Showing posts with label Good Food Circle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Good Food Circle. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Always a Warm Welcome at The Trident Hotel Kinsale


Always a Warm Welcome at The Trident Hotel Kinsale

Always enjoy going back to the Trident Hotel in Kinsale. The views from the bedrooms, any of their 75 rooms, are striking. The hotel is spectacularly set on the water's edge in Kinsale, in a prime location for guests to enjoy the views of the harbour. And quite often the sun is shining! As it was last week when we called. The Trident has a private marina and onsite parking (very handy in the busy seaside town).

The hotel, under manager Hal McElroy, has been through an extensive upgrade and its interiors are now looking splendid as well. We stayed in one of those refurbished bedrooms and we had splendid views of the harbour. The decor is restful and the spacious room had all we needed, including hairdryer (well, I didn't need that!) and tea-maker.
Room with a view

The welcome here is always warm but it got that little bit better last Monday (18th) when we were told we were upgraded. We enjoyed that. While walking along the corridors, I was struck by the restful colour combination, mainly white and grey on the walls, blue and grey in the carpet, and a little extra colour in the curtains. All very peaceful throughout. A really lovely place to stay, good rooms, good food, and just about four minutes from the very heart of the town.
Sandycover, near Kinsale

Kinsale itself has quite a lot to offer. It has often been called the Gourmet Capital of Ireland. You’ll get some arguments from other areas no doubt but Kinsale was awarded The Restaurants Association of Ireland’s ‘Top Foodie Town’ in the 2018 competition. 

The Trident and its manager are key players in Kinsale, long-time members of the town’s Good Food Circle which believe it or not are now taking bookings for the annual Gourmet Festival. Dates this year, for the 43rd running of this famous and fun event, are 11th to 13th of October. 
Safe harbour
For more info, check "Kinsale Good Food Circle - 43rd Kinsale Gourmet Festival”. Before that though, the Good Food Circle will host the National Chowder Championships in April with a street food festival on the same weekend (6/7 April 2019). 
Charlesfort

If you visit the town, you’ll be assured of good places to stay and terrific restaurants and café, and you’ll be well set up for some fabulous sightseeing. Charlesfort overlooks the harbour and is perhaps the biggest attraction in the town. It is open all year and regular guided tours are available. Well worth a visit and you can also see it from the water if you take one of the popular Kinsale harbour cruises.

Desmond Castle, an even older building in the heart of the town, is open during the season. It is also known locally as the French Prison. Built originally as a customs house, it now includes a wine museum as one of its attractions.
Lusitania Museum and the Old Head

The nearby coast includes many small coves that are worth a visit (see here) and not too far away there is the large beach at Garrettstown, the waters here also popular with surfers. On the way, you may stop and admire the famous Old Head of Kinsale and visit the nearby Signal Tower and Lusitania Museum.

Kinsale, often called the gateway to West Cork (see my West Cork Package), is your starting point on the Wild Atlantic Way. It is hardly 30 minutes from Cork City, even less from the airport and not too far away from the ferryport of Ringaskiddy.
In the harbour

Our latest visit was prompted by Kinsale Restaurant Week, a very successful event that finished up on the 24th of February. We had a great meal, a great night indeed, in Finns’ Table, another member of the Good Food Circle. 
Blacks Ale

Breakfast view at the Trident
Finished the night with a pint of local beer (from Blacks Micro-Brewery and Distillery) in the Trident’s Wharf Bar. And said goodbye to the Trident after a hearty breakfast in Pier One, their main restaurant, used mainly for breakfast and functions. 

The lively Wharf Bar downstairs will keep you well fed during the day and evening. And in the good weather, at the water’s edge, the Trident have their self contained Foredeck Bar with some seating for your comfort.

Oh, the hospitality continued at the breakfast table when we were surprised with the gift of a bottle of wine from Anthony of the Trident and congrats from all the servers. He knew we had been been celebrating our 50th anniversary at Finns’ Table. Thanks to Anthony and the Trident. And, before you ask, we didn’t open the lovely Sancerre at breakfast!

