Showing posts with label Bushby's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bushby's. Show all posts

Monday, June 4, 2018

One Hundred and Twenty Top Artisan Products in the Bakestone Pantry. No Wonder Neil is over the Moon


One 120 Top Artisan Products in the Bakestone Pantry.
No Wonder Neil is over the Moon.
Shannen and Neil

Neil is excited when he starts telling me about the new Pantry at Bakestone in the Botanic Home and Garden Centre at the Fota Retail Park near Carrigtwohill in East Cork. And with good reasons: one hundred and twenty of them. Yes 120 top quality artisan products are stocked here, displayed ever so neatly by Neil (who started this new facility here about two months ago) and by Shannen. 

The come from everywhere on the island: butter from Abernethys in County Down, mushroom products from Ballyhoura on the Cork-Limerick border, fresh strawberries from Bushy's in West Cork, cheese from nearby Ballinrostig, jams from Donegal, Blackcastle drinks from County Wicklow, patés and more from On the Pig's Back in Cork City, and so much more.

And then he points to Bakestone’s own products. We’ve all known for quite some time that the Bakestone kitchen can come up with the goods in the café but now that expertise is being packaged and displayed in the Pantry. “Like any any pantry worth its name, we have jams and marmalades. All made over there in the kitchen.”

And then he shows me their own 12 hour slow-roasted Tomato ketchup and the Sriracha Sauce developed just in time for the BBQ season. And there’s also a coffee rub, which creates a delicious crust on the meat and locks in the juices. That coffee based rub is so new it hasn't got a label yet. And those labels are well designed by Coolgrey, as are all the labels here.

Neil has been busy sourcing local products and while local means Irish (he has Filligan’s jams from Donegal) he also has products from very close to their Cobh Cross/Carrigtwohill base. Take the honey for instance. “That’s Youghal honey,” Neil proudly tells me. “Robert Anthony is doing great work there on behalf of the native black bees.”

And also from Youghal comes the HOLO Kombucha, proudly organic and certified by IOFGA, the drink is the brainchild of Youghal brewers and twin brothers Padraig & Adrian Hyde whose Munster Brewery in the town is already well-known.

The Kombucha and Kefirs displayed in the Pantry are an effort to steer people away from the big-name sugar loaded soft drinks. No added sugar, for instance, in the bottles from Dublin’s King of Kefirs, including a couple of interesting combinations: lemongrass and ginger, cucumber, mint and thyme!

But don’t worry, Neil has some alcoholic drinks here also, almost all recent entrants to the market, including Móinéir Irish Fruit Wines from Wicklow, Mead from Kinsale, and those innovative drinks from nearby Killahora Orchards.
Chocolate from Carrigaline by O'Conaill

There is also has a sweet and dessert section, everything from the delicious Wilkies chocolate to the traditional hard boiled sweets by Shandon Sweets in the heart of the city. And biscuits also, including those classy ones from Lismore Food Company, delicious and beautifully packaged and ideal as gifts. I just noticed that one of the varieties is now available in a Gluten Free version.

Coffee is a big deal here. Not surprisingly, since Neil has worked with Badger and Dodo. He is chuffed that one famous Irish-Australian loves the Pantry coffee and always pops in here for a cuppa and a discussion whenever she is home. Neil and Shannen try to help people with their coffee choices, just a little practical info, nothing too overwhelming. But, if you do wish to take it to a higher level, help is at hand here as they do run Barista Courses.
Biscuits from Lismore

They also serve coffee in the Pantry and that helps take the pressure off the queue in the cafe itself and you’ll probably see that developed a bit further in the coming months. Neil took us over to the café and stood us lunch. An excellent quiche and a couple of salads did the trick and, by the way, the salad leaves come from Derek at the Greenfield Farm a few miles away in Knockraha.

Speaking of a few miles away reminds me to mention that Bakestone have taken over the Café in Fota House for the summer months. I’m a reasonably regular visitor here to the gardens and now I have another excuse to visit.
Wild Irish Foragers

Bakestone will be offering visitors locally sourced produce and the best of each season, and they will be serving produce from the Victorian Working Garden at Fota House. They will be serving a wide variety of fabulous eats every day and promise some exciting food events in the near future.
Quiche for lunch

Fota house themselves have a number of theatrical events lined up for the season including A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream on July 20th. Bakestone will be supplementing these with a series of music events. Tickets for the very first of the “LIVE AT FOTA HOUSE” gigs featuring Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill with special guests Swedish trio Väsen on Thursday 14th June are on sale now via the Bakestone Facebook page.

