Showing posts with label MacCurtain Street. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MacCurtain Street. Show all posts

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Metropole Heritage Day Tour & Lunch


Metropole Heritage Day Tour & Lunch
This smart fellow
looks over the Lynch Suite


“The hotel was dry for the early decades,” concierge John Coleman (right) told our group as he took us on a Heritage Day tour of the Metropole Hotel, founded 122 years ago by the Musgrave family. The hotel quickly became known as The Met and the name endures. Guests around the turn of the century were mainly travelling salesmen.

What you may not have known, or may not remember, is that the ground floor of the building was given over to retail, with two shops on each side of the entrance. One of those, Hadji Bey, an Armenian that specialised in Turkish Delight, went on to become a Cork institution. Indeed, John told us The Met still serve the sweets,  now produced in Kildare rather than in Cork, to their guests.

The Met was also a great wedding venue, capable of handling up to seven weddings a day, wedding breakfasts in those days. I remember going there in the 1960s to a triple wedding featuring three sisters from the southside.

Afternoon tea?
John’s tour took us through some of the meeting rooms, all named after well-known writers. And there was a stop also at the Jack Lynch Suite to see the period detail, including an original radiator (still going strong). The current taoiseach has also stayed in this suite. Good views form the upper floors over the neighbours on MacCurtain Street. On the fourth floor we had a splendid views over the new Mary Elmes Bridge.

Pork
And John ensured we didn’t leave empty-handed as we were presented with a discounted offer on their classic afternoon tea and, after all those stairs (there was a lift too), we enjoyed their splendid homemade lemonade.

O'Flynn's Sausages
Last year, new owners (Trigon Group) spent millions on a refurbishment that included all the bedrooms, the new MET bar, restaurant and tea-room. Classy and comfortable is the result and do check out the snug too!

I had been checking the lunch menu here from time to time, thinking there was a nice bit of variety in the list and so, on Saturday, took the opportunity to try it out.
View over MacCurtain Street

Meeting rooms named
after famous writers
Just to give you an idea of the variety on offer, we could have had a Calamari Salad, a Classic Chicken Caesar Salad, a smoked Carrigaline Cheese, Fig and Onion  Tart (topped with crispy egg), the Mary Elmes Beef Brisket Burger and more.

All their beef is Irish and local producers such as Carrigaline above are supported. My pick was O’Flynn’s Pork and Sage Sausages with spicy roast red pepper and chickpea stew, crusty sourdough bread. 

The new Mary Elmes Bridge






Appropriately enough for Heritage Day I thought, as O’Flynn’s have been around long enough now to be considered part of the food heritage in these parts, a very enjoyable part indeed as Saturday’s lunch proved once again.

The Sticky Pulled Pork Sandwich with onions, toasted sourdough, fries, and a spicy slaw was CL’s choice and it too was excellent, full of flavour and the fries (which may not have been mentioned on the menu) were superb (I did steal a few).

Washed it all down with a glass of Murphy’s Stout, getting a little practice in for the upcoming Oyster Festival  that will be headquartered here in the Metropole but which will have events all over town and beyond from the 20th to the 22nd of September.

This Grand Old Dame of the Cork Victorian Quarter may well be 122 years old but she is still going strong, still able to teach the younger acts a hospitality trick or two. Well worth a visit!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Gallagher's GastroPub Rocks


Gallaghers GastroPub Rocks

Funny how things work out. Didn’t intend to spend all of last Sunday night in the company of old rockers. But that’s what happened. Can’t really take full credit for it but it turned out to be a terrific night with a super meal in Gallagher’s GastroPub and a lively charity concert in the Everyman with Dezperado (an Eagles tribute band).

The first plan had been to call to the White Rabbit at the exact opposite end of MacCurtain Street to Gallagher’s and try something from the grill there along with a glass or two from their renowned Bourbon selection. But a block-booking at the Rabbit snared that one and so we, four of us, ended up in Gallagher’s, taking in the view (and the sun) from our window seat that also allowed a view across towards Shandon.

The reservation here had been online, made with D***a, and she was back confirming it within a few minutes. And that kind of customer service continued in the bar/restaurant when we met and chatted with R****n. Service with a smile is always a big help.


I did have a quick look at the menu online before I booked and had a good feeling. Choices looked tempting. Starters included Burnt Maple and Cider Glazed Baby vegetables, Ras el Hanout Cauliflower Purée and Dukkah and also Skeaghanore Duck Leg Confit, rolled in Parma ham, corn and thyme purée, Kale red cabbage slaw and spiced plum gel.

There are impressive sharing boards, a choice of meats and a also a choice of fish. Other mains include a Crispy pan-roasted kale and leek “Bubble and squeak” Jerusalem artichoke velouté, roasted artichoke, charred apple, Cashel Blue crumble and truffle oil. Being Sunday, you might go for their signature pie: Irish Beef and Cork’s local stout “Beamish” with root veg, topped with puff pastry and served with fries.

All very tempting but our two friends had a few tips for us. Firstly, the fish and chips is excellent and secondly be sure and study the Cork on a Fork Special. So we read that board: Hazelnut crumbed duck leg, asparagus, candied beetroot, charred baby gem, celeriac purée and duck fat potatoes (21 euro).

Three of us went for that and it was superb, not just the delicious duck but also the asparagus, the beetroot and the gem, not to mention those spuds! Gastropub is no empty title in this establishment. The fourth diner was following his Fish ’n Chips tip come what may and he too enjoyed a very satisfying mains. Described as locally sourced catch of the day (Haddock in this instance) in a Franciscan Well Chieftain IPA beer batter, fries, mushy peas and tartar sauce (18 euro).

Speaking of Franciscan Well, we enjoyed a few glasses of the Rebel Red and it was four very happy customers who said goodbye to Rock heroes Rory Gallagher (his portrait looked down on our table) and Phil Lynott (you’ll see him on your way downstairs to the toilets), and headed down the street to see the sold out Dezperado gig in aid of MS Ireland.

Veteran musicians from the Cork area formed the band - not all veterans by the way, young guitarist Sean Hegarty (playing with his dad Ray) showed enormous promise.  Lead vocalist Der O’Riordan and also Ken Healy belted out the well-known classics of the American band. Backing vocals were provided by Anita Curtin and Neasa de Baróid.

Earlier, Neasa and her band opened the evening and included her new single Rain due to be launched upstairs in the Spailpín Fánach on Friday evening (9.30 sharp). Neasa, a relation of CL's, is quite the composer and other songs enjoyed by Sunday’s audience included Mrs Murphy’s Moving On and Tabhair dom do Lamh.

Perhaps you’ve known before now that McCurtain Street, with its hotels and theatre, its classy restaurants, its world class cocktails and buzzing bars, its ethnic cafés, and its  burger & down-home BBQ joints, really rocks. Now you know for sure. Don’t know if I’ll ever need to walk southwards over Patrick's Bridge again!