Showing posts with label Elbow Lane. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Elbow Lane. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Catalan Take-over at the Castle Cafe. Chef Sessions Number Four!


Catalan Take-over at the Castle Cafe
Chef Sessions Number Four!
Dessert

Every now and then the young chefs of the Market Lane group get a chance to shine. The latest came on Monday evening at the Castle Café at Blackrock Castle where, under guidance from Executive Chef Stephen Kehoe, Sara Movilla Cobo, Jose Emilio Escobar Garcia Prieto, Marc Montserrat Vila and Marc Oliveras Duran, cooked a Catalan meal for a full house.
The four have become a core part of the team at the group (which also includes a micro brewery and city restaurants Elbow Lane, ORSO and Market Lane itself) as a result of the excellent recruitment programme that the group has had with CETT (Campus de Turisme, Hoteleria i Gastronomia) University in Barcelona since 2017.

That full house included Market Lane’s Conrad Howard. He was excited as any of the guests as he welcomed us and looked forward to the evening, the fourth in what has become known as the Chef Sessions. Neither he nor we would be disappointed.
We got off to a good start with a glass of Kir. Soon the breads were on that table and soon we were trying them. The selection of Spanish and Irish breads were accompanied by some lovely butters, one featuring beetroot, another garlic and kale, the third mushrooms. And they went down well with a glass of the Elbow Lane red ale.
Black pudding, scallop
Next up was the Salmorejo, a cold tomato soup with olive oil. It was served with cured Spanish ham (on top) and a boiled egg (at bottom). Enjoyed that and also the Black pudding, scallop and pickled carrot tapa.
Eel and apple
There were no less than five “units” in the next serving session. The highlight for me was perhaps the Courgette cannelloni with Cashel Blue cheese, a beautiful combination. The most unusual was the Kokotxas al Pil Pil. Kokotxas is goats neck in garlic oil, with an emulsion of olive oil and garlic and basil.
Also included was a cube of Foie Eel Apple, layers of eel and thinly cut apple with a caramelised top; a Croqueta de L’avia (traditional); and a Seafood Paella.
Cannelloni

All the while, we were sipping our wine, two organic gems imported by Le Caveau. The red Almate has been described as “as outstanding within its type and style” and it certainly lived up to the Spanish Wine Lover description. The white, Château Beauregard Mirouze Campana blanc from Corbieres, was aromatic, elegant and with a long finish.
We were getting to the serious end of the evening now and our fish course was Hake with five sauces. I particularly liked it with the fennel. The meat was a well cooked piece of pigeon, served with pack choi and pear. 
Getting full now! But dessert was on the way and a nice one it was as you can see by the top photo. And then there was a selection of petit fours to sample: a Hazelnut Financier, Bailey’s Bombon, and a Panellet. The latter is  the traditional dessert of Catalunya. I think with all the delicious food displayed by the chefs at the Castle, a move to the north east of Spain would be no hardship at all. Meanwhile, we can all look out for the Spanish influence on the menus of the Market Lane group.




Monday, August 20, 2018

The Meadows of Hive Mind. Bees’ Paradise in Myrtleville.

Bees’ Paradise in Myrtleville.
The Meadows of Hive Mind.

The honey, in its tallish jar, is of a light colour though a bit cloudier than usual. But there is a natural explanation. It is produced by the bees at Hive Mind in Myrtleville and is unfiltered. The aromas are attractive, mainly light and floral I think. No wonder, these bees are spoiled, meadows of flowers and herbs set out for them. I am enjoying this sample with its smooth consistency, pleasantly coating the palate, the flavours and aromas persistent.


Hive Mind themselves have persisted since 2014 and the bees are enjoying their meadows by the sea, meadows planted with herbs and flowers (the seed has been organically sourced) that include: Berseem Clover, Borage, Buckwheat, Calendula, Caraway, Chinese Mallow, Cork Cockle, Cornflower, Dill, Fennel, Phacelia, and the beautiful Sainfoin.
Aishling and Mark

The variety of flowers and blossoms from the meadows and the hedgerows help balance the flavours of the honey. Buckwheat on its own yields a dark brown honey which is pungent, the flavour a distinctively malty. Clover, on the other hand, gives a sweet and delicate result, closer to a “normal” honey. The bees love clover but there are quite a few varieties of the plant, so not all clover based honey is the same.

