Showing posts with label Crawford Gallery Café. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Crawford Gallery Café. Show all posts

Monday, January 1, 2018

Crawford Gallery Café. Christmas Cheer and Happy New Year

Crawford Gallery Café 

Christmas Cheer and Happy New Year.

Cork, December 28th. The month and the year 2017 is running out. Fast. It is cold in the city. Not even a smoker to brave the cold in the outdoors section of the Crawford Gallery Café where the seats provide some colour in the grey day. Veering towards zero degrees, veering towards a white day as snow appears and threatens to stay.

So I hurry past the outer railings, through the gallery doors, past the nude Greek and Roman sculpture casts (brrrr). Then I go deeper into the building (once the city’s Custom House) where there is a hot spot, the Gallery Café. 

It is warm for sure and close to full, a lovely rounded buzz of conversation, no sharp tones here, must be the acoustics, more likely a soft chorus of Christmassy contentment! It was the first time that the café has opened in the period between Christmas and the New Year - don't think it will be the last time. 

A smile and a nod and I'm directed to a table. Another smile as head chef Sinead Doran waves from the counter. Warming up already.

The menu, it changes daily (Sinead has, as usual, been out to the nearby English Market), arrives just as my raincoat comes off. The glasses go on and I see it is full of choice, full of good things. Still chasing warmth, I  immediately decide on the Thai Spiced Tomato Soup. It is comfortingly warm and the heat of the spice is not in any way extreme, no shock but rather an pleasant aid to the recovering system.

Lots of warm stuff throughout the seasonal menu. Breslin’s Beef and Red Wine Stew tempts as does the tart of Warm Sweet Onion and Crozier Blue (my favourite cheese ever!). 

The Devilled Kidneys tempted me sorely and would have been CL’s choice but I had given her the day off to bond with (mind!) our latest grandchild. The Roast Marrow Bone made a recent visiting critic drool. And the same Marrow Bone makes an appearance in the Steak and Chips.

I will have chips but with the hake, green mayonnaise lemon and organic leaves too. Presentation is neat and tidy but there is quite a pyramid of food on the plate as Sinead arrives. A gasp of surprise from me. Think she's heard a few like that before; she is confident of a clean plate finish. This particular deep-water fish can grow to a max of 140cm; don't think that record-breaker was on the plate though, packed and all as it was.

So, ignoring the two guys (a pair of sculptured heads) peering through the Christmas greenery on the window sill alongside, I concentrate, mainly on the gorgeous fish, its pearl white flesh easily found once the veneer of batter is disturbed. And then it is easily pleasurably eaten, especially with a dab of the mayo. And on I went, bite by bite, superb sweet fish and superb potato, all the way to an empty plate!
"Nice bit of hake he has there."

The main event may have passed but there were still some Christmas items on the dessert section of the menu.  I gave the sweet bits a skip this time; I had eaten well of the sustaining and sustainable hake and said goodbye to Sinead and her crew and made my way through the packed restaurant out to the cold, no snow though (the earlier threat to stay was not maintained), to resume spending the vouchers. 

Happy New Year!

The Crawford Gallery Café
Emmet Place
021 4274415
Open: Mon to Sat 8.30am to 4.00pm 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Munster Wine & Dine At Crawford Gallery Cafe

Munster Wine & Dine At Crawford Gallery Cafe
Splendid Meal In Historic Room
Main course!
Sculpture casts, local history, the hierarchy of goat herds and, above all, good food and wine featured as the members of the rapidly expanding Munster Wine & Dine gathered for their second event of the year in the Crawford Gallery Café.

The café, the city’s old custom house, is a day time café, and only rarely opens by night, only for special occasions. And this was special. Sinéad Doran and her team cooked up a memorable meal, inspired by Margot Henderson, chef patron of London's famous Rochelle Canteen, which bases its menu on seasonally-informed Mediterranean-influenced food. The dishes were served in big platters and that added to the sense of occasion and community.

First though we all met in the sculpture room among Greek and Roman sculpture casts, brought to Cork in 1818 from the Vatican Museum in Rome. It’s a long story and you may read more of it here. After gimlets, canapes and a chat we headed to the café itself where once captains of sailings ships stepped from their vessels berthed in Emmet Place and walked in to this very room to pay their dues.
Canapes and gimlets
The full house then settled down to enjoy the food and the company. First up was Brandade with Sourdough Toast. Then came the main starter: Roast Quail, lentils, Butternut squash and organic leaves. This was beautifully cooked, moist, delicious.

Soon large platters of roasted lamb appeared, plates of green beans and shallots, and salad leaves. The lamb leg had been slow roasted and served with cracked wheat. No shortage here as we helped one another fill plate after plate. Again it was perfectly cooked and I and everyone else nearby enjoyed it.

And, then at the end, came Lemon Posset (heard lots of compliments for this), chocolate pots (big and rich) and lovely shortbread. Great stuff and a great evening.
Quail (left) and Lamb (top right) with desserts
And we had some excellent wines too. The favourite around our corner came all the way from Morocco. This was the Volubilia, Domaine de la Zouina 2011. The chateau is owned by two winemakers from Bordeaux and this wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with Syrah, Mourvedre and Tempranillo. Also available were La Boussole Pinot Noir Pays d’Oc, Martinsancho Verdejo, and Framingham Sauvignon Blanc (organic) from Marlborough.

