Showing posts with label Farmgate Cork. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Farmgate Cork. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Farmgate Café 25 Years On. Still Going Strong


Farmgate Café 25 Years On
Still Going Strong
Old Millbank salmon

When the Farmgate Café advertise for staff, they stress “it's a busy fast paced environment”. And it is. I saw for myself last Wednesday week (Aug 7th). No shortage of spaces when we arrived at 12.30pm but it was such a different story thirty minutes later. By then, the Dining Room was full and there was a queue for the Balcony, even a little queue to exit! Twenty five years after its founding, the English Market restaurant's food is as much in demand as ever.

We got a table in the glassed off Dining Room and were soon studying the menu and the specials on the board (which included plaice and corn beef). Service is friendly and efficient here and water was quickly delivered to the table along with some of their complimentary breads (delicious, as always) and Glenilen Butter.
Chicken Livers

Something on the lighter side was our target, so we passed on the mains of fish, the beef, the free-range chicken and the Irish Lamb Stew, all tempting and most sourced from the English Market below.

We could have nibbled on olives and on the addictive House Spiced Nuts (we had those during the Walk the Long Table stop here). In the end, I picked the Seared Chicken Livers with Marsala on sourdough toast (8.50). There was a well-dressed salad on the plate as well and it was a superb combination of flavour, texture, even colour.

You can get Irish beers here and European wines but I regularly go for their sparkling elderflower drink and we shared a carafe (4.50). There’s a great loyalty between the Farmgate and their suppliers so it was no surprise to see the Old Millbank Organic Irish Smoked Salmon (12.50) on the menu here and CL gave that a run and confirmed the offering was as good as ever.

One of the advantages of the smaller plates was that dessert could be accommodated!  There was a Pannacotta Special with strawberries up on the board but it was the regular Champagne and Elderflower Sorbet with West Cork Strawberries that tempted me. Must say I hit dessert jackpot with that one, so delicious I was half inclined to lift the bowl to my lips and drain the last drop of the melting sorbet!
Champion Sorbet!

Actually, there is a quite a long dessert menu here. Our other one was also cool and colourful: Lemon Tart and Raspberry Sorbet.  Did a bit of sharing there and that too was excellent but I still gave mine the nod as the best! Each cost  €5.90.

You may reserve a table in the Dining Room (table service) but not in the Balcony (counter service). The menu available in the Dining Room is mostly available too across the way and, in addition, you’ll be able to choose from soups, salads, toasted and open sandwiches, and a daily roast or two.

English Market
Princes Street
Cork
T12NC8Y
Ireland
local: 021 427 8134
international: 00 353 21 427 8134 
e: info@farmgatecork.ie (general enquiries)


Monday, June 17, 2019

Walk The Long and Local Table


Walk The Long and Local Table
You'll Never Eat Alone
G&T for the gang in Electric Fish Bar
Welcome to Ali's
Why not start a very fine event with a very fine perry? That’s exactly what happened when we joined a group to Walk the Long Table at Ali’s Kitchen. Ali herself would be our guide for the afternoon (and well into the evening) and, as she told us what to expect, she served a glass of the gorgeous Killahora Poiré. The event is all about local produce and the Glounthaune produced perry set the tone along with some delicious and potato bread with home-made butter.

A big welcome next at The Farmgate Cafe where our plate was based on produce from the Olive Stall in the market. The dish featured Toonsbridge Mozzarella with tomato and tarragon salad and crispy kale. Here we also enjoyed a glass of Elderflower/Prosecco and a shot of Gazpacho.
Farmgate

Nash 19
Next stop was in Nash 19, 27 years in business and involved in the Long Table from the very start. A very tasty dish here: Cod from Pat O’Connell in the English Market, in a light crispy batter featuring Longueville House cider. Longueville’s Rubert told us, as he filled our glasses, that the cider is made from their own apples and that nothing is added. “Should pair well with the fish,” he said. It was indeed a winning match.

Claire Nash emphasised that their menu is local and seasonal driven. And she credited the Long Table with enhancing the cooperation between the local restaurants. “It is raising the standard, “ she said and Rubert agreed.

