Showing posts with label Douglas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Douglas. Show all posts

Monday, December 12, 2016

ChilliShaker. New Indian Restaurant in Douglas

New Indian Restaurant in Douglas

I, and quite a few other guests, enjoyed a delicious meal as the new Indian restaurant, ChilliShaker, announced itself in Douglas last week. 

In a lovely room, hospitality was generously extended, no shortage of food or wine and no shortage of friendly faces either as ChilliShaker added to their restaurants in Swords (Dublin) and Letterkenny (Donegal).

Fine Indian Dining, they proclaim on the menu and that was exactly what we got. No sooner were we treated than a glass of bubbles was offered. And accepted! We sipped, sat back in comfort and took in the decor. 

A plate containing a selection of starters was next on the table and the chefs certainly showed their paces with different renditions of chicken, prawn and lamb.

By now, we were on to the wine and really enjoying the evening. Then we headed for the buffet where five bowls and nearly as many chefs awaited. The choices were Malabari Lamb, Three Pepper Chicken, Butter Chicken, Vegetable Hazari and Peas Pullao.

The Pullao was the rice, to go with everything else. And indeed, as far as I could see, everybody was choosing to take a little of everything. I followed suit and enjoyed the lot, especially the lamb and the Butter Chicken. But they were all excellent, even the Hazari which is a West Indian lentil and vegetable curry cooked in a tomato based sauce and finished with fresh coriander.
Jill and Aidan Foley

And as we finished the dish, seconds were offered. This time, I concentrated on that butter chicken, with rice of course. 

And what about all those chillies? No need to worry on that score, as the dishes on the menu are rated according to heat, going from nil chillis to three (for the hottest). Almost all the appetisers and many of the main courses are unmarked. 
Sandra Martin(left), Paul Woodage, Mary Rossiter

There are very few rated three. If you fancy the heat, then the Chicken Chettinad is one for you: a festive dish of the Chettiyar Clan in Tamil Nadu, it is a fiery dish made with black peppercorns, chillis, coconut ad fennel in a rich brown delicately spiced sauce!

That dish by the way costs €9.95, the same as many others. Quite a few too at €10.95. Some specials, such as Tandoori Jumbo Prawn and Jumbo Prawn Balti will cost you €14.50. Most of the appetisers are €3.95. The Hazari is one of over a dozen vegetable dishes. No shortage of sundries (sides) either, including rice, nan, popadom, even chips!
Renee and Albert Roser and Russel (R)

Watch out too for Early Bird offer, 5-7pm most evenings. And then there’s the Shaker Delight, a meal for two with mixer starters, mixed mains, rice and Nan Bread, and two beers, all for €28.99.

And if you haven't time to eat in the restaurant, they also provide a takeaway and delivery service. Delivery Times are: Mon-Thurs 6-10.30; Fri & Sat 6-11, Sun 6-10.

Douglas Village (opposite front of cinema, behind filling station)
Tel: 021 4366690
Facebook: @chillishaker
Fergus and Sarah Callinan, Marie and Sean Clarke

Thursday, July 14, 2016

La Calavera in Douglas. Let Pablo Power You Up!

La Calavera in Douglas.
Let Pablo Power You Up!
Marinated meat slow cooks for 12 hours. Nothing artificial here 
La Calavera, the new Mexican restaurant/takeaway in Douglas, is proving very popular, especially with young people and athletics, owner Shuting McLoughlin told me when I called for lunch during the week. “I’ve been working in Asian all my life but Mexican is lighter and healthier and customers come three or four times a week. The athletes, including rugby players, love our Power Bowl with double the meat and brown rice instead of white to increase the protein.”

There is quite a choice here and Shuting’s husband Ray said they intend to add a fish option shortly. At present, you may enjoy a Burrito, or a Naked Burrito (without the Taco), a Fajita, Tacos (3 small Tacos with 3 meats), and that Power Bowl! And the fillings available include Chilli Con Carne, Barbacoa, Carnitas, and Vegetarian. You may see the details of each filling on the photo of the menu board (at end).
Naked Burrito

I had chicken in my Fajita and Shuting explained that the chicken comes daily from Clonakilty. They have so little storage space here that virtually everything comes daily and the suppliers have no problem doing that because there are so many restaurants and food outlets in Douglas. That means more competition as well! 

And it’s not just the chicken. All the meats here are Irish and, on the vegetable side, local produce is used when seasonally available. Read more about their sourcing policy, “better food from better sources” here.

My chicken, marinated in Citrus Adobo (a stock used in Spanish and Latin American cooking to enhance the flavour), was delicious and the peppers and onions that came with it in the Fajita were outstanding as well, a lovely dish, quite substantial too, all for €6.95!

Soft shell corn tacos. You can have
three different meats and they are gluten free

Halfway through, I did a swop with CL. She had been singing the praises of the Naked Burrito. I soon found why out for myself. Her filling was the Carnitas, free range pork served shredded and she specifically ordered the beans. Quite a different experience to the Fajita but another delicious combination of flavours and textures. And again, just €6.95.

