Showing posts with label Macroom Buffalo Mozzarella. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Macroom Buffalo Mozzarella. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Excellent Lunch At Killarney’s Brehon

Excellent Lunch At Killarney’s Brehon

Chicken Tenders by a sunny window

The Sat-Nav said Killarney was approaching and a stop required ahead of driving down to Sneem. The phone would throw up a list of lunch recommendations but, based on a special by Head Chef Chad Byrne, I had just one place in mind and that was the Brehon Hotel on the Muckross Road.

And so we parked at this quite splendid hotel and its rather impressive entrance. That particular special had been for a day or two earlier and I knew it wouldn’t be available this day but it reminded me of Chad’s skill. He had the day off but has a fine team here so no worries and we went on to have a most enjoyable lunch indeed, an early highlight of this latest trip to the kingdom.


We were directed to the bar as it is here that lunch is served rather than the well-known Danú Restaurant. We got a window seat and, even though veiled in a light mist, the mountains in the view were magnificent.

The welcome and the service throughout was friendly and helpful and soon the menu was studied and decisions made.

Quite a list of starters included Sticky Hot Sauce Chicken Wings, Veggie Pot Stickers (fried Japanese Dumplings with Bok Choi and loads of other veg and lime sauce), Sweet and Sour Prawn Scampi and a Mezzo Plate.

Our pick was the Macroom Buffalo Mozzarella (with basil, cherry Plum Tomato and Garlic Toasties). This combination, with the local cheese, is regarded as a classic hereabouts nowadays and the Brehon version is as good as you’ll get.

No shortage of choices on the mains list either. There was Slow Cooked Pork, a tempting Stir-fried rump steak sandwich, The Brehon Double Smash Burger, Black Cardamom Spiced Bhaji, Coconut and Almond Chicken Curry and a Cod Based Special.

The choice here was the Crispy Buttermilk and Sesame Chicken Tenders with Yuzo and Mango, and spice bag seasoned fries.  The chicken was top notch and superbly cooked. Flavours were brilliant here from the chicken itself right through to those spicy fries.

Time then to consider dessert - didn’t take too long. I was tempted by the Brehon Pavlova, the Chocolate Brownie, the Kahlua and Ginger Biscuit Cheesecake, and the Selection of Ice-creams with jelly and berries. 

But it was the Warm Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch and Vanilla Bourbon ice-cream that got the sweet nod. And it certainly got the thumbs up at both sides of the table. “Could have done with a touch more bourbon though”, I remark. “What’s new?” is the retort from CL.

Soon two very well fed and happy customers were on our way up to Molls Gap and down past the Strawberry Field Pancake Cottage to Sneem for the evening.

View from the table

Recent Kerry posts

Killarney's lovely Victoria Hotel

Dinner at The Ivy in Killarney

Dining at The Harrow Killarney

Brehon Lunch

Coming Soon

Sneem Hotel DBB

Lunch at Killarney Distillery and Brewery in Fossa.

Derrynane House

Thursday, April 15, 2021

The versatility of Shines Tuna. And do watch out for that Yellow Fin Belly

The versatility of Shines Tuna

And do watch out for that Yellow Fin Tuna Belly

Shines Yellow Fin Tuna with Macroom Buffalo Mozzarella.

I never really thought of the can of tuna in the cupboard as anything other than a handy standby. But all that changed over the past month or so. Beginning when a box of cans that I had ordered from Shines of Killybegs arrived at the house, six cans and two jars!

How could that all be used without us getting fed up of the fish? We did a little bit of research and found recipes in unexpected places. Firstly, Shines themselves have quite a few on their website and it was there that we started.

Shines Wild Irish Tuna

We picked one by Ciara Shine. Her “Speedy Salad” was described as “a nice fresh dish, easy to prepare. Looks and tastes amazing!” And it lived up to its billing. You can see the recipe here.There are a quite a few items on the list of ingredients but you can pick and choose. Basically you need Shines Wild Irish Tuna (we used the jar) and salad leaves. We added olives and semi-sundried tomatoes and also some of the ORSO Pickled Red Onion (which didn’t make the photo). We were off to a great start.

