Showing posts with label Goatsbridge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Goatsbridge. Show all posts

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Check out the Kingdom 1795, Kerry Restaurant of the Year.

Check out the Kingdom 1795

Kerry Restaurant of the Year

It's been a pretty good year for Suzi and Damo of Kingdom 1795. (Thanks to Kingdom for use of pic)

“A vegetable is no longer just a vegetable.” Suzi, front of house at Kingdom 1795 in Killorglin as she took our order last week.

“Vegetables are very important to us.” Chef Aitor at Michelin starred Nerua in Bilbao as he showed us his kitchen.

Just like the Basque chef, Suzi emphasised the importance of sourcing local and she and Chef Damien do just that and are thrilled with the momentum building among their growers. And just as was illustrated in Nerua (with a Baked White Onion, topped with a cod skin, pic at bottom), Kingdom 1795 has some gorgeous vegetables in their various dishes.

Garryhinch mushrooms on Wagyu (spoiled chef's presentation to show you!)

One of the highlights for me came with my mains: the Wagyu Beef Blade & Brisket, cabbage, stout mustard, house butter. When I folded back the cabbage, I found a concertina of thinly sliced mushrooms with the most amazing flavour. No wonder growers Garryhinch are adding to their reputation all the time. Amazing stuff and that Wagyu also lived up to its reputation.

CL was also humming away at the other side of the table as she enjoyed her Hake with tender-stem broccoli, scampi and warm tartare sauce, another perfect ensemble of flavours and freshness. And, of course, our side vegetables had also been treated with the utmost respect, another perfect offering gratefully received and dispatched with due diligence - no hurry here.

Pinot Noir
The pace in Kingdom 1975 is more or less classic French, giving time for a drop of wine in between courses or Calvados in Normandy where the pause has a title: Le trou normand (the Normand hole, the “gap” aids the digestion!).

Well, we filled the gap. Our white was the Chardonnay/Moscatel, Bodegas Nodus 2021, (Valencia, Spain), young and fresh with apple and pear and a touch of tropical pineapple and good persistence. The Romanian Pinot Noir, Cremele Recas ‘Legendary’ 2019, was striking, wonderfully fruity with black cherry and raspberry, nicely spicy too (cinnamon) and quite a long and elegant finish. One of quite a few excellent great-value Romanian wines making their way to this country again.

Goatsbridge trout

With the Trou Normand honoured, it was time for dessert: Sliabh Luachra Strawberries, elderflower, caramelised milk. Quite the treat and an excellent finish.

We had started well also, after a warm welcome from Suzi whom we hadn’t seen in three years (you know why!). They had just started in 2019 and then Covid put them to the test. But, like many others, they pivoted and did well with their Eat at Home offerings. Perhaps their most amazing evening came when they offered doughnuts (four in a box). It was a once off but the word got out and soon the queues around the corner “were like Puck Fair” and over 500 were sold.

She and her staff are brilliant around this lovely room and were in top form as always. They had extra good cause last week as they had just been named Best Restaurant in Kerry at the RAI Munster event in the Radisson,  Cork. The Michelin Guide has also called recently and commented: "An old boozer turned into a restaurant to cherish."


We use Goatsbridge Trout a fair bit ourselves and were glad to see the Kirwans’ produce in one of our starters: Goatsbridge Trout, pickled cucumber, lovage, trout roe. Delicious.

I enjoyed the Dressed Crab, kohlrabi, watercress, horseradish, another delicious dish, slightly delicate but nicely lifted by the Kohlrabi and Horseradish. 


A good start is half the battle. A good start for sure but no battle. Just an exquisite dining experience in the Kingdom.

* The building once housed the Kingdom Bar and the leasing records start in 1795 so that’s where the name came from. Restaurant manager Suzi and Chef Damien are the young couple behind this impressive restaurant in the middle of Killorglin, County Kerry. They honed their skills over three years in the lovely Screebe House in Connemara before taking on the Kingdom. You'll find them on the corner of Main Street and Market Street. And you'll find them online here and on Facebook and Instagram.

