Showing posts with label Flahavan's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Flahavan's. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Killarney's Mad Monk Knows His Fish. Quinlans have a winner on Plunkett Street.

Killarney's Mad Monk Knows His Fish.

Quinlans have a winner on Plunkett Street.

Less than six months after my first visit, I was back in The Mad Monk by Quinlans in Killarney last week. There would be some changes to the menu of course, some specials also, but I had one in mind and was delighted to find the superb Portmagee Crab Bake in the starters.

The superb Crab Bake comes in a Tomato and Avocado Salsa salad and with sourdough bread for mopping up! You won’t come across a crab bake in many restaurants in Ireland. Just checked there and Quinlans have added it to their Cork offering so there’s a hot tip for you. Its is not the cheapest but is one of the very best!

And then came another superb dish, this from the specials of the day which were detailed to us at the very start, great staff here, very friendly and efficient in a packed venue, many more customers dining on the sunny street outside.

The crab stuffed Sole Paupiettes (with Sauce Vin Blanc) was classy, outstanding, delicately delicious. Again, not the cheapest, but this rare treat was well worth every cent. It was served with root veg and the most exquisite mashed potato!

When in their large and comfortable Cork restaurant, I’ve often been amazed at the popularity of the fish and chips. I had a choice here in Killarney and picked the more traditional haddock rather than the cod. It is billed as Traditional Beer Battered Fresh Fish and Chips with real potato chips, Mushy peas, served with Lemon Wedge and Tartar sauce.

It lived up to the billing: fresh fish, lovely thin batter, excellent fries and the best peas. Five stars for 18.95 - you get much the same at lunch for three euro less so there’s another tip for you.

There’s a full bar here, plenty of wines, more white than red understandably, and most of them available by the glass. Delighted also to see they had an ale and stout from Killarney Brewery on tap, along with a few bottles. That Blonde Ale, nicely balanced between the malts and the hoppy fruit flavours, was very flavoursome indeed and refreshing and went down well with the sole. 

My pick was the Casey Brothers Extra Stout, also from the Killarney Brewery. It is a fuller version of the classic Irish dry stout, essences of treacle, coffee and dark chocolate come through the smoothness (helped by the addition of some Flahavan’s oats I’m told!). Thumbs up for this for sure.

The relatively new premises in Killarney’s Plunkett Street is very attractive. It is spread over two floors giving a total of about 80 covers. The family seafood business is based in Caherciveen, Co Kerry. Kerryfish was started in 1963 by the father Michael Quinlan and has now been passed down to the second generation of Quinlan’s, Liam, Ronan and Fintan. And expansion is always on the agenda here. They have shops and restaurants all over Kerry and beyond and you probably know that the Cork premises has also been enlarged and improved!

Also on this trip:

Check out the Kingdom 1795, Kerry Restaurant of the Year

Valentia Island's spectacular Bray Head Walk 

Cronin's Yard Loop Walk (near Carrauntoohil)

Castlerosse Hotel. Ace Base For The Kingdom


Thursday, February 13, 2020

Embrace a Shannonside Star: the Limerick Strand Hotel

Embrace a Shannonside Star: the Limerick Strand Hotel

The Limerick Strand Hotel has much going for it: a splendid location, terrific rooms, delicious locally based food and a top chef in Tom Flavin, and a splendid location. We appreciated all of those but we have to say that the staff here, from reception to bar, to the various dining rooms, are premier class, friendly and helpful.

They knew we were heading to the Milk Market on Saturday morning so they handed us a brochure and, as it turned out, there was a little map in the room as well with the market highlighted. But it wasn’t just for us. We saw numerous examples as they interacted with other guests, the bar staff making a toddler feel at home, the restaurant staff chatting and helpful to a foreign family. 
Just one small part of the superb breakfast offering.