Another look at the Shine page led to us following, approximately, John Shine’s own contribution: Tuna Mediterranean Wrap. Again, some substitutions were made and our “mix” consisted mainly of Shines Chilli Tuna, lettuce leaves, tomatoes, peppers. Easy to do and worked out well and met John’s description: “Healthy and tasty. Perfect lunchtime treat.”

So what next? Well, the answer was in the post. I had recently ordered The Anti-Cancer Cookbook (an excellent cookbook with all the royalties going to cancer research). A quick flick through on arrival and, without specifically looking for tuna recipes, two turned up. We picked the Tuna and Sweetcorn Fritters, something different, something quite tasty. We added a nice salad to the tuna (Shines Irish Tuna from a can this time) and sweetcorn with a Spicy Ketch-up (by Tipp’s 3 Men in a Trailer). And this surprise recipe turned out very well indeed!

I had read somewhere about tuna being used with Mozzarella and that became our focus for our next dish, another easy one. Yellowfin Tuna belly in olive oil was the chosen can this time - John Shine is very enthusiastic about this particular Tuna, with very good reason as this particular fish is so exquisite you could eat it straight out of the can. A quick trip to the local Dunnes Stores saw us get the Macroom Mozzarella from Johnny Lynch’s farm.

Tuna Fritters

We didn’t need much more, some large tomatoes and basil for the cheese, and a bunch of cherry tomatoes for the salad. It looked nice and tasted even better. Thanks to an internet event, I had just received received the marvellous prize winning Rós Cider (Apple and Rhubarb) from local producer Stonewell. And Rós got on so well with the tuna and the cheese you’d have sworn they were made for each other. 

We still have a few cans of Shines fish left (sardines certainly) but I doubt that we’ll top the Tuna belly, the Mozzarella and the Rós cider combination! Might well do it again soon as there’s still another bottle of that delicious Rós hanging around here.. I think!

On a separate note, did you know the Irish fishermen catch plenty of top quality sardines each November /December ? Very soon you will be able to buy Irish sardines from Shines. Interested businesses are invited to call John Shine anytime on 0868164106 for further info on this new product.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Pigalle Bar & Kitchen flying the flag as Cork’s south bank shows signs of catching up with the north.

Pigalle Bar & Kitchen flying the flag as Cork’s south bank shows signs of catching up with the north.

When I enter the restaurant, there’s a long bar on my left, with its polished counter reflecting a row of craft beer taps, shelving behind all a-dazzle with shiny glasses and bottles. The right hand side is lined with booths, a comfortable banquette to the wall, comfortable chairs opposite. The rear wall has a trio of mirrors and behind me, to the front, two windows look out onto the street. Above the counter, French and Spanish posters evoke a continental feeling.  

I’m in Pigalle Café and Bar on Barrack Street. And while there is a continental feel here, it is all based on local produce. Chef Mark Ahern, ex House Café, and less than a year here in Pigalle: “Our menus concentrate on locally supplied natural and seasonal produce wherever possible. An exciting result of this is a menu that is constantly evolving and changing. We are an island with beautiful rich land and outstanding produce that is surrounded by the Atlantic ocean, this must translate on to every dish." 

And here it does. Deliciously. It is marvellous. Just one meal here and it goes straight into my shortlist. Put it on yours. The welcome is warm and soon we are studying the current menu. There are regular changes. We take our time, get all the info we need from our server (we didn't have to ask), and when we are good and ready, our order is taken!

Then we turn to the drink options. No shortage. A pageful of tempting wines, lots of gins, no lack of cocktails. And those beers. Not just craft beers; being so close to South Main Street, the ever popular Beamish is a stalwart here. But we do order craft, a glass of the KPA (€3.00) by Blacks of Kinsale who have three taps here. The taps rotate though. Four of the seven red wines are available by the glass and I pick one for my duck: a 2016 Monastrell from Bodegas Sierra Norte (Spain), a dangerously drinkable velvety juicy flavoursome glass for €9.50.
Turbot charged start

And the meal? Excellent, no culinary uniformity here as the flavours of the sea and the land are impeccably presented in a variety of stunning dishes.

