Showing posts with label English Market. Show all posts
Showing posts with label English Market. Show all posts

Friday, November 3, 2023

Cork's Farmgate Café. Where time doesn't stand still and tradition thrives.

Cork's Farmgate Café. Where time doesn't stand still and tradition thrives

As we queued for lunch behind a small group of French speakers and others on the stairs up to the Farmgate Café in Cork's English Market, we began to get a little worried. You have to reach the top to see how many are in and if there are vacant tables. 

We could have had booked and would have had if it had been a Friday or a Saturday. But this was a Wednesday (after the Jazz Weekend) and we thought we’d be okay. As it turned out we did find a table, just for an hour we were told. There was no rush in the end but I’ll be more persistent on the phone the next time!

The delay was slight, to be honest, and we didn't really have time to study the menu (that had been handed to us as reached the top of the stairs) until we were seated and enjoying two of their breads, including the marvellous white soda that we occasionally buy at their stall downstairs - it is one of our favourite breads in the city.

The menu doesn't change all that much but we were here for the traditional plates - I had already pencilled in the Irish Lamb Stew. CL went for their Chicken Supreme and our dessert was Bread and Butter Pudding. All three are not so much traditional as timeless. As long as local producers maintain their high standards and as long as the Café, now with Rebecca Harte at the helm (having taken over from her mother Kate (the café’s founder), then these treasures of the ages will await you.

But don't worry, there is plenty of variety in the short menu. They are open to outside influences. How could they not be with so much of the market below also enhanced by flavours and spices from many countries and cultures and so you will see Atlas Green Olives, Pork Rillettes, Moroccan spices, and  Scarmorza, sitting on the menu along with longstanding staples such as Loin of Bacon, Ladysbridge Potatoes, Tripe and Onions and Barry’s Tea.

While you are waiting for your food to arrive and or between courses, take a look over your shoulder and see which poet is looking down on you - Seán Ó Tuama's work was at my shoulder. 

In the area, where you can book a table, there is, since 2005, the Poetry Wall. 

An ini­tia­tive of poet Gerry Mur­phy and Kay Harte, it is a unique col­lec­tion of poems, by Cork, Irish and inter­na­tional poets, com­mis­sioned by the Far­m­gate Café to cel­e­brate Cork’s year as Euro­pean Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture.  In 2018 Pres­i­dent Michael D Hig­gins vis­ited and added his own hand­writ­ten com­po­si­tion Star­dust. Where else would you get that with your spuds?

And speaking of spuds, those Ladybridge potatoes are superb, the traditional balls of flour. Quite a few years back, Kay Harte and I were entertaining a couple of high-ranking US bloggers here and they too were bowled over by the potatoes and the phrase. Back in those days, the spuds from the same supplier were stored on the stairs. I don't think that’s the case now but they are as good as ever.

They came, large and floury, to be shared between us. The stew, with a selection of seasonal root vegetables, was superb, just what I expected. CL was more than happy with a beautifully cooked (large) piece of chicken, that too enhanced by the same veg and potatoes. 

Both dishes are very highly recommended by the way. Other choices on the day included regulars such as Tripe and Onions with Drisheen (and those potatoes!);

 Ardsallagh Goats Cheese Ciabatta, Balsamic Roasted Onions, Rocket & Walnut Pesto; Sourdough Sandwich with Moroccan spiced Chicken and Coriander Mayonaise; and a Toasted Sandwich (Loin of Bacon, Scarmorza Cheese, Onion Marmalade). 

A favourite bread!

There were a couple of tempting specials as well: a Chicken, Bacon and Mushroom Pie; and Pan-roasted Hake.  Oh, I almost forgot that Bread and Butter pudding was very enjoyable. As simple as could be, just the basic bread and butter and sultanas in a generous pool of "creamy" custard. Another thumbs up from us for tradition!

Lunch is served from 12.30pm to 15.30pm  (Tuesday to Friday) and the phone number is 00 353 21 427 8134. On Saturday, hours are as above but breakfast from 08:30 and lunch until 16:00. Be sure and check their socials for updates.

Instagram: farmgatecafe



Saturday, September 23, 2023

Music and Food and Good Humour Abound as Culture Night takes over in the city.

 Music and Food and Good Humour abound 

as Culture Night takes over in the City.

L'Atitude Beverley and Simone in the open-air kitchen. Their burger,
from the best of local ingredients, was amazing, out of this world! 

The Goldie Angel, in the evening, (from the walls of Elizabeth Fort)
Spic and span modern buildings, the northside in the distance,
from a viewpoint on the walls of the 17th-century fort.

Shandon, with its Goldie Fish, and the tower of the North Cathedral (left)

Ukranians (part of a large choir) sing Danny Boy (and much more) at City Hall.