So there you are. Thanks to Neil and Shannen and others behind the scenes, there is quite a buzz and a good deal of momentum at Bakestone these days. Be sure to call in to the pantry anytime you’re passing along the N25; take the Cobh exit and you’ll be back on your journey and well fed or well stocked up or both in no time at all. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Cask. Another Gem in McCurtain Street. Find out where the ugly strawberries go.

Cask. Another Gem in McCurtain Street
Find out where the ugly strawberries go
McCurtain Street has another new gorgeous drink and eat venue. It is called Cask, a brand new bar with a menu of very tasty bites indeed. The menu, in the care of renowned Greene's chef Bryan McCarthy, will change every eight weeks.

It is a new venture for Greene’s, at the other side of the arch, with its own entrance from the street. And it is not Greene’s lite by the way. While many of the same outstanding producers will feature in Cask, their produce will be in new “disguises”.

Blow-torched monkfish
 Take Skeaghanore Duck for instance, one of our dishes on Tuesday night. Skeaghanore Confit Duck, Smoked Sausage, Butter Bean, Sauerkraut, with Arbutus on the side, is reminiscent of a Cassoulet from the heart of France, a warming delight on a wintry night. 
The Cork Cassoulet
The hearty dish comes under the heading of A Little More and costs €12.90. You can start with Light, and progress to More or A Little More. There are Cheese and Charcuterie plates for sharing (perhaps!), Extras if want want to top up your More and you may finish with Sweet.


You may start wth a cocktail (or any drink of your choice) from the well stocked bar. Indeed you may pop in just for a drink. The cocktails are being described as seasonal so you can presume they'll be changing too. 


Hummus
I'm sure the Katty Barry (Gorse Flower infused Bombay, Woodruff, Irish Pears and Prosecco) will go down well. Watch out too for the Man of Arran (Connemara Peated Whiskey, Smoked Wakame Syrup, Cocchi Americano, and Grapefruit Oils); this was very well received at the recent Four Hands dinner in the main restaurant.

No shortage of wines either and our pick for the evening visit was Il Bucco, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, with its sweet dark fruits but well balanced and with a smooth finish.

Frangipane Tart
 So let us go back to the beginning, at the Lights. You can have various nibbles, including olives and almonds, but CL went for the Hummus, Medjoul dates, Fennel pollen and crispy toasts (looked a lot like a well-known local medieval loaf, with dates inserted here too). Excellent starter, and so was mine which was Gubbeen Hot Dog Slider, Cotton Ball Beer Mustard, Seaweed salad, balsamic onions. This dog had a good bite! Each “starter” cost €5.90.

Rings Farm free range chickens were among the items that featured on the More section, all of these costing 7.90. But, like CL, I resisted the temptation of the Chicken Lollipops and other temptations and moved up to A Little More and my pick here was superb.

Yuzu
While CL was on the Skeaghanore I was enjoying Blow-torched medallions of monkfish, tomato bean stew with chorizo, lemon and seaweed (14.50). Inspiration from a warmer clime, perfectly executed and well presented, to warm the bones on a chilly night.

We were on a roll now and up for dessert. A short list but we got two good ones! And also found out where the ugly strawberries go.

Well they may have been ugly when they went in but they were oh so beautiful in Cask. The Bushby’s Preserved Strawberry Frangipane Tart with a dollop of cream was just perfect. The berries are judged not good enough to be out on their own on a plate but certainly shine as part of this lovely dessert (5.50).

I had to beg for a couple of bites of that one but I had a good bartering bait in my Yuzu Cheesecake, again with cream and also 5.50. The fragrant Yuzu with its acidic citrus juice brought my very enjoyable evening, helped by a friendly and efficient staff, at Cask to a delicious end. Guess I'll have to go back for A Little More!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Leisurely Lunch In Greene’s. Local, and High Class

Leisurely Lunch In Greene’s
Local and High Class

When I read that Greene’s Restaurant were offering lunch every day of the week (from 12.30pm), there was no stopping me. Off we headed to 48 MacCurtain Street and soon we were seated at a comfortable table with a great view of the waterfall just outside the window. Soon though we were concentrating on the menu rather then the view, €21.50 for two courses, €24.50 for three.