Nerua's Baked White Onion

Also on this trip:

Valentia Island's spectacular Bray Head Walk 

Cronin's Yard Loop Walk (near Carrauntoohil)

Superb Killarney Dinner at The Mad Monk by Quinlans

Castlerosse Hotel. Ace Base For The Kingdom

Monday, January 25, 2021

Greenes@Home Serve Up Three Course Winner. Hit Jackpot With Click And Collect!

 Greenes@Home Serve Up Three Course Winner.

Hit Jackpot With Click And Collect!

We’re staying close to home for our takeout meals these days and our latest came from Greenes Restaurant in MacCurtain Street. Collected the box about 5.30pm and while walking to the car began to think that there was something missing as it felt so light. But everything was there and, after a little “work” at home, we enjoyed a magnificent high quality, restaurant quality meal.

They do vary the offering and the starter of Goatsbridge Trout and Crab Rillettes (paté), organic salad leaves, peppers, Lemon and Dill Mayo and crackers was new to us and one that we can highly recommend. We’re big fans of Goatsbridge. With produce of this quality meeting a chef of Bryan McCarthy's skill, we knew that we were onto a good thing and so it proved. The Rillettes were superb and those impeccable organic salad leaves and peppers were elevated by the Mayo.

The other starter available on the night was Beetroot, Ardsallagh Goats Cheese, Walnuts Puff Pastry Tart. Enticing, especially with the salad on the side. As you see with Goatsbridge and Ardsallagh, the Greenes kitchen has deep and long lasting ties to the region.

Meanwhile the cod was being cooked in the oven, the Dashi cream and sea vegetables in a saucepan on low heat. A pretty simple dish really but simply superb. The fish was pristine and exquisitely delicious, the sea veg provided an injection of ocean flavour, plus a little crunch and all wrapped up in that creamy dashi sauce. Well presented too, by the way! Must say the service was top notch.

Other mains on the nights menu included Twomey’s Lamb Shoulder, carrot purée, caramelised carrots, red wine jus; also on the list was Braised Feather blade of Angus Beef (a speciality of the house), parish purée, glazed parsnip black cabbage, red wine jus. Plus a Courgette & Lemon Risotto.

Three desserts tempted: Sticky Toffee Pudding; Chocolate Tart; and our Calamansi Cheesecake with Honeycomb. Calamansi is a citrus fruit similar to lemon and limes; the tree is indigenous to the Philippines. A new one to me but would have no hesitation if I see it offered in the future. No hesitation either in going back to Greenes for another Click and Collect or, better still, for a sit-down meal there when the time is right!

You’ll be glad to know that Greenes are continuing their At Home offering for the foreseeable (although this word is becoming somewhat redundant these Covid days) future. They normally have one set of menus for Wednesday and Thursday, another for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There is some overlap of course but, with changes every now and then, plenty of variety as well. Check out the current offering here and, while you’re on, have a look at their drinks offers (wines, beers, cocktails).

Our choices from last Saturday’s menu were:

Goatsbridge Trout and Crab Rillettes (paté), organic salad leaves, peppers, Lemon and Dill Mayo and crackers. No home “work” needed!

Pan Seared Cod, Dashi Cream sauce and sea vegetables. (About ten minutes in the oven - you do get instructions and you may even watch online tutorials on Instagram and Facebook.

Calamansi Cheesecake with Honeycomb. The only thing I had to do here was look the word Calamansi! 

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Taste of the Week Goatsbridge Trout Goujons

Taste of the Week

Goatsbridge Trout Goujons

Have you tried the Breaded Trout Goujons from Goatsbridge in Kilkenny? They are our current Taste of the Week and well worth a try.

These hand-cut fillets of fresh Rainbow trout come in a crispy and golden gluten free breadcrumb and batter with lemon pepper seasoning and ready to cook.

Plenty of info on the pack and you can also check their website for more info. Serving suggestions are with a green salad or with potatoes and veg. We went the salad route with the aid of a homemade dip and enjoyed the superb flavour from start to finish.

