Showing posts with label Clonakilty Black Pudding. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Clonakilty Black Pudding. Show all posts

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Electric Spice Up Valentine's Night With New Tasting Menu

Electric Spice Up Valentine's Night With New Tasting Menu

About 12 months back, with Covid on the retreat, Electric ventured into Asian and now, just this week, they made their new Asian Tasting Menu the centrepiece of their Valentine’s Night offering.

Electric's Asian aficionados needn’t worry. You’ll still get those Asian dishes you have become used to, such as the Malay Chicken Satay, the Japanese Chocolate Cake, Okonomiyaki (the Japanese pancake), Chicken Katsu Curry, and Sweet Waffles. And there is also a Vegetarian Menu on offer. The new Tasting Menu is designed to extend the dining options in one of Cork's favourite dining-rooms, one of the City’s very few upstairs rooms, with views over the river and the Mall.

And there’ll be the usual beer selection including Asahi and Cobra to give the Asian touch along with locals such as Original 7 and KPA and not forgetting Stonewell Cider. Local Kinsale whiskey will of course will be there for you and they will also feature in the cocktails (many Asian themed). Fancy an Electric Avenue? Perhaps a Kyoto Daiquiri? Span the world in a couple of cocktails. 

Pic by Electric

Great to get the chance to try out the new menu on Valentine’s. Tables of four were encouraged and we two had some help. After a warm welcome and a few tips and hints, our first task was to decide on what to drink. Wine seemed to be the preferred option. I’m familiar, happily, with the Domaine Bousquet Organic Malbec and that helped start the evening off, getting thumbs up around the table. 

We stayed with the red and our second, following a well-founded tip by manager Aaron O’Gorman, was the La Garde Rouge from the Languedoc, a supple wine which is a blend of Carignan, Grenache & Merlot, perfect with the duck, the evening’s highlight. Both wines are actually included in the Matching Wines option that you may choose if you wish to further enhance the Tasting Menu.

Succulent Skeaghanore

I mentioned the well-presented duck there. It was Skeaghanore Duck Breast, cooked with precision, served simply with a Pine Peppercorn Sauce and confit carrots. Simply superb actually. Skeaghanore is always a winner but wrapped in this delicious sauce, it reached another level, tender and succulent, packed with flavours and aromas, quite a taste sensation.

Just before that, we had enjoyed the Clonakilty Bao Bun. Always a little suspicious of that bao but no need to worry on this occasion and that was mostly down to the delicious filling of Clon Black Pudding, the Bull Dog sauce, apple and the sweet crispy onion. Quite a feast for the senses, even visually as they came packed, two by two, in a bamboo container, just a little bit of theatre, a little bit of fun in keeping with the spirit of the evening.

The dining had started with Miso Soup that came to the table with seaweed and silken tofu “floating” and waiting to be hooked. And with it, came some of the ABC “Oat Topper” Soda Bread. A lovely tasty warming start. 

Next, Cork Mussels arrived all dressed up, Thai style. The colours in the bowl certainly caught the eye and the taste buds were well engaged by the perfectly judged spicy sauce in which the little Ballycotton bivalves gently rested. A bit messy of course but spot-on excellent.

And, of course, after the excellent bao and duck, there was to be a sweet ending. Though there were one or two at the table a little hesitant when they saw coconut mentioned in the dessert description. But again no need for worry as the Chilli Rum Pineapple (with coconut ice-cream) was another well-balanced beauty with no single element dominating. Just a perfect sweet end to a lovely evening.

The 5-course tasting menu is now available and costs €49.50.

ABC “Oat Topper” Soda Bread

Miso Soup

Cork’s Ballycotton Mussels

Clonakilty Bao Bun

Skeaghanore Duck Breast

Chilli Rum Pineapple

Electric contacts

Instagram: electriccork




Tel: 021-4222990.


Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Barnabrow House: Splendid Sunday Lunch

Barnabrow House 

Splendid Sunday Lunch

I was glad to hear that Sunday Lunch had resumed in Barnabrow and great too to find out recently (24.04.22) that the standard is as high as ever. It is all quite the occasion, the well coordinated confluence of excellent staff, top notch produce and a skilful kitchen, all combining to serve up a leisurely lunch of three courses plus tea or coffee (with petit fours).