Our room was on the third floor and we used the lifts all the time, never a bother, all working perfectly. The room itself was splendid with great views from the large floor-to-ceiling window out over the mighty Shannon. It had all we needed, comfortable chairs, TV, Wifi, Controllable Air Conditioning, Tea/Coffee Making Facilities, a cooler, Hairdryer, Iron/Ironing Board, Bottled mineral water and more, including 24 hour room service. 

All guests at the Limerick Strand Hotel enjoy daily laundry service, and access to the Energize Health Club with 20m pool. Our bathroom was top class, with separate bath and shower and Paul Costello toiletries.

Let there be light!
The decor in rooms and corridors and open spaces is excellent. There’s a chandelier that stretches over two floors and also a spectacular display of county jerseys. We had a beautiful large scale picture of King John’s Castle on one wall of our room.

The bar is long and very comfortable with its own food menu. Doors can be opened in the good weather. And while you can get all the mainstream drinks here - I enjoyed a Jack Daniels nightcap - they also support local and a couple of pints of ale from the local Treaty City Brewery (you’ll find that over by King John's Castle) went down well earlier.

No shortage of food here and they have two main restaurants. One is the Terrace Bar & Restaurant which is a stylish place to meet throughout the day and evening in an informal riverside setting. This was where we had an excellent dinner and you may read all about the experience here…
King John's Castle

The River Restaurant is another special dining room, again overlooking the magnificent River Shannon and again with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal produce. It is a great spot for breakfast and for Sunday lunch and more.

And it was here that we had breakfast, one of the very best hotel breakfasts that we’ve come across. No wonder they won Georgina Campbell’s Ireland Irish Breakfast Awards. Many more awards as well as you may read here

From our table, we could indeed see the Shannon below but, at this point we were really interested in the food, much of it sourced locally. You could ladle your porridge (Flahavan’s Jumbo Oats) from a large pot and spoon on some honey from a full Croom honeycomb alongside. Lots of cereals (including a Gluten Free selection) available too, seeds and yogurts and more. And a splendid selection of fruit. Breads and pastries from the in-house bakery. There were juices galore and even a smoothie station.

I enjoyed the muesli and a scatter of seeds while CL selected a plateful of fruit and that was a very good start. The staff again were very helpful, getting the teas and coffees out sharply and offering to take our order to the chef station. You could also order direct from the station yourself, egg dishes, omelettes, and pancakes all available.

If you wanted the Full Irish, all you had to do was help yourself from the buffet. It was the Cheese (including Cashel Blue) and Cold Meats that caught our eyes and we each filled a plate from a choice that included Chicken breast, sliced Irish ham, chorizo, salamis, Silver Darling Pickled Herrings, some leaves and relishes too. Splendid stuff and a great start to the day!

The hotel is easily found. You’ll see it as you cross the Sarsfield Bridge. It’s on the left and, after passing the main building, turn left immediately for the car park which is underground. You pay €8.50 for 24 hour parking. There is a lift up to reception.
Sarsfield Bridge and the Strand Hotel

The location is terrific for visiting Limerick city itself. Main attractions such as King John’s Castle, the Hunt Museum, and the Milk Market are just a walk away. This being Ireland, you’ll get various estimates. For instance, different people told us the Milk Market was  anywhere between three and seven minutes. As it turned out, we strolled over and forgot all about the time! Definitely more than three minutes though! And we were a lot slower coming back with our bags full! It was well worth it. As is a visit to Limerick and a stay at the Strand!


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Taste of the Week. Flahavan’s Flapjacks

Taste of the Week
Flahavan’s Flapjacks

Did you know that the Ardkeen Quality Food store has, very recently, opened an outlet in the Dove Hill Design centre near Carrick-on-Suir? I called there recently and, among other goodies, picked up these Flahavan’s Flapjacks, our current Taste of the Week.

I really enjoyed the crunch and flavours from my six pack of Cranberry and Orange; delicious and wholesome they are made with wholegrain oats and are a source of fibre. And, importantly. the oats is grown and milled locally, and the flapjacks themselves are baked in Kilmacthomas. 