They say: At Goatsbridge farm, trout is our passion. Our knowledge and experience in trout farming has been passed down through three generations. The daily catch comes from the crystal clear water of the Little Arrigle River in County Kilkenny Ireland, giving our trout a unique and Great Taste award winning taste and texture. 

Goatsbridge Trout Farm

Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Taste of the Week. Goatsbridge Smoked Rainbow Trout (infused with Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin)

Taste of the Week

Goatsbridge Smoked Rainbow Trout (infused with Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin)

Okay, so our Taste of the Week is a mouthful. But what a delicious mouthful with two Irish producers combining to produce this superb result.

The ebullient unstoppable Meg Kirwan of Goatsbridge: "We have teamed up with Gunpowder Irish Gin to create this delicious pairing of premium Irish products. The exotic botanical flavours of Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin compliment the earthy flavours of the trout perfectly."

Loads more info plus a recipe on the Goatsbridge site. And while you're on, why not take a look at the hamper offer and buy one like I did. It's quite the selection box: fillets of fresh fish, packs of barbequed trout, this gin infused smoked trout, fishcakes, goujons, plus a couple of tubs of paté. And delivery is free. Well worth it!

Goatsbridge Trout Farm

Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Wet and Windy. But Enjoyable Stay at Powerscourt Hotel

Powerscourt Visit 2019

Wet and Windy. But Enjoyable Stay at Powerscourt Hotel
Lobby at the Powerscourt Hotel

It was a wet and windy Monday when we made our most recent visit to Powerscourt. The estate, there is also a waterfall nearby, is just an hour or so from Dublin and now, with the improved motorways, it is just two and a half from Cork. Use M8, M7, M50, M11 (to Wexford) and that will leave you with just a few miles of country road to reach your destination.
Weather was so much better when we last visited in 2015

The rain followed us up from Cork and it was pelting down when we pulled in to the hotel on the grounds, hoping to have a quick lunchtime snack in the bar. But McGill’s Pub was closed until 4.00pm so we headed up to the house and the Avoca Cafe whose high-ceilinged dining rooms look out over the grounds. Not much to be seen that Monday, I’m afraid, but a tasty soup with a warming piquancy set  us up for the afternoon.
Night view of the fountains in the pool from the balcony

We did a little food shopping in the adjoining Avoca shop. Lots of local produce on sale, including Skellig Chocolates, and also plenty of fudge under the Avoca label but this was unmistakably Mella’s fudge from West Cork. No shortage of non-Irish produce too and surprised to see they had apple rings from China when Con Traas mades a superb delicious apple ring down in Cahir.

We had an appointment to tour the newly built Powerscourt Distillery just a few hundred yards away. With the weather still bad, we drove over (rather than walked) and parked outside the door. The tour is excellent and highly recommended and you may read about our experience here. Didn’t realise they had a café there also.

Back then to the Powerscourt Hotel to check in. Entry to the gardens is free to hotel guests but no possibility at all of exercising that option as the rains continued to pour down. Our room here was fabulous and indeed the hotel itself is magnificent, the lobby particularly impressive.

Super starter of Gin Cured Goatsbridge Trout, Pickled Apple, Green Gazpacho, Avocado, Tapioca

We had been hoping to dine at Sika, the main restaurant, but this is currently subject to occasional closure due to renovations. However we did enjoy the Sika cooking in the Sugar Loaf Lounge instead. Both restaurants have views out towards the Sugar Loaf mountain but, such was the extent of the rain, that famous landmark wasn’t visible at all.

Goat cheese, smoked beetroot purée,
Heirloom cherry tomato, cucumber gel
Basil Oil, Balsamic pearls

Dinner was excellent, quite a lot of choices here, and service, as you might expect, was also top notch. 

After dinner, we headed to McGill’s Pub in the hotel. This Irish pub is an excellent venue. The bar itself is “made for elbows”. The seating is not at all plush but good enough to enjoy your pick from a fine selection of whiskeys, beers and stouts. They also offer "a tasty menu of wholesome, traditional dishes, prepared and served with imagination and style".

