Showing posts with label Garryvoe Hotel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Garryvoe Hotel. Show all posts

Monday, April 15, 2019

Dine by the Water. Superb food and superb views

Dine by the Water
Superb food and superb views

Bunnyconnellan's
I’ve been very lucky this past few years to have dined in some well placed restaurants and cafes, places from Cork to Donegal that have a dining room with a view over water. Sometimes over a river, maybe over an estuary, over a lake perhaps, and then sometimes over the ocean. I was lucky too to have brilliant weather in most of the places.
Carrig Country House

Caragh Lake is in Kerry, not too far from Killorglin, and you have great views over its waters when you dine in the splendid Carrig Country House
Screebe House - their photo

There are some similarities between Carrig House and the lovely Screebe House  in Connemara; great food and great views. 
Blairscove

And in West Cork, near Durrus, there is Blairscove House. Here you can enjoy a splendid dinner and views over Dunmanus Bay. And another waterside gem in West Cork is Heron's Cove, perched nicely at Goleen.
Heron's Cove

Breakfast view (just a small section of it!) from the Trident's Pier One
There are no shortages of harbour views in Kinsale. One of my most recent visits was to Man Friday on the hills above the bay . And another recent visit was to the Trident Hotel, right in the town and so close to the waters that you think a boat is going to come through the dining room windows.
Sunrise at Garryvoe
The Samphire at the Garryvoe Hotel has expansive views of Ballycotton Bay and the lighthouse, excellent food too. 
Bayview, Ballycotton

And across the bay, its sister hotel, the Bayview has an even more spectacular cliff-top situation and amazing fish dishes.
Hake at Celtic Ross
The views at Rosscarberry’s Celtic Ross, where French chef Alex Petit maintains a high standard, are quieter but no less pleasant.

No shortage of views from the Inchydoney Hotel (above) which is situated on the spectacular beach of the same name.
Window view from the Eccles

Further west, go and stay at the Eccles Hotel, once home of the rich and famous.

Also in West Cork, be sure and visit beautiful Courtmacsherry and the small Courtmacsherry Hotel with its gorgeous views.
Enjoying a local beer on the terrace of the Lifeboat Inn

Also in Courtmac, you'll find terrific food at the Lifeboat Inn
Lunch-time view at the Cliff House

Ardmore’s Cliff House is renowned for the food, the views over the bay!
Blaa Eggs Benedict at The Granville
View from Strand Inn
overlooking Cahore in Wexford
Prawns Pil Pil
at The Strand

Waterford's excellent  Granville Hotel overlooks the harbour, right in the city centre. 

Next door in Wexford, check out the views from the Strand Inn in Cahore, in the north-east of the county, and also from the dining room at Hook Head Lighthouse in the south-west

Pier 26
Back again to Ballycotton and to Pier 26. This restaurant overlooks the harbour and the lighthouse island and the fish is highly recommended, of course! And down in Schull, L'Escale is right in the harbour area; the lobster here is a must try.


And if you really want a 360 degree ocean view while dining then take a trip from Ringaskiddy in Cork to Roscoff in Brittany on board the Pont Aven.  Splendid food and views!

Dingle
For harbour views, you'll find it hard to beat the sights as you come and go to Dingle’s Out of the Blue. And close by is the Boatyard. Fish will be on the menus of both for sure. Then again, there's a splendid view of Cork Harbour from the tea rooms at Camden Fort Meagher (below).
View over Cork Harbour from Camden Fort Meagher

Rosapenna
No shortage of seaside restaurants in Donegal. One of the best is the Seaview Tavern in Malin Head village even if the view to the sea is somewhat interrupted by the cars park across the road. No such problems at the Rosapenna Golf Hotel, whose dining room overlooks Sheephaven Bay and the beach at Downies. Further west, the bar at the Cove at Portnablagh, another top restaurant, overlooks a different part of the same bay.
The Bayview, Ballycotton
Perhaps the best ocean view is that enjoyed from your table in Bunnyconnellan’s, a very pleasant view and very enjoyable food here at this renowned Crosshaven (Cork) venue.
Islander's Rest on Sherkin
Back to West Cork and to Baltimore and Le Jolie Brise where I’ve sometimes enjoyed a dish of mussels as the day drew to a close with the island of Sherkin out in front. Speaking of Sherkin, the Islander's Rest sure has great water views!
Ostan Gweedore
Hard to top that. One view that comes close, maybe level, maybe even better, is from the Donegal restaurant of Ostan Gweedore where there is the most fantastic view over the beaches and the waters of the Atlantic.