Mayfield Men's Shed Choir at Cork City Library, Grand Parade.

Mayfield men in full voice!

Lots going on in the English Market with quite a few traders pulling out all the stops, food and entertainment in all the aisles. Found it hard though to get past the Roughty Foodie stall where a varied menu and singer Amanda Neary proved a major draw. While Margo Ann welcomed the visitors out front, Gerry stayed cool, calm and collected in the background.

Heading home after a superb evening in the city.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Greenwich Café Brunch A Perfect Finalé To Cork On A Fork Festival

Greenwich Café Brunch A Perfect Finalé To Cork On A Fork Festival

Eggs Royale: O'Connell's Smoked Salmon, Poached East Ferry Farm Eggs and Hollandaise sauce. The best Eggs Royale I've tasted in a long long time and Evin (of Brunch Cork), at the table with us, agreed. The ingredients were superb. The smoked salmon was a light and delightful surprise, so much better than what you get in many hotel breakfasts, you know those that come with a punchy aroma that dominates everything else on the plate.

Greenwich café chef patron Dermot O'Sullivan supports local all year round at the popular Caroline Street venue. So it was no big surprise to see him do it again with his Cork on a Fork Brunch special last Sunday, fittingly entitled "A Celebration of The English Market with Kinsale Gin". No surprise either to see the event sell out. 

It was quite a gin weekend for us and
the Kinsale version kept up the
standard in this welcome G&T
just after arrival.

CL enjoyed her tasty plate of Irish mushrooms on Pana sourdough toast, Parmesan shavings and slow-roasted tomatoes with basil pesto. Again the ingredients were key. The mushrooms and tomatoes were packed full of flavour and there was no shortage of moisture to soften the sourdough crust. Thumbs up again!

We had recently enjoyed the third dish on this special menu and knew the Strawberry Crumble Challah Bread French Toast using challah bread from The Alternative Bread Company, new season Irish strawberries, whipped mascarpone and oat crumble / or Rosscarbery bacon with maple syrup is another gem from the little kitchen here.

French Toast (from a previous visit)
is a regular on the menu here

Felicity Roberts of the Greenwich team heading to the sunny terrace
during last Sunday's A Taste of The English Market Brunch
 with Kinsale Gin during Cork on a Fork Fest. 
Pic: Joleen Cronin.

Supporting local is ingrained here in Greenwich. Just check out all the local names on the regular menu below.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Start Your Story! Cork’s Iconic English Market Seeks New Traders

 ‘Start Your Story’

Cork’s Iconic English Market Seeks New Traders

The English Market and Cork City Council have launched a campaign to help find the next new traders at Cork’s English Market. The new campaign titled “Start Your Story”, presents a unique opportunity for food entrepreneurs to join a historic community of traders and start a new business at the world renowned market

The English Market is seeking applications and expressions of interest from innovative, artisan and high quality food producers and providers nationwide. Home to many generational family businesses, vacancies at the market are rare, however there are currently four primely placed market stalls available to let to the right candidates.

The letting presents both established and budding food entrepreneurs with the chance to share their passion with the thousands of tourists and locals who shop at the famed food emporium every year. 

Brendan Walsh, Property Manager at the English Market added, “In addition to its long-standing reputation as one of the finest food markets known around the world, successful applicants can expect to operate from a high-quality fully fitted unit and avail of low monthly rates that include management, marketing and overhead facilities. The market also affords traders invaluable industry insights; as they can trial products, assess demand and receive live feedback from customers, all while making lasting connections with customers, traders and suppliers in the market. This is a unique opportunity to be a part of history and to bring forth a new era of innovative food businesses in the market.”

All proposals are welcome and will be considered by a specialist panel to ensure new traders selected will be in keeping with the values of the market. Applicants who can demonstrate a commitment to innovation and sustainable food practices, from low ‘food miles’ to compostable packaging, will be in strong contention. 

Full details, terms and conditions and application forms can be found by visiting the English Market website Alternatively, business proposals can be shared with Cork City Council at The English Market is open 8am-6pm, Monday to Saturday (closed on Sundays & Bank Holidays). For more information and to keep up to date with the latest news, visit The English Market social media pages on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Drinking through Portugal wine regions I. An engaging Alvarinho from Minho.

Drinking through Portugal wine regions I. 

An engaging Alvarinho from Minho

Foot Trodden (2021), a book on Portuguese wine that I am currently reading, covers these eight regions: Minho, Douro, Dao, Bairrada, Colares, Ribatejo, Alentejo and Madeira (home of one of the most age-worthy wines). Other regions noted are Algarve, Setubal, Beiras Interior, Tránsmontano, Bucelas, VR Lisbon and Carcavelos. This is the start of an occasional focus on Portugal over the next month or two and I’ll try to get my hands on as many of the wines as I can. Any tips or help will be most welcome!