To begin, we could have had Goats Cheese, beetroot, walnut and raisin. Or Soup of the Day with a garnish. CL though went for a classic here: Pork Belly, black pudding, apple, celeriac, cider and crackling popcorn.  We met chef Bryan McCarthy on the street later and he said they’ll never be allowed to take this off the menu. We could see why.
Pork Belly
I enjoyed another dish that’s going well there: Mackerel, crab, seaweed, squid ink, nasturtium and radish. What a combination of textures, colours, and flavours. A delicious starter.

Speaking of classics, McCarthy’s well-known feather blade was also on the menu, along with a Risotto featuring Ballyhoura Mushrooms and Coolea.  They used the best of local produce here. And use it very well indeed.

Mackerel & Crab
My pick was the fish of the day: Hake, sea vegetables, chorizo. Fabulous fish! CL was equally delighted with her Market Chicken, carrot puree, pancetta, sugar pea, egg yolk emulsion and beetroot. And that puree was her delicious sauce.

We could also have had sides, including Mashed potatoes, root vegetables, triple cooked fries and baby potatoes. But, having spotted a favourite dessert, we made a strategic decision to avoid the tempting sides!
Chicken
And that dish? Well no other than Bushy’s Strawberries fresh from the farm in Rosscarbery. The fruit is top notch but they are enhanced no end by the extras that the Greene's kitchen adds, including milk, elderflower, gorse and yogurt. And the presentation is eye-catching. So you appreciate the display, for a second or two, three at most, and then you tuck into the seasonal sensation!

Well that was the three great courses and then we finished off with a couple of well-made expressos. By the way, there was a lovely little amuse bouche at the start as well. Lunch is quite a big deal here. Very Highly Recommended.

Hake
Greene’s Restaurant
48 MacCurtain Street, Cork
Phone: 021 455 2279
Web (includes sample menus): http://greenesrestaurant.com

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

King Bryan Reigns By The Waterfall. A Right Royal Dinner For Greene’s Food And Wine Mag Event

King Bryan Reigns By The Waterfall
A Right Royal Dinner
For Greene’s Food And Wine Mag Event
Great buzz in Greene’s Restaurant on Tuesday evening as guests strolled in past the waterfall, wondering what ace chef Bryan McCarthy had in store for the May Food and Wine Magazine Gourmet Evening. Wondering yes, but no worries as Bryan is one of the very best and he underlined his reputation with a stunning multi-course meal, based almost entirely on local produce.


We were warmly welcomed and soon we had either a glass of fresh and crisp Prosecco (Coldigiano) or a Blackwater No. 5 Gin (with a new Irish tonic called Poacher's Well) and then the studying of the menu began.
Before the meal began, Clyde Sowman of Marlborough was on his feet introducing us to two of their Walnut Block Sauvignon Blancs. Theirs is a small family run vineyard and since 2005 Clyde and his brother have taken over a small parcel, a special parcel with old Walnut trees where they farm organically.

He had big thanks for “the amazing people of Tindal’s” before telling us how the warm days and cool nights of Marlborough are ideal for preserving the flavours and acidity of the fruit. “Organic was a bit of a struggle at first but every single year it gets better and better. It was a good move… working in harmony with nature.” He explained that the Collectables, with its fruit and acidity, was great with lighter foods, the Nutcracker, with its deeper flavours, for heavier dishes.
Two of the Seasonal Snacks
We then started - the place was full - with a selection of Greene’s Seasonal Snacks: Cheese & Onions crisps; Ballymakenny Farm Potatoes, Coolea Cheese Fondue and Leek Ash; Ardsallagh Goats Cheese, Panko, Beetroot, Walnut; Crispy Fish Skin, Apple Cider Vinegar, Squid Ink. All delightful but that crispy fish skin was something else.

Starter one was a delicious ensemble: Mackerel and Crab, Preserved gooseberry, Wild Seaweeds, Nasturtium Leaf, Radish, Fennel, Orange, Cuckoo Flower. This was matched with the Walnut Block Collectables Sauvignon Blanc 2015.
The next plate was another gem, on the plate and on the palate: Tim Yorke’s West Cork Asparagus, Air Dried Cured Beef, Shandrum Cheese, Asparagus Salad Cream, pickles, Land Cress, and Smoked Almond. Wine here was Walnut Block Nutcracker Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2014.

