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

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Autumn Dining in the Crawford Gallery Café's Tents

 Autumn Dining in the Crawford Gallery Café's Tents

Pancake supreme!

There are leaves under my feet as I approach the gallery. We are heading for lunch, dining outside in the two 
cone-topped tents. Leaves on the path. Leaves gather in little clumps on the roof of the tents. Leaves on the carpet which a staff-member brushes away. But, as one long side of the structure is open, replacements rapidly rustle in.

The other long side - the two tents are joined together - has colourful panels of summer plants, some fauna too, and a row of heaters. They offer to turn one of those in our direction but, warm enough, we decline and enjoy our meal in comfort.


We are here, in the Crawford Gallery Cafe in Cork city centre, for a slightly late lunch (table reserved) and the autumn sun and light wind, plus the walk downtown, has put a little edge on the appetite. We have the menu immediately and there is a quick decision. Not that the menu is short, far from it, there is quite a choice here.


It is an interesting menu, always is, closely reflects the seasons, from breakfast through lunch there’s never a dud dish here. There’s an excellent little wine list too and many appealing pastries but we would have to leave those, leave the Devilled Kidneys, the Roast Marrow Bone, the Leek (autumn!) and Cheddar Cheese Tart. Leave too the Tagliatelle with all’s it tempting flavours, the Hake and Chips, the Shepherd’s Pie.

Colourful panels

We settled on these two below, after a little spat, a full scale war averted with a decision to share and the fact that our mouths were stuffed with some of excellent brown bread they gave us to fill the gap between order and delivery. Indeed it was hardly a gap at all, certainly not a noticeable one.

The exterior where the points of the tents echo that of the gallery itself.

CL had first go at the Crawford Spinach and Mushroom Pancake (with cucumber pickle, Horizon Farm leaves and hollandaise sauce). This was seasonal and rather special and terrific value at 14 euro, the price of a cocktail in many places. She said it was one of the best pancakes around and I agreed that it was half of one of the best. Joking aside, this is Highly Recommended!

And we’d say much the same about the Crawford Toastie, sixteen euro worth of Gubbeen salami, buffalo mozzarella, cheddar, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes, with leaves. Actually the leaves, from Horizon Farm, were especially good as was the dressing. And the toastie itself was the star on the plate of course with that robustly delicious salami from West Cork and well judged quantities of cheese and pesto, really well assembled and presented.

Mrs and Mr Rembrandt (from 1636, when he was 30)

Our servers were very pleasant and efficient and we paid indoors where the café itself was very busy as well, even if lunch hour (last Tuesday) was well over for many by now. Under pressure, as our parking disc was close to expiry, we left our visit to the Rembrandt prints in the gallery to tomorrow and made a beeline for Bradleys in North Main Street where I made a dent in the recently received supply of beers from the Brehon Brewery in County Monaghan. Their Ulster Stout was my personal beer of the year last year.

So on the morrow, there’s a trip back to the gallery - where I’ll  give my contact details to the young person at the door again - to see the prints of the 17th century Dutch artist. Later, a short stroll will take me to the 19th century English Market, particularly to the second stall that my friend Margo Ann has opened up under the Roughty Fruity banner. By the way, here’s a Cork (or Kerry) lesson for you: the correction pronunciation is Ruthy not Ruff-ty; the name comes from a river and valley near Kilgarvan, Co.Kerry!

Tools of the trade. One section of the exhibition shows how 
the various types of prints (engraving, etching, etc) are made.

And we did all that on the following day (day before yesterday) plus a stroll around the ramparts at Elizabeth Fort and a little shopping at Roughty Fruity’s additional stall in the English Market and also at the new Cameron Bakery shop in Parnell Place (an addition to their Washington Street store).

Oh, by the way. I like leaves, both when they are on the trees and on the ground as they are these autumn days. Love to hear the rustle as the wind shifts them about. But, while they can block drains and make places slippy and must be moved from such locations, I find it hard to understand when even tiny congregations are immediately met with brush and blower and rapidly shifted out of sight!

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Crawford Gallery Café At Home Every Saturday

 Crawford Gallery Café At Home Every Saturday

Dinner, lunch, coffee and cakes all available now from the Crawford Gallery At Home service. We were tempted by the dinner menu for last Saturday, called in between 12.00pm and 2.00pm and had a lovely chat with Sinead as we collected our boxes of the good stuff.

Very little “homework” required to get the dinner going later on that evening and soon we were enjoying a rather splendid meal. The menu: 


Beetroot, pumpkin, goats cheese & Horizon Farm leaves

Goats cheese and beetroot is something of a local classic at this stage. And, with such splendid goats cheese as Ardsallagh on our doorstep, why not? The pumpkin added a seasonal touch and the beets and the ever first-class Horizon leaves, topped with a terrific dressing, all enhanced the cheese. No shortage of cheese by the way in a very generous starter.


