Showing posts with label Golden Bean. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Golden Bean. Show all posts

Monday, February 6, 2023

Greenwich. Passionate café culture in Cork city centre

Greenwich. Passionate café culture in Cork city centre

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Sunday Lunch at Ballymaloe House is one to experience time and again

Sunday Lunch at Ballymaloe House is one to experience time and again. 

Sweet Spots!

“This is not cheap food, it is food that has been loved and cared for by knowledgeable producers.  We think that it is Ireland's best.” Myrtle Allen. 

Sunday’s lunch in Ballymaloe House showed how well loved the local food produce is by the kitchen staff and by us, the customers. The food on the plate speaks for itself. It is indeed all on plates (no flowerpots), no nitro show, no foams, no coloured dots.

Beetroot starter

Still, the food here is very well presented. It looks appetising. And it is. That is soon confirmed. The experience - and even without the dots, the flowerpots, the nitro and the foams - this is quite the experience, aided in no small way by the culture of calm courtesy and quiet efficiency of the reception and serving staff.

So we are seated in one of the high-ceilinged rooms, not the only such room in use on the day. We have ordered. Soon, our server is back with an offering of delicious cheese croquettes (not mentioned on the menu!) which we enjoy while we wait for our starters.

Fritto Misto

And that’s when it began to get serious, seriously enjoyable. For this is a comfortable experience (not just the chair) - you won’t be left wondering what you have on your plate, nothing is deconstructed here.

My starter is Sesame Crusted Fritto Misto di Mare with Roast Garlic Aioli and Parsley oil while CL has the Ruby Beetroot Fritters with Preserved Lemon Salsa and Farm Yogurt. 


The fish (soft and white) on my plate are squid and ray wing, the aioli and oil a key part of a deftly crusted dish that you don’t come across everyday, really really excellent. And as is often the case it is the little things on the plate that can make the difference, that Salsa and Yogurt lifting the local beetroot to a different level.


Other starters available included Cannellini Bean & Chorizo Broth; Spinach Gnocchi with Roast Cherry Tomatoes; and Pâté Maison.

Virtually everything is local here, much of it ultra-local as it comes from their own walled garden and farm. 


They don’t have their own wine but they are trying! There is a quite a list presented to us and we pick the delicious Picpoul de Pinet, Château Petit Roubié,  one of the house whites, at €8.50 a glass or €30.00 a bottle, and one that we know and love from the Mary Pawle portfolio.While this list is quite large, there is also the fuller list, one that you may need to start studying before you travel! 

I did notice quite a few local drinks on the house drinks list, including their own gin, beers from the Cotton Ball and Blacks of Kinsale. As the designated driver, I was very happy to see the Stonewell Non Alcoholic available (€5.00 a bottle), one of the best of its type in the country and one that I enjoyed again.

Time now for the main event and soon CL was tucking into the Pan-seared Ballycotton Cod and Scallop with Bretonne Sauce and Braised Florence Fennel. A superb piece of well cooked fish, well teamed with the fennel and the Bretonne. Perfection on the plate.

I was every bit as pleased with the Roast East Cork Leg of Lamb with salsa verde and crushed Swede Turnips. Another highlight, again not mentioned on the menu, was the redcurrant jelly (that came in the most attractive spouted mini serving boat) and the jelly made the already toothsome lamb even more so. Our main courses were served with Scallion champ along with seasonal Roast Carrots and Parsnips.

Other choices on the day were Clancy’s free-range chicken with Tarragon stuffing, Kilmacahill Beef Cheeks Braised with shallots and Marsala jus, and Gently spiced aubergine, St Tola Cheese. 

Ballymaloe in January 2022

Over the decades, Ballymaloe has become loved for its ultra tempting Sweet Trolley, a tradition within the tradition of the house hospitality. Between us, we came close to getting a little bit of everything including individual Blackberry and Apple tarts, Raspberry Compote (perhaps my favourite), a power-packed Tiramisu, and other melt-in-the-mouth treats.

And still we weren’t finished. Ballymaloe Fudge, more melt-in-the-mouth, was served with Golden Bean Coffee (roasted just across the road that runs between the old house and Grainstore). Tea lovers had the pick of Herb Tea or Barry’s Tea.

A little “ramble”, past a few busy dining rooms, took us to the desk to pay up and, as is often the case here, another friendly chat. Never a rush in Ballymaloe House. After all, you are made to feel “at home” in this comfortable place with its engaging staff and magnificent food.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Taste of the Week. Golden Bean's Capim Branco

Taste of the Week.

Golden Bean's Capim Branco

Lots of new coffee roasters on the block these days but our current Taste of the Week comes from one of the longest standing, the Golden Bean who are based at Ballymaloe.

Bought a bag of the beans from Bradleys (North Main Street) last week and was immediately struck by the excellent quality of this relatively sweet and fruity Brazilian variety Yellow Catuai (not that I know much at all about the different varieties). 

But I can rely on the judgement of Golden Bean owner/roaster Marc Kingston whose "goal has always been to source, roast and supply the most ethically produced beans from around the world". Well worth a try!

Pic via Golden Bean.

For the Geek!

Varietal: 100% Yellow Catuai

Processing: Natural and dried on Patios

Owner: Andrade Brothers (Ismael & Eduardo Andrade)

Altitude: 1,100 metres above sea level

Town / City: Carmo do Paranaiba

Region: Cerrado Mineiro