And, even on a wet Tuesday, it was busy with food and drink, as indeed was the hotel itself. There was a great buzz in the bar and a football game on the screens. Not exactly what you’d expect in a five star but very enjoyable indeed with a very friendly and efficient service. 

I usually look for local beers and noted a string of Wicklow taps. Unfortunately none were active so I settled for a pint of Smithwick’s Red Ale. Not bad at all but not quite as good as the large bottle (568 mls) of Smithwick Red that I enjoyed a few months back in Lonergan’s Pub in Ballymacarbry (west Waterford).

Next morning, we were served breakfast in the Sika, after a very warm welcome indeed, No shortage of choice here at all and the hot buffet was just brilliant. The food looked very inviting and all was at the proper temperature and, back at the table, proved very tasty indeed, a proper Irish breakfast, just what was needed for another wet day ahead. More on that and the fantastic Wicklow Heather in the next post.

More about the gardens (from a previous visit) here

Also on this trip: Powerscourt Distillery
The Wicklow Heather

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

James Whelan opens 8th Butcher’s Shop. Son Pat keeps his feet on the ground.

James Whelan opens 8th Butcher’s Shop
Son Pat keeps his feet on the ground.
Display at new Whelan's shop in Dunnes Stores, Bishopstown Court.

I met Pat Whelan at the original James Whelan shop in Clonmel in November 2011. He took time out to have chat about that shop and also a new one in Avoca in Monkstown (Dublin) to which he was applying the finishing touches. Now he has eight in total. Progress has been amazing. 

I met Pat again at Dunnes Stores Bishopstown Court last Friday. He was there to play a role in the weekend celebration of the extensive renovations of the popular supermarket, a weekend to highlight the newcomers to the store including Whelan’s, Sheridan’s Cheese, ABC Bread, O’Connell Fishmongers, Baxter and Greens and Café Sol. 
Part of the new food hall

Again, the Tipperary man took time out for a chat. I reminded him about our first meeting and how he enjoyed going out to the marts and farms to meet the producers. Has the expansion put a stop to that? 

I was glad to get the answer that it hadn’t, an answer that I had more or less expected from a man who stays in touch with the grassroots, staying connected to the source. He goes out weekly and told me that only the Tuesday before he had bought about 40 cattle in the Fermoy Mart but what I hadn’t expected was that his 80 year father, after whom the shops are named, was on the road with him. Respect to both!
Dunnes Kiwi chef Matthew Brownie was promising the Irish an All Black grilling ahead of the big game.
He was just joking, of course!

But some things have of course changed and not just over the last seven years. Pat was (still is) a regular visitor to the English Market in the good old days. Then he felt it “was alive” when he walked through. It certainly was in your face. The food scene began to change back in 60s and 70s. It became “sanitised”, the connection with its source fragmenting, we agreed, me thinking of sliced pan and supermarkets as being among the agents of change.
O'Connell fishmongers

People like Pat, and luckily there are quite a few of them, kept the flame alive. “Good food is an investment in your future,” he says. “Great to see the youngsters coming into it, great to see them make the connection and great to see it done right. We owe it to ourselves and to the planet to really reconnect with nature.”

“Training is important,” he emphasised in answer to my query about Whelan’s Butcher Academy. Indeed, the good work of the academy has been recognised by a counterpart in South West France. “They want to do an Erasmus exchange with us where our trainees can swap experience with their French counterparts. It’s great for us to be recognised like that and great too for the apprentices.”
Whelan's Himalayan salt aged beef, before and after (so tender!)

The eight Whelan butcher shops are in Clonmel, Dunnes Stores Cornelscourt, The Swan Centre Rathmines, Dunnes Stores Blanchardstown Centre, Pavilions Shopping Centre, Swords, Avoca in Rathcoole and Kilmacanogue as well as Dunnes Stores Bishopstown Court. Pat is very happy about the link-up (now 30 months old) with Dunnes seeing them as a family company that “is all about the customer, the Better Value is not just a slogan, and they are very warmly regarded in Cork".