Shuting and Ray had been studying the ethnic restaurants in Dublin where there are so many compared to here. And they thought that Mexican would be a good fit here in Cork and, with experienced chef Pablo at the helm, La Calavera seems to be going down well. The restaurant space is quite small so there will be a big emphasis on the takeaway side.
Fajita. It's big and beautiful!

You have great choices here, just look at all those bowls in the bar. And another important thing, you can ask for your preferred level of spice. Pico de Gallo is mild, Roasted Chili Corn is medium while Salsa Verde is medium to hot.

Back to those health benefits. I usually advise, always will, that you check those out for yourself. But here are a few points. Essential vitamins and minerals can be found in tomatoes, lettuce, and other vegetables that are commonly found in Mexican food. Protein, from the meats (the leaner the better) is important because it improves energy levels and keeps muscles and tissue healthy. Mexican sauces, such as salsa and chile, contain spicy peppers and that may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. And those beans can be a good source of fibre. Looks like a good choice and not just for the young!

And where did they get the name? La Calavera means skull and in this context refers to the sugar (sometimes chocolate) skulls used (often presented to children, sometimes left out for dead relatives) during festivities surrounding the Mexican Day of the Dead also known as the Christian All Souls Day. For more on the practice, see here.

La Calavera
Douglas West, Douglas
Tel: (021) 489 0011
Twitter: @lacalaveracork

12:00 pm - 10:00 pm
12:00 pm - 11:00 pm
12:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Sunday, August 30, 2015

You Can't Hurry Sloe Gin. St Patrick’s Distillery

You Can't Hurry Sloe Gin
St Patrick’s Distillery
You can’t hurry Sloe Gin. That’s what Cyril Walsh and Barry Fitzgerald of Cork's St Patrick’s Distillery told me last week.  The sloes and the gin do their thing together for about three months. No sugar is added. They like to retain the natural tartness of the sloes, though they temper it with “just a drop of honey”.

Another infusion is their Elderflower Gin, the process here taking about a month. Both infusions are post distillation and are done with the gin at 96.4% to make “the extraction more complete” and it is “cut” after that.

The Sloe and Honey is Cyril’s favourite and he loves it with ginger ale. Barry goes for the Classic and takes it as a G & T. The other gin - they make four - is the Extra Dry. All, by the way, are the full 40% abv.

And when Barry, or his colleagues, makes that G & T, the tonic will be the German made 28 Drinks. It is a low sugar mixer, comes in a can and comes highly recommended by the Douglas Distillery team.
Cyril (left) and Barry
The gins and their St Patrick's Vodka are made with potato alcohol, are charcoal filtered and hand bottled. The alcohol is “a full strength spirit, straight and crystal clear, with an aroma and taste profile that is unique”. By the way, each bottle of vodka takes about 250 potatoes!

The whiskey is bought in at present but that will change over the next few years. The bought in whiskey, already quite a good product having been matured for more than three years in first fill bourbon barrels, is blended with a 21 year old malt whiskey. Cyril says the blend of the young and the very old (very expensive too!), plus the fact that it has been raised in US oak, produces the perfect balance, and make it extra special.

Indeed, the whiskey has been the stand-out success so far. “We are up against the big boys, up against Jameson, so we can’t go to the market with the same type of whiskey. We can't be the same and we don't want to be the same. People have been very willing to try the whiskey and are impressed by its smoothness and that longer finish”. Barry has been impressed with the way the Sloe and Honey Gin has been received, "Maybe because of the long tradition in Ireland of making Sloe gin at home”.

St Patrick's may be new but not all their kit is!
This old Vitamin Stamper, from the 1950s, was
 spotted in the UK and adapted by Cyril to
cork their bottles of spirits.
The team travels to exhibitions all over the country. Check out their products and be sure to sample their cocktails. Indeed, you’ll find some cocktail recipes, including the Crafty Cobbler, on their site here.

If you can't hurry Sloe Gin, you can't hurry a distillery either. Tom Keightley (Managing Director) and Cyril (General Manager) are the pioneers of St Patrick’s and Barry has joined them as Brand Manager. They are just about six months in operation. The Potato alcohol is being bought in at present but they have their own stills now and expect them to be operational in the near future.

They do their own bottling here in Douglas, by hand. Soon, they be contracting out that part of the operation, mainly because of increasing volumes of sales. Aside from the general market, the products are selling well in Dublin and Cork Airports.

St Patrick’s won't be stopping at the airports. They have confirmed their first export order and that goes off to Germany next October and, as a follow-up, the team will attend the ProWein, the International Trade Fair for Wine and Spirits next March. Could well be a Happy St Patrick’s Day for the Cork company.

St Patrick’s Distillery
Unit 105
St Patrick’s Woolen Mills,
Tel: 021 4918791
Facebook: St Patrick’s Distillery
Twitter: @StDistillery

You might have spotted this at St Patrick's tastings, the
most recent at the weekend in the RDS. A piece of a
whiskey barrel is heated, the glass is filled with smoke,
and you add in your whiskey for a drink with a difference!