Barnabrow means "Top of the Fairy Fort” and reigned over by the Fairy of Cloyne. Now, thanks to the magic, not to mention the hard work, of owner Geraldine Kidd who has been restoring and developing the ancient house and its surrounding acres over the past 26 years, Barnabrow stands strong and ready to serve again following the Covid 19 onslaught.

After working in London, Geraldine came to visit Ballymaloe (next door to Barnabrow), saw the melons growing in the greenhouse, "an epiphany moment",  and signed up for a three months course. 

She added to her cooking experience with a stint in the Arbutus and also worked with Denis Cotter of Café Paradiso and also in Midleton’s Farmgate. She bought Barnabrow in the mid 90s. It has proved very popular as a wedding venue.

Sunday lunch is not the only sign that the big house is finding its place in the East Cork food diary again. Back in September, Geraldine welcomed a group to the opening of her Tea Rooms in the main house. Here, customers now enjoy Afternoon Tea and there’s also the option of a light lunch. Check out the details here. 

The Sunday Lunch venue is in the main restaurant. This church-like building stands alone and is also used for the wedding receptions for which the house is quite well-known. 

After a warm welcome, we started to study the menu as we nibbled on some of their lovely breads. I got off to a terrific start with my Oak Smoked Salmon with roast beetroot, wasabi cream and a poppy seed Dorito. A really superb opener, the salmon excellent, even the beetroot, from their own garden, was magnificent.

CL meanwhile was happily engaged with her Clonakilty Black Pudding Salad with green apple, Feta, crispy potatoes and spiced tomato dressing. Quite a lot going on there but all in delicious harmony. Also available were Ardsallagh Goats Cheese (with confit red onion and Kalamata Olive tapenade, hazelnuts) and a Tomato and Roast Red Pepper Soup with Toasted Almonds. 

As you see, local producers are well supported and that continued into the mains. Mine was magnificent: Roast Striploin of O’Connell’s Beef, truffle potato, ragout of Ballyhoura Mushrooms and shallots, and a red wine jus. The beef was perfect, tender and so well cooked, and enhanced no end by a notable jus. A compelling combination.

Pan roast supreme of chicken was CL’s choice and that came with Chive mash, Cannellini Beans, Chorizo cassoulet and Port reduction. Quite a chicken dish, well executed and, like mine, accompanied by a packed dish of roasties and root vegetables (all nicely cooked, not too soft, not too hard). There was also a fish option and a veggie option of a Wild Mushroom Ragout.

The finalé wasn’t half bad. We enjoyed a Lemon Tart with Raspberry Coulis and also Chocolate Marquise, spiced oranges and crystallised nuts before finishing off with Bewley's coffee (Barry’s tea was also an option) and Petit Fours.

Kids are often at Sunday lunches and here they may have half portions of the adult dishes plus a few other options. For the big boys and girls, there is a short list of red and white wines.

Geraldine likes nothing better than to see her guests stroll around the grounds and meet the other inhabitants. The donkeys have long been popular here but it seems the friendly pygmy goats (relatively recently introduced) are now getting a lot of attention. Enjoy your food and the visit.

Barnabrow is on the Shanagarry Road out of Cloyne, about ten minutes from the Lakeview roundabout on the N25 at Midleton. More here

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Visiting The Home of Clonakilty Black Pudding.

Visiting The Home of Clonakilty Black Pudding

The late Edward Twomey, a leader

When you visit the Clonakilty Black Pudding Visitor Centre in the town, not alone will you see and hear the history of the famous product made right here but you’ll also get to taste it! So you get an hour’s entertainment and a mini-lunch! Well worth the tenner admission (though we two seniors paid just €7.50 each).

And of course, you get a friendly welcome. The tour is self-guiding but you are aided by an audio device that fills you at each stage. Much the same info is covered on a number of illustrated panels. You’ll also get a “chat” with the grocer and the butcher (they’ll have their eyes on you) both of whom have a good sense of humour. 

