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

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Excellent Elbow Lane Continues Leading Smoking and Brewing Role as 10th Anniversary Approaches

Excellent Elbow Lane Continues Leading Smoking and Brewing Role as 10th Anniversary Approaches

Duck breast

The Sharpe brothers, Ronan (manager) and Harrison (chef), have recently been appointed to the two top roles at Elbow Lane, Cork’s iconic Smokehouse and Brewery as it moves to celebrate its upcoming 10th anniversary. 

But it was an old favourite that I first turned to on last week’s visit.

I’ve often said here, and elsewhere, that their Angel Stout is one of the very best, a superb combination of hops and malt, made with the restaurant's food in mind. My very first sip confirmed previous impressions as the roasted malt showed well in the flavour. The hops  - Hercules Germany, Pilgrim UK and Williamette USA - go in early in the process and their bittering qualities make for a lovely balance, a delicious pint and even better with the dishes that follow.

Duck in blankets

The menu is written daily and is divided into Snacks, Small Plates and Mains. Of course, there are sides too and you could well have an enjoyable meal from that list which includes the likes of Blue Cheese Creamed Greens with almonds; King Oyster Mushrooms in panko crumb with Chorizo and aioli; and Baby Potatoes, crème fraiche, malt syrup and fine herbs.

To get up and running, we picked one from the Snacks: the Duck in Blankets, Berbere, herb yoghurt and one from the Starters, the Confit Octopus, roasted salsa, pickled red onion and ancho mayo. Berbere, a spicy mix, is a key ingredient in the cuisines of Ethiopia and Eritrea. And it is their use of spices, seasonings and sauces from around the world that really set Elbow Lane apart. Both the duck and octopus benefitted from their judicious application the other night.


On Friday, 19th August, as part of Cork on a Fork Fest, Elbow Lane Brewery will showcase its limited-edition range of award-winning beers. Join head brewer Russell Garet for an informal, informative and FUN tasting in the restaurant. More details here.


Outstanding Deep fried pork belly

Pork Belly
I was pleasantly surprised to be offered a taste of the deep-fried pork belly with fish sauce caramel, chilli and peanut. This starter is a testament to the skill of Chef Sharpe (at work less than 2 metres away) who is able to create such a delicious and flavourful dish with just a few simple ingredients. 

The pork belly is perfectly cooked, with crispy skin and tender meat. The fish sauce caramel adds a sweet and salty flavour, while the chilli and peanut provide a bit of heat and crunch. If it is on whenever you call, it is well worth considering. I’ll certainly be ordering it next time as it is probably the best expression of pork belly that I've ever come across.

For our main courses, we chose the lavender honey duck breast and the wood-grilled ribeye steak. Both dishes were outstanding. The duck breast was tender and juicy, and the lavender honey sauce gave it a unique and delicious flavour. The ribeye steak was cooked to perfection, and the smoked cascade butter added a touch of richness. A serving of the excellent Elbow Chips (another of the sides) also embellished the meats as did a sip or two of that excellent stout.


Aside from Skeaghanore Duck, Elbow Lane also supports local producers such as the Allshire Family, Tom Durcan, K. O’Connell, Rossmore Oysters, Churchfield Community Gardens, Singing Frog Gardens, The Olive Stall and On the Pig's Back (both for cheese), Irish Gourmet Butter, Glen Farm (for goat), Mr Bells (spices and seasonings), Minch Malt, Killahora Orchards, Stonewell Cider, local gins, and also 9 White Deer (gluten-free Kolsch).
Ice wine by Killahora

Speaking of drinks, another that we enjoyed over the evening was their own Elbow Lager. They don’t over-process, and use old German brewing methods. The lager has a slight haze, is unfiltered and takes 6 weeks overall. This continental-style lager is particularly refreshing and owes its flavour to Pilsner and Munich malts and "Noble" hop varieties imported from Germany and Czechia. It weighs in at 4.4% ABV (same as the stout) and the hops used are Saaz, Hersbrucker (for its subtle aromas) and Hercules (for its bittering qualities) and is recommended for lighter dishes.