A few minutes later we in were in Fish Bar at Electric where oysters were on the menu. At least one of the group tried one for the first time! There was one for everyone in the audience and a generous glass too of Kinsale Gin.
Perfect serve (gin & oysters) at Electric

A short walk took us to Jacob’s On the Mall where Michelle was on the street to welcome us in and tell us a bit about the fascinating venue. And they had quite a dish for us, all local of course. A generous slice of Jack McCarthy's famous Queen’s Pudding and a few fritters featuring Cashel Blue cheese went down very well indeed with a glass of wine.
Jacobs on the Mall

Ali then found the shortest way to reach Crawford and Co on Anglesea Street. Sarah told us all about the changes here and was full of praise for Eoin O’Mahony, the well-known butcher in the English Market. The informal and enjoyable atmosphere continued here as we sipped our Beamish and tucked into the superb fillet of beef from Eoin.
Tender stuff at Crawford & Co

Time for something sweet now and Beth at Dockland had just the job: Bushby strawberries, marshmallow meringue, lime, vanilla + basil cream, strawberry daquiri sauce with, for good measure, a glass of prosecco, pomegranate, passion fruit + mint spritz. Think she mentioned there was a drop of Kinsale gin in there too!
Dockland

Beth and Harold have been in this location over 11 years, thanks to her "amazing customers". About 18 months ago, they closed the old Club Brasserie and a few hard weeks later opened up on the same spot as Dockland! The customers loved it and why not. Here you enjoy a a great variety of local produce.”We love local, our food is not fussy, just tasty good food.” The menu is quite large and has something for virtually every taste and budget.
Dockland

The finalé was close at hand and we were welcomed to the 200 years old Imperial Hotel (Charles Dickens and Michael Collins have been guests) by new manager Bastian who guided us to their Whiskey Experience, three local bottles paired with pastries cooked by the hotel’s pastry chefs.

Bastian
Alan took over for the tasting in the lovely Lafayette’s, introducing the West Cork Bourbon Barrel, the Jameson Black Barrel and the well known Paddy. The Jameson seemed to be the favourite whiskey and was also my pick of the three. But the best pairing, I thought was, surprisingly, the Paddy and a Milk Chocolate Fudge. Even better with a hot Paddy according to the ebullient Alan. 

So a very fine start at Ali’s and now a very fine ending in Lafayette’s as we reflected, with a Cosmopolitan cocktail in hand, on the happy hours we had passed as a group. Until the next time! Cheers and well done to all the restaurants involved. Walk the Long Table is a tour through a string of Cork's best restaurants. It continues this week with two walks each of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. They are all booked out but, just in case a few become available (as happened last week), do keep an eye on  and @CorksLongTable. Website: https://www.corkmidsummer.com/programme/event/walk-the-long-table1  
Alan takes us through the whiskey!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Farmgate Café. Traditional. Seasonal. Regional. Food of the land and work of local hands.

Farmgate Café. Traditional. Seasonal. Regional.

Food of the land and work of local hands.
Irish stew. Bacon and Cabbage. Just the mention of these traditional Irish dishes can get some modern “foodies”, some chefs too, on their high horses. They don’t want us posting pictures  of our peasant food on the internet, preferring instead those “decorated” with colourful drops from a squeegee bottle. 

I like my stew, like my bacon and cabbage. Just as the French like their hardly photogenic Coq au vin. And when I saw the lamb stew on the menu during last Saturday's visit to The Farmgate, above the English Market, I had no hesitation in ordering it. It was a cold day and the warming stew was the ideal comfort food. And reasonable photogenic as well.

The Hartes (Kay and daughter Rebecca) are in no doubt about the value of tradition. “Farmgate Café embraces much of what is unique and traditional to Cork along with new influences in this dynamic multicultural food market and port city. Centuries old traditional, seasonal, regional, even ‘forgotten’ foods are at the core of the Farmgate ethos, and also form a visible link between the menu and the wonderful array of produce downstairs.”

“This allows Farmgate Café to provide a uniquely Irish eating experience both reflecting and playing a small role in a vibrant Irish food culture truly embracing how good indigenous ingredients and food products are.”

The popular Farmgate is divided into two sections, as you may know. You may well need to book to get a table in the Dining Room while most of the rest of the mezzanine, the Balcony, is informal so you just queue and order and the order, if not self-service, will be delivered to your table. 

We had booked and were lucky to get a table in an outdoor room adjoining the Dining Room. We were told it would be cold but no problem. There are glass panels up to head height (where you sit), heaters overhead and, just in case, blankets!

No need for the blankets though as we ordered from the regular list. There are always at least three daily specials: meat, fish and tart. The Lamb and Potato stew (€14.00, a euro less on the balcony) has regular company in Chargrilled Chicken, Traditional Pork Sausages with lentils, a Cured Fish plate, a Market Mezze, and a Warm Salad of free range chicken. Traditional yes but not hidebound by the past either.