“It’s not too surprising to find that the magical, cliff-edged village of Myrtleville, with its stunning views of the sea, is producing some of best wild honey in the country today,” says Aishling Moore, head chef of award-winning Elbow Lane restaurant, who rates Hive Mind amongst the best honey she has ever tasted. And the good news is that you too can help Hive Mind continue to stretch out a helping hand to the Irish honey bee.

Mark Riordan's apiaries and bee meadow are located at his family farm in Myrtleville House.  To create a sustainable business Riordan has started 'renting' his hives to organisations and individuals in exchange for his honey.   And the Market Lane restaurant group has committed to financially supporting three colonies of honey bees at Riordan's farm.
A meadow at six weeks

His collaboration with Moore, the first with a restaurant, will not only provide for the restaurant’s honey needs throughout the year but it also means that Riordan gets solid financial support to build up his bee stocks and increase the number of hives.  It will also help to maintain a vibrant, healthy habitat for these bee colonies and help Riordan to engage other beekeepers to spread the word.  

Hive Mind is now making an appearance as a hero product on the menus at Elbow Lane, which is part of the progressive Cork-based Market Lane Group of restaurants.  The talented, young Moore has woven this wonderful honey into dressings, sauces and spun it into ice-cream and cocktails. 

Factors such as weather, parasites and pesticides have meant that local bee stocks are diminishing every year so Riordan sees that initiatives like Hive Mind will be vital for the survival of the honey bee into the future. These black and yellow-striped flying friends are key to the country's biodiversity and economy. It is estimated that they contribute some €53m* to the Irish economy every year. 

Riordan, who has a Masters in horticulture and years of experience as a beekeeper, set up Hive Mind in 2014.  “I am delighted to be working with Aishling and the Market Lane Group.  This company is so well established and respected for its ethical and sustainable approach to sourcing.  It is a perfect partner for Hive Mind. It is also a vital link into the city for me.”

The Hive Mind goals are:
  • Promote the growth and development of a national passion for beekeeping.
  • Set up provincial apiaries to carry out a nationwide service.
  • Arrest the decline of the honey bee on a local level.
  • Aid in educating and inspiring as many people as possible.

To buy by the jar, shoppers can go online and fill in an ‘expression of interest’ form.  They will be contacted when the next harvest is completed at the beginning of Autumn.  See the website here.  


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Blasket Lamb Buzz at Market Lane. Also at ORSO, Castle Cafe and Elbow Lane

Blasket Lamb Buzz at Market Lane. 
Also at ORSO, Castle Cafe and Elbow Lane



There’s always a buzz when Market Lane announces that its annual allocation of tasty Blasket Lamb has arrived! Well in case you haven’t heard, now is the time for 2017. Just a short window during which you may get it at Market Lane and its associated restaurants: ORSO, Castle Café and Elbow Lane.


Grabbed an opportunity to taste it last week, had it in both starter and mains, and enjoyed every little bit. The Oliver Plunkett Street venue was indeed buzzing as we arrived to a warm welcome and lots of info on the lamb. We had no other interest on the night, well dessert maybe, so that made it easy for our enthusiastic and well-informed server.
Starter

Time perhaps for a bit of background.
This story begins with small holder, Donnacha O Ceileachair, who raises a small flock of sheep on the Great Blasket Island. When the April-born lambs are ready, he brings them by ferry from the Island onto the mainland. Award-winning Dingle Butcher, Jerry Kennedy, selects out the premium meat for the Market Lane Group.

“The impeccable provenance of this product is reflected in its quality and flavour; we are proud to be the only restaurants in Ireland to serve it to our customers. This truly is a farm to fork experience with everybody in the supply chain really respectful and excited about the product.” – Pamela Kelly, Head Chef, Market Lane. And we met Pam on the night and delighted to be able to congratulate her  and her team on a job well done!

The starter was Spiced Blasket Lamb croquette with Velvet Cloud sheep’s yogurt, crispy mint and pomegranate. All the ingredients, including the mild spice, the chickpeas in the croquette, the smooth cooling yogurt from Mayo, each played a role in a lovely plateful.

Server Yuliyan was coming up with some excellent drink matches but we were keen to renew  acquaintance with their own Elbow Lane beers and so he recommended the Wisdom Amber Ale with the starter. He was spot-on with that as he was when suggesting the sharper Elbow lager would do well with the mains.
Dessert!

