Showing posts with label Killahora. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Killahora. Show all posts

Friday, May 24, 2024

Drink of the Week. Killahora Pét-Nat Rare Bittersweet Cider 2022

Drink of the Week

Killahora Pét-Nat Rare Bittersweet Cider 2022, 6.0% ABV, Ballymaloe Food Festival

Pale orange is the colour, with a fountain of little Bubbles rising through the haze to the top. The apple in the aromas is subtle rather than strong. In the mouth, there’s a nice balance of acidity and tannins.

On the palate, it may be best for me to take a step back and just endorse what Killahora say: This is a real expression of our natural terroir and will appeal to those who may enjoy other wild fermented liquids such as lambic beer, especially Oude gueze, and natural wines.  The complexity that can come from ciders such as these will undoubtedly surprise and delight those who try it.

And yes I am delighted with it as I also like those Belgian beers. This bottle contains wild fermented ciders aged in neutral Irish whisky barrels and allowed to mature in their cellar.  Each production is unique…it is 100% Killahora terroir-based juice, wild fermented, cask aged and unlike most ciders you’ve tried.

With its acidity and tannins, it is a real food all-rounder. They advise to serve it with cooked meats, oily fish or roasted vegetables. Or, of course, serve it lightly chilled and enjoy it as an aperitif.

Pét-nat – pronounced pet-naa – is short for Pétillant Naturel, meaning naturally bubbling. It is a return to tradition in sparkling wine production and here is used in cider. The method may be borrowed from the winery but no one would mistake this complex sipper from Glounthaune for a wine!

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Excellent Elbow Lane Continues Leading Smoking and Brewing Role as 10th Anniversary Approaches

Excellent Elbow Lane Continues Leading Smoking and Brewing Role as 10th Anniversary Approaches

Duck breast

The Sharpe brothers, Ronan (manager) and Harrison (chef), have recently been appointed to the two top roles at Elbow Lane, Cork’s iconic Smokehouse and Brewery as it moves to celebrate its upcoming 10th anniversary. 

But it was an old favourite that I first turned to on last week’s visit.

I’ve often said here, and elsewhere, that their Angel Stout is one of the very best, a superb combination of hops and malt, made with the restaurant's food in mind. My very first sip confirmed previous impressions as the roasted malt showed well in the flavour. The hops  - Hercules Germany, Pilgrim UK and Williamette USA - go in early in the process and their bittering qualities make for a lovely balance, a delicious pint and even better with the dishes that follow.

Duck in blankets

The menu is written daily and is divided into Snacks, Small Plates and Mains. Of course, there are sides too and you could well have an enjoyable meal from that list which includes the likes of Blue Cheese Creamed Greens with almonds; King Oyster Mushrooms in panko crumb with Chorizo and aioli; and Baby Potatoes, crème fraiche, malt syrup and fine herbs.

To get up and running, we picked one from the Snacks: the Duck in Blankets, Berbere, herb yoghurt and one from the Starters, the Confit Octopus, roasted salsa, pickled red onion and ancho mayo. Berbere, a spicy mix, is a key ingredient in the cuisines of Ethiopia and Eritrea. And it is their use of spices, seasonings and sauces from around the world that really set Elbow Lane apart. Both the duck and octopus benefitted from their judicious application the other night.


On Friday, 19th August, as part of Cork on a Fork Fest, Elbow Lane Brewery will showcase its limited-edition range of award-winning beers. Join head brewer Russell Garet for an informal, informative and FUN tasting in the restaurant. More details here.


Outstanding Deep fried pork belly

Pork Belly
I was pleasantly surprised to be offered a taste of the deep-fried pork belly with fish sauce caramel, chilli and peanut. This starter is a testament to the skill of Chef Sharpe (at work less than 2 metres away) who is able to create such a delicious and flavourful dish with just a few simple ingredients. 

The pork belly is perfectly cooked, with crispy skin and tender meat. The fish sauce caramel adds a sweet and salty flavour, while the chilli and peanut provide a bit of heat and crunch. If it is on whenever you call, it is well worth considering. I’ll certainly be ordering it next time as it is probably the best expression of pork belly that I've ever come across.

For our main courses, we chose the lavender honey duck breast and the wood-grilled ribeye steak. Both dishes were outstanding. The duck breast was tender and juicy, and the lavender honey sauce gave it a unique and delicious flavour. The ribeye steak was cooked to perfection, and the smoked cascade butter added a touch of richness. A serving of the excellent Elbow Chips (another of the sides) also embellished the meats as did a sip or two of that excellent stout.