In any case, that Lamb stew was delicious, the meat flavoursome and tender, the vegetables spot-on, and the potatoes were perfect. And here you’ll have no problem enjoying the last of the tasty liquid as, in addition to knife and fork, they also provide a spoon.

Lunchtime queue for the Farmgate lunch
on the Balcony while the market continues
below.
This was peak lunchtime on Saturday yet the staff, in their smart seasonal clothing, were excellent, very helpful all the way through.

I’d finish up also with a traditional touch. Had been swaying between the Christmas Pudding and the Mince Pie (3.50). The Brandy Cream swung it for the Pie which had a nice layer of crumble on top. 

CL wanted to experiment so she went for the non-traditional Salted Caramel Confit Banana with Rum and Raisin Ice-cream (5.00). A brave woman to take on the ice-cream but it was a seriously delicious finish.

The Farmgate believes in supporting local food. And local drink too. Ciders come from Longueville House and Stonewell, beers from Eight Degrees and Dungarvan Brewing, while the wines are all European.

We had been taking the odd peek down to the floor of the market and, after settling up, we joined the crowd down on the floor. Eventually we had a stroll through Glow and then visited Christmas markets in St Peter’s and The Franciscan Well (this is on again next Saturday).




English Market
Princes Street
Cork
T12NC8Y
Tel: 021 427 8134. Int: 00 353 21 427 8134
Email (general enquiries only): info@farmgatecork.ie

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Cork City by The Lee. Stay. Eat. Shop. See!

Cork City by The Lee. 
Stay. Eat. Shop. See!
Music city



The Firkin Crane in Shandon,
once the butter capital of the world
See: The Queen made it her number one stop in Cork so you’ve just got to see the English Market, an institution in the city since 1788. Nearby, you’ll see the spires of historic St Fin Barre’s Cathedral.

St Anne’s Church in Shandon is another landmark. Visit and don’t forget to ring the bells.  Cork was once the butter capital of the world and the Butter Museum is in the shadow of Shandon.

Staying north of the river, why not pay a call to the storied cells of the 
City GaolThe Glucksman is a lovely art gallery in the leafy grounds of the university while the well established Crawford Gallery is easily accessible in the city centre, next door to the Opera House. And don't forget Elizabeth Fort and the newly opened Nano Nagle PlaceAlways something interesting on at The Triskel, an arts venue in a converted church.

Shop: While in the English Market why not do a bit of shopping and check out local delicacies such as buttered eggs and spiced beef. The compact city centre boasts a few top notch shopping centres: Merchants Quay, Opera Lane and the new Capitol area. North Main Street has Bradley’s, founded in 1850, and famous for its wall of craft beers.

For a different experience head to 
Mahon Point Farmer’s Market every Thursday where you’ll find fantastic local cheese and meat and much more, including wild mushrooms, all within a few yards of the large shopping centre.
No shortage of farm to fork restaurants in Cork

Eat: No shortage of eating places including Greene's, JacquesLesGourmandises and Isaac's while lively lunchtime venues include the Farmgate and Nash 19Mad on meat? Try Son of a Bun, Holy Smoke, SpitJack, and many more. Exceptional Japanese at Miyazaki (just six stools though!) No meat? Then the amazing Cafe Paradiso is the one, Iyers is another. Idaho is the city centre cafe while coffee stops abound.  For a fuller list of restaurants and cafes, city and county, see my regularly updated list here. Also check the Whazon Cork listings.

A city of bridges
Drink: For something a little different try L’Atitude Wine Café close to the City Hall. The emphasis here is on quality wines and tasty local snacks with a continental touch. Electric, with its downstairs bar and upstairs fish bar, has taken the South Mall by storm since it opened in 2010.  SoHo and the Bodega are other modern bars with restaurants attached.

For something more traditional, including the music, there are quite a few with The Oliver Plunket being very central indeed.
And, if you prefer craft beers then the Franciscan Well on the North Mall is the place to go as they have a micro brewery right behind the counter. Other pubs with micro-breweries include Rising Sons (Cornmarket Street), Elbow Lane (Oliver Plunket Street, excellent food here also) and Cotton Ball (Mayfield).

Stay: With excellent food in the building and efficient and friendly service, the River Lee is a lovely place to stay in Cork. If you need something more central, the Clayton is for you. A short distance from the centre, you'll find the Ambassador and the Montenotte, each with great views over the city
Fitzgerald's Park

If you are caught for time, stay at the Metropole and explore the amazing McCurtain Street, its pubs, theatre, cafes and restaurants.