Ox Tongue
There are five starters on offer, including Buffalo Cauliflower Wings with Macroom Buffalo Blue, and Ballyhoura Mushrooms, sticky rice cakes with smoked curry Peanut Rayu. There’s also a Irish Charcuterie Plate, coppa, chorizo, salami, toasts, pickles and chutney. 

And there’s a new dish here: Ox Tongue, Chorizo broth, brioche crumb and watercress. It’s a big hit with CL. The tongue comes shredded (as you might get featherblade) and enclosed in two balls; it is delicious, the broth a stunning enriching companion in the bowl (8.00).

My pick is the Tempura Turbot, Shichimi Pepper and squid ink aioli. The fish, under the thin veil of tempura, is perfectly cooked, white as a new golfball, delicate and delicious and the well judged spice in the aioli enriches the turbot without in any way threatening to takeover the flavours of the sea.
Duck & Greens

There’s a half-dozen mains to choose from. This time CL picks the market fish of the day which is Lemon Sole served with Prawns, Mustard Crust, sprouting broccoli, potato terrine. The delicate fish dish is once again superbly executed. Oh, by the way, we also ordered a side of beef dripping fries. An eye-catching mouth-watering stack was delivered. And heartily demolished, chip by chip.

Our other pick was the Carrigcleena Duck, Cabbage Farci, Wild Rice, black garlic and Plum  sauce (24.00, just like the Lemon Sole). Another accomplished dish from the team in the kitchen. Just superb. Love the robust greens here, from the Coal Quay Market, and there was a bonus when some sprouting broccoli was added to the list. Yum!

Couldn’t raise a gallop when it came to dessert, even though the short list was very tempting! Still, I think I may be crossing the bridge(s) more often, now the south bank is showing signs of catching up with the north.
111 Barrack Street
Phone: 0214323214

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Enjoyable Lifeboat Inn Wine Dinner. Fabulous Food. Superb Wines. Best of Company!

Enjoyable Lifeboat Inn Wine Dinner
Fabulous Food. Superb Wines. Best of Company.
Monkfish and Ripasso de Valpolicella 

I think many of the customers at last week’s superb Rizzardi wine dinner in Courtmacsherry’s Lifeboat Inn had Amarone on their minds. And when the 3CRU 2013 came, it didn’t disappoint. It was introduced, like all the previous wines, by Giuseppe Rizzardi and he gave us a few tips.

“Don’t decant,” he said. “By all means, open it a few hours in advance but don’t decant! Also, don’t serve it too warm. It is our most prestigious wine. Amarone is not a grape, not a region, it is a method, a process. The grapes are picked and then put into boxes that hold 4 to 5 kgs. Some 15,000 to 18,000 boxes are left to dry out in a large room in a method known as appassimento. It takes 2 to 3 months and you end up with less fruit but with more concentrated tannins, more colour, more sugar. It then spends two years in barrel.”

The Rizzardi version, a 2013, was excellent and fantastic match with the Beef Cheek and the pairing was heartily endorsed by the winemaker. But Giuseppe told us that not all Amarones are the same. “Too often is it very sweet and that sweetness covers the lack of other qualities.”

Giuseppi, enjoyed the craic
in Courtmac
Giuseppe is quite familiar with Ireland and did a few summer jobs here in the 1990s and of course he's a regular visitor now to O'Brien's Wine, his distributors here. On arrival the guests were treated to a glass of Rizzardi Prosecco, the famous sparkling wine made from the Glera grape. “This one is smooth and dry, with a little bit bit of character.” He told us they use it as a base for cocktails, “especially Bellini.”

The Italian enjoyed the food and was intrigued by the local Mozzarella in our starter. Pinot Grigio is quite a well-known Italian white and we started our meal with that. “It is not barrel aged, is quite light, made with fruit from the region of Soave. It’s ideal as an aperitif and will go well with soups.” And it went very well indeed with our delicious opener.