Nostalgia: the delivery bike, bus stop, petrol pump

Colette Twomey

And you get to know some of the key characters in the story, that began in the 1880s. It was then that the recipe originated in the town of Clonakilty; it hasn’t changed in that time. Since the Twomey family took responsibility for the secret recipe in the 1980’s, the popularity of the Blackpudding has continued to grow in Ireland and now around the world. Over the years they have extended the product range to include sausages, rashers and most recently Veggie Pudding!

The first Clonakilty black pudding maker was Johanna O’Brien, a farmer’s wife, from nearby Sam’s Cross who wanted to subsidise the household income making black pudding for Harrington’s butcher shop - to this day you’ll note “Original Harrington’s Recipe” on the label. When Johanna died, the recipe, which included Johanna’s secret spice mix, was faithfully handed down to Philip’s family and for over a century, the black pudding was made by Dan Harrington, Con O’Callaghan, Paddy Allman.

In 1969, the butcher shop was sold as a going concern to Patrick McSweeny. In 1976 the butcher shop which included the black pudding recipe was bought by his nephew Edward Twomey.

Edward wasn’t that keen on the product but realised his customers were and eventually he became hugely enthusiastic. Edward’s personality and belief in the product helped propel Clonakilty Blackpudding to get the recognition it deserved. 

Michael Clifford, was one of Ireland’s most famous chefs, holder of a Michelin star, was an early and influential supporter of the Clonakilty product. And it is acknowledged here that his signature dish of black pudding elevated the humble breakfast staple to being acclaimed as an excellent starter. (Lots of recipes on their site here).

Covid reminder
It wasn’t long before Clonakilty Blackpudding was being mentioned in the press and media. And eventually that led to Edward appearing on the Late Late Show (you can view that excerpt during the tour).

Edward and his wife Colette were very much in demand at food shows and exhibitions all over Ireland the UK and an export market began to grow. In 2005 Edward Twomey died. Colette now led the company forward and still does.

And that included building a brand new production facility that was opened in Clonakilty in October 2017. The new production facility also includes administration offices, new product development facilities and distribution along with this new visitor centre that reflects the company’s pride in the town. The story of the building of the local church and that of the local GAA club are also highlighted here. 

The butcher

There are quite a lot of artefacts from the history of the company and the town to be seen on the tour and you may also view part of the production through special windows to the factory floor. 

And, at the end, there’s that treat. Some freshly cooked black and white pudding, also that new and tasty veggie pudding, some sausages and a big cup of tea or coffee. There is also a lovely little café here but that can’t be used at the moment (June 2021) because of Covid restrictions. Hopefully, that restriction won’t last to long more and you’ll get even better value from your visit.

The newly opened visitor centre is another indoor attraction in the progressive town, great on a misty day (as was the case with us). Other indoor places (that I know of) are the Michael Collins House and the Clonakilty Distillery. Part of the Model Railway Village is indoors too.

Also on this trip:

Ron D's Food Truck Ballydehob

Superb Dining at Garden Restaurant in Liss Ard Estate

Come on down!

Open Monday – Sunday

10am-4pm (last entry 3.30pm) 

Booking is essential 


Phone: +353 (23) 8834835


Adults: €10

Seniors & Students: €7.50

Children (5-18): €5

Under 5: Free

Family ticket: 2 adults, up to 3 children (under 18) – €25

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Barnabrow where Bowes sprinkles his Kitchen Magic

Barnabrow where Bowes sprinkles his Kitchen Magic

Barnabrow means "Top of the Fairy Fort" and here, in the medieval-style banqueting hall, the Trinity Rooms, Head Chef Stuart Bowes continues to delight and surprise.

It is an ace place for weddings and family celebrations but did you know you may also enjoy a delicious Sunday lunch here? It was one of our first calls this year and just as enjoyable as always, thanks to the superb local produce, the very friendly front of house and the confident skills of the kitchen.

Stuart is quite a versatile chef and has been sharpening his baking skills in recent years. And we were reminded of that when we sat down as his sourdough, with Glenilen butter, arrived with the menus. We had to restrain ourselves with the bread as we knew there were three courses ahead! Even a fourth as the coffee (or tea) and petit fours are also included for a fairly priced twenty nine euro. And, by the way, there is also an excellent Children’s Menu (which can include half-portions of the adult for half the price).