Something on the traditional side? Why not the Imperial where you’ll be wined and dined and never be short of company as the locals come and go. Like it leafy? Then the Hayfield Manor and the Maryborough near Douglas are recommended as is the Radisson in Little Island.

Making a quick getaway? The Cork International Airport Hotel is excellent. Heading north or west? Check the Commons Inn.

Walk: Cork is very compact and great for walks. Call to the tourist office and pick up the maps and info for some city centre strolls.

Like to try something more energetic? Then start at the 
North Mall and take a brisk riverside stroll through the Mardyke, into Fitzgerald’s Park, past the UCC Grounds and then onto the Lee Fields. Just remember you have to come back!

There is a very popular walk by the harbour starting at 
Blackrock Castle, another great place to visit with an excellent restaurant, the Castle Cafe. For something shorter but still interesting, do the circular walk around the Lough, a suburban lake full of swans and ducks and other wildfowl.

Ballycotton cliff walk, just east of the city
Get Out: No shortage of things to see and do on the eastern side of the city. Take a trip to Fota House and its famous gardens and arboretum. If you have kids, then the Fota Wildlife Park is at hand. Much to do in Cobh also, including a trip by boat to Spike Island, a former prison with history galore. 

Spike Island
To the south then and a highlight in Crosshaven is the coastal artillery fort of 
Camden with a wealth of history and great views. Another fort, this also being restored, is Charlesfort in Kinsale, a historic town rich in excellent eating places and with a must visit Wine Museum in Desmond Castle. Blarney is just north of the city. The castle, and its famous stone, is a busy spot. Eat at The Square Table.

Strike off to the west and take in the impressive ruins of the abbey at 
Timoleague . WestCork boasts magnificent beaches and good food producers whose products you may sample in restaurants such as the Pilgrim's (Rosscarbery),  Richy’s Bistro (Clonakilty), and Bastion (Kinsale).

For more detailed guides to the county, check out my East Cork and North Cork recommendations.

Jazz time
Listen: There is almost always a music festival on in Cork and surrounds and the big one is the Jazz, always on the final weekend of October. There is a Folk Festival at the end of September and film buffs are in town in force in November. Check them all out here.

The Choral festival dominates in the spring and summer sings with the Midsummer Festival, followed by the International Folk Dancing Festival. 
Music in the Marquee  is a big highlight. Night after summer night, the Marquee hosts top names. Bryan Adams, Cliff Richard and Elton John played this summer (2017).


Avoid: The usual big city security precautions apply. Avoid leaving anything visible in your car and so on. Not much else to avoid. Maybe the rainy days. But even those can be fun. Never know who you’ll find singing at the local bar, even on the street. It is a fun city. So enjoy!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Cork Indie Coffee Trail. A Guide by Dermot O’Sullivan

Cork Indie Coffee Trail
A Guide by Dermot O’Sullivan
So (seems to be the word to start with these days), you’re in Cork, looking for a cup of real coffee. You know there are some terrific indie cafés around the city. But do you know where they are? Where is ORSO? Where is Nectar Coffee?

Just mentioned this pair as they feature in the first page of the Indie Coffee Trail, a new guide (with directions) by local chef Dermot O’Sullivan, perhaps best known to many of you as @GasMarkSeven on Twitter. ORSO, by the way, is in Pembroke Street, close to the GPO while Nectar sits on the junction of Maylor Street and Parnell Place.

Dermot’s selection showcases “the best of what Cork city’s coffee scene has to offer”.  The cafés have added “another element to the cultural dimension of the city, forgotten buildings have been brought back to life… All the while, locals and visitors alike are becoming more knowledgeable and discerning with their coffee of choice”.

Other coffee haunts listed by Dermot included Dukes Coffeehouse, Filter Espresso & Brew Bar and its new little sister Portafilter, Union Grind, The Bookshelf, Idaho, Warren Allen, Alchemy, Cork Coffee Roasters (at two venues), Ali’s Kitchen, Rocket Man and Rocket Man East, Farmgate, Three Fools and Café Gusto (also two locations)

And there is a map of the city centre indicating where each can be found. A brief description of each café and the type of coffee available and also opening hours is included in the handy pocket sized booklet. And you are also told whether Wifi is available!

What are you waiting for? Hit the streets and discover Cork City’s coffee with Dermot’s help. You can get his guide in all tourist spots like tourist offices, hotels, most cafes listed, art galleries including UCC. Student centres too.

