Showing posts with label Caherbeg Pork. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Caherbeg Pork. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Schnitzel seems to be having a moment on menus. Excellent example at Jacques.

Schnitzel seems to be having a moment on menus. Excellent example at Jacques


Schnitzel seems to be having a moment on restaurant menus. I came across the dish, which may be of Austrian or German origin, in Harrow^ in Killarney in March, in Westport’s Pantry & Corkscrew^^ in April and last week at Jacques in Cork. The first two were pork while the Cork version had chicken. 

Veal and other meats (even turkey) may be used. Early last year, in The Tannery, they served a Quail schnitzel (with green peppercorn and wild garlic butter, seasonal vegetables) as a starter.


Not the only little surprise in Jacques as they have been doing wines on tap for close to a year now, saying this is one of freshest and environmentally friendly ways to serve and drink it. "The wines come in kegs which maintain the wines' integrity and waste due to spoilage is significantly reduced. Also, the environmental impact of importing bulk wine is far better in terms of emissions."

They have five on offer, two white (well, one of those is an ”orange” Grüner Veltliner), two reds (a Tempranillo from Castille and a Sangiovese from Montepulciano. And there’s also an organic, Low Intervention Blanc De Blanc Frissant by Maison Idiart of Provence.

From the tap, we enjoyed a Spanish white, Verdejo by Los Aljibes, crisp and balanced, tropical nose and lingering finish. Easy drinking and good with Snitzel! Before all that we had a warm welcome from Jacque herself and her staff (including one of our own third generation), so we felt very much at home, as we always do here.

Back to the Schnitzel. I've rarely seen it on an Irish menu previously but Schnitzel is tenderised meat covered in breadcrumbs and fried until golden and crispy. That’s the basic description but the word could well start quite a debate if you have a German and an Austrian talking about it!


The Jacques dish is Chicken Schnitzel, White Cabbage, Pickled Vegetable, Rustic Potatoes, with "My Goodness" Red Cabbage and it is delicious, made more so by the inspired accompaniment of crunchy cabbage, the tang of the pickled veg and that gorgeous Red Cabbage by My Goodness. Lots of flavours, a great piece of chicken and some very pleasant, crunchy veg. A long way from some of the examples I got while staying at 3-star country hotels in Austria about 20 years ago, pork everywhere and most of it tough.

CL also had a mid-European touch in her mains: Seared Castletownbere Scallops, Cauliflower, Sweet & Sour Onion, Nuts, Caherbeg Blackpudding, Raisins, Crispy Rosti. Not exactly the same Rosti as you'd typically get in Switzerland but a good one and the by now classic combination of scallops and black pudding (both from West Cork) came up trumps again.


And I would finish with another West Cork classic: Bushby Strawberries, Vanilla Ice Cream, Elderflower, and Praline Crumb. Hard to beat Bushbys when it comes to top-quality flavoursome strawberries and, by the way, the Jacques serving is generous. And, at the other side of the table, CL was humming away as her Boozy Tiramisu vanished off the plate!

We had started well also, CL with Arancini Balls stuffed with Toonsbridge Scamorza & Beef Cheek, Tomato & Pepper Salsa. We met Toby from Toonsbridge at his stall in Midleton the following Saturday and picked up some more of his fabulous produce (including fresh pasta and a Garlic Scape & Parsley Pesto). 

Artichoke & Beetroot starter

My starter at Jacques was the marvellous Artichoke, Lemon, Tahini, Roast Beetroot, Mushroom stuffed Aubergines, Crispy Spiced Chickpeas, a stunning assemblage of top-notch produce, more or less the theme for what would follow for the rest of the meal.

Top-class food and an efficient and friendly crew taking care of us!

^Schnitzel at Harrow, Killarney. The full description is Pork Schnitzel, Celeriac Purée, Herb and Parmesan Dressing, and Celeriac Slaw with Jus. A hearty flavoursome dish to watch out for if you visit.