And it looks as if the Whelan shop is warmly regarded as well. “We’ve had a great welcome from our fellow debutants, Pat O’Connell’s and Sheila of ABC”. Whelan will have in-house competition from Dunne’s own butchers. He knows that his produce is top class and may cost a little more. A customer may like a treat at the weekend and something good but less pricey on a Monday. “Retail is all about choice,” he says and is quite happy with that.

Earlier Donnacha, the manager of Whelan's Bishopstown shop, showed me some of that choice. The Tralee native has worked for two and half years for Pat in Dublin and jumped at that chance to get back nearer home. “We started off four weeks ago and it took off straightaway, so far so good. Now we’re setting up for Christmas.”
And where there's Dunnes, there's Simply Better

The shop has a beautiful lay-out and lighting. It is well manned with expert help at hand as you choose between the different meats and the different cuts. 

A lot of the weekend focus was on “the big reveal”, the collaboration between Pat Whelan and Peter Hannan which has resulted in the amazing Himalayan Salt Aged Beef, now on sale exclusively in Whelan’s eight shops and at their online shop.

Hannan has constructed a Salt Chamber made of rock salt bricks from the Himalayas and here the beef spends over 35 days and the final result is exceptional quality with a truly unique flavour.  More details here.  

“We got a great welcome to Cork,” said Kevin Sheridan of Sheridan's as we chatted in front of their very impressive stall. And I use the word stall deliberately as it does resemble a market display. A big stall, mind you. Space to display the many cheeses - lots of Cork produce there too - and all the little bits and pieces (crackers, relishes for example) that go with them.
Yours truly with
Kevin Sheridan.

‘We have more Cork cheese here - in Galway we would have more from Galway - and find the customers very enthusiastic. Great to be in Dunnes too, as they are part of the Cork heritage.”

“We started as a small cheese stand, and this weekend, we are celebrating the opening of the Cork Bishopstown Court location with many local producers that we are proud to call our friends. We feel so lucky to work with many quality Irish producers and are thrilled to share their amazing work all under one roof in Dunnes.”

Like Pat, Kevin emphasised the importance of training. Sheridan’s have brought some of their more experienced people from their other shops to Cork for the time being, passing on that experience, all for the benefit of the customer.

Didn’t see Pat O’Connell himself but got lots of fish there, some frozen, some fresh, and some smoked (including Goatsbridge trout produced by my friend Mag Kirwan in Kilkenny). Must go back and try that red mullet! 

Also met some regulars on the food scene: Padraig O’Farrell was showing his Carrigaline cheeses at Sheridan’s and Aoife was doing a Kinsale Bay tasting nearby while Dunne’s Kiwi chef Matthew was threatening to grill the Irish at the rugby! Could have spent the day there but time caught up with me.

  • You may see a YouTube clip of Peter Hannan’s salt chamber here.
  • And see Hannan cook those amazing steaks here. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Long Live the King’s Head. Food, Fun in Medieval Bistro and Bar.

Long Live the King’s Head.
Food, Fun in Medieval Bistro and Bar.
King Scallops
It’s like a mini rambla in Galway’s Latin Quarter as we work our way through the strollers, the chatters, the crowds circled around the musicians, to a small archway and the entrance to the King’s Head Bistro. 

Some are eating outside this hot sunny evening but we make our way in to a warm welcome in the restaurant itself, taking in the long wall filled with a huge variety of plates. Here, and later in the neighbouring bar, we would have good food and good fun.
Starters. Trout, crab
“We are strong on fish here,” is the message from Chef Brendan Keane. The concentration we learn is very much on local and seasonal, light rather than heavy sauces, and, before he goes back to work, Brendan tells us the strawberries are perfect at the moment.