Ardsallagh’s Jane Murphy was with us and she gave us a grassroots reminder on where the food on our plates comes from.  She said that this is a great time (of the year) to buy goats cheese and milk but she was mainly talking about the kidding. The arrival of the new kids upsets the normal hierarchy among the goats and envy breaks out. “It can be serious. If you’re a new mum with a good looking kid, watch out. The others will want him or her!”

There can be sadness also as “we lose some too”. But mostly it is positive. She spoke of the approach of the more mature mothers against that of the novices. And mentioned one veteran who dropped the lot, “like a boil in the bag baby”, and bolted to the other side of the shed. Jane thought it was magical but was so mesmerised she was slow to react but then quickly opened “the bag” to release the kid and all went smoothly after that.
Jane Murphy (left). Colm McCan welcomes guests
Then she spoke of two novice mothers, each two years old and great friends. “Besties,” suggested a nearby listener. And they went on to prove just that. Jane was watching as they each dropped a kid and then Jane was distracted by something at the other side of the shed. When she came back, she found the two new mothers with five kids between them. Jane didn't know which mother owned which kid and, as far as she knew, neither did the two mothers. But it all worked out well. The two “besties” cooperated in raising the five kids and they all lived happily (I'd better not say ever after as there may have been a little puck or two among the five!).

“It is a labour of love for me,” said Jane as she reminded us to be sure and try the milk and cheese now and for the next five weeks or so. “It won't be bad after that either!” she emphasised, “but is creme de la creme now”.

So, after that, we are all looking forward to the next event. Details are close to being confirmed but it is likely to be a mid April evening visit to the Golden Bean Coffee roastery in Ballymaloe.

Crawford Gallery Café
Emmet Place, Cork
(021) 427 4415

Monday, February 22, 2016

How About An Evening Meal At The Crawford?

Munster Wine & Dine
Evening Meal at the Crawford

The hard-working Beverley has been in touch with details of the next Munster Wine & Dine event which will take place on Thursday March 3rd in the beautiful Crawford Art Gallery. 

The evening will kick off at 7pm with a drinks reception in the sculpture gallery followed by dinner in the Crawford Gallery Café laid on for us by the extremely talented Sinead Doran. Sinead has taken inspiration from Margot Henderson, chef patron of London's famous Rochelle Canteenwhich bases its menu on seasonally-informed Mediterranean-influenced food. 

Sinead is renowned for turning simple food, using locally-sourced ingredients, into something really special. And with the backdrop of the magnificent Crawford Art Gallery, which is only open on special occasions in the evening time, this promises to be a very special night! 
Tickets for the event which includes pre-dinner drinks reception and dinner are €40pp for members and €50pp for non-members. 

If you'd like to join us, can you RSVP to this email address by Monday 29th February with any special dietary requirements. 

Can you pass this on to anyone else you think might be interested in joining us on the evening, or indeed to anyone who'd like to become a member of the MWDC. We are delighted to welcome new members, so if you are interested in joining Munster's newest and most dynamic food and drink circle, let me know and I will forward an application form.    

We look forward to seeing you in the Crawford on March 3rd for a fantastic food-focused event! 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Crawford Gallery Café. Bright Palette in City Centre.

Crawford Gallery Café

Bright Palette in City Centre
Cured Bream
A touch of Spring about the scene in the Crawford Gallery Café when I called there last Thursday. Light streaming through the high windows, daffodils on the tables, smiles on the welcoming faces. And a tempting menu to study.

The January menu is outstanding actually, regular favourites such as Steak and Chips but also quite a few different items such as the Roast Marrow Bone.
Turnip and Bacon
CL picked the Turnip and Bacon Soup (5.50) as her starter. Not everyday you see that combination but the local produce was excellent and, well cooked, proved a lovely warm starter on a cold day.

Mine was the Cured Sea Bream with Pomegranate Juice and Cumin (7.00), the inspiration for this from a little further east than the turnip and bacon! Looked like a work of art (had to squeeze that in, since the cafe is on the heart of the Gallery). Tasted rather well too, terrific flavors and textures, the rich fish enhanced by the juice and taking a wee lift from the cumin. Delightful. Very highly recommended. And do watch out for other dishes of this style here in the future.
The Salmon dish had attracted CL from the minute she saw it on the list: Salmon in a tomato, roast red pepper, herby broth, with garlic sauce and sourdough crouton (14.95). And she was delighted with it, loved the combination and thrilled with the light broth. No cream here to fill you up and so you go on to clean the plate.

Much the same could be said for me, except that mine was served on a timber platter. I love my aubergine, perhaps my favourite of the non-traditional vegetables, and I’ve had some great dishes with it featuring.
A right royal toastie!

And this, even though it was just a humble “toastie”, was another excellent one. Aubergine, roasted red pepper, Gruyere toasted sourdough, with sundried tomato pesto, cucumber pickle and a little salad (10.95). Toastie or not, I dined like a king, for this was a royal standard sandwich. Just goes to show when the ingredients are good and matched by the kitchen, the customer is a winner.

And the customer is certainly a winner here. And quite a few know it, as the room was packed last Thursday!