For further info, contact Dermot at CorkCoffeeTrail@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @gas_mark_seven. Check his blog www.gasmarkseven.


Monday, October 26, 2015

Italian Night at Farmgate. Umbria & Valtellina Combine

Italian Night at Farmgate
Umbria & Valtellina Combine
Mirco and the wines of his home region

The Munster branch of the Irish Wine and Food Society were joined by quite a few others at last week’s Italian night in the Farmgate at the English Market. The menu was cooked in the style of Umbria (the green centre of Italy) by well known chef Adelaide Michelini, while the wines, chosen by the Farmgate's Mirco Fondrini from his home area of Valtellina (Lombardy), were making their debut in this part of the world.

Mirco was delighted to be able to bring his hometown gems to Cork. He had quite a display ready as the fifty plus guests arrived. Valtellina is in the foothills of the Alps that Italy shares with Switzerland. The valleys are deep and the sun reaches just one side, the side you'll see the houses and the vines on. Wine-making here is hard work but the Pietro Nera Vineyard in Chiuro thrives on it.

Our opening wines as we arrived included the Terrazze Retiche di Sondrio Bianco IGT. The 2014 “La Novella” was made from a blend of Nebbiolo (vinified to white), Rossola, Chardonnay and Incrocio Manzoni grapes. Quite a mix in the blend but this white, with its flavours of tropical fruits and balancing acidity, was a delight.


You won't see tractors in these vineyards!

Some of us picked the 2010 Valtellina Superiore DOCG “Sassella Alisio” as our opening drink. This bright ruby coloured red, a blend of Nebbiolo, Pignola and Rossola, all grown in the village of Sassella, was a hint of the serious wines to come, once we had finished our opening canapes. One was Chicken Liver pralines with hazelnuts and cocoa beans, the other a Savoury choux with mortadella and pistachio.

We continued with the reds as the meal was served, enjoying more of the Sassella before moving on to its older sister the 2008 Sassella Riserva, made from 100% Nebbiolo (called Chiavennasca in these parts!). The bouquet and hints of oak and the wine itself was strong, smooth and velvety.

Our final wine was also 100% Chiavennasca, but with a difference. This 2009 Valtellina was a ”passito” wine, made from partially dried grapes, not unlike the Veneto’s Amarone della Valpolicella. This was quite concentrated, 15% abv also, rich in flavour and aromas. It had been aged for 18 months in oak, rested in stainless steel and refined in bottle for at least eight months. Quite a selection overall by Mirco. Maybe someone will start importing from his region!

Adelaide

The position of Principal Chef Instructor for the Gambero Rosso's International Cooking Schools abroad - Bangkok, Miami, Seoul Hong Kong - has given Adelaide Michelini “the great privilege to bring the true Italian haute cuisine in the world”.

“In 2013 I was included within the Catering & Delivery section of the Gambero Rosso - Rome Guide. In 2014, I became a TV host, presenting my very own TV show called La buona cucina di Adelaide (Gambero Rosso Channel, 412 Sky Italia).”

Adelaide, now living in Cork, used local produce in her dishes at the Farmgate and the Antipasto was a Soft Truffle Egg with Potato Mousse. Then followed the Primo Piatto, a Toonsbridge Ricotta & Hazelnut Gnocchi in West Cork Swiss Chard Soup.

Soft Truffle Egg

And then we were on to the star dish, the Secondo Piatto: O'Mahony's Porchettina with fennel semifreddo and Autumn vegetables. The perfectly cooked round of pork, with embedded herbs, was a delight in itself but the combination with the icy fennel took it all to another level. Perfect!

The Dolce was described as Tiramisu...almost! Let’s says there was no shortage of cream, no shortage of coffee as the night with a difference came to a sweet end. Thanks to Mirco and Adelaide, and to Rebecca and the crew at the Farmgate.

The next IWFS event:
Sunday November 8th. Harvest Lunch in Longueville House. We will join William and Aisling O'Callaghan for a tour to see the orchards, presses and stills where they make their fantastic cider and brandy. After the tour and tasting, we will head to the house for a special harvest lunch. William and Aisling are great hosts, so this will be a really special day out. A bus will be laid on from Cork City so people can enjoy the cider and brandy. Buses leave Cork City Hall at 11am. Price for bus and tour, tasting and lunch €65 (€73 non-members).
A lot of people have already signed up. Indeed it is very close to the limit but if you'd like to attend, please send an email to iwfsmunster@gmail.com

Porchettina (Google translates this as naughty girl!)