Dessert? Yes, please. Our choice was the Elderflower and mascarpone sorbet, pistachio crumble, white chocolate rice pudding, strawberries, and long pepper syrup. Lovely sweet amalgam, easily eaten at a relaxed pace. Of course, that pleasant sensation was infinitely enhanced by a glass of the Killahora Rare Apple Ice Wine. Just the job after an excellent meal.

By the way, it is not all meat here. There are vegetarian options and also a fish option (it was John Dory on the bone the night we were in). Add in the excellent friendly and helpful staff (they know the menu), always the case here, and you are on a winner. 

Check the menu here

Elbow Lane is part of the Market Lane group that also includes Market Lane, Goldie, ORSO and the Castle Café.

On Friday, 19th August, as part of Cork on a Fork Fest, Elbow Lane Brewery will showcase its limited-edition range of award-winning beers. Join head brewer Russell Garet for an informal, informative and FUN tasting in the restaurant. More details here.

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Chef changes in Cork. New chef, new name for Midleton's Finin's

 Chef changes in Cork.

 New chef, new name for Midleton's Finin's

Prawn starter at The Black Barrel (formerly Finin's)

Quite a few chefs on the move this past month or so. A recent appointment is at Liss Ard Estate who announced that the experienced Sean Doyle is the estate’s new Head Chef. Sean has experience at L'Ecrivain, Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud and the Merrion Hotel. The appointment of Doyle as is a significant coup for Liss Ard. He is a highly respected with a proven track record of success. His arrival is sure to boost the estate's culinary reputation and attract new visitors. 

He replaces Alex Petit who, earlier in the year, joined the Trigon Hotel Group (includes the Metropole and Cork International) as Group Executive Chef.

Ale in Black Barrel

And Good Day Deli are glad to have Chef Mark Ahern on their team in Nano Nagle Place: "We've admired + enjoyed Mark's cooking for many years, we share the same values on food sustainability + we're buzzing to collaborate." Mark is well known and respected locally and most recently worked in Pigalle in Barrack Street, so he's not moving too far!

And there is a new duo leading at Elbow Lane. Brothers Ronan and Harrison Sharpe have been appointed to the two top roles at  Cork’s iconic Smokehouse and Brewery as it moves to celebrate its 10th anniversary next year. 

Ronan (age 28), who is now the new general manager, joins his older brother Harrison Sharpe (age 30), currently the head chef of Elbow Lane, to lead one of the city’s best-loved eateries into its next decade.

Liss Ard's Sean Doyle

Not just a new name at 75 Main Street, Midleton. For decades, it was known as Finin’s and now it has been renamed The Black Barrel. It is very close to the local distillery where one of its most popular tipples is Black Barrel. 

Their new chef is Timmy Warne who has over 20 years of experience in the culinary industry (including working at local places such as Sage and Two Mile Inn). His recent appointment was welcomed by the restaurant who said “he has a passion for farm-to-table cuisine” and  “brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our kitchen”.

The long-standing and popular Finin’s was taken over by Blue Haven of Kinsale and re-opened, after a period of renovation, under the same name in mid-2022. The downstairs room was full the other night.  The frontage, on the main street, is now painted black and the new The Black Barrel sign is hanging high. 

Black Barrel Chicken Liver Paté

You’ll still get your steaks and burgers here but there have been some menu changes since our earlier visits. We missed the Slow Cooked Oxtail Croquettes and the Pork Belly Chicharrones. No sign of the Toulouse Sausage or the French Onion Soup. Older customers will miss the artwork that Finin's had in abundance on the walls. It has been replaced by bright colourful paintings by Cork artist Alan Hurley (whose work also hangs in Greenwich in the city centre).

But quite a bit remains, not least the delicious fresh Kinsale ales from the tap. More importantly, the warm welcome was still very much in evidence. 