And, if the starter was five star, then the mains was all of that but even more outstanding, hors catégorie as they say in the cycling world. I’ll give you the full description: Blasket Lamb Rack and pressed lamb belly with fondant root veggies, Elbow beer vinaigrette, and buttermilk mash. This was a duo of lamb to remember, tender and tasty, perfectly cooked and served.

Would we like dessert? Well, we’ll look. Yuliyan recommended the Marmalade and vanilla bread and butter pudding. “The massive one?”, I asked (having had previous). He confirmed with a smile. We decided to share and loved it.


It is just one of about a dozen desserts here. Lots of starters too and the same applies to the mains; here you’ll see the names of local suppliers such as Coolea, Goatsbridge, St Tola, Ballinwillin, Tom Durcan, and Toonsbridge. But, at present, the Blasket Lamb is the star of the show. You’ll need to get in soon as the limited supply won't last for very long!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Taste of the Week. Vienna Lager by Elbow Lane.

Taste of the Week
Elbow Lane Meeting House, Vienna Lager 5.4%, Bradley’s of North Main Street


Elbow Lane may have “breached” the German Beer Purity law here but when that extra ingredient is love, well it is easy to forgive! And this Vienna Lager, a collaborative effort with the famed Bradley’s of North Main Street, is a winner, copper in colour, rich in flavour, well balanced and with a pleasant smoothness all through. It is a seasonal offering, brewed for the festival on the horizon. You may need to move quickly to get your hands on some as it is a "very limited" edition.


Not only does the love come from Cork. Some freshly picked hop flowers from Elbow Lane's garden were added to the German Perle and Herzbrucker hops and the Munich and Vienna malt.

Three men are credited on the label: Michael Creedon of Bradley’s, Russell Garet the Elbow Lane brewer, and David Dempsey who came up with the name (after a lane near Bradley’s). I like the bottle too and its long neck. Now better head on down town and get some more of our Taste of the Week.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Elbow Lane Brew & Smoke House Nano. But with a mega tasty punch!

Elbow Lane Brew & Smoke House
Nano.  But with a mega tasty punch!


Duck's ready.


One of Cork’s newest, and smallest, restaurants sure packs a big tasty punch.

The Elbow Lane Brew and Smoke House, right next door to big brother Market Lane, has its own niche and here you’ll be well fed and well watered. Well not exactly water, though they do have plenty of it. But the dining area is built around the micro-brewery that produces no less than five of their own beers, everything from a refreshing lager to a silky smooth hugely satisfying stout, all brewed with the intention of matching the food.

Virtually everything you get on your plate here has been through the in-house smoker, the smoke coming from apple wood. Oak is used under the grill and here the T-Bones, the duck and fish (last Wednesday night it was Sea Bass), is finished off.

You can see the food being prepared on the grill. Your taste buds will be standing up as they get a hint of what's to come from the old olefaction, as smoked duck, T-Bone steaks, whole fish, and slow smoked baby back ribs and more emerge from the hot hole in the wall and are placed on the pass for all to see.

We were going for the bigger mains so avoided the starters. But it was hard! The Low Smoked Brisket Roll, the Oyster Brulee, and the Smoked Salmon Salad all had their temptations.
Catch of the Day
I sipped a glass of their Wisdom Lane Red Ale and CL enjoyed the Elbow Lane Lager as we waited for the mains. All the beers are named after local lanes. They also have a guest beer and I finished the night with a terrific Kinsale Ale. My highlight though was the Angel Lane Stout and that went down well with the steak. More beers available in bottle and there is also a short wine list.

Yes, I plumped for the Wood Grilled T-bone (the manager’s favourite, I’m told!). This is lathered in Bearnaise Butter and served with a mixed salad and is priced at €21.00. On the side, we had their triple cooked chips (€4.00) and Seasonal Veg (€4.50).

The steak - they use Tom Durcan aged beef here - looked huge but, terrifically tasty and tender, it didn't last that long. The chips are something special and the vegetable (purple sprouting broccoli on the night) was excellent. All were well cooked.
Super T-Bone
Angel Lane Stout
And the sounds of approval were echoed from the other side of the table where CL got stuck into Half an Applewood Smoked Duck (€20), checking over the carcase a few times to make sure she hadn't left anything edible there. “The best duck ever,” was her verdict. And she too enjoyed the sides and didn’t spare their own Smoke House Sauce, a recent Taste of the Week .

I had noticed some unusual desserts (all €6.90) on their menu on the net and was looking forward to the Passion Curd, eucalyptus and tamarind jelly and it proved just the job after the steak. CL was just a little less pleased with the American style Blackberry s’mores with homemade marshmallows.