Turbot at Electric Fish Bar
Perhaps you prefer river views. One of the best in Cork is from Electricespecially from the Fish Bar. From the first floor of the South Mall building, you have fine views of the southern channel of Lee to the west and to the east.
River Lee Hotel, top left
Also in the city, you can almost dip your fingers in the Lee as you wine and dine at the River Club  of the lovely River Lee Hotel.  
View from the restaurant in Dripsey Garden Centre

The Garden Restaurant, above the same River Lee, is at the very popular Griffin’s Garden Centre in rural Dripsey. Here you can enjoy some of Granny Griffin’s delights as you watch the water-skiers speed by down below.

Never know what you might see passing as you dine in Cobh
You have no shortage of harbour views in Cobh where you’ll find The Quays and The Titanic Bar & Grill.  And you’ll also find pleasant estuary views not too far away at Murph’s  in East Ferry. 
Kenmare Bay
The Boathouse at Dromquinna, near Kenmare, is also well situated, right on the northern flank of the bay. And, in Limerick, the place to be is Locke Bar
Locke Bar's water-side tables

The Fish Basket on Long Strand, Castlefreke, Co. Cork, has recently opened here
in what was previously the Puffin Cafe

Have you a personal favourite view over water while dining? If you'd like to share, please use the Comment facility below.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Meet Ireland’s Great Producers. Just a few of them!


Meet Ireland’s Great Producers
Just a few of them!
Cheesemaker Jean-Baptiste at Hegarty's

2018 Highlights now completed.
See below for brilliant National Stud visit;
A Taste of West Cork;
Life galore in the Irish Pub;
Michelin Stars, a trio this year;
Clonakilty's outstanding street festival;
Variations on the Irish Breakfast

Always manage to visit a few producers and 2018 was no exception; well, there were some exceptional visits, one to the innovative duo at the relatively new Killahora Orchards, the other to the well-established Hegarty Cheese in Whitechurch .

We were with a group of members of the Munster Wine & Dine who spent a very enjoyable May evening on a tour and tasting at Killahora Orchards near Glounthaune. Barry was our enthusiastic guide as we got both our whistles and our feet (aside from those who had brought wellies) wet in a most delightful way. 

Some of us had already marked Killahora products, including Johnny Fall Down cider, the Pom 'O Apple Port and their unique Rare Apple ice wine, among our favourite things. Those who hadn't come across them before were converted on this tour and tasting. More here

I met Jean-Baptise Enjelvin, cheesemaker at Hegarty’s, a few times during the year before heading out to see him at work in Whitechurch on an October morning.When I arrive at Hegarty’s farm on the outskirts of Whitechurch, less than twenty minutes north of Cork City, I’m greeted by Dan Hegarty, the frontman for their magnificent cheddar cheese that has been snapped up by restaurants and retail customers alike over the past 16 years or so. 
Killahora Orchards

For the past three years, Dan has had the considerable help of French cheese-maker Jean-Baptiste who had been on duty from earlier that morning.  He helps me get my kit on and I start to note how he makes their Templegall, a Comté style cheese, which has been getting sensational reviews over the past few months. 

I try my best to stay out of his way as the work progresses from the milk to the tank to the wheel on the stand. Amazing combination of skill, knowledge and muscle and then a lot of patience (a year or so of it) before the cheese is ready. It is a high quality product so do watch out for it! More here

* If you are food or drink producer and would like me to do a post in 2019, do drop me a line at cork.billy@gmail.com
* A producer for every week; see the list of Great Irish Tastes 2018

National Stud/Japanese Gardens
One of Ireland’s Stand-out Visits
2018 Highlights continued...
Guide Aoife has a back-pocket treat for Hardy Eustace.  And he knows it!

Last June, we “did” a loop around the Midlands, taking in Mikey Ryan’s in Cashel, Birr Castle, a tour of Tullamore DEW, and a stay at the impressive Heritage Hotel in Killenard but the undoubted highlight was our visit, on the one ticket, to the Japanese Gardens and the National Stud.

The Japanese Gardens are small but perfect. Now over a hundred years old, it is still very much worth visiting. Some 120,000 visitors soak up the peace ad beauty here every year. They were devised by Colonel Walker and were laid out by Japanese master horticulturist Tassa Eida and his son Minoru between 1906 and 1910. Walker named one of his classic winning horses after Minoru.