Also on this Kinsale trip:
Dinner at Finns' Table
Surprise Mellot Sancerre Tasting at Finns' Table



Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Finns’ Table Highlights Kinsale Can-do Attitude. Especially when it come to food!


Finns’ Table Highlights Kinsale Can-do Attitude
Especially when it comes to food!
Beef Brisket Croquette

Kinsale’s renowned Good Food Circle seem to have backed a winner with their Restaurant Week. The place is abuzz as was Finns’ Table when we walked in there around 7.00pm last Monday. We hadn’t met Julie and chef John with quite a while so it was great to take the opportunity to eat, drink and chat in such a lovely and lively spot.


Julie had reserved the “Love Table” for us, knowing that we were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. So we sipped our Veuve Clicquot and soon we were tucking into two delightful mini-loaves from John’s kitchen, a treacle bread and also a potato bread, each different, both delicious.

So, what do they give you for your twenty euro? A choice of four starters and four mains, all really top class. One starter was Mushrooms on toast, crispy hen’s egg and Hollandaise sauce, another was Jerusalem Artichoke soup with honey, almond and rosemary granola.

Not easy to turn down either of those but I picked the Braised Irish Beef Brisket Croquet with celeriac remoulade and horseradish cream. The packed croquet was full of flavour, the remoulade and cream the perfect partners. CL spotted that the local mussels (from nearby Oysterhaven) were enhanced with coconut, coriander, ginger and lemongrass. Oh, the steamed bivalves have rarely been so well accompanied in a bowl.

Joseph Mellot wines from Sancerre - we would meet Olivier from the winery later on in the evening - were produced and much appreciated as the lovely occasion unfolded.

So what would we have for mains?  The quartet on offer were all very tempting indeed. There was a Confit Duck Leg, slow cooked, with Rosscarbery black pudding, and cider braised lentils and also a Vegetarian Wellington (Uncle Tom’s Turnip, Sweet Potato and Bandon Vale Cheddar). 

The Irish Lamb Tasting plate was CL’s choice: Roast Rump, Slow Cooked Neck and Braised Shoulder, with Fondant Potato and Jus. We swapped wines at this point with CL taking the Pinot Noir and I taking the Sauvignon Blanc. The SB proved a perfect match with the exquisite Seafood Bourride, a Provencal style fish stew containing lightly poached local fish and shellfish in saffron broth with garlic aioli and herbs, a delightful  mix of flavours and aromas.
Bourride

I’ve often thought that it is the small things on your plate that can indicate a chef’s skill. And what caught our attention here, in the most delightful way, was the side of Mixed Garden vegetables. No exotic veg included but excellent stuff, superbly cooked and a pure delight on the palate. Still wondering what little extra magic he added here. 

Fair play to the Finns. Since moving to Kinsale from nearby Timoleague about six years ago they have played a full role in the Good Food Circle, as indeed do all the members. Bookings have been brisk for this week’s combined venture and you may find it too late to reserve a place in some venues. 

But two excellent courses for just twenty euro is well worth checking out. The full list involved is: Actons Hotel, The Blue Haven, The Bulman, Jim Edwards, Finns’ Table, Fishy Fishy, Man Friday, The Supper Club, The Trident Hotel, The White House, and The White Lady. The week opened on the 18th and closes on the 24th - no time to lose!
Lamb

The big event for the Good Food Circle comes every October when the annual Gourmet Festival takes place. Dates this year, for the 43rd running of this famous and fun event, are 11th to 13th of October. And, believe it or not, bookings can now be made. Check "Kinsale Good Food Circle - 43rd Kinsale Gourmet Festival”  for further info.

Before that though, the Good Food Circle will host the national Chowder Championships in April with a street food festival on the same weekend (6/7 April 2019). 

