Showing posts with label Customs House. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Customs House. Show all posts

Sunday, August 2, 2020

A Bank Holiday Taste of the Week Special from Baltimore. Stunning "Combination" between Sally Barnes and Ahmet Dede

Taste of the Week
A Bank Holiday Special from Baltimore
A Stunning "Combination" between Sally Barnes and Ahmet Dede

A couple of weeks back, after a lovely lunch in Baltimore's Custom House where renowned chef Ahmet Dede now works, we stopped at their deli and bought a few things. Two dips ended up in our bag. One was the house pepper and garlic, the other was Sally Barnes' Smoked Fish.

"All you need now for a lovely meal is sourdough." We noted the instructions and a few days later put the three together in the sunny back-garden. And the day after as well...

An amazing Taste of the Week, quite a special one.

If you're anywhere near Baltimore, be sure and call to the deli in the Customs House, just a few yards from the village centre, and buy for yourself. You won't be sorry!

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

West Cork in Brief

West Cork in Brief

Stay: Celtic Ross Hotel 

Dine: with Michelin Chef Dede at Customs House, Baltimore.

Barleycove Strand, near Mizen
Visit: Spectacular Mizen Head 
Head for the islands - there are dozens of them

Check out the local "wild" life

Visit Clonakilty or one of the many other towns and villages
or just put your feet up!

Monday, July 20, 2020

Dede brings a refined and exotic touch to amazing West Cork produce in his new Baltimore venue.

Dede brings a refined and exotic touch to amazing
 West Cork produce in his new Baltimore venue.
Beetroot, and peach

Often it is the simple things that make the meal. Local beetroot, his own bread, even the ice-cream, all stood out during a delicious lunch at Baltimore’s Customs House where top Chef Ahmet Dede may be found these days, just a few steps from The Mews where he helped win a Michelin star in 2018.
Baltimore sunshine

It is all much simpler here in the sunny courtyard with a scattering of rustic tables, a barbecue set up on one side, a young and friendly staff, the menu on a blackboard, the renowned chef himself in and out helping and with time for a chat as was partner Maria. The food for lunch is simple, and simply superb. The sky is blue, the sun high above. On a midday like today, the indoor rooms are redundant.
Chicken mains

Could this get any better? Believe or not, it did. In a gesture that underlines the admiration that Dede has for the people here and they for him, we (all the customers) were invited to taste one of the wines that the management had been trying out in the shade with Fionnuala of Wines Direct. 
Love that Pet' Nat!

Maria, Ahmet’s business partner, told me they do that here and that they want good wines that their customers can afford, particularly by the glass. Our sample was that bit different, a delicious, light and easy-drinking Pet’ Nat, not from France but from Greece! What a lovely bonus. A friendly touch in a friendly and cool place.

They are offering a set menu of three courses on a Thursday, Friday and a Saturday evening at a set price of €50 per person.  The ingredients are sourced locally from the finest, eco friendly and passionate growers, producers, farmers, cheesemongers, foragers, fishmongers and butchers. The menu will constantly change according to the seasons and availability of ingredients, and may change again when hopefully the Covid time-limit is lifted!
We read our simple lunch menu from the blackboard (brought to our table). We both thought it was a bit warm for the Spiced Lentil Soup with sourdough (6.00) so gave it a skip. 
Mega dessert!
There were three salad options on the mains and CL went for the Beetroot, Feta and Peach offering (4 to 6 euro depending on size). The beetroot is at its best right now and Ahmet enhanced that fresh flavour even further with a few slices of peach and also some thin apple slices that were disguised by the red juice but also played a part on the palate. Very enjoyable dish indeed was the verdict! My Blog Chef though would have a little more peach, a little more feta, and a little less beet.
I felt like something more substantial, so picked the quarter rotisserie chicken with bulgar wheat, salad, potatoes and sourdough bread (17.50). Ahmet himself delivered our mains and told me I was having rice instead of the bulgar. He also said they were getting on well here and were very busy overall. So I busied myself with this superb dish, fantastic flavours and textures, reminding me a bit of the (obviously) memorable Farmyard Chicken lunch I had at Café Lavinal in Pauillac a few years ago.
Having skipped the starter, we were up for the dessert: brown butter ice-cream with honey sauce. We weren’t quite prepared for the size of it though, about as big as a wheel of Gubbeen. A very generous round indeed and the sauce was delicious as well. It may have been big but it was finished!
From the deli
We paid up (40 euro including tip) and then took a look at his deli. That has loads of tempting produce, including his salads, his magnificent sourdough, lots of pastries too. Much of the produce is local, including Gloun Cross butter for instance. 
We got a few things here and a bit of advice from Maria. With a Smoked Fish Dip from Sally Barnes and their own Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Dip in the bag, we were told all we needed for a super lunch with the dips was some sourdough. Going down to get that together as soon as I finish up here!
Baltimore was looking splendid when we arrived (and when we left). So we had a good look around, mainly at the boats coming and going from the islands. The little square above the harbour was quite busy too with customers dining in the sun.
But we couldn’t linger any longer and soon we were heading for Skibbereen, Drimoleague and Dunmanway on the way home via the R585. I’d normally prefer the R584 but, with so many interesting stops on that one, we’d have had to make an overnight somewhere, like Gougane. Next time.