Overall, we were delighted with the meal and glad to report that service was very informative, prompt and friendly, lots of smiles from entry to exit. It may be a small place but it has a big buzz and you’ll need to book to make sure of a table. Something different for Cork diners and a great place to go and have a local drink and share a plate of those tasty ribs and then move on to something more substantial. Very Highly Recommended.

See my visit to the Elbiow Lane brewery here .



Friday, November 28, 2014

Elbow Lane Brew & Smoke House. Best of goods in small parcels.

Elbow Lane Brew & Smoke House

Best of goods in small parcels




Best of goods in small parcels. An old Irish saying beloved of mothers.

And like many old sayings, there is some truth in it. Take the Elbow Lane Brew and Smoke House in Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork. The brewery here is so small, they call it nano rather than micro and the restaurant area, which can accommodate 25, is one of the smallest if not the smallest in the city. But you certainly get good stuff here.

Got the tour from Gerry O’Sullivan (you'll know him from the Castle Cafe) yesterday morning and you can see he enjoys his work here (he is also a home-brewer!). But then you realise that all the crew you meet here are on the same level of enthusiasm. Take a look at the top right of the menu and you’ll read: We’re really round of the beers that we make here. This is not marketing speak. It is true!

Perhaps, that enthusiasm has rubbed off from their beer guru Cuilan of White Gypsy. Elbow Lane folk are loud in their praise of the help and advice give by the pioneering Templemore brewery, especially Cuilán and Jamie.

The new Cork brewery is divided into two floors. The brewing and fermentation takes place downstairs while the conditioning takes place above. To save space, Gerry explained that they have an initial multi-purpose tank replacing the mash tun and lauter tun that you see in bigger breweries. Everything starts here and then the spent grain is neatly removed in its perforated container by a small hoist and no need for anyone to pop into the vessel with a shovel!

Gerry explained that hops can be added at different stages to the wort but with different effects. In general, hops added early in the boil will contribute more bitterness, but at the expense of flavor and aroma. Hops added at the end will have a more pronounced flavor and aroma, but will not contribute significantly to the bitterness of the beer.
Gerry, Conrad and brewer Russell
Hygiene is all important and is given the highest priority here. And Elbow Lane have also invested in temperature control, a key element in helping the brewer. Patience is also required, especially with lager. A German style lager can take up to six weeks while an Ale or Stout will be ready in 12 to 14 days.

There is a set of conditioning tanks upstairs - again you’ll see much bigger ones in other craft breweries. They are also known as Bright Beer Tanks. But the beer goes in cloudy. “All our beers here are unfiltered,” Gerry tells me. “They are naturally cloudy.”

The Cascade hop is one of the most popular and indeed, Gerry tells me there could well be a shortage of this particular type in the near future. They use it sparingly here, in pellet form. All the Elbow Lane beers are relatively lightly hopped, mainly because of food matching considerations. You don't want an over-hopped beer destroying the food flavours.

Indeed, the new brewery owes it existence to the food produced in the restaurants, Elbow Lane itself and big brother Market Lane next door, nearby ORSO and the Castle Cafe in Blackrock Castle. Owner Conrad Howard says they wouldn't have started a standalone “retail brewery”. But this one fits really well with the company's four food outlets, each with its own style. The Brewery has kegging and bottling facilities but that is to distribute the beers to ORSO and Blackrock. Market Lane is piped into the system!

And what kind of food do they do downstairs in the Elbow Lane Smokehouse? Well, very popular stuff by the looks of it. You'll find it difficult to get a seat after 7.00pm. Head chef Stephen Keogh is the man in charge and his pride and joy is the wood grill imported from the US.

Virtually everything you get on your plate here has been through the in-house smoker, the smoke coming from apple wood. Oak is used under the grill and here the T-Bones, the duck and fish (last Thursday night it was Sea Bream), is finished off.

And it really is going down very well. “There is a great feedback from all age groups”, says a delighted Gerry. “What’s your favourite?”, I asked. “Oh give me a T-Bone with that smoked Béarnaise butter and I’ll be a happy puppy!”

Sounds very good indeed. Pity it was early in the morning when we met! Must go back and try the cooking, the ribs are also highly rated. And it is a very different menu.  Even the desserts! Where else would you get Passion Curd, eucalyptus and tamarind jelly?