I fully intend to make these a regular here and glad to see variety in the selection. They also produce the flapjacks in other versions: Multiseed, Fruit and Nut, Choc Chip, and Original.

Kilnagrange Mills,
Co. Waterford,
+353 51 294107

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Granary’s Waterford Brunch. And more from the harvest streets

The Granary’s Waterford Brunch
And more from the harvest streets
Goatsbridge trout

Peter Fowler, owner of The Granary, was in great form as he welcomed guests to the bright and spacious cafe. The guests came in numbers for the Producers Brunch, one of the highlights of the annual Waterford Harvest Festival. It was a sell-out, with part of the proceeds going to the local Samaritans.

The Granary put on a fantastic spread last Sunday morning for guests that included Gay Byrne. “This is the first time for The Granary,” said the enthusiastic Peter. I don't think it will be the last time. “We have met the best suppliers, suppliers that we wouldn't otherwise have met. Events like these put ideas in your head.” He had praise too for his staff “the best in Waterford”.

Anyone for porridge?
 The event was sponsored by John Flahavan; Flahavan's are long time supporters of the festival. For over 200 years Flahavan’s has been operating its oatmill beside the River Mahon in Kilmacthomas, John reminded us as we sampled their Bircher muesli with Deise honey, fruit compote and cinnamon!

John then handed the mike over to another John, John McKenna. “What an unbelievable spread,” enthused McKenna. “This would not have been possible in the years when Sally (who was in the audience) and I were starting out”. He went on to list the advantages that Waterford food enjoys and can enjoy into the future, “unique food, including the blaa”. “You have everything here to stake a claim to be food capital of Ireland's Ancient East”.


The choices on the groaning tables were eye-catching, everything from Hot and Cold Choices, salads, cheeses, desserts, and drinks. Hard to list them all but here’s a few highlights:

Cod from Jim Doherty with a Metalman Pale Batter;

Baked fillets of Goatsbridge Trout;

Broccoli, tomato and Dungarvan Cheese Salad;
Blaas by Walsh's Bakery, sourdough by Seagull Bakery;
Cheese selection by the Little Milk Company;
Granary desserts, especially that massive Blackberry Pavlova;
And brunch drinks from Clodagh Davis and Cahir's Apple Farm.

Smoke on the street
 We had arrived in Waterford around lunchtime on Saturday and, having found parking (not easy, but we got lucky!), we started looking at the hot food stalls. Quite a few around, lots of smoke rising but as soon as we reached the Irish Piedmontese stand, we stopped and ordered a pair of their delicious burgers. Tasty stuff. Enjoyed them sitting on the sun as the band played on the Thin Gin stage.

Barry John was sampling his award winning flavoured sausages. How about Bacon and Cabbage? Maybe Cheddar Cheese and Chilli? No shortage of pizzas. There was a taste of Portugal. Stuff to bring home too, honey from Knockmealdown, trout from Mag of Goatsbridge and jams from Wexford Preserves both in the SuperValu area. There were Cocktail Classes, Whiskey Tastings, Iyer’s Pop Up and so much more.

Here be friendly dragon.
There was a massive dragon under the Bishop’s Palace and he, multicolored against Saturday’s blue sky, was dominating the Mall but no one worried - he looked a friendly fellow. All kinds of art all over over the place, on the streets, on the quays. The larger than life size tables and chairs, there was even a deck-chair, attracted kids of all ages. Tango dancers entertained us too. There was a Tapas River Tour also and we heard it was great.

And we would return to the streets again on Sunday to enjoy the fun of the Market, The Fit & Wellness Area, The Food Heroes Exhibition, Farm to Fork at Ballybricken, The Viking Rocks Craft Beer Fest, The Festival Fair, the SuperValu Food Academy. We didn't get to them all. Looks like we’ll have to go back next year!