Lamb shanks with tomatoes, white beans and rosemary

And the mains was equally generous. The shanks, fore shanks, were huge. Due to the shank muscle being used so much, when properly cooked, it renders to a beautifully tender piece of meat. And ours was spot on! And that bean and tomato sauce was the perfect accompaniment for this dirty old winter’s night. 


Gingerbread cake with caramelised pears

After a French-style pause (trou), dessert was served. Again it was generous and sumptuously sweet. Beautifully caramelised pear atop a cake moistened to dripping point with a caramel sauce. Sweet dreams after all that.

Lots of other good stuff in the Crawford. Note those puddings!

You can order online (the lunch and dinner menu is posted on their Facebook page in midweek, also on their website). Your pre-ordered food will be available for collection between midday and 2pm on Saturdays. You can also walk in and order while stocks last. They also have take away Coffee & Cake!  Just drop in to collect Saturday 12pm - 2pm. And, hot tip, I did spot Christmas puddings on the counter as well!

Perhaps you'd like a drink with your dinner?

Pizza Lunch!

On the way into town on Saturday, we realised that Stuart Bowes and his amazing Curly Stu sourdough pizzas were operating in a new regular base at the Coalquay Farmers Market. We called over and nine euro bought us the special of the day. The Pumpkin with Gorgonzola blue cheese, red onion and fresh chives special was demolished, in almost total silence, at lunchtime. Check him out next Saturday.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Food At Crawford Gallery Café. Well Sourced. Well Executed. Well Worth A Call.

Food At Crawford Gallery Café
Well Sourced. Well Executed. Well Worth A Call.

We are in high-ceilinged high-windowed room in the heart of the city, surrounded by art works on the walls. Indeed we are in the heart of the Cork’s best known art gallery. But don’t worry, this is an informal room, a very pleasant one, and the food you get here, in the Crawford Gallery Cafe (founded 1986) is not at all formal, not really art on a plate but the tasty culmination of artisan craft from the farm to the kitchen to your plate, neat and tidy and a superb lunch or brunch. 

And then there’s the counter ahead, more or less weighed down with so many good things, pastries and cakes to savour slowly with a well made tea or coffee. Quite a few other drinks available too, including a glass of well chosen wine.

Everything is well-chosen here. Let them tell you about their leaves: “… our salads are so flavourful thanks to the natural farming methods of the growers at Horizon Farm in Kinsale. Colum and Liz O'Regan carefully work their beautiful farm and its soil, which is enriched by the proximity of the Atlantic Ocean, to produce leaves of unique and exceptional flavour. The food we serve you just wouldn't be the same without the talent and dedication of these local producers.”

This day (27th November 2019), we are here for lunch. Nothing Christmassy on the menu as yet, thankfully! The splendid old fireplace though is getting its seasonal makeover and camera phones are clicking as we study the menu.
Pears & Blue Cheese

There are some terrific choices here ranging from Soup of the Day to a Steak and Chips. And the choice is enhanced by the fact that you may have smaller or bigger portions of a few dishes including Devilled Kidneys on Sourdough.

I’m seriously thinking about those kidneys but instead go for the Pear and Cashel Blue Cheese Bruschetta, also available in small or large. I’m a big fan of Cashel Blue but I have to say, the Conference pears that the Crawford served with it were also outstanding, thinly sliced, crisp and juicy with a melting consistency and the typical subtle sweet flavor. An amazing combination with the cheese and the sourdough and those Horizon Farm leaves of course. Not art but quite a masterpiece.

Our other main dish was The Crawford Spinach and Mushroom Pancake, with cucumber pickle, Horizon Farm Leaves and Hollandaise Sauce. Another super plateful, another layer of flavour added by the sauce to the already flavoursome creamy package inside the pancake. Delicious.

“Coffee?”, we asked one another. Why not? “Dessert?” One to share. You could close your eyes and stick a pin and still come up trumps on that counter. But we didn’t leave it to chance and our pick was the Plum and Pistachio Cake, a generous slice with cream. Sweet finalé. And the coffee was good too.

And then we got a bonus, the chance to sample the gorgeous nougat that Sinead is making here. She uses butter and I must say I loved it, both flavour and texture. Sinead:  "I’ll be making more for Christmas and selling it on the counter here at the cafe. I’ll package some and have some smaller bars on the counter to have with coffee." So there's a tasty tip for you!

Festive Welcome!

  • For all of you nice and early with your Christmas shopping, they have the lunch special to get you through the retail mayhem. Les Tartines are their Open Brown Bread sandwiches with Gubbeen Farmhouse Cheese and Pickles, Bresnan’s bacon, relish and cucumber pickle, plus a cup of soup, tea or coffee, anytime between 12 noon and 3.00pm Monday to Saturday.

Crawford Art Gallery
Emmett Place
Tel: +353 (0)21 427 4415

Opening Hours
8.30am – 4pm
Sundays and Bank Holidays
11am – 4pm
Café Christmas Times
Closed 25, 26, 27 December 2019
Closed 1,2 January 2020
Closed 6,7,8,9,10,11,12 January 2020

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!