At present, there are some five beers in the Elbow Lane range: Elbow Lager, Wisdom Ale, Liberty Porter, Angel Stout and Jawbone Pale Ale. Check them out here. Oh yes, you may also drink wine here, even tea and coffee!


Elbow Lane
4 Oliver Plunkett Street
Cork
021 239 0479.
info@elbowlane.ie

Friday, January 17, 2014

Dining at the Castle


Dining at the Castle Café
The sky cleared as we arrived at Cork’s Blackrock Castle this week for lunch in the Castle Café. and, from the bright front room - there is also an inner room - we had a close-up view of the 16th century castle under a beautiful blue sky.

Blackrock Castle is located on the banks of the River Lee, about 2 kilometres from the heart of Cork city. Nowadays, it houses the CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory and, in the small grounds, the Castle Café.

It is  a very popular spot for lunch. We had arrived rather early, about 12.30pm, last Wednesday, but had to wait in line for a table. After a short spell, during which we studied the menu, we were led to our table. The menus are already there as they use them as table mats, just as they do in Market Lane, a busy city centre restaurant run by the same firm (ORSO is also under the same umbrella).

The Elbow Lane Brewery, soon to come onstream if reports are correct, is also part of the group. For the moment, at least in the Castle, you can sample the craft brews of Dungarvan Brewing and Eight Degrees Brewing in bottle. On draught, they have a White Gypsy red ale and I sampled, and very much enjoyed, a glass of that (€2.30) with the meal.

Service was pretty good here, even if all tables were full. Presentation and delivery of the food was fine and what was supposed to be warm was warm and water was refilled without having to make a request.

We had two good salads as our mains. One was the Slow cooked ham with honey glaze, roast sweet potato, watercress, sundried tomatoes and grapefruit dressing (€10.95) and the other a Caesar Salad with Romaine Lettuce, classic Caesar dressing, parmesan shavings and croutons (€8.50) enhanced by the addition chicken and Bacon (€2.50).

But it was the starters that had us talking, as both were superb. Mine was the Seared Escalope of venison with leek and thyme risotto (€8.50). The strongly flavoured meat was well matched with the soft and gorgeous risotto.


Homemade crab fish fingers with lemon cucumber pickle and quince jelly (€7.95) was another gem, a well cooked main ingredient enhanced by the pickle and jelly. Big marks for each of these. Curried prawn dauphine with a seafood sauce and watercress salad was another starter I'd have liked to have tried. Next time!

++++++++++++++++++++++
Castle Café, Blackock Castle, Cork.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Three New Classy Craft Beers


High Class Beer Hat-trick
Put June 5th in your beer diary. On that Tuesday, new Cork craft brewery Elbow Lane will launch its Angel Stout. On the 20th, it is the turn of Elbow Lager and later in the month you’ll see Wisdom Ale make its debut. Elbow, Angel and Wisdom, are the names of three Cork lanes and now the names of a classy hat trick of beers.

Elbow Lane, who are associated with the Market Lane and Castle Café restaurants, used their experience in that line when formulating the beers. “With this in mind, we set about creating three beers that we could serve with pride alongside our food...” They have succeeded spectacularly.

All three beers are made according to the German Purity Laws and only natural ingredients are used, nothing artificial, no enzymes, flavourings, preservatives or colours.

Wisdom Ale. 4.7%ABV. Ingredients: Water, Barley Malt, Hops.

My first sample was the Wisdom Ale and I was very happy with it from its amber colour and the initial caramel aromas. Flavour is a mild toasty malt with a dry finish. “This ale is excellent with many foods and uniquely satisfying as a stand-alone pint.” I can wholeheartedly agree with that statement.

Elbow Lager. 4.5%ABV. Ingredients: Water, Barley Malt, Hops.

Colour is a lighter amber and it is mild and refreshing and “owes its flavour to barley malt and a generous hop bitterness”. This one is a gem and a delightful treat for beer lovers. I had been waiting for a really class local lager and here it is!

Angel Stout. 5.1%ABV. Ingredients: Water, Barley Malt, Hops.

This has the traditional black colour and a malty aroma. Excellent flavour, smooth with nice spicy kicks before finishing dry. Recommended for steaks, stews and curries. Eating in Market Lane and the Castle will never be the same again!

Elbow’s Conrad Howard tells me that they intend to have the products available in other restaurants and off licences shortly after launch. The best way to keep in touch with developments is via their website at www.elbowlane.ie where you can sign up to follow them on Twitter and Facebook. Stay in touch with these good things!