Plenty of info and help for customers. If you want your sauce on the side, just ask. A customer was given two samples of wines as she made up her mind and another customer, a young adult, was able to “specify” the ingredients for his own burger. It seems that their burgers along with Fish and Chips are very popular dishes here; the restaurant caters to family groups.

And, of course, whiskey features on the menu and if you’d like to indulge, they have quite a selection in the bar, along with wine, cocktails and beer.

Indeed, one of our starters was the Jameson Black Barrel Chicken Liver Paté. It was absolutely top drawer and very much enhanced with an outstanding plum and apple chutney. Our other starter was their Chilli & Garlic Prawns (quite a quantity) that come with a piece of warm sourdough bread to take up the sauce. That too went down well.

Will be interesting to see how the menus develop in the coming months, both here and in the other establishments as the new chefs settle in.

Monday, July 17, 2023

Goldie Sure Has That Swing. O🐟ial!

Goldie Sure Has That Swing. 



You can have the best produce. The best equipment in the kitchen. The most comfortable seating. A stellar wine list. All those won't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing. 

And Goldie’s Aishling Moore sure has that swing. She gives it everything she’s got and her food sings. Cool or hot, the rhythm is on the spot, taking customers to a different level every single visit and each and every dish.

Just a few years on the scene in the heart of Cork City and Goldie has built a unique reputation for the quality of its fish dishes. But it is not all fish here. There are some very tempting vegetarian dishes and those desserts strike, well let us caress, those sweet spots. Even Michelin agrees. Goldie has a Bib Gourmand and is also on its latest list of the best places to go for seafood in Ireland.

Aishling is quite a conductor, often composing as she goes. The menu changes daily. “Whatever the small boats bring us, we take. We forage on the local coast for sea vegetables and seaweed.”

And there’s some singing in the background too. West Cork’s Singing Frog Gardens are prominent on the menu. Lots of herbs, even wasabi on the cured plaice. That wasabi is of course local and other local suppliers include Rossmore Oysters, Churchfield Community Gardens, Cuinneog (Mayo), East Ferry poultry, Bushby Strawberries, St Tola cheese, Achill island salt and more..

Our server has a warm welcome for us and gives us an enthusiastic run through the menu, highlighting the Red Mullet Anchovies in the Snacks, the Cured Plaice in the 5 Small Plates and the three fish in the 5 Mains.


We take our time as we make our choices. The Rossmore Oysters for me and the Cod Tail Schnitzel for CL along with a glass of the Angel Stout and Elbow Lager (both made across the road by the Elbow Lane microbrewery, part of the Market Lane group as is Goldie). 

Aishling tells us the beers chosen are just perfect for the small plates. Small? In quantity, I suppose the word fits. But the quality is stratospheric! Those oysters, with the Singing Frog lemongrass and ginger granita, are the best I have ever tasted. Quite a beginning, zing and swing.


And CL’s Cod Tail Schnitzel is also out of the usual orbit, that soy-cured egg yolk, along with a celeriac and gherkin remoulade, enhancing the flattened cod. I got a taste,  delicious flavours, stole another and had to stop at that for fear of retaliation!

Now for the mains, not too easy to relegate the Pan Roast Turbot with Churchfield herb panisse but we choose the Pan Fried Plaice and the Panfired Monkfish.

CL’s Plaice came with Singing Frog Courgette and a chicken and miso butter sauce. Again, everything was just perfect, the courgette a surprising enhancement along with the sauce. Not forgetting some of the shared side of Sea Salt Shoestring Chips (say that quickly!).


Panaeng is a lovely mild curry named after tropical Penang and that was what my Monkfish came in, along with a tasty sunflower seed relish. The Panaeng can be spiced up with chillis but this was perfect as it was and the whole dish was another hit from the Goldie repertoire. Just to mention that those fries were also top-class.

Desserts are often an afterthought if they are thought of at all, in many restaurants, and you often have the usual suspects to choose from and nothing innovative in sight. Not here. Even though the list is short, just three, they are rather special.