^^Schnitzel at Pantry & Corkscrew Westport: Herb Crusted Andarl Farm Free Range Pork Schnitzel, Pancetta & Parmesan Cream, Potato, Fennel and Butternut Hash. Crispy and tasty, full of flavour and texture and the potato and sauce enhanced the whole dish. A big thumbs up for this one.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Heading into West Cork? Make a call to Dunmanway’s Wild Garlic

 Heading into West Cork? Make a call to Dunmanway’s Wild Garlic

Every now and then, I get the notion to do a double. That usually means a walk on a beach or in a wood or a hill (even a mountain, a little one!), or a call to a museum or harbour, and combine that with a meal out, usually a lunch. Scored a lovely double recently, double tops you could say, with a stroll across the Gearagh and then a short trip to lunch at the relatively new Wild Garlic in the square in Dunmanway.

You’ll have no problem finding the restaurant. It is upstairs in a building with a prominent sign saying The Dunmanway Centre and you’ll see the Wild Garlic logo on the upstairs windows and on a free-standing notice board on the pavement. Wild Garlic is operated, since mid-summer 2022, by husband and wife team Pat and Anne Marie Kiely, both well-known in West Cork generally, and in Bantry where they ran the successful O’Connor’s Seafood Restaurant for many years. They are an experienced duo and are both chefs though Pat was doing front of house duty the day we called.

It is mostly a daytime restaurant, with breakfast, brunch and lunch. Evening meals are also offered, mostly as the days get longer but do check for Saturdays and for special occasions such as Valentine’s and Patrick’s Day. You’ll find the info on their Facebook and on Instagram  at eat_at_wildgarlic.

It is an unexpectedly large restaurant with some 80 covers. The choice is also large and reinforced by a packed Specials Board which you’ll see on the wall along with a short list of wines. The staff will fill you in on the daily variations. For instance, on our visit there were not one but two Soup of the Day options!

Anyhow, we went straight to the mains. Took us a while to make up our minds as they have offerings listed under different headings such as Signature Salads Bowls, Signature Sandwiches, and More Substantial.

Local producers are well supported here with names such as Gubbeen, De Roiste, Bandon Vale, Clonakilty Brewery and Caherbeg on the list. I’m always happy to see Caherbeg produce and my choice was the Loaded Caherbeg Beef Homemade Burger.  That arrived with Crumbled Ballyvourney Black Pudding, Cashel Blue Cheese and Sriracha hot sauce, all in a soft and delicious brioche bun and included a side of fries. This was a mega plateful, a very generous one. Put it like this, I didn’t need a dinner that evening!

CL meanwhile went for one the salads. She had been tempted by the Chef’s Buddha Bowl. With this, you may pick your own protein (beef, chicken, salmon, etc) and you’ll also get quinoa, roasted veg, crushed nuts with a soy and ginger sauce.

But in the end, she picked the Ballycotton Oak Smoked Salmon Caesar with tomato, anchovy dressing, garlic and herb crouton, and Italian aged Parmesan and lemon. Another bowl packed with great flavour and, with a side of special Parmesan and Truffle Aioli fries added, this was also quite a serving, again no dinner required that night!

Anne Marie is also quite a baker and we couldn’t leave without checking that out. You can also buy the breads and pastries here and, in no immediate need of dessert, that is exactly what we did. And our Lemon Curd Tarts tasted very well indeed later on that evening and filled the small gap that had arisen at that stage.

So that was one really enjoyable day. Great walk in the sunshine by the Gearagh --some pics here -- (though there’s always some sadness when you think of all the people that had to leave their homes when the place was flooded back in the 1950s to facilitate the construction of hydro-electric dams nearby). And then that lovely lunch, friendly service too, in Wild Garlic.

Wild Garlic 

The Square


Co. Cork

Tel: 023 88 55643

Friday, October 7, 2022

Get to Midleton's Sage for Sunday Lunch or Dinner. Chop, chop!

 Get to Midleton's Sage 

for Sunday Lunch or Dinner. Chop, chop!


Looking for a treat this weekend. Then make haste to Midleton’s Sage. We were there last Sunday and the highlight was a pork chop. I kid you not. This was a pork chop like you rarely see nowadays, thanks largely to the skill of chef Darren Kennedy.

