. I’ll leave the decision up to yourself but do get as much information from the venue in advance as possible and that should help avoid any disappointment.

The programme has been published in national and local newspapers and is available online hereSomething for everyone. Take your pick and enjoy! 


Friday Sep 7th
BARGAIN: Traditional Fishing, Boats, Pots and Lines. Free. 2.30 Baltimore
OFF PLATE: Lough Hyne To The Sea. Kayaking €65.00
A/N: Afternoon Sea - seafood savouries at Seaview House Hotel, Ballylickey €29.00
EVENING: Lobster Garden Party with Diana Dodog at The Lifeboat Inn, Courtmacsherry €55.00
Sherkin Island

Saturday Sep 8th
BARGAIN: The Honey Bee, with experienced bee-keeper at Organico, Bantry. €10.00.
OFF PLATE: Pencil to Garden to Plate, drawing class with Annabel Langrish at Heron Gallery Cafe €50.00 inc lunch.
A/N: Islander’s Rest BBQ with Derry Clarke. Sherkin 1.00pm €20.00
EVENING: The West Cork Food Tour. Manning’s Ballylickey from 6.00pm. Farm Tour and BBQ €80.00
BtB: The Ancient Craft of Blacksmithing at O’Driscoll Ironworks, Durrus Day long class €150.00
Garinish Island, Glengariff

Sunday Sep 9th
BARGAIN: Kilcrohane Country Fair 2-6pm. Stall, producers, music, BBQ (€5.00)
OFF PLATE: Hidden Edibles, The Ewe Experience, Glengarriff, 10.00 to 11.00am, €12.50
A/N: Tarte Tatin Demo & Tasting by John Desmond at Heir Island 2.30pm, free but pay for ferry
EVENING: The Celtic Camino Dinner at Gougane Barra Hotel. Caminos popping up everywhere. Dinner is €50.00.
BtB: ——
Michael Collins event, 10th September, Clonakilty

Monday Sep 10th
BARGAIN: Manage your own herb garden, Organico Bantry 4.00pm, €5.00
OFF PLATE: Plastic is a Plague. A seminar with distinguished speakers at Liss Ard, Skibbereen, 11.00am-3.00pm, €20.00.
A/N: Devoy’s Organic Farm visit. Vegetables, eggs, chickens stories 2.30pm Three euro
EVENING: Scannell’s Tastes of the Sea Aperitif plus 5-course feast of fish. 7.00pm €60.00
BtB: —-

Tuesday Sep 11th
BARGAIN:  The Secret Garden, The Sutherland Centre, Skibbereen. A true secret garden. Free.
OFF PLATE: Art and the Great Hunger, a guided tour of this incredible exhibition at Uillinn, Skibbereen, two euro
A/N: Cream Tea at the Top of the Rock, Drimoleague. Guided Walk around eco-farm before grand tea and scones. €12.00.
EVENING: Wine & Dine at Deasy’s in Ring. Italian wine and Caitlin Ruth’s cooking combine in five-course meal from 7.00pm for €55.00.
BtB: Heron & Grey at The Mews Inventive Tasting Menu, 7.30pm, €95.00

Wednesday Sep 12th
BARGAIN: Ummera Smokehouse, Timoleague. A marvellous visit and tasting for free. 10.30am
OFF PLATE: Bere Island and the Great Famine. Informative historical bus tour 12.00pm to 2.00pm and packed lunch €30.00. Ferry at 11.30am extra.
A/N: Wild Berry Bakery, Ballineen.  Bakery visit and samples. All proceeds to charity. Entry €5.00
EVENING: A Taste of India at Richy’s Clonakilty. Welcome drink and multi-course Indian meal by Meeran Gani Manzoor, Head Chef at Richy’s. €60.00.
BtB: Intimate Dinner at Inish Beg House on Inish Beg Island. Formal dinner surrounded by country house grandeur, silver service. €95.00

Thursday Sep 13th
BARGAIN: Tasting (and bottle to take away) for a fiver at 9 White Deer Brewery in Ballyvourney. 2.00pm
OFF PLATE: Tea and Tales on Dursey Island. Take the cable car across and then a guided bus tour with dramatic views and island stories. Tea costs 25 euro and cable car is extra.
A/N: Bean and Grain, chocolate and beer at Clonakilty Brewery. The chocolate will be by Alison of Clonakilty Chocolate and there’ll be lots of pairings. €25.00
EVENING: A Taste of Organico, hosted by Hannah and Rachel Dare who’ll have dozens of their producers on hand including Fermoy Raw Milk, Mary Pawle Wines and Sally Barnes Smokery. Samples galore and even a glass of wine is included in the 5 euro fee. 5.30pm to 8.00pm.
BtB: ——
Welcome to Union Hall Smoked Fish