O’Connell’s Irish Beef is a regular here, a very attractive dish indeed, but this time my pick was the Roast Leg of Midleton Lamb, with baked beans, chorizo, crispy kale, thyme and lamb jus. The top notch meat was very much enhanced by the beans and the chorizo and a terrific jus.


There were four mains offered in all including a vegetarian option featuring Sautéed Wild Mushrooms. CL likes her fish and her choice was the Baked Fillet of Atlantic Halibut with pea purée, crispy kale, and Parmesan cream. Another superb combination, faultlessly cooked and presented, and that cream was a key part of it.

While quality is more or less a given here, you won’t lack for quantity either! And our main were accompanied by a large dish of seasonal veg (including broccoli and cauliflower) and roast potatoes.

Oak Smoked Salmon with Roast Garden Beetroot, caper dressing and vegetable crisps was CL’s starter. That, including those tasty crisps, got a big thumbs up. And it was a similar reaction from me for my Warm Clonakilty Black Pudding salad with Feta, crispy potato, apple, and tomato dressing, perfectly put together. Two very clean plates went back to the kitchen.

Also in the starter menu were a Whipped Ardsallagh Goats Cheese with pickled red onion and hazelnut dressing and a Spiced Parsnip Soup.
Crème Brulée

Would we have dessert? Of course. Just could not resist the Archer’s Crème Brulée with shortbread, a few raspberries adding colour to the temptation. And the Iced Parfait of Atlantic Sea Salt and Caramel, marshmallows and strawberry sauce, was another winner. Also on offer was a Chocolate and hazelnut brownie with Chantilly Cream and raspberry and A Selection of ice-cream and sorbet.

We finished off in style with excellent coffee and a few petit fours, a meltingly gorgeous fudge and a sea salt and caramel chocolate. Oh, by the way, you may also buy these treats if you want to take a few home.

The word Barnabrow means "Top of the Fairy Fort" and is a magical, romantic wedding setting. The country house is situated on 35 acres perched high on a hillside overlooking the rolling countryside of East Cork with tantalising glimpses of Ballycotton Bay. 

Great for big events and smaller ones too, such as private parties and meetings. It has quaint and quirky accommodations in a mysterious labyrinth of buildings offering the perfect secret getaway and also has quite a few holiday cottages in the grounds. It has its own organic walled-garden, a big help to the kitchen with its seasonal supplies.

* After their seasonal break, Barnabrow will be serving Sunday lunch from next Sunday (Feb 9th).

Co. Cork
Tel: (021) 465 2534

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Excellent Meal at The Barn

Excellent Meal at The Barn

The ever popular Barn, between Mayfield and Glanmire, is probably the biggest and most comfortable restaurant in the Cork area. After its recent long-lasting renovations, it can now seat up to 300 people. We had an excellent meal there recently, well cooked and served with a smile and could hardly believe the generous space between the tables. We didn't see the whole place as the dining area is in different rooms and also split-level. Great care was taken during the renovation works and service was never interrupted. And the long-established venue is as popular as ever.

You do see the odd supplier listed on the menu, eg Clonakilty Black Pudding, and the beef is declared as Irish but there is little about provenance to be seen. Social media is not a priority (nor does it need to be by the looks of it) but you will find what looks like an up to date menu on their website. But forget about Facebook and Twitter. And it even took a few attempts over two days to get the phone answered. 

It did work out quite well at the table though! Even if the menu changes little over the years, just a few tweaks here and there. But there is a broad choice, the food is well cooked and service is excellent.

There is an immediate and warm welcome and you are seated in an ante-room where you may study the menu and enjoy an aperitif, not that there’s a hard sell or anything like that. Soon, you are guided to your table. Ours was by the window that looks out over the nearby fields. In summer you can see the cows grazing but in winter, well, the windows were nicely decorated.