Aside from Skeaghanore Duck, Elbow Lane also supports local producers such as the Allshire Family, Tom Durcan, K. O’Connell, Rossmore Oysters, Churchfield Community Gardens, Singing Frog Gardens, The Olive Stall and On the Pig's Back (both for cheese), Irish Gourmet Butter, Glen Farm (for goat), Mr Bells (spices and seasonings), Minch Malt, Killahora Orchards, Stonewell Cider, local gins, and also 9 White Deer (gluten-free Kolsch).
Ice wine by Killahora

Speaking of drinks, another that we enjoyed over the evening was their own Elbow Lager. They don’t over-process, and use old German brewing methods. The lager has a slight haze, is unfiltered and takes 6 weeks overall. This continental-style lager is particularly refreshing and owes its flavour to Pilsner and Munich malts and "Noble" hop varieties imported from Germany and Czechia. It weighs in at 4.4% ABV (same as the stout) and the hops used are Saaz, Hersbrucker (for its subtle aromas) and Hercules (for its bittering qualities) and is recommended for lighter dishes.

Dessert? Yes, please. Our choice was the Elderflower and mascarpone sorbet, pistachio crumble, white chocolate rice pudding, strawberries, and long pepper syrup. Lovely sweet amalgam, easily eaten at a relaxed pace. Of course, that pleasant sensation was infinitely enhanced by a glass of the Killahora Rare Apple Ice Wine. Just the job after an excellent meal.

By the way, it is not all meat here. There are vegetarian options and also a fish option (it was John Dory on the bone the night we were in). Add in the excellent friendly and helpful staff (they know the menu), always the case here, and you are on a winner. 

Check the menu here

Elbow Lane is part of the Market Lane group that also includes Market Lane, Goldie, ORSO and the Castle Café.

On Friday, 19th August, as part of Cork on a Fork Fest, Elbow Lane Brewery will showcase its limited-edition range of award-winning beers. Join head brewer Russell Garet for an informal, informative and FUN tasting in the restaurant. More details here.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Let yourself go at Elbow Lane; you’ll be spoiled.

Let yourself go at Elbow Lane; 

you’ll be spoiled.

Apple dessert

In a restaurant, you sometimes enjoy the food (and drink), perhaps the excellent service catches the eye, or the atmosphere is buzzing, and the value for money is good. Sometimes it all comes together and that was our experience in Oliver Plunkett Street’s Elbow Lane one recent midweek evening. 

From the warm welcome to the terrific dishes (based on local produce) and beers (from their on-site micro brewery), from the friendly and enthusiastic service, from the lively early evening atmosphere, the good value and the lovely farewell, it was five stars all the way.

The Elbow Lane Brew & Smoke House, to give it the full title, is part of the Market Lane group. The “mothership” Market Lane is right next door, Goldies is across the road, Orso is around the corner in Pembroke Street while the Castle Café in Blackrock completes the line-up.

Duck starter

Elbow Lane, like all the group, support local producers and the list here includes cheese (from the Olive Stall and On the Pigs Back, both in the English Market), Salad and Veg from the Churchfield Community Gardens and the Singing Frog Garden, seafood from K. O’Connell and Rossmore Oysters, Meat from the Allshire family and Tom Durcan, Spices and seasonings from Mr Bell’s, Butter from Irish Gourmet Butter, the brewery malt comes from Minch Malt (Kildare). Their own excellent beers are on draught here and other drinks come from 9 White Deer (guest), Johnny Fall Down Cider and Pom’O both by Killahora Orchids, and Kinsale Mead Company.

And these marvellous products are enhanced by their handling and cooking here, much of it open to view as you can see the grill and its operators! A little bit of theatre in this small brightly painted room.

Ribs, with prize-winning sauce

While looking at the menu we are sipping their marvellous beers. I go for my favourite, the Angel Stout (one of the very best around), while CL enjoys the Wisdom Ale. Each of the beers is named after local lanes as are these two adjoining restaurants themselves. Elbow Lane beers are formulated specifically to work with the food in all of their five restaurants.

Beetroot Small Plate

The menus are enthusiastically explained, if you need help, and the fish of the day (mackerel) is detailed. There are Snacks (4) and Small Plates (4) to choose from. Not too easy, as each is tempting. We go for the Duck in Blankets, jerk BBQ sauce and lime crema (from the Snacks) and the Smoked Beetroot, salsa verde, pickled red onion and ancho mayo from the Small Plates. 

We are sitting at one of the high two person tables opposite the bar and grill, sitting very comfortably indeed with a view of the action at the grill. CL had the better angle and was picking up a few tips!