Before, or after, visiting the stud, you can refuel in the Japanese Garden Café. Here, Ballymaloe-trained Natalie Collins and her manager Ronan Mackey take pride in offering simple, wholesome food with the emphasis on freshness and flavour. Local ingredients are used wherever possible. The restaurant is open 7 days.

By the way, the grounds of the National Stud rival the gardens for beauty. But it is the characters here that I’m inclined to remember, especially Hardy Eustace! Described in his highly successful racing career as a hell of a horse and a tenacious battler, the now twenty year old is described as a big baby by Aoife, our fantastic guide, as she feeds him polo mints and those “missing” sugar cubes. 

Indeed, we all help out, keeping our fingers straight as we make our offerings to the famous gelding. Also keep it relatively quiet, just in case the jealous Hurricane Fly, who shares the field, might hear. 
Aoife was brilliant, our guide of the year, and later she took us to see the stallions, the guys that pay her wages! You may read an account of the visit here
John Coll's Famine Funeral at Coming Home

Other excellent “visits” this year included Nano Nagle Place (Cork City) , Youghal’s Historic Clock Gate Tower  and the amazing Ewe Experience  in Glengarriff.


Best art experience of the year was Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger  in Skibbereen.

A Rib around Bantry Bay
Just one of 250 events at A Taste of West Cork
2018 Highlights continued...

Ten days, 41 towns and villages, 8 islands, over 250 events. I’m talking about Ireland’s biggest and probably best food festival: A Taste of West Cork.

Impressive numbers indeed. But statistics only hint at the September story unfolding across the bays, the mountains, the hills and dales of the region. We dabbled a bit this year, as we regularly do and one of the highlights was the Indian Night in Richy’s of Clonakilty, another restaurant in the top echelon of this Michelin starred food-scape.

But the most fun that we had came down in Bantry, on a rib run by Diarmuid Murphy of the Fish Kitchen. The rib run and a fish dinner that evening were one of the official events for the festival. We weren’t quite sure why to expect when we booked - even thinking at one point that we’d have to fish for our dinner!

And, then as the clouds rolled in and the wind increased, we still weren’t sure as Diarmuid introduced us to his rib on the new marina in the bay. We put the gear on and soon we were bouncing out there on the bay. Exhilarating stuff even if our experienced skipper (we took just the one splash) decided against taking on the waves at either end of Whiddy Island and a trip across to see the liner in Glengarriff had to be abandoned.

But all the while he was filling us in - we two were his only passengers - on the geography and the amazing history of the bay: Wolfe Tone, the American flying boats on WW1 duty, the Eagle Pointers, Bantry House, the blue cliff, the Whiddy disaster and so much more including, of course, the mussel farming in the huge bay. He is a superb guide to the area and no wonder he is thinking of running this as a tourist attraction in the summer of 2019. Keep an eye out for that! Once I have details, I’ll post them here on the blog.


About two hours later, we were back on dry land. Time then for a rest and a shower before heading to the Fish Kitchen in the heart of Bantry for a delicious meal, enjoyed with a communal table that, by pure chance, included Esther and Joe Barron from the famous bakery in Cappoquin. A great afternoon trip and a terrific evening.

Life Galore in the Irish Pub
2018 Highlights continued...
Hot in the city. Galway in July.

We visited Galway in the high heat of the amazing summer, met some lovely people and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly everywhere we went and that included a visit to Michelin starred Aniar, strolls in the narrow streets, a cooling (not really!) cruise on the Corrib and on the huge lake (biggest in the Republic) but the memory that stands out was our visit to a pub!

We’ve been in some  memorable pubs in recent times, Dick Mack’s (with its micro brewery) in Dingle,  Reidy’s with its uncountable corners and crannies in Killarney, the Swagman and its amazing host Dale in Sligo, and a few more but the King’s Head in Galway is out on its own.

Well worth a call. And there is a bistro here that serves excellent local food - enter through a small archway off the city’s Latin Quarter. Chef Brendan Keane is a keen local and seasonal operator and hopefully Sorcha will be on duty to fill you in on the menu and the specials.

Afterwards, find your way to the adjoining pub and get a seat, by the stage if you want to get close up to the music or maybe by the bar. Our second night was by the bar, excellent choice of drinks here including local craft beers. 
Cocktail time!