Haute cuisine. Have you got the bottle?
See also:

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Superb Gin From Blackwater Distillery. Watch Out For The Cappoquin Heron

Superb Gin From Blackwater Distillery.
Watch Out For The Cappoquin Heron!

The making of a London Dry Gin is a process subject to certain regulations as regards to inputs, almost like a wine appellation. This was our introduction to Blackwater No. 5*, the LDC from Cappoquin with the heron in the logo that is already making a name for itself.

Peter Mulryan was our informative guide on a visit to the fledgling Blackwater Distillery. Peter, the distiller and one of four directors, told us about the botanicals, 12 if I remember rightly, used in the process, including Coriander which goes “citrus-y” in the mix. Considering that citrus (dried skins) and bitter orange (also dried skins) are also used you could see why he advised against using a lemon in your gin. Lime would be a better choice.

The orange skins, by the way, come from Spain, the pulp having been extracted to make marmalade. Some spices, including Cinnamon and Cardamom, are also used.

Juniper is perhaps the best known element, having been traditionally used to make gin, and indeed provides the dominant flavour. Got my hands on a juniper berry and when I crushed it between the fingers it began to feel oily. It is this oil that is extracted and used.

In the still.

Three roots help complete the mix, including liquorice and angelica which “tastes kind of gin-ny”.

And if you thought that this was the first time that these exotic botanicals have reached the beautiful banks of the Blackwater, you'd be mistaken. Peter related the remarkable story of the White family from Waterford who, in the 18th and 19th centuries, imported spices, some from faraway places, and distributed them widely, even sending their own boats up the Blackwater with spice consignments for the many big houses on its banks.

The stills are small here, so small they even have names. Distillation though happens quickly and you can make a decent size batch of gin in a day. By the way, there is a reason why most stills are made of copper. Peter: “Copper softens the mouthfeel. The alcohol won’t ‘burn’ you”, he told us. Aside from the stills, they also have a bottling machine on-site.

Already, the new distillery has cooperated with local brewers, including Dungarvan Brewing Company, as it seeks to position itself away from the really big distillers with which it cannot compete on price.
Still and, right, cooling tower.
 And Blackwater can certainly be different as I found out with the next few tastings. First up was the Curious Still vodka distilled from a double IPA by Black’s of Kinsale. “That is taking the bland out of vodka,” said one obviously impressed taster in our small group.

Now we were on to Poteen, called the Spirit of West Waterford, made from local ingredients, and recently subject to government regulations. This was based on a hop-free oatmeal stout, brewed by Dungarvan Brewing Company. It also contains local barley, Flahavan’s oats and "a smidgen of molasses". This “very soft” drink, with an ABV of 43%, was such a hit at the recent West Waterford Festival of Food that the plan is “to move it into commercial production” in the months ahead.

And there is even better news to come. Peter proudly showed us a few small casks made in Finland from juniper wood (the wood itself imported from Serbia). It is hard to get enough of the timber as juniper is a bush, not a tree. An initial batch filled one of the casks and has been a success, “a great gin”, and production of this will also be scaled up. One way of being different.

Small cask, made from juniper.
 And whiskey, Well, no whisky yet. Remember you have to wait three years and one day to have your whiskey approved as Irish Whiskey or as Irish Whisky as Peter would spell it. Plans are well advanced but you won't find their whisky on the shelves anytime soon. At present, you may pre-buy one of a limited number of  50 litre casks.

“We offer people a choice of seven whisky styles in a choice of wood finishes,” says Peter. These won't be any old whiskey. You’ll be offered anything from Single Malt to a peated Pot Still Irish. Check out their website for details.

Innovation is the name of the game here. Peter, a native of nearby Conna, learned the trade in Scotland and that knowledge and his enthusiasm are now being let loose on the final big bend of the Blackwater. Watch out for the heron silhouetted on their bottles, coming to a shelf near you.

*  Blackwater No. 5 is distributed by Classic Drinks.

Peter (left) and Yours Truly