The menu is very flexible. Choose one from the Snacks plus one from the sides if you don't want to eat too much. There is amazing variety, not to mention quality, on offer, as the new chef is full of invention and those tastebuds will be saying thank you for coming for a long while afterwards.

And last Sunday we were thanking Chef Kennedy. Many of you will know him from his time at St Francis Provisions in Kinsale. After a culinary education in his native Cork City, he broadened his experience in London before returning to the Head Chef position in Kinsale and then he joined Sage about 12 months ago.

Like Sage co-owner Kevin Aherne, Darren draws from local produce including Rossmore Oysters, Caherbeg Meats (that chop), fish from Ballycotton, cheese from Ballinrostig and much more.

Smoked Haddock & Gouda Bhaji

Back to the table now! And that Pork Chop, supplied by the Allshire family in Rosscarbery who also supply beef here, was quite a treat! Already sliced and diced and so tender and packed to the edges with pleasure inducing flavours. It came with braised courgettes (these really enhanced the meat to a higher level) and there were other little pork bits in there as well and that trotter sauce tempted me to lick the plate (i did resist!). Also at hand was a side of smoked potatoes, a side that comes with all dishes from the grill.

From The Chargrill is another subsection of the menu. Others sections are Snacks, Small Plates, Mains, and Sides. You are bound to find something you like here! How about Cavatelli, monkfish, smoked tomatoes and purple basil?


CL’s main was another gem: Hake, Pumpkin, Borlotti Beans and a Mussel Velouté. Again a perfect combination of taste and texture, those superb beans from the Gortnacrusha Biodiversity Farm a perfect complement to the fish. 

She had been tempted by the Plaice (whole), Almond and Grenobloise but was very happy with the hake. Other mains included a Market Plate - Grilled Seasonal Vegetables, Ricotta and Walnuts and also a Beef Burger, Sesame Bun, cheese, pickles and chips.

Some tempting small plates also such as a Sirloin Carpaccio; Smoked Pork Nuggets; a Crab Caesar. A couple of snacks to mention: Marinated Olives and Gunpowder Cashews.

And it was from the quartet of snacks that we picked two to start with. We shared the Grilled Focaccia with Romesco and the Smoked Haddock & Gouda Bhaji, Labneh and Caviar. You’ll rarely see better Focaccia in these parts and the Bhaji was a rare treat as well. We didn’t make it to dessert, even the famed Midleton Brick was left to another occasion.

Grilled Focaccia

Driving duties also put the alcohol on hold and they have a quality selection here. Outstanding wines include the Tandem Casual Tempranillo  ( 90%) and Chateau de Cèdar Malbec while the Whites include the Judith Beck Chardonnay and the Frantz Saumon Sauvignon Blanc.

No shortage of cocktails here, lots of spirits too. They have their own lager on tap, bottles of the gluten free 9 White Deer beers and also the Stonewell Cider (that could go well with the pork chop!).

Sage contacts here  

Eating Out latest…restaurants cafes trucks.. up to date here 

Monday, August 22, 2022

The Bookshelf Elysian hosts Cork on a Fork Dinner. And it turns out to be a superb evening!

The Bookshelf Elysian hosts Cork on a Fork Dinner.

And it turns out to be a superb evening!

Sweet sandwich!

The Bookshelf at the Elysian made a rare evening opening to host a one-off 4-course dinner experience for the Cork on a Fork Festival, with a specially created menu filled with produce from the region.  

Goats cheese, beetroot

The dinner, helmed by Head Chef Rebekah Harrington, was class from start to finish and featured an array of top notch local produce.

Pom'O x 2

In between the starters and the mains, we had a Mead interval. The meads, all by the Kinsale Mead Company, were Hazy Summer, Atlantic Dry and Wild Red. They were paired with nibbles that included Gubbeen Smoked cheese and Ballyhooly Blue (whipped) from Fermoy. Both the mead and nibbles impressed and you could see it forming the basis for similar demos at markets and other restaurants. More on Kinsale Mead Co here. 