And they have an impressive cocktail list here and put on quite a show as they get them ready. In the meantime, you’ll find yourself chatting to customers from all over the place. It won’t be a quiet chat - the music will be loud and lively, just like the street outside. Life con brio.

Another memorable pub was found just a few miles north-east of Cork city. O’Mahony’s of Watergrasshill operates only at weekends but do get there for the food and the fun if you are anywhere close. 


Máire and Victor (you’ll know him from the House Café at the Opera House) have given this two hundred year old pub a new lease of life, the emphasis very much on local food and drink. Old cow sheds have been converted into use - there is a stage in one - as venues for concerts and weddings. New soul in the old stones and well worth a visit for its lovely food and lovely people.

Michelin Stars in a Row.
More to follow!
Daikon, bamboo shoot (Ichigo ichi

Michelin stars are like the No. 8 bus (sorry, it’s 208 now, ask Billy Murphy of the Young Offenders); you wait, and wait, and then three come together. Just three? There are a few more waiting in the wings.

The anointed threesome in Cork (Ichigo Ichie, The Mews, and Chestnut) are now well-known but I’ve been flirting with a few others. Reckon Pilgrims should be up there with a bib at least while Bastion should be up a notch from the bib. Missed out on Dillon's but on the list for 2019! Enjoyed myself in both of them in 2018 and the highlight was the meal in Ichigo Ichi - before it got the star.
Pollock, pine, at Aniar


Outside of Cork, Aniar (star) and Aldridge Lodge (bib) were also visited this year. By the way, if you’re lucky enough to dine and get one of the three rooms to overnight in Aldridge, consider yourself doubly lucky as breakfast here is also a star treat!


Festivals: Amazing Street Fest in Clon!
2018 Highlights

Food and food related festivals continue to pop up all over the country. Relatively new ones, such as FEAST in East Cork, are thriving, along with well established events such as A Taste of West Cork. The Old Butter Road Festival, mainly in North Cork, enjoyed a good year. Didn’t get to too many outside of Cork this year but had a quick and appetising day trip to Harvest Festival (to a Blaa event) in Waterford city.

There was quite an excellent Cheese festival too at the Cork Airport Hotel, a great cheese dinner on one night and some new cheeses on display in the many stalls on the following days. And the regular long-table was again a huge hit on Cork’s South Mall with over 400 diners.


For me though, the festival where food and fun totally and seamlessly combined was the Clonakilty Street Carnival. Long tables galore here on the main street, even one for the kids. Much more for the young folks too with games and music. Music too on various platforms for the attendees in general. And very impressive numbers with over 2,000 adults fed, by the town’s leading restaurants, for fifteen euro a head!


Variations on the Irish Breakfast
2018 Highlights
Plaice Plus at Aldridge Lodge

In the queue at Nash 19 the other day (coffee and scone for me), I was drooling at the elements of the Full Irish inside the counter. I already had had breakfast but those rashers and sausages etc certainly looked very good indeed. Another excellent one, that I fully enjoyed, was served in mid-summer at De Barra Lodge near Rosscarbery

Rarely go out for breakfast so it’s mostly in hotels and B&Bs that I sample the traditional Full Irish. Sometimes, I ask for the cut-down version: “one of everything”. 

And sometimes I ask for the fish, if there is one. 

Increasingly, there is a fish option. The very best (usually plaice, served simply) is to be found in the Garryvoe Hotel or its cousin across the bay, the Bayview. Superb stuff, especially if you’d had a hard night.

Last month, I had the good luck to dine and stay in Aldridge House on the beautiful Hook Peninsula in County Wexford. I will soon be publishing a full post on the dinner and the stay. I had an inkling that the breakfast would be good.

And when owner-chef Billy Whitty told me plaice was on the menu, I jumped at it. They have a Michelin bib here and Billy improved on the simple plaice, turning it into a marine version of the Full Irish.

Very hard to beat his magnificent plate of fresh and delicious plaice that came with a poached egg (choice of hen or duck), tomatoes and a Portobello mushroom. All that after a terrific starter of a yogurt pot with hazelnuts and raspberry. 

Pancakes are also very popular around the country at breakfast time and I’ve enjoyed a few in recent months, the best hotel offering probably that at the lovely Lyrath Estate in Kilkenny. 