We have been here a fair bit over the years, so much so that CL has a favourite starter, one that seems to be out of fashion elsewhere. It is the Melon and Fruit Platter With a Passion Fruit Reduction & Red Wine Reduced Fruit Coulis (7.50), nice and light and she reckons it would make a very presentable dessert as well. Though not on the same evening!

The menu is what could be called classical, no foams or fancy tricks here, and none the worse for that, though a breakout of personal expression by the kitchen team here and there would be appreciated. There are some ten starters, everything from Salmon Gravlax to Chicken Wings to Soup of the Day. And yet I ordered the excellent Clonakilty Black Pudding with Mustard Grain Sauce and Spiced Chutney (7.90) that I have enjoyed here previously, although you do get the slight variation. This latest one was top notch. 

No shortage of fish and poultry courses, lamb and pork too and also a couple of vegetarian options. I picked from the steak list, the 10 oz Aged ribeye steak (24.90) with roast (field) mushroom, balsamic glazed onion, roast seasonal veg, horseradish and walnut cream and demi-glaze, with fries. and cracked black pepper sauce. A perfect serve and very satisfying on all counts, cooked as requested, well presented and all the items on the large plate played a role. Faultless.

And it was the same verdict from the other side of the table where the Crispy Roasted Irish Duckling (22.50) with caramelised orange,  Port & Ginger compote, roast sweet potato and Caramelised Red Cabbage went down a treat.

No wine on the night though. No shortage of wine but the info is very sparse indeed. You get the usual suspects from a “cask” at the bar and, even on the wine menu, there is very little detail, not a producer mentioned at all, just something like Shiraz Eastern Australia or Merlot Central Valley, not even a year in some cases. They don’t make it easy for the customer at all. Room for improvement there for sure. I settled for a lovely glass of stout and had the wine later on in a different venue!

Mayfield-Glanmire Road
Co. Cork.
Tel: +353 21 4866 211

Monday, October 21, 2019

Vikki’s Café & Wine Bar. Bright Spot on a Rainy Day

Vikki’s Café & Wine Bar
Bright Spot on a Rainy Day
Just six euro for this delicious quiche of the day including salad. Added to it with this generous cup of soup (3.00), a warming spicy tomato and black bean, quite appropriate for the unpleasant day. Watch out also for the daily special and a range of Arbutus Sourdough Toasties.

I was up around Sunday’s Well on a recent wet and windy morning. Wondering where I’d get a nice lunch when I thought of Vikki’s, well established now in the old post office. I hadn’t been there in a long while. It turned out to be a very good choice indeed.
A really excellent dish from the Brunch menu: Jack McCarthy's white pudding crumbled on to toasted Arbutus sourdough with two free range poached eggs and pomegranate raita.   Prefer Black pudding? They do a tempting Clonakilty Blackpudding Hash (with crushed potatoes and spring greens, a fried egg and Ballymaloe Relish, again on toasted sourdough. Each of these costs €11.00.

The menu is quite extensive. Maybe not the lunch menu itself but the brunch menu that starts at 8.30am runs right through until 3.30pm and you’ll have great fun choosing from the two. As it happened, I picked from one while CL picked from the other. See the menus (not the specials) here .

Drinks? No shortage. Lots of soft drinks, beer by the bottle (including the likes of Black’s, Galway Hooker), Stonewell cider and a wine list as well. The café opens every day and turns into a wine-bar for the weekend evenings. Watch out for music, mainly on Saturdays I think, with an extended programme for the Jazz Weekend.
Lots of tempting goodies on the counter, including this Almond and Plum Cake. Very enjoyable as was the Lemon Drizzle. Coffee is excellent also.

Tried this Coconut Water but didn't really fancy it.
On the other hand, Vikki's fresh apple juice was
very good indeed.
Service is friendly, low-key and efficient here in this long and narrowish space. There is a quite a garden out the back, lots of seats there too, but that wasn’t in play on this particular day. There were a couple of hardy souls outfront though sitting on the pavement tables under the awning. 

Vikki’s also have another string to their bow. They operate a deli here and on sale are products from some of the top local producers around. Indeed, those same producers feature on the menu. 

85A Sunday’s Well Road
(021) 422 1729