Quinta de Gomariz Alvarinho, Vinho Regional Minho, 2020, 13.5% ABV, €18.00 Bubble Brothers

I’m starting in Minho (where Vinho Verde comes from ) and I bought this Alvarinho at the Bubbles Brothers stall in the English Market. It has a bright and clean straw colour, no tints of green in this twilight hour. The nose is quite complex with scents of fresh citrus fruits as well as floral hints and a hint of honey. Quite a lively duet of flavour and freshness in the mouth on the way to a lip-smacking finalé. 

Very engaging, Very Highly Recommended.

At a tasting some years ago in Cork, I heard a wine importer posit that it was difficult to find a bad Albarino. 

António Sousa, winemaker at Gomariz would agree. In conversation with Jamie Goode, interview here, Sousa said: 'It's almost impossible to have a bad wine from this..’. He was speaking of Alvarinho, the same grape as Albarino. Gomariz operate in the extreme north of Portugal, close to the Minho River, the border with Spain, (you’ll know the area better as Vinho Verde). 

I thought, for a long time, that Vinho Verde meant green (or young) wine and the most recent World Atlas of Wine seems to agree but I’ve also seen that it refers instead to the wet and green landscape. 

Foot Trodden (2022) refers to Minho (the country’s second biggest wine region after the Douro) as “Portugal’s sister region to Galicia”. Here in the Spanish homeland of the ancient Celts, Rias Baixas, also wet and green, is home to the crisp light and refreshing Albarino.

Amazing how Albarino has taken off in Ireland over the past decade or more but you don’t see that much Alvarinho here. Many wines from Portugal are blends, sometimes with many grapes, and the less experienced customers find it difficult enough. But this one is 100% Alvarinho, surely not more difficult to pronounce than the successful Spanish equivalent. Perhaps the busy label here is off-putting for the casual wine-shopper.

We owe the Irish introduction of Gomariz wine to Bubble Brothers of course but the initial inspiration was provided by baker Declan Ryan. The Ryans had drank these wines while in the area and brought the info home and shared it with Bubble Bros who made good use of it!

Bubbles elaborate: ..the Alvarinho, which bears the legend 'Vinho Regional Minho' ...... The Quinta de Gomariz Alvarinho is a terrifically appealing wine from beginning to end, and it's not hard to see what appealed to the Ryans about this thrilling liquid..Thank you Declan Ryan for a fantastic tip, not to mention all the great loaves from Midleton and Mahon Point market.. .. .. .” 

Portugal mini-series

Part IV (Vinho Verde, Lisboa and Alentejano).

Part III (Alentejo) 

Part 11 (Douro, Dão, Alentejo and Setubal.)  

Part 1 (Minho) 

Monday, February 6, 2023

Greenwich. Passionate café culture in Cork city centre

Greenwich. Passionate café culture in Cork city centre

The lady at the counter is delighted, compliments are flowing to the staff as she pays her bill in the little Cork café. “This is delightful,” she enthuses, “A real café, great food and relaxing music, and in the heart of the city. How long have you been here?”

They explain that the current owner has just celebrated a year in residence but the café has been here for about 20 years. With an incredulous gasp, she questions: “How come I’ve never found it before?” Greenwich is the uber central café in Caroline Street, just behind Brown Thomas that itself faces onto to the main thoroughfare of Patrick Street.

Dermot O’Sullivan is the chef/owner celebrating his first anniversary here in Greenwich and he has the place smelling well, looking well and sounding well! 

Flowers and bright paintings all around, cool jazz and easy swing ooze from the speakers as tempting aromas waft from the kitchen. This gentle melange for the senses, served with smiles and chats, has enthralled many a customer, our happy lady the latest in a long line.

These months, with not much use being made of the outdoor seating (even if it is sheltered), the 20 plus seats inside are busy and buzzing, the punter’s eyes on the glass containers of cakes on the counter, the wall-mounted boards (detailing coffees, teas and wines) and on the menu with its day-long brunch offerings and its lunch list, along with a host of sweet treats.

We get in around 1.45 on a midweek afternoon. There is a short wait for a table and we have the menu to check in the meantime. By the time we’ve read it, the table is cleared and we have a good idea what we’ll be eating.

I had the Reuben sandwich on my most recent call and this time I’m inclined to go for something off that day-long brunch menu and pick the Challah Bread French Toast. It is a tasty and generous plate,  the bread (from the English Market) is dipped in egg and cream, fried in butter until golden and served with crispy bacon  and maple syrup. There is also a homemade fruit compote vanilla Mascarpone version. 

