Showing posts with label Dillon's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dillon's. Show all posts

Monday, July 20, 2015

Dillon’s of Timoleague. The 2015 Version

Dillon’s of Timoleague
The 2015 Version
Let me start with the desserts. Not with the changes at Dillon’s of Timoleague, not with the old abbey, not with the 18th century tsunami, not with the earthquake of 2013 (2.6 magnitude), not even with the earlier courses.
All was calm along the estuary and in the deserted village streets when I arrived in Dillon’s, where West Cork chef Richard Milnes now reigns, at the weekend. No tidal waves, no waves even, just lots of mud and flocks of birds feeding.

Maybe they got some tasty bits, I’m sure they did, but nothing as sweet as my Caramelised Almond Slice, quite a generous cut too. A delicious delight and indeed so too was our other sweet, a Tunisian Orange Cake, well matched with sour cream. Happy yes. But not one hundred per cent. I had a quick look at the dinner menu and spotted more temptation: Stewed Gooseberries with Elderflower Ice Cream. That could well draw me back one of these evenings!

The menus here, both lunch and dinner, are short but this is a small restaurant and better to have a short quality list than a long one in an attempt to please everyone. The incoming produce is mainly local and of a high standard and the Milnes kitchen magic does the rest. Craft beer and cider and a short wine list can help wash down the lovely food. Friendly staff there too.

And this is the smaller portion!
My mains was the Provençal Fish Soup (€15.00 - I could have had a smaller portion for eight). It was a winner, packed with chunks of monkfish and lots of flavours provided by red peppers, courgettes, herbs, all in a tomato base. And as well, there were two wee bowls on the side, one with shredded cheese and the other with a garlic aioli (that gave another little kick). Glad I got the big one.

CL meanwhile was tucking into her salad: Beetroot, Goats cheese and Almond. Again, quite tasty and well presented but I think I got the better deal this time! Oh, I almost forget to mention, we had been served with a little basket of their Focaccia bread, made on the premises that morning (and every morning, my server told me proudly!).

Excellent all round and I wasn't going to depart without a cup of tea. I had been studying the list through the meal; the list by the way gives eleven options, including some white ones, including Pai Mu Tan. My pick was the lovely Jasmine, fragrant, subtly sweet and delicately flavoured. Wide coffee choices too and CL had an excellent Cortado, a Spanish variation of the Italian Macchiato.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dillon’s Abú

Dillon’s Abú

Timoleague, long famous for its impressive if ruined abbey, is fast becoming well known now for Dillon’s, the brilliant restaurant with the welcome touch provided so genuinely by Julie and Chef John Finn, the engaging owners.

Parked by the abbey last Saturday and worked up an appetite by walking over towards Courtmacsherry. The appetite reached 100% before we got to Courtmac so we turned back and headed for Dillon’s, just in time to see a parade of veteran cars go by. By the time we left, we were full, the appetite needle comfortably in the resting position.

Began the meal with a chat and then we were presented with some tasty brown bread and a magnificent Wild Garlic hummus, made in-house of course. Just cleaned out the bowl. It was so gorgeous.

While waiting for the soup, Julie brought out a tasting sample of the West Cork Seafood Chowder with Coconut and Coriander. She was obviously proud of this (not to mention hubby John’s part in it) and rightly so. Just brilliant. If you get the chance, go for it.

Was then half-wondering had I made a mistake by ordering the Creamy Asparagus and Leek Soup with Wild Garlic Pesto and that Brown Bread (€4.95). Not a bit of it. Looked good and the taste was top notch.

And now for the main courses. CL chose the West Cork duck, Piccalilli Red Onion Marmalade and Hummus Wrap with local salad and roast potatoes (12.95). Great ingredients and a terrific combination. Really fantastic roast potatoes.

And I had the same potatoes on my dish: Roast Fillet of Hake with Shaved Fennel and Beetroot slaw, Salsa Verde and Wild Garlic Pesto (15.95). Again this produced a pretty photograph. The camera wasn't lying as Dillon’s once again outshone themselves. Everything was perfect and that unusual slaw went down a crunchy treat. Happy out!

But not finished yet! Dessert. Would we? Of course. But we did share the delicious pear, almond and blackberry tart (5.50). A couple of coffees and more chat and soon two happy customers walked out into the West Cork sun with a jar of that Wild Garlic Hummus and a loaf of the brown bread, both to be demolished at supper time! Couldn’t wait.

Great stuff in Timoleague, an essential stop on the Bandon Food Trail

Monday, October 24, 2011


Of Timoleague

In Timoleague, where stands the substantial ruins of a 13th century abbey, there is a restaurant called Dillon’s, run for the last couple of years by Julie and John Finn. This was an old bar and shop and that kind of atmosphere still remains as the bright spot is still a great place for social interaction, groups gathering for a chat and a coffee and even a game of bridge in the mornings.

That such a link to the past remains, says much for the friendliness and welcome you receive from the Finns. Julie looks after the front of house while John (originally from Mitchelstown) is the chef. Lovely people and lovely food.