Time for a little break now and a palate cleanser, an espumante of Lychee, Lime and Matcha Green Tea. Clyde was on his feet again introducing us to a pair of their Pinot Noir. This grape “is a bit of a baby” he said. “Like all good Pinot, it has be hand-picked.” The temperament of the grape is not the only risk they take as these wines “are one hundred per cent Wild Ferment”. Great results but it is “riskier”.
Bryan McCarthy took a moment from the kitchen to speak and told us that it wouldn't be a dinner in Greene’s without a contribution from Kanturk’s Jack McCarthy and that was in our very next dish: Free range Pork Belly & Jack McCarthy Black Pudding, with green apple, cider and celeriac. The wine was the Walnut Bock Collectables Pinot Noir 2014. This has spent nine months in oak and proved an excellent pairing.

The next Pinot Noir was the Nutcracker Single Vineyard 2014, a favourite of winemaker Clyde. “It is complex, silky, fine tannins, as close as you can get to Mother Nature. … If enough work is done in the vineyard, the wine-making will be a cinch. Just two ingredients in these wines, the Pinot Noir grapes and a minimum amount of sulphur.” The wine is treated to 12 months “in top of the line French oak”.
A gorgeous wine and a terrific match with another highlight: Skeaghanore Duck, wing to beak (including heart), Kilbrack Farm Organic Vegetables, Wild Garlic, Pickled Ballyhoura Mushroom, Hedgerow jus. Fantastic produce from West Cork and so well handled by Bryan and the team at Greene’s who would soon get a round of applause for their efforts.

But not before dessert, of course. And this was another West Cork production, a lovely presentation of Bushby’s Strawberries, with elderflower, gorse ( a posh name for the furze bush, according to Bryan), Milk Sorbet and Raw Yogurt. And, just to make it even better, it was paired with the Alasia Moscato d'Asti, a low alcohol frizzante, aromatic, refreshing and easy-drinking.

And that brought us to the end of an very enjoyable evening of spectacular food and drink. Here’s to the next one!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Jacques. The Gold Standard.

Jacques. The Gold Standard.


Barbecued Smoked Quail
For 35 years now, Jacques has been setting the standard for restaurants in Cork. With the Barrys' unswerving commitment to local produce and high class cooking, it looks as if the calm and comfortable Phoenix Street venue will be the benchmark for years to come.

Was in there at the weekend. There were happy sounds in the main restaurant and, going by the twitter reaction, these were matched by the murmurs of approval in their adjoining small-plate room that opens onto Oliver Plunkett Street. You may access both from each street. But be sure to book. This is a popular spot, particularly towards the weekend.

I started to study the menu and was immediately struck by the quality of the starter selection, that little bit different. I picked the Barbecued Smoked Quail with a sauce romesco (€9.90). This was superb, a tempting whiff from the smoke, and the flavours were spot-on, the Barbecue element was just so well judged, not too heavy, not too light, the sauce and salad were perfect as well.
Monkfish
CL’s starter was Knockalara Sheeps Cheese, pickled courgette, roast beets, crushed potato and praline (9.90). Again, this was so well put together, the Waterford cheese evenly scattered through the other elements and she was particularly surprised and pleased with the pickled courgette.

We had been looking at the Fresh Crab Salad, served with Bushby’s Strawberries (from West Cork), avocado, lime and pumpkin seed (12.90). Later, another customer told me enthusiastically that this was delicious. Other starters included Fresh Castletownbere Scallops, Fresh Mussels (with white wine and pepperonata) and Organic Purple Sprouting Broccoli (with fried duck egg and Hollandaise). Spoiled for choice!

And it is much the same with the main courses. Goatsbridge Trout and East Ferry Duck Breast featured as did a Ribeye Steak to share, also a Red Wine and Mushroom Risotto and a Brace of Quail (with Japanese Style Noodles & Pak Choy). And more, including their own special Irish Stew.
Photo: Jacques
There were also a couple of  fish dishes and we both agreed on the Tuscan Fresh Monkfish with cannellini beans, Italian Sausage and a wild garlic pesto. Exquisite. Bellissimo. A superb combination of flavours and textures and that little bit of pesto played quite a role.


Desserts? I’m sure they were brilliant but we didn't even look! One can have too much of a good thing here. Next time, maybe. Earlier, we did have a generous glass of their Albarino, sunshine and stone on the tongue and in the throat, great with the fish.


Jacques Restaurant is located at the heart of Cork City near the G.P.O. They are open Monday 10am - 4pm and Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 10pm. Lunch is from 12pm - 4pm, side plates and tapas from 5pm to 10pm and the  evening dinner menu is available between 6pm and 10pm. Very Highly Recommended. If you’d like to get a good idea of the place, why not try the €24 Two Course Dinner? Or some of their small plates and tapas?