I go along with Brendan and order two of his specials, beginning with the Pan-fried crab claws in garlic and chilli butter with organic salad. Hard to beat crab claws but this modest chef’s simple treatment takes them to another level. 
Meanwhile, CL is happily renewing acquaintance with an old friend, the trout from Kilkenny’s Goatsbridge Farm. The Barbecued Smoked Trout Salad, to give it its full title, consists of trout, rosemary roasted baby potatoes, pickled red onion, watercress, dill and mustard dressing.

At that stage, we were sipping our glasses of the local Galway Hooker Ale. Later, our server Sorcha would introduce us, guests of the bistro, to the King’s Head Blood Red Ale, the bistro’s own-label beer (by Galway Hooker) and a bloody good one it is, especially with food.

And more food was soon on the way. Again mine came from the specials list: Panfried king scallops, tender-stem broccoli, baby roast potatoes, crispy Andarl farm pancetta and butter sauce. A terrific combination of flavour and texture.

Fish-lover CL picked the organic salmon, a baked fillet of Clare Island salmon, colcannon and organic creamed spinach. Sounds simple. It was. Simply superb.

Nice head. Blood red ale!
Just in case you think it’s all fish here, it’s not. The menu is quite wide ranging and includes Lamb, Vegetable risotto, Veggie Dahl, Burger, Steak, Feather-blade of Beef, and Chicken. We are in on a Thursday evening and the place is busy, seats filling up again within minutes of being vacated.

After our delicious strawberry meringue dessert, we strolled over to the nearby King’s Head Bar, also owned by Paul and Mary Grealish. We had been in here too the previous evening and knew what to expect. It was just as busy and lively. The bar rambles on from room to room in this amazing building that dates back to medieval times. And, after the World Cup, the music comes on and the craic intensifies.

We park ourselves on a couple of vacant seats by the Havana Club section and watch them shake and make cocktail after cocktail before I finish the lovely night with a Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin. The King’s Head is a brilliant place to have food and fun. Long live the king. Slainte!

Also on this trip

The Aniar Experience
Kitchen at Galway City Museum
Getaway to the City of the Tribes. Galway

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Back to the Garden for Maryborough Chef. A Delicious New Summer-time Menu at Bellini’s

Back to the Garden for Maryborough Chef
A Delicious New Summer-time Menu at Bellini’s

Sea Bream

Hotel dining rooms are improving all over the city and Bellini’s at the Maryborough is at the forefront thanks to Head Chef Gemma Murphy and her team.

Gemma is renowned for her presentation skills. But there is substance galore behind the style on your plate. She is well able to source good produce, with the emphasis on local and seasonal, and cook it to perfection.

Macroom Buffalo Cheese, Goatsbridge Trout, La Rousse Fine Foods, Keeling’s Fruit and Vegetables, Matt O'Connell Seafood, the English Market and Ballinwillin Boar and Venison are among her sources.

And it's getting even more local! She has developed a vegetable and herb garden “so she can ensure only the best will be used in her cooking”.

Delighted to get the chance to try the new menu. After a warm welcome, we were seated comfortably and starting to make the choices. Not that easy as all the dishes appealed.

I was looking at the starters and found it difficult to get past the first two. Eventually though the Ballinwillin Wild Boar (Pea and Watercress Pannacotta, Apricot Mustarda) “won” against the Grilled Mackerel. The boar and venison coming from the Mulcahy's in Ballinwillin is top notch and this superb dish added another dimension.
Wild Boar

CL too had a difficult choice toying with the Assiette of Summer Vegetables (with Macroom ricotta) before settling on the Scallops (Bacon Dashi, Compressed Pineapple, Picked Shimeji, Cubanelle Chilli Oil). Another winner. The dashi was poured on at the table and the little umami mushrooms, like everything other element, played a tasty role. 

No big creamy sauces for the chef here. We both went for fish in the mains and each of us was very happy. CL enjoyed the Sea Bream Fillets (Grilled Asparagus, Charred Onion, Salt Baked Fingerling Potatoes, Shellfish Bisque, Squid Ink Dressing) while my Pan seared fillet of Cod (Braised Beluga Lentils, Fava Beans, Heritage Tomato, Grapefruit and Saffron Puree) was another delight.