On then to the mains, the staff checking every now and then to see if everything was okay,  if we wanted anything extra. The wood-grilled steaks, with cascade butter, are very popular here but we went for something that bit different on this occasion.

Duck mains

The Slow-smoked baby back ribs and house sauce caught CL’s eye. And despite making a merry mess with the tasty little ribs, she was very happy with them. And that mess was easily cleaned up with hot hand towels! 

My pick was the Lavender honey smoked duck breast, salsify, swede and roasted barley sauce, a beautiful combination of perfectly cooked meat and spot-on vegetables. We shared a helping of the superb simple Elbow Chips and approached the end of the meal in great form.

And that just got better with a shared dessert, their Baked apple, grilled celeriac cake, Pom’O Sabayon, and chestnut, taken with a glass of that same Pom’O from Killahora Orchards. What a treat, on the double.

Oh my, at this point, we had a warm feeling of having been spoiled by a bunch of friendly people who made sure we were well wrapped up before we headed out into the cold night.

Elbow Lane is open Monday to Sunday from 5pm 'til late. More details here.


Monday, January 2, 2023

Tastes and Producers of the Season. Christmas & New Year Treats

Tastes and Producers of the Season

Christmas & New Year Treats

Okay, let us start with bread. Make that cake! The arrival of Angela Nöthlings

German micro-bakery in Cork, specialising in organic artisan sourdough breads, especially rye, was a highlight of the year 2022. 

Her Stollen, the traditional German Christmas Cake, was a highlight of our festival days. And we can't forget her sweet "little" stuff: the decadent Berliner Brot, her shortbread fingers and her Salted Rye cookies, and more.


The Germans have no shortage of sweet wines to pair with their Stollen. They also use Schnapps (which often has apples in its ingredients) and that put me thinking of something far closer to home.  

Pom’O is an apple aperitif made from rare apple varieties by Killahora Orchards in Glounthaune. The fruit is grown "in our 200 year old orchards on the south facing slopes of Ireland’s County Cork. We mix the juice from our bittersweet apples with the finest apple brandy, then age it in Irish whiskey barrels for at least a year."

They recommend serving it lightly chilled as an aperitif, with cheese or in a cocktail, with strong, nutty cheddar, fruit desserts. No mention of Stollen but I carried on regardless and the pairing was just perfect.

No bother in finding highlights. Another mega one was the Heritage Ham by James Whelan Butcher. And since we weren't entertaining on the big day, we had most of this beautiful piece of cooked meat all to ourselves (not all on the one day!). This award-winning Heritage Ham has already been lovingly cooked low and slow for over five hours. All we had to do was slice, serve and savour.  Our favourite accompaniment came via the Bord Bia recipe pages and was/is a Redcurrant sauce or glaze. You'll find a few variations here.

The perennial favourite Cashel Blue Cheese was again enjoyed, Wicklow Blue also and some Knockanore Cheddar. These were enhanced by our own Autumn Tomato Chutney made with some excess tomatoes from the back-garden, the recipe from BBC Good Food. 


We've still got a few jars of that but will have no shortage of opportunities to use it. Another great match is the cold cured sliced Pork Fillet (lomo) from the Heart of Spain at Fota Retail Park where I had gone to get some of their Spanish wines and also to get Serrano (which was sold out). Here too I bought their Smoked Sliced Duck "Ham", another meaty gem. You could also have a mixed platter of cheese and charcuterie and the chutney will also do the business here! 

Also in the Fota Retail Park, I got myself a jar of the award winning Wild About Sloe Jelly from The Pantry at Bakestone. Very versatile indeed and it too goes very well with the cured pork, if used sparingly, and they also say it is great with duck or pate, so I'll be trying it with the duck. If you warm it, just drizzle it over desserts and ice cream and you have another winning combination thanks to this Wexford producer.

While I think of it, The Pantry was also my source for the Killahora Pom'O. That too was put through its paces with various bits and pieces and proved quite a match with the Stollen and also with our the cake and even more so with the pudding (from Barnabrow). 

Barrel aged beers tend to go well with Christmas pudding and we tried a few. Perhaps the best were the Brehon Oak & Mirrors BA Imperial Porter (7.5%) and the 9 White Deer Stag BA Export Stout (7.4%). Whiskey is almost always a winner with pudding - there was already some whiskey in the Barnabrow one - and the new 7-year old Single Malt from West Cork Distillers was a treat with it.

Barnabrow House Christmas Cake

We regularly get our hands on the Christmas double by Barnabrow House and got the cake and pudding in early this year when we bought them from the hard-working owner Geraldine Kidd who was selling them at the Ballymaloe Craft Fair. They are as good as ever!