A duo of sweet beauties highlighted the finalé, with Rosscarbery fruit growers, Bushbys, featuring deliciously in both. Mine was the Singing Frog basil pannacotta with Bushby’s strawberry sorbet and meringue. What an ensemble! And CL’s was another hit from the Goldie playlist, a beautiful combination of the St Tola cheese ice cream, with Bushby raspberries and beetroot molasses. 

We relaxed, serene in foodie Nirvana. Very Highly Recommended. Very well priced also, by the way. Put it on your list and put this song on your playlist!

St Tola

“Yes, it don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that swing

Well, it don't mean a thing, all you got to do is sing

It makes no difference if it's sweet or hot

Just give that rhythm everything you got”

(It Don't Mean a Thing by Duke Ellington and Irving Mills)

Thursday, July 13, 2023

A Family Affair at Elbow Lane as Sharpe Brothers Take the Helm

News from Elbow Lane 

A Family Affair at Elbow Lane as Sharpe Brothers Take the Helm

Ronan (left) and Harrison

Brothers Ronan and Harrison Sharpe have been appointed to the two top roles at Elbow Lane, Cork’s iconic Smokehouse and Brewery as it moves to celebrate its 10th anniversary next year. Ronan (age 28) who is now the new general manager joins his older brother Harrison Sharpe (age 30), currently the head chef of Elbow Lane to lead one of the city’s best-loved eateries into its next decade.

The brothers have long dreamt of working together and this came to fruition at Elbow Lane; a restaurant famous for fostering young talent and for having an enviable staff training and mentoring programme. Chef Aishling Moore started out in the kitchen at Elbow Lane before leaving to set up Goldie. 

Located on Oliver Plunkett Street, Elbow Lane, best known for its open-fire cooking and succulent meat dishes,  is part of the progressive Market Lane Restaurant Group which also includes Market Lane, Goldie, ORSO and Blackrock Castle restaurants. 

"We are both delighted to be given the opportunity and responsibility to head up at this very special restaurant,” says Harrison. “We bring very different skills and strengths to the business which actually makes it better as a whole. Working with a sibling means that your patience is never-ending. You both share the same goals and want the business to succeed. Being able to trust each other implicitly makes running a business so much easier."

Ronan adds “Harrison is the best chef I know, and I am enormously proud to be working alongside him.  We can be totally honest with each other in a way that only siblings can, and I know he will always have my back and vice versa. “

The brothers are very clear about their vision for the business.  “We want to build on the restaurant’s great reputation and to continue to provide a unique experience that leaves a lasting impression on both new and repeat customers,” says Ronan.

“We have amazing colleagues working with us at Elbow Lane and we want to continue providing them with all the opportunities they need to excel.   We have just started an in-house graduate programme where staff can study as they work to achieve real, transferrable skills while being paid a salary. This way the team can help ensure that all elements of the restaurant meet, anticipate, and exceed the changing needs of our diners.

The Sharpe brothers come from a family steeped in the business of food, farming, and hospitality. Brady Quality Meats was set up by the family and mum, Mary, is a third-generation publican at the famous Brady’s Bar in Waterford as well as the producer of ‘Irish Gourmet Butter’.  The boys grew up helping in these businesses from an early age. Later, Harrison did his degree in culinary arts and Ronan in hospitality management; both studying at the Waterford Institute of Technology. They loved the fast-paced culinary scene in Cork and gradually moved to the city when the right opportunities arose.

Other developments include the creation of a fermentation room where Harrison can develop more of the by-products of the Brewery to enhance his dishes. This includes not only vinegar, mead, kombucha and malt expressions, but also ingredients like miso and soy. As with all of the Market Lane group of restaurants, sustainability is at the heart of the operation at Elbow Lane and while the restaurant is best known for its delicious steaks and low and slow-cooked ribs and pork cuts, Sharpe has developed strong relationships with local growers, and vegetables are increasingly taking more of the limelight on his plates.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Drinking Beer While Dining Out. Elbow Lane and Radisson Hotel. CorkBillyBeers #18: Craft Beer with Food!