The very best though came closer to home, in the spring, at the Crawford Gallery Café where they served up American style buttermilk pancakes, with delicious bacon, yogurt, blueberries and bananas and Maple syrup of course. Amazing flavours and textures. Simply irresistible! 
Pancakes at the Crawford Gallery Café
No bacon at another excellent Cork venue, the terrific Good Day Deli. But, early in the year, they had excellent Poached Pear Pancakes with coconut mascarpone and a drizzle of Irish honey. A morning winner from this sustainable foods champion. Another non-meat venue is the Candied Hazelnut in Waterford and here I enjoyed their Blueberry Pancake Stack with Maple Syrup.

Will the plaice or the pancakes displace the Full Irish? Maybe not on their own but there are other factors at play here and you can expect to see even more variety on the Irish breakfast plate.

* Have you a great breakfast offering? Email: cork.billy@gmail.com

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Bayview's Feast of Fish. Flavour and Fun, thanks to Ciaran & Team


Bayview's Feast of Fish
Flavour and Fun, thanks to Ciaran & Team
Seafood Cocktail

Stephen Belton, GM of the Garryvoe Hotel, welcomed the guests to host venue the Bayview (where he is also GM), for the first big event of Feast 2018. Speaking of Bayview Chef Ciaran Scully, Stephen said he’s never met anyone with “such a passion for food”. And a mischievous sense of humour too as you can see by the second dish being called My Ding A Ling. “Enjoy the flavours and the fun,” Stephen concluded.

Kevin Ahern of Sage was introduced as the driving force behind Feast but he quickly countered that he wasn't the only person pushing the expanded and expanding festival. “We are proud of Midleton’s past festivals but now we want to drive it forward. We see East Cork as a food destination, both nationally and internationally. We want to create revenue in the area, not in just one town. We are very happy with it so far, so many nights booked out already.”
Ciaran's Ding A Ling

The wines for the evening were provided by James Nicholson Wine and their man on the
spot was Richard Reeve. “The wines chosen are a little left field, not the obvious ones (not even a Sauvignon Blanc!)”.  The pairings were excellent and we got more info on the individual bottles as the evening went on.

The first offering from the kitchen was a rather spectacular Seafood Cocktail (Ballycotton Brown Shrimp, smoked eel, herring, trout caviar, confit of tomato, pickled apple, Bloody Mary Jelly, Samphire, Sea purslane, Fried sea lettuce). Lots of flavours and textures there. And the wine chosen, was the Bodegas Coloma Pinot Noir Rosé from Extremadura in Spain. This early release wine has quite a bit of heft compared to the normal rosé and was certainly a winner with the mix in cocktail. A terrific opening all round.
Mackerel

The high standard would be maintained. Next up was My Ding A Ling (torched Ling with Salt Baked Celeriac, Little gem, Hazelnut & Gubbeen Pesto, Smoked Skeaghanore Duck-breast).  A superb combination with that celeriac playing a key role. And the wine here, the vibrant South African Boekenhoutskloof Wolftrap white, was terrific and again a great match, with its fantastic aromas and flavours.

Holy Mackerel was the title of Ciaran’s next offering. Basically it was all about the humble fish, the flavour packed pan-fried fillet enhanced by a Roast Miso Aubergine, Pickled mushrooms, peanut powder, Nasturtium, rice crackers. A good fresh wine to cut the oily fish was required here and Richard had just the job in the Umani Ronchi Vellodoro Terre di Chieti Pecorino. An intense aromatic wine with clear mineral notes, fresh with ripe fruits, it matched the mackerel well.

Fish and Chips

Now it was time for the Fish & Chips. The Bayview’s version: Deep fried monkfish, octopus, pea, lemon and potato purée, fried capers, oyster mayonnaise, Jerusalem artichoke chips. Another amazing effort from the kitchen. Richard didn’t have a Sauvignon Blanc but he did have a Chardonnay. The Domaine Bellevue from the Touraine, Loire Valley, was unoaked with excellent depth of fruit and that with its northern freshness gave the wine a lovely mouthfeel, another excellent match.

Time now for the sweet finalé. The Chocolate Trinket Box contained Jameson and Burnt Orange Chocolate Mousse with a Beamish Stout Ice Cream, rich and delicious. The dessert wine came from the Quady Winery in California, the Essensia Orange Muscat 2014.

A superb night of fish and wine again at the Bayview. Great how Ciaran chooses these events to highlight the super qualities of fish that we don't always rate in Ireland, such as the Ling and the Mackerel in this case.

Still lots to do in Feast. Check the remaining events here