Made my first call there last Friday, for lunch, and we got a terrific welcome and a terrific meal. Timoleague may be a relatively small place and Dillon’s a small restaurant, but the scope of the lunch menu (it is changed daily) is amazing, as you can see from the photo.

Took us a while to make the choice but knowing that the organic Ummera Smoke House was close by, we picked the House Platter with Smoked Salmon, Smoked Chicken and Smocked Duck, with homemade chutney, local Organic Salad and Brown Bread.
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Didn't regret a bite of it. The fish and meats were up to the standard we know and expect. The chutney was top notch as was the salad and brown bread. Enjoyed it and the chat.

After that, and the Tasting Menu the night before at the Cornstore, we weren’t too sure about dessert but were persuaded when we saw the tart on the counter, the Pear, Almond, Blueberry and Raspberry tart that is.

Had something like this in Cafe Madeleine’s in St Gilles Croix de Vie in the Vendee in the early 80s. The Dillon’s effort was probably better and that too will find a special place in my food memory (which I must admit goes back a surprisingly long way!). “I’d drive down from the city just for this alone,” enthused CL.

Lots of people drive down from the city (just about an hour) in any case and Sunday lunch in Dillon’s is very popular. Opening hours are a little restricted at this time of year so check the latest on the website  before you go.

Afterwards you may work it off by taking the walk along the route of the old railway to Courtmacsherry and back (about ten kilometres return). Speaking of walks, who walked in as we finished the coffee only Anthony Creswell, the owner of the aforementioned Ummera Smoke House but that is another story, another post.

Dillon’s of Timoleague: 023 8846390,

Sunday, October 23, 2011


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Just back from Clonakilty and a packed two days in the area. First stop was Dillon’s in Timoleague for lunch on Friday and to see owners John and Julie Finn.

Highlight here was a multi-fruit pie, worth the trip for this alone. But before that we had a brilliant plateful of Ummera smoked products and just as well as Anthony Creswell soon made an appearance. Delighted then to take up his invitation to see his smoke-house, the only one in Ireland licensed for both fish and meat smoking.

Took the scenic route then – it was quite a fine day – though Courtmacsherry and Butlerstown and Ring – and then headed to our base, the Macliam Guest House in Clon. We got a warm welcome from John (and an equally warm one from Maeve later on) and installed ourselves in a very comfortable room.

Still daylight aplenty so headed off down to Inchadoney for a long walk on the sand. Fully refreshed and with appetite renewed, called into Costello’s Malthouse for dinner. Lovely welcome from Amanda and a fine meal too where the highlights were a couple of top notch fish dishes.
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Rain was expected on Saturday morning and it didn't let us down. It lashed in Skibbereen as we walked through the market which, in fairness, was still doing a good business, especially the Sheila and Mary fish stall.

We had a magnificent breakfast at the guesthouse but time now for a coffee and a call to Fields where I couldn't resist their smashing Tunisian orange cake. Had a look around the supermarket and delighted to see so many local products, including virtually all of the range from Just Food in Cobh. My kind of supermarket.

The rain still fell as we drove back towards Clon and a return visit, after decades, to the Model Village and Railway. Just bought our tickets and the sun came out and stayed out for the rest of the day. Really enjoyed the stroll around the village and the models of the area’s towns but the highlight for me was a very nostalgic audio visual presentation of the last day of the West Cork railway in 1961.

With the sun now firmly established, we drove to the coast and to Red Strand where half a dozen surfers were braving the strong waves. Galley Head was silhouetted in the distance and we made that our next destination. Enjoyed walking round the area in the stiff enough breeze and took a few photos of the waves crashing in against the rocks.

Dinner was on the agenda again, of course, and this time we had a booking at the bright and breezy bistro called Richy’s. First though we made a call to An Sugán for a drink. Nobody there at seven but it was packed half an hour later (punters there for the food as much as the drink) as we left to cross the road.

Great service at Richy's where the pretty large menu is supplemented daily by a blackboard full of specials. We knew we were on a winner the minute we tasted our starter of Clonakilty Black Pudding Samosas and also with the first mouthful of a gorgeous Domaine La Columbette Pinot Noir 2010 (down from 35 to 28 euro).

I’ll have more details on the restaurants in later posts but all three are highly recommended.

And another big recommendation for Mcliam’s. Met some lovely guests there including two US couples, travelling separately. They were amazed at the friendliness of the Irish people and backed it up with concrete examples. Like the man who interrupted his walk, sat into the car and guided one of the couples to their destination. And another who interrupted his chores to drive ahead of them to a tourist site - some 22 miles away!

Hard to beat that kind of friendliness but we found it too. Well we didn't have much need of directions but a query in one town was answered, in a friendly manner, by a young French person and one of the US couples were amazed when a foreign person in Dublin used his own phone to get directions for them. But everywhere we were greeted with a smile and, if we needed info, that was provided too. Just loved the couple of days.