CorkBillyBeers #18

Craft Beer with Food!

Drinking Beer While Dining Out

Elbow Lane and Radisson Hotel

Steak in the lane

If you like a beer when dining out, then it's hard to beat Cork’s Elbow Lane as it is both a smokehouse and a brewhouse.

Black Lager
And, unlike some brewhouses, Elbow Lane are always welcoming to new brews. Such was the case the other night. They even dropped their own fantastic stout in favour of the Ukrainian equivalent called Resist* on draught . 

And they also have the terrific Kolsch from 9 White Deer in bottle. We like our Kolsch around here and this one got an unsolicited ringing endorsement from a friend of ours who enjoyed it recently at a concert in the White Horse and said they thought they were back home in Germany.

Two of our party went for the host's Wisdom Ale, another for the Stonewell Cider. But the one I couldn’t resist was another guest in draught: the Schwarzbier  by the Dublin Brewery Hopburgh (a project of JW Sweetman’s).  A few Irish brewers, including Kinnegar, Whitefield, Whiplash and Lineman, have relatively recently brewed in this German style, essentially a black lager. 

The later history of this style goes back to the toppling of the Berlin Wall (according to World Atlas of Beer) and the re-unification of Germany. “What the five East German states brought back to the nation was Schwarzbier.” It had more or less died out in the west of the country. Those states also brought Angela Merkel of course!

Elbow Lane (pic by JR, one of our group).
Looks like 
the chef in action 
through right hand panel of door

The cool fermentation method used places these beers in the lager style and, as it is made from roasted malt, it has a dark colour and so some of flavours of stout. Quite a happy hybrid as far as I’m concerned.

The brewers say that long cold conditioning means the beer is crisp and clean but the use of toasted malts adds texture and a subtle richer flavour.

I can endorse that, a very enjoyable pint indeed, easy drinking - don’t be put off by the black colour. The ABV by the way is 5.2%. And I enjoyed the company so I wasn’t really taking notes. 

Also I enjoyed my terrific Wood-grilled Rib-eye with toasted Cascade butter, with a side salad and fries. Before that, the Smoked lamb sausage, grilled plum mustard, and brussel kraut, was easily dispatched. I think CL has become addicted to their Slow smoked baby back ribs, with that amazing house sauce.

Radisson Venison Hot Pot

A few days earlier, the four of us had been part of a larger group at a “reunion” dinner in the Radisson in Little Island. Lot of changes down there since I was a kid chasing rabbits around a very rural island indeed, the reward then a glass of lemonade at the Dew Drop Inn (now the Island Gate).

What I did notice in the hotel was that they had two taps, one selling Pale Ale and one Lager, and both badged as Hungry Hills. They say they are their own beers and as far as I know they are brewed locally - must check that out! In any case, I can recommended the Pale Ale.

And the food menu is pretty good here too. Watch out for dishes using Andarl Farm produce. This time though, I said I’d go for the seasonal Venison Hot Pot (Braised venison with bitter chocolate and chili seared potatoes) and it was terrific. Those that choose the Fish and Chips were quite happy as were those that had Salmon and also those on the Chicken Burger. 

Resist is loosely based on a recipe released by the Pravda brewery in Ukraine at the start of the conflict. They encouraged all brewers to produce it as a special as they were busy making Molotov cocktails, so our brewers  did. It is a full bodied stout with roasted malt and a kiss of beetroot and is, fittingly, courageously robust! Profits from it go to the International Red Cross.
** One other dining room I enjoy going into is the Mad Monk by Quinlans in Killarney. Here they have just two beers on draught, both from the local Killarney Brewery, the Golden Spear Blonde and, my favourite, the Casey Brothers Stout. Would love sometime to have a head to head between the Casey Brothers and the Angel Stout from Elbow Lane. No losers there, I'd say!
Smoked Lamb Sausage