Cast Your Vote in the 9th All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off on Sunday 7th April.  Kinsale Good Food Circle want your help to find the best chowder chef in Ireland. A representative from each of the 32 counties will compete for the title of “All-Ireland Chowder Champion” at the annual All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off. Everyone attending the event will have a chance to vote for their favourite chowder-chef. The food festival in the streets will be held on the Saturday (6th).

FINNS' TABLE, 6 MAIN STREET, KINSALE. 
Phone:  021 4709636


Monday, April 23, 2018

Danny Martinez Doyle’s Hiberno-Iberian Chowder is Champion in Kinsale All Ireland Cook Off


Danny Martinez Doyle’s Hiberno-Iberian Special
 is Champion in Kinsale All Ireland Chowder Cook Off
No doubt about it, Cronin's chowder was a winner, many "came back for seconds and thirds".
Note Danny's little helper.

Sunshine and fish drew the crowds to Sunday’s All Ireland Chowder Cook Off at Acton’s Hotel on Kinsale. And they were ready, quite a shoal crowding in at the first minute to sample the dozens of chowders on offer from most parts of the country. There were entries from Antrim to Beara and from Kenmare to Kildare, 26 in all.
 Head Chef Lee Mastin serving up a beauty from Sligo's Draft House
At the end, there were big congratulations for the winner, Dan Cronin’s Bar and Bistro from Newcastlewest, County Limerick, led by Chef Danny Martinez Doyle. Donegal’s Waterfront Hotel were second while the Marine Hotel from Ballycastle, Co.Antrim, got the nod for third.


The large marquee was packed as CL and myself tasted our way around. Quite a few of the stands were pro-active and had staff meeting and greeting you out on the floor with their samples. The standard was high and both of us had the top three (not necessarily in that order) on our shortlists along with a few more.
Tasty canapés from the Waterfront Hotel


Indeed, we had sampled Danny's excellent chowder - they described it as an Irish-Spanish combination - early on, a little chorizo among the elements lifting it well out of the ordinary and we put a star on it straight away. 

Ready for the off in sunny Kinsale

The Waterfront had some lovely seafood canapés on their table and a very nice chowder as well, nicely seasoned with a high proportion of shellfish.

Mike from the Cornstore checks out the crowd
I didn't come to the Marine Hotel until late in my round but immediately noted it as a contender, the seaweed based chowder an innovative and delicious bowl. I think if it had been up to the two of us, this would have been the winner!


Cork’s Cornstore are noted for their fish offering and they certainly came up with something different, a very tasty clam and bacon chowder served in the hollow of a parmesan bun. And not just chowder; they also provided a mini-dessert of posset. 
The Waterfront, a popular stop

Some jazzed up their offerings with alcohol, one had brandy, while the Cork Airport Hotel used Eight Degrees beer. Quinlan’s had a more traditional embellishment, a delicious crab claw. They and Cornstone were also on our short-lists.

There were some very tasty breads on offer but I’m afraid we didn't manage to sample very many of them. There is only so much you can eat! The bread from Jinny’s Bakery was excellent but the best that we tasted was the Seaweed Sourdough from Kelly’s of Wexford. 
I enjoyed this one from the Marine Hotel

In between, we found the calm of the smaller adjoining marquee and refreshed with a reviving sample of Black’s new rum, thanks to Sam and Maudeline, the busy couple behind the go-ahead local brewery and distillery.
Liam Quinlan greets visitors to his stand
So big congratulations to Danny and his Newcastlewest crew on their well deserved win. It was their first time entering and they take over from the 2017 champions the Beara Coast Hotel who gave it their best shot again this time.


There was huge delight in County Limerick gastro-pub: “The response to Danny’s Chowder was just incredible as many came back for seconds and thirds and looking for the recipe! Huge congratulations and very well done to Danny, Fiona and all the team”. And so say all of us! And well done also to the organisers, the Kinsale Good Food Circle.
The overflow at the back door!