Cider sparkling in the cloudiness

After a warm welcome, and with live music in the foyer, we were soon checking out the menu. There was a choice of three starters, each with a wine pairing (from L’Atitude 51). Out two were Chicken liver mousse éclair, piccalilli relish and Textures of beetroot, Sunview Goats cheese (from Kilmichael). The pair were shared and each was excellent and easily polished off.

Mead break

After the mead interlude, it was on to the mains. No need for sharing this time as we had each picked Free-range Caherbeg (from Rosscarbery) confit pork belly, blackberries, with Pom’O apple port jus. Just perfect. The pork was excellent and lifted by the amazing Pom’O by Killahora Orchards (that we would meet again at the end).

Pork Belly and that sauce!

Drinks? One was the Ameztoi Txacoli de Getaria Rosado “Rubentis” and the other was an unfiltered and delicious classy cider from orchards just west of the city. Each had plenty of acidity to go well with the pork and hard to pick between the Basque wine and the Irish cider. The only thing missing was that the wine wasn’t poured from shoulder height as they sometimes do in the lovely village of Getaria where this one comes from.

The Basque wine

Time for the sweet then. Two available so we took both. The Sandwich of meadowsweet namelaka and strawberry cremeux was a delicious as you’d anticipate, really well executed while the other, the Blackberry and lemon balm granita, with chocolate aero and candied nuts, was superbly refreshing. Thumbs up for two desserts worth waiting for!

Chicken liver mousse éclair

On then to the finalé. It was billed as a Dessert Cocktail featuring that fantastic Killahora Orchids Pom’O. But no cocktail! The Bookshelf decided that the Pom’O was so good there was no need to add anything and that proved to be a great call. What a finalé!

Blackberry & Lemon balm....

* Killahora on that unusual drink: “Our Pom’O is an apple aperitif made from rare apple varieties, grown in our 200 year old Orchards on the south facing slopes of Ireland’s County Cork. We mix the juice from our bittersweet apples with the finest apple brandy, then age it in Irish whiskey barrels for at least a year….”  More on the Pom'O here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Wild Hogs Food Truck and the Marina Market

Wild Hogs Food Truck and the Marina Market

Met Eireann are forecasting sunny weather for the next few days, the kind of weather that will tempt many down to the Marina and a visit to the market there. I did just that last Wednesday and I can tell you no dinner was needed that evening as the "Ze Octoberfest" (on the right below) was all the fuel that was needed until the following morning. The one on the left, The West Cork Gourmet Sausage Bap, was CL's choice, another winner.

Two specials from the Wild Hogs Food truck    

The Marina Market
"Cork's new weekend food and craft market. Check out our social media pages for all updates. Meanwhile Guji Coffee Bar and Wild Hogs Food Truck open every day, plus extra stalls every weekend!"

The paragraph above comes from the market's website but the set-up time-wise seems quite flexible. Not alone were Wilds Hogs and Guji Coffee doing brisk business when I called last Wednesday but there quite a few other food stalls open, including the likes of Ardsallagh Cheese,  Bufalina, Burnt Pizza,  The Sultan and Young Plant Superfoods. There are a few grassy banks around and people were taking the sun and enjoying their grub there. Guji are outside the building on the Centre Park Road side. When we looked inside, we could see nothing in the "cavern" from the door. But don't back away - the midweek stalls are down at the far end! More info on the market's Facebook page here. Regular updates too on the Wild Hogs page here. By the way, the weekend stalls feature much more than food. Be prepared to be surprised!

The Ardsallagh menu

Chef Richard Milnes is the man behind the Wild Hogs truck
and he uses local pork from the Allshire family farm in Rosscarbery
Tempting stuff from the East Cork goats cheese producer.

Quite a selection of pizzas here

Lots of room in this huge building. Expect it to be busier at the weekend. It is an easy walk from
the City Hall. If you are coming by car, continue on down the quay and you'll find a
large parking area at the back of the market.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Barnabrow and Chef Bowes Rise to the Occasion. Again!