And of course there were sides; the House Fries and Market Vegetables (a substitute on the night for the  carrots) were our choices, both well up to standard.

So how about dessert? Some excellent choices here. Was looking at the Coconut and Yuzu Pannacotta before settling on the Pimm’s Jelly (Foraged Elderflower Scented Mascarpone Strawberry Sorbet, Shortbread). That was shared, our server diplomatically placing it centre-table. Service was excellent throughout. And another empty plate went back!

There are some fantastic wines on the list here, including quite a few by the glass and also a selection by the half-bottle. Once we decided on the fish, we ordered a glass of white each. One was the  German Eins-Zwei-Dry Riesling, smooth and fruity and dry for sure. The other was the Ara Della Valle Pinot Grigio, smooth and persistent. Both feature on the house white list, along with a few more.

If don't want the full menu of the restaurant, well take a look at the Bellini bar daytime menu here.  Here too, you’ll see Lots of cocktails on offer and you can also sample the local craft beer by the Franciscan Well Brewery.

And they also do Afternoon Tea in the Garden Room. And if the kids come, well there’s even an Afternoon Tea Menu for them. If you need to be pampered at any time, just follow the sounds of flowing water to the spa. And I'd better mention, they also have a gym!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Kernel Kilkenny. Maria’s Up and Running

Kernel Kilkenny

Maria’s Up and Running
So here you are in the kitchen with this lot in front of you: Salmon, sugar snaps, mint, new potatoes, Toonsbridge feta, butternut squash, lime dressing. What to do? Well, check with Maria Raftery, the owner-chef at Kernel, Kilkenny’s newest restaurant. She grilled the salmon and put all the other ingredients together in a magical manner to produce one of the best salmon dishes you're likely to come across.

It is one of the main dishes on the new menu at the restaurant which has taken up most of the front of the Kilkenny Inn on Vicar Street. And the dish, and others, amply illustrate that Maria has lost none of her innovative qualities that shone through over 17 years at Zuni, also in Kilkenny.
Goatsbridge trout
 Kernel Restaurant and Bar, to give it its full title, will be running hand in hand with the hotel and is providing the breakfast for the lucky patrons. Brunch and dinner is also available, even afternoon teas for both ladies and gents!

Back to our visit. While CL was finishing off the salmon and singing its praises, I was tucking into something a little less complicated: the Kernel Angus Beef Burger, smoked Gubbeen, burger sauce, pickle-slaw, house fries. Less complicated maybe but still a perfect combination of textures and flavours.
Ham Hock Scotch Egg
CL had started the meal with Goatsbridge Trout Ceviche, Nori Seaweed, Smoked Trout Mousse, Roe Dressing. Hard to beat that. You’ll notice that Kernel has started by supporting local producers and Goatsbridge Trout Farm is one of the best.

I didn't do too badly either with my Ham Hock Scotch Egg, Piccalilli. Lacked nothing in either quantity or quality, full of good flavour and a really satisfying opening to my visit to Kernel.
 The dessert list is short but still left us puzzled, a puzzle we solved by ordering the Assiette of Desserts, a sweet solution.

They’ve got a pretty good wine list, three suppliers contributing to a good balance overall. We made a bit of a compromise, an enjoyable one, on the Cantina Frentana, Montepulciano D’Abbruzo, fruity and smooth, and twenty five euro the bottle.
Dessert - for sharing!
Had noticed a few (quite a few actually) craft beers on the list including Franciscan Well, Costello’s, O’Hara’s, Free Bird and Hop Adventure (both from Carlow) and Falling Apple Cider (also Carlow). The taps on the bar heralded the three variations of Smithwick's (Red Ale, Pale Ale and the Blonde) but I'm sorry I missed out on the tap for O’Sullivan’s Malted Red Ale, a local beer (now revived) that was produced before Smithwick started in 1710. Next time!
See also