Friday Sep 14th
BARGAIN: Martin Shanahan of Fishy Fishy puts on a brilliant demo, very engaging with his audience, especially the younger ones. See him from 10.00 in Fields of Skibbereen. Free.
OFF PLATE: Live Life Well. A students’ food and lifestyle conference at Skibbereen Community School. From 10.00am to 2.00pm, hear talks, see demos, and sample at the mini-market. All free.
A/N: there’s a tour of the Union Hall Smoked Fish facility at 2.00pm, a lovely family run business. The Nolan's are a generous bunch and they won’t charge you a cent yet, a similar event two years back, there was no shortage of samples and even a glass of wine.
EVENING: Real Food from Here is the title of the event at Macroom’s Castle Hotel where the Buckley family invite you to a dinner featuring real food. Real wine too from Le Caveau with Colm McCan doing the pouring and talking. €60.00 including dinner and wine. Special overnight rate.
BtB: ——
Walking on Sheep's Head

Saturday Sep 15th
BARGAIN: A 2.5 hour walk on the Sheeps Head with guide Charlie McCarthy (086 2333420). Registration at 11.30am, walk at 12 noon. Meet at the cabin Ahakista.Free
OFF PLATE: Meet at the car park in Barley Cove Hotel on your way to the Three Castle Head Walk, one of West Cork’s hidden gems, with breath-taking views. Starts at 3.30 and duration is 90 minutes. Free. Contact: 0868808190.
A/N: Fish and Whiskey Brunch is the unpriced event at the Glandore Inn with local man Bryan McCarthy doing the cooking and West Cork Distillers supplying the  spirit. All proceeds to LauraLynn children’s Hospice and Union Hall Inshore Lifeboat.
EVENING: I suspect that Taste of the Sea at Arundels by the Pier (Ahakista) will sell out fast with Head Chef Dominique Carucci presenting a delicious Taste of the Sea menu. Five courses for €50.00.
BtB: The big spenders can whip out that credit card again as they go to Eat, Drink and Sleep at the Castle, Castletownsend. At 7.00pm, the six course meal, paired with selected wines and beers, will get underway. Slip upstairs much later, wake to a spectacular view of the bay and a hearty breakfast. Cost overall: €220.00 per person.

Sunday Sep 16th.
Still a good share of events on the closing Sunday but undoubtedly the focus will be on the Festival Finalé, the Sunday Street Market in Skibbereen. It starts at noon and as usual there’ll be bands, and dancers, craft, and food to eat and take away and a children’s entertainment area. A superb finalé to a marvellous festival that encompasses over 250 events.

Reen Pier area

Friday, February 13, 2015

Chilling Out at Greene’s. Supper Club Is Launched

Chilling Out at Greene’s
Supper Club Is Launched

Some very surprised expressions on diners’ face in Greene’s Restaurant  last night as the McCurtain Street venue launched their Supper Club. The surprise came when customers put the Tomato and Parmesan Cheese straight into their mouths after it came out of Chef Bryan's McCarthy's liquid nitrogen container. But that pained surprise soon turned to pleasure as the coolness vanished and the flavours spread around the palate.

The supper club was up and running and manager Arthur Little said it would be run on a monthly basis. He hinted it won't always be a dinner and wine matching event. He suggested they might do a little mushroom foraging, maybe seaweed foraging, and then come back and eat the bounty. “It is your Supper Club too,” he told the packed restaurant. “We are open to suggestions, and looking for ideas from customers”.

The wines for the event came La Bascula and they were ably represented by ED Adams MW. La Bascula works with vineyards and producers around Spain and Ed takes an active part as winemaker.

But it was a wine that they didn't make that he praised most highly on the night and that was the Casta Diva Muscatel 2011. “This is very special,’ he said. “El Bulli had it on their own label and we are delighted to be able to sell it. It comes from near Benidorm. Aromas of orange and almonds and it is very fresh, a very lovely natural pure wine. Take it with any blue cheese and you have a match made in heaven.”
Chef Bryan and Manager Arthur keeping an eye on the Liquid Nitrogen.
It was served with the chocolate course but we kept a sip for the cheese board, all top notch Irish cheese, and it did indeed go very well with the Cashel BLue. The wines are distributed in Ireland by Tindal's who had Damien Archer-Good on hand.