Of course we had some other sweet bits and pieces around for the Christmas including regulars Mella's Fudge, Miena's Nougat and Turkish Delight, all bought on that visit to The Pantry at Bakehouse.

I'm thinking that this blog post may well be my shopping list for Christmas 2023. In the meantime, Happy New Year to you one and all.

Monday, November 14, 2022

Gourmet Times Imminent In The Herbert Restaurant As New Head Chef Cormac Vesey Takes Over at Cahernane House Hotel.

Gourmet Times Imminent In The Herbert Restaurant As New Head Chef  Cormac Vesey Takes Over at Cahernane House Hotel.

These Winter Chanterelle mushrooms were excellent with the Dry Aged Beef.

Killarney and visiting diners are in for an exciting and tasty future. That was the message from Cahernane House Hotel last Friday when new head chef Cormac Vesey’s 8-course tasting menu gave a tantalising hint of what’s to come in the months ahead. 

New chef Cormac with Maurice O'Connell of Wayward Irish Spirits (right)

It went down a treat and drew praise all around the Herbert Restaurant for the new chef with many of those present looking forward to seeing how he integrates such delicious produce into the menus here. Cormac's focus is very much on food provenance and seasonal ingredients.

A member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World and Ireland’s Blue Book, Cahernane House Hotel is already well known for its stunning food and classic Irish hospitality. Cormac's meal indicated that it will be even better in the future. 


It won’t be for the want of skill or the lack of effort. The detail in preparing these eight courses, the amount of attention to the small things and the amount of work in sourcing the produce (back-breaking when it came to foraging a large selection of mushrooms hiding among fallen Autumn leaves) was quite phenomenal.

Cahernane will inevitably have venison this time of the year and it was especially good when paired with a lovely red from the Rhone. And the well-paced meal just got better with a superb Poached Monkfish with an old vine Chablis and then the spot-on Dry Aged Beef with a Haut Medoc. 

Then onto the lingering sweet offerings, one featuring a Killahora Pom’ O Sorbet, another the very local Liberator Peated Whiskey, before finishing off with some delicious Petit Fours, all the while sipping the luscious Seifried “Sweet Agnes” Late Harvest Riesling.

Apple Terrine

No doubt that splendid meal made a big impression. Indeed, we had nothing but good impressions during our visit, starting with the long tree-lined drive from the Muckross Road down to the late 19th century building in its superb location near the lakes. 

Not your usual sauce decanter!
Decanter designed and made
by Irish tableware and cutlery
brand, Newbridge Silverware

Just before dusk and just after sunrise, the native red deer pass slowly beneath your windows. In the nearby fields, horses and sheep and black Kerry cattle graze. Peace and quiet and just a few minutes drive from the town centre; indeed, you'd walk it in about 15 minutes.

Like all the rooms here, our Albericci* Room has been recently renovated. It is spacious, comfortable, beautifully decorated, with great views, well-heated too, especially the bathroom (hard to beat hot tiles and hot towels in the morning!). And of course it has WiFi and TV as well. All in all, the Cahernane is a great base for Killarney itself and for Kerry in general.

And if you are heading out for the day, you’ll need a good breakfast. And you’ll get just that in the Herbert Restaurant. Just like the night before, the morning staff were all friendly, chatty and efficient.

One of the Petit Fours

Here, everything is brought to your table. You may have something from the Continental Menu:  Juices, Fresh Fruit Salad with a Rose & Lime Syrup, Prunes & Earl Grey Infusion, Apricots with Cinnamon & Orange, A Selection of Charcuterie, Yogurt, Farmhouse Cheeses,

Cereals, and Breads & Pastries.

Or something cooked from the Hot Menu: Irish Oatmeal Porridge, Traditional Full Irish Breakfast, Smoked Potato & Fried Egg, Manor House Omelette, Salmon & Egg Bagel, Buttermilk Pancakes, Smoked Kippers, or the Eggs “Cahernane" special.

Lots of choice there! My picks were Apricots with Cinnamon & Orange and the Smoked Salmon & Scrambled Egg Bagel (something of a staple here). Both were superb and I was immediately fuelled for the day ahead.

That day began with a very enjoyable visit to the Lakeview Estate, home of Wayward Irish Spirits. Check it out here

* In or about 1940, Vincent Albericci, the former proprietor of the Continental Cafe, 23 Patrick Street, Cork, bought Cahernane House. The death of his wife Mary (Foley) in May 1945 may have caused him to withdraw from the business.

The 8-course menu at Cahernane 11th November 2022.