Also on this trip:
Mizen Head Visit
Overnight and Dinner at Celtic Ross

Baltimore in the sun

Sunday, May 3, 2020

A Half-day Tour in West Cork? Now we can dream. Baltimore Beacon, Coffee Shop at Uillinn, Leap Waterfall

Half-day Tour in West Cork? Now we can dream a little.
Baltimore Beacon, Coffee Shop at Uillinn, Leap Waterfall

Actual Trip: 6th March 2020
The Beacon and, right, Sherkin Island

It’s a Friday and we’re heading west for a night, long booked at a bargain rate, in the Celtic Ross Hotel. The weather is dry and often bright so we leave a little early and eventually decide on a trip to the famous Beacon of Baltimore.

Plan was to arrive in Skibbereen around lunch-time with a visit to the Coffee Shop at Uillinn (which houses the West Cork Arts Centre and is popularly known as the Rust Bucket). I know that Jessie and Billy, who previously ran the operation in Union Hall, have transferred here.
Gubbeen sandwich and, left, a lovely Frittata
No bother finding parking in the town, indeed there are a few spaces available in the very central lot where the Saturday morning market is held and it’s free. We can see the “rusty” sides of the high-ish Uillinn from here and take an easy stroll over.

It is a small café with a good sized outdoor space for the better days. And there were a few hardy souls outside. But we headed in and Jessie, who told us they are edging towards their first anniversary here, filled us in on what was available. It is a small enough space, no kitchen area as such, but they make the best of some excellent local produce.

There are a few eye-catching light fittings around, including one colourful globe by the window that reflects some of the buildings across the way. But the most eye-filling piece of all is a large painting of the local Reen Pier area by artist John Kelly. In a few months this will be auctioned at Sotheby’s with the proceeds going to CUH and West Cork Rapid Response.

There is quite a choice: Sandwiches, Salads, Toasties, Frittata, Quiches, and more are on the menu, much of it chalked up on boards. Our order soon arrives. I am delighted with a toasted sandwich featuring Gubbeen ham and cheese and the delicious salad that comes with it. Much the same salad is with the well-made Frittata (CL’s choice). And we each enjoy a bottle of lovely Attyflin Estate Apple Juice. We did a bit of sharing and we agreed that the sandwich was one of the best of its kind that we’ve come across in recent years.

Back to the road then and into Baltimore. Fairly used to seeing it in summertime but I’ve never seen it as quiet. We don’t drive all the way to the Beacon and give ourselves a short walk. There’s a fair bit of mud and water at the start of the climb but we do stretch ourselves a bit to make it to the plateau!
At work. Lights on! 

The white painted signal tower at the entrance to the harbour is Baltimore's famous landmark. Jokingly, it is sometimes also called Lot's Wife by the locals, an allusion to the bible, where Lot's wife turned into a pillar of salt.  It was built sometime in the 19th century. Various dates are mentioned but there seems to be some consensus that, in its present form, it dates from 1849 or thereabouts!

The views are well worth the climb, cliffs and sea to the left and right,the ocean and  Sherkin island ahead (a bit to the right) and the town and harbour behind.  We do find an easier way down but there’s still the odd slip or two and one of us gets a muddy behind!

Back to the harbour car park then. In the toilets, we see the first of those yellow Covid-19 safety signs - we would see them again in the hotel later on. A stroll around the village is next and we take a peek at the Customs House where work is going on inside in preparation for “a new concept” with an opening on March 19th (three days a week for Michelin chef Ahmed Dede and his team for a start). But that opening was knocked out (temporarily) by Covid19 but they did get going with a very popular takeaway service. Better days ahead!
The Beacon, from a previous visit
Lamp in the Coffee Shop

We skirt around Skibbereen on the way back and soon find ourselves in Leap. I spot the sign for the local waterfall. We’ve never seen it, so we park up on the street and head in the few yards. No charge but you are asked, via a notice, for a donation. After the recent rains, the water was flowing quickly down the narrow channel but the whole thing is on the small side. 

According to Wikipedia, the town’s full Irish name means "O'Donovan's Leap" and is derived from the story of a chieftain called O'Donovan, who was pursued by English soldiers, but escaped them by jumping across a ravine and its waterfall. A local website says “an O’Donovan leaped on horseback while being pursued by British soldiers”. Check it out here.  
Dunsead Castle
in Baltimore

After that, it's an easy drive back to Rosscarbery and to the Celtic Ross, our marvellous base for the night where we had a five star dinner. Read all about it here.

Actual Trip: 6th March 2020