Dermot supports local suppliers. The ever reliable Chicken Inn is one such and CL picks the Chargrilled Chicken Salad with chargrilled red pepper, toasted cashew nuts, dressed Waterfall Farm leaves and pickles served with the café’s homemade honey & mustard dressing. A generous and inviting plateful, accompanied by a couple of slices of their brown bread, is a very satisfying combination of colours, flavours and textures. 

They have a short wine list here but today we pick the beautiful refreshing apple juice from Con Traas’s Apple Farm in Cahir. Coffee is by the Golden Bean and we decide to share a slice of the Lemon Curd Cake. Just as well we shared, as the portion is quite large!

So, heated by the meal and feeling good after the warm welcome and the friendly service and the day’s play-list, we are well equipped for the walk back to the car.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Taste of the Week. Dromana Cheese

Taste of the Week

Dromana Cheese 

I recently bought two sheep milk cheeses at On the Pig's Back in the English Market. One, a hard cheese from Cratloe Hills in Clare, I knew well. The other, Dromana, I didn't know well at all and it was only later when reading the small print that I realised is is produced by the outstanding Knockalara Farmhouse near Cappoquin. I know it very well now as it is our Taste of the Week.

The small pack contains the soft cheese, sunflower oil, fine herbs, and salt. You need nothing else really. Young and delicate, it is delicious but may be enhanced by adding a tomato or two. These are in season now and we have three plants in the back which are producing a handful each day (ideal for us). These fresh beauties go ever so well with the cheese and are themselves enhanced by the oil and herbs. Just some local serendipity! Enjoy.

Not too sure if these sheep, photographed on The Vee, are Tipp or Waterford!

Monday, September 5, 2022

Taste of the Week. It's a Cork thing.

Taste of the Week

It's a Cork thing.

I wanted bagels on a Saturday morning! Not any old bagels but the Jerusalem Bagels (with their pomegranate molasses and sesame topping) by Bread & Roses of Ballincollig. Knew they'd be at their stall in the Coal Quay Farmers Market and headed down. On the way, I picked up a pack of coffee at Roughty Foodie in the English Market. A few more bits and pieces as well of course.

Back home, I unpacked the bagels. Pulled a jar of Paul's Honey from the cupboard and slathered it on to the bagels, nothing else whatsoever. Coffee, called the Morning Growler, by Cork Coffee Roasters, was ready. Put the three together and I had a very satisfactory Taste of the Week indeed.

Not all from Cork of course but that coffee is roasted locally by John Gowan down the Marina. The honey was bought at O'Keeffe's in St Lukes and is produced at sustainable apiaries in Cork city and county and packaged by beekeeper Paul Collins who operates in the northside of the city.


Bread and Roses here

Cork Coffee Roasters here

Paul's Honey 085 283 1540

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Taste of the Week. Boyne Valley Bán.

Taste of the Week. 

Boyne Valley Bán (Tomme Style) Cheese

These little holes are also seen in the French Tomme

Tomme? You may well ask. Tomme is an old French name for cheese and you'll find lots of it in Eastern France in hilly and mountainy areas. It has a mild creamy flavour that is pleasant and lasts in the mouth. 

When we, and the kids, used to visit France on holidays, Tomme (usually de Savoie) was always on the shopping list. We liked it and importantly so too did the kids. The Lost Valley Dairy and Creamery near Inchigheela make a semi hard cheese in a Tomme style and it is excellent. Theirs and all the French ones that we ate are made from cow milk.

When I spotted this Boyne Valley Tomme on sale in On The Pig's Back in the English Market, I had no hesitation in buying a wedge. Then when we unwrapped it at home, we realised that it was a paler colour than the French and soon found the reason: it is produced from goats milk. 

Boyne Valley are well known for their goats cheese, including their Blue. Five years ago, they developed this white goats cheese similar in style to the French Tomme cheese. There are very few cheesemakers producing goats tomme cheese on a commercial scale in Ireland and this Bán proved a perfect fit for the market.

We could taste why. It may not have the depth of colour and may lack some of the nuttiness of the Savoie cheese of the French or Macroom versions, but is has the smooth supple texture and enough of its own very pleasant flavour indeed to make it immediately wake up those taste buds, enough to make it our Taste of the Week.

Michael and Jenny Finegan run the 400-goat enterprise together. "We believe the lush grasses of the Boyne Valley produce a unique taste in our ‘Boyne Valley’ goats cheese. The lack of Irish produced Blue Goats Cheese lead to the creation of Boyne Valley Blue and soon after our award winning Bán was also produced here on the farm."

They didn't have to wait for my endorsement. In 2018 Boyne Valley Bán won gold and ‘Best Irish Cheese’ in the British Cheese Awards, received 3 stars and was nominated for a ‘Golden Fork’ award in the Great Taste Awards,  In a relatively short space of time Boyne Valley Bán has grown and has now outstripped Boyne Valley Blue in sales.