Barnabrow and Chef Bowes Rise to the Occasion. Again!
Skeaghanore Duck

The Gourmet Evening at Barnabrow House is becoming quite an occasion in East Cork and once again Geraldine Kidd’s charming venue and the skills of Chef Stuart Bowes combined to give us an evening to remember. 

Donie O’Brien of ENO had a selection of wines to be proud of and very enjoyable they were. And the occasion was further enhanced by music from the violin duo of Áine O’Halloran and Teresa Foley (known as Violini).

We began with a Cava and Canapé reception. As the glasses sparkled and the music played, there was time for a chat before entering the dining room proper. Quite a few of you will know this room as it is here they hold their well-known wedding meals. With its pointed gothic windows and high vaulted ceiling, it has a church like interior though the seating is more comfortable!

Cahermore Pork
More organic Cava at the table as the amazing Bouillabaisse was served. We had to do a bit ourselves as the Hegarty’s cheese came in little shreds on a side plate. Just added those to the soup and the magic happened as they complemented one another superbly, not to mention that rouille and the chefs top notch sourdough.

The Ballotine was just superb, again that match with the fig and the cinnamon spiced bread so really spot on. And the young slightly oaked Rioja was an easy drinking accompaniment. That high standard continued through the remaining courses. And again it was often the “little things” that enhanced the dish, like the Golden Raisin and Wild Garlic cream with the superb Duck Breast, even the tasty base on which the petit fours were served. 

Stuart Bowes had flagged that duck in his wee speech to the guests, proud to use produce such as Caherbeg and Skeaghanore, insisting on the importance of “local” and “using what’s on your doorstep”. “We are excited to do this, this quiet time of the year.”

Geraldine Kidd, now in her 23rd year here, is obviously proud of Stuart’s contribution over the past seven years and has battled to hold on to him against quite a few “poachers”! She was thrilled that word of these occasional gourmet evenings has spread beyond the Cork borders as she welcomed guests from Dublin and Clare.

Donie O’Brien and his ENO wines are regulars here and he was very proud of the organic Cava by Pares Balta that we started with. He loves Baron de Ley too, the producer of the Rioja. “They don’t buy in grapes, use all their own, a guarantee of quality”.

I must say that the Pouilly Fumé was gorgeous. Richly flavoured with tropical fruit and with a “concentrated minerality”. This was followed by another beauty, the Ribera del Duero, another organic wine. “It is 100% Tempranillo, 8 months in new oak, vanilla..aromatic, clean and fresh and will be great with the duck!” And so it was.

Violini stayed with us for the evening. They are classically trained and stylistically versatile. “We play movie soundtracks, pop and rock songs, big band jazz, latin, blues, and the best loved Classical music.”  If you want music for events in hotels, manors, castles, concert halls, or for special occasions big and small, contact them out at, also at 087 779 5031.


The Menu and Wines
Bouillabaisse with Hegarty’s Cheddar, Rouille, Country Sourdough.
Cava Pares Balta organic

Ballotine of Caherbeg Free Range Ham Hock and chicken, fig, watercress, Pain D’Epices
Baron de Ley Club Privado Rioja 2016

Irish Atlantic Turbot, Pearl Barley, Gremolata, Pickled Ballyhoura Mushrooms, Chicken Essence
Chatelain Pouilly Fumé Abbaye St Laurent 2016

Roast Skeaghanore Duck Breast, Polenta, Savoy Parcel with Confit leg, Golden Raisins & Wild Garlic Cream
Camino Romano Ribera del Duero Pares Balta Organic

Iced Nougat Parfait, Apricots, Rhubarb, Archers
Chateau Caillou Sauternes 2007.

Maher’s Coffee, Barry’s Tea, Petit Fours.

Head Chef: Stuart Bowes, Sous Chef: Adrian Kaszynski.
Wines: Donie O’Brien ENO.

If you missed out on the Gourmet Evening, you can still try Stuart’s cooking and the marvellous produce (both from his producers and the Barnabrow walled garden) during Sunday lunch at Barnabrow. See the menu here
Sweet dreams
Morning walk