Another highlight for me was the Heights of the Charge Rueda with two of my favorites grapes, Verdejo (70%) and Viura, in the gorgeous blend. Indeed, all the matches were spot on right down to the lovely drop of Dow’s Nirvana Port that we finished on.

The multi-course meal was, as you’d have expected, packed with good things from Bryan McCarthy and his great team. Many of you will know of his Pork Belly, of his Feather Blade, and his chocolate desserts. Wasn't that Miso Glazed Rump Cap, on the same plate as the beef, delicious?

Hard to say but I think the highlight was the Marinated Tuna, a magnificent treatment of that big fish. And the good news is that you’ll be seeing it on the menu in the immediate future. So do watch out for it and for future Supper Club Events. You may join the Supper Club, for free.

The Bascula team tasting Viura and Verdejo.
On the right, Pork Belly and, bottom, the very cold Tomato & Cheese.
Wine Tasting Dinner

Cava on arrival.

Tomato, Parmesan cheese.

Local Rare Breed Pork Belly, Black Pudding.
Apple, cider, crackling popcorn.
with Turret Fields Monastrell (75%), Syrah, 2012

Dashi custards, Marinated Tuna.
Picked seaweed, Soya Jelly.
with Heights of the Charge Rueda, 2012.

Passion Fruit Sorbet, Lychee Foam.

Duo of Miso Glazed Rump Cap and Feather Blade.
Carrot, onion, Leek ash, Black Cabbage, Kale.
with the Charge Tempranillo 975%) and Garnacha, 2011.

Star Anise, White Chocolate, Mandarin confit.
Epsom of Creme Catalan.

Chocolate Praline Creme Tart.
Salt caramel, Vanilla ice-cream
(made with Alto El Sol & Ivorian Single Estate Barrie chocolate)
with Casta Diva Muscatel 2011.

Cheese Board
with Dow's Nirvana Port.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Chef Bryan up for Greene's Challenge

Chef Bryan up for Greene's Challenge
Wine and Waterfall

West Cork chef Bryan McCarthy is back in Cork and at the helm in Greene’s in McCurtain Street. And he is looking forward to the new challenge. You can expect to see foraged items on the menu but his aim is for “simple food from the best of ingredients, cooked in a contemporary Irish style”.

Bryan is something of a forager himself but he will rely also on Ballyhoura Mushrooms and on Michelle Walshe for sea foraging. Greene’s have long used top local suppliers such as Ummera Smokery and Ardsallagh Goat Cheese and they continue to feature on the menu. The newly installed head chef has added Jack McCarthy (pork, bacon, including the famous black pudding, of course) and is looking forward to using even more of the fantastic vegetables from Waterfall Farm.

Jack Mac certainly stood out in my starter during last weekend's visit. Here the Black Pudding and Pork Belly featured with scallops, all served with apple and cider in a flavoursome combination.

Our other starter was also top drawer, featuring the Ummera Smoked Salmon served three ways, with Lemon, Beetroot, Crème Fraiche, Cucumber and Organic Leaves enhancing the superb West Cork product.

Bryan McCarthy is almost synonymous with the slow cooked Feather Blade of Hereford Beef in these parts and, served with Onion, Shiitake Mushroom and Mashed Potato, this tender tasty treat was impossible to resist and was as good as ever.
Pork Belly, Scallop and Black Pudding.

A superb dish also was the Duo of Lamb, with Beluga Lentils, Chorizo, Ballyhoura Oyster Mushroom and Ardsallagh Goat Cheese. By the way, in case you are getting worried, the menu still features a selection of fine fish dishes (after all, Bryan is from Leap). Poultry too, including Skeaghanore Duck, and Pigeon was introduced last Sunday!

No shortage of choice here. And they have a great Early Bird deal going, €27.00 for four courses up to 7.00pm at the weekend and all night earlier in the week. Service here is friendly and quite informed about the food. Helpful also. Just a small example. When we ordered herbal tea, they brought a whole box over to the table so that we could choose at our leisure.

We got a nice table by the floodlit waterfall and indeed there were two groups that got even closer, choosing to dine outside as the night was so mild. Almost forgot to tell you about the Amuse Bouche, well detailed by our helpful server. It was a Spinach Mousse with Smoked Duck. A good start to an excellent meal.