Indeed Giuseppe, like the rest of us, was every impressed with the starer, surprised to hear that the cheese was locally sourced “very interesting texture, very impressed”. He told us that a lot of Soave, our next wine, is made but much of it is just for everyday. Theirs comes from a beautiful fortified village in the Classico area and the Gargenega vines are grown on volcanic soil. “Again it is unoaked, a little bit of Chardonnay is blended in.” And he advised against serving this too cold. “You get more flavour as the temperature goes up.” It was paired with the scallops, local and absolutely superb.

So don’t serve the Amarone too warm, don’t serve the Soave too cool. What next? Well a red wine with fish! And the Roast Monkfish paired with the 2013 Ripasso de Valpolicella was a match made in a Courtmacsherry heaven. Again, Ripasso is a method with the grapes “refermented on the skins of the Amarone and then 12 months in big barrels”. “This is a red wine that can be poured cool, at about 14 degrees,” he advised. “Great freshness and acidity and it provides a link between simple Valpolicella and Amarone.” 

And it did indeed go very well with that splendid Monkfish dish. Front of house here is David O’Halloran and he had been giving us some extra details on the dishes. He told us it was a “purposeful decision” to pair the Ripasso and the Monkfish “to show that fish and red wine will go together”. Referring to the Amarone he said that here, in a reversal of the norm, they picked the food to go with the wine, not the other way round. Chef Martin Buckley got out later on and thanked Giuseppe, saying “it was special to have him here tonight”. 

And there was another surprise when it came to the dessert, an excellent chocolate offering as the wine was, believe it or not, a Merlot, the 2016 Clos Roareti. An unusual choice. And an unusual project, according to Giuseppe, that began in 1999 in a region near Verona where there was no Merlot. But they succeeded and produced their first bottles in 2006. “Now (we were drinking the 2016) the vines have matured, there is a good richness and concentration but not too much. It has spent 12 months in barrel and this 2016 is still a baby. Production is limited and the bottles are individually numbered.”

The Menu
Heritage Tomato, Macroom Mozzarella, Hazelnut, Balsamic Dressing
Pinot Grigio 2018

West Cork Scallops, Parsnip, Gubbeen Chorizo, Blood orange
Soave DOP Classico 2016

Roast Monkfish, Risotto Nero, Parma Ham, Confit Tomato
Valpolicella Ripasso 2013

Haulie’s Beef Cheek, potato, Wild Garlic, Grilled Sprouting Broccoli and Carrot
3CRU Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2013

Guinness and Chocolate Cake, Salted Caramel Ice Cream
Clos Roareti Rosso Veronese (IGT) 2016
The Lifeboat Inn
Co. Cork.
For more on the Rizzardi wines, please check the O'Brien website

Monday, March 18, 2019

Cafe Paradiso. World Champion Farm-to-Plate

Cafe Paradiso. World Champion Farm-to-Plate
Aubergine parcels (Paradiso pic)

If I put my all too infrequent visits to Café Paradiso together, the common carrot would be the common thread. 

Maybe I shouldn’t say the common carrot as there is nothing common about the way the vegetable is treated here. You can get it in any state from raw baby (with leaves attached) to roasted as we did last Friday evening. Besides, these carrots come from Gort na Nain Farm and the long-standing combination of that farm and this leading Irish restaurant has seen Denis Cotter of Paradiso and Ultan Walsh of Gort na Nain win the Collaboration of the Year prize at the recent World Restaurant Awards in Paris.
Baby carrots (2013)

I think my first carrot experience on Lancaster Quay was  Baby Carrots with buttermilk yoghurt and the kombu. Last Friday’s was Roast carrots, Macroom buffalo mozzarella, burnt aubergine, honey, pickled fennel, ras-el-hanout crumb. Being a country boy, I’m partial to carrot, have grown and eaten a lot of them, but this was exceptional, soft and sweet and so well enhanced by the other bits and pieces.

That was one of our starters - we were sharing them as it’s a great way to extend the excellent experience here in this busy, buzzy room, a very popular place even before world recognition! 
Roast carrots (2019)

Our other opener was Kohlrabi, asparagus and daikon salad, pickled rhubarb and radish, lamb’s lettuce, black garlic, hazelnut, sheep’s milk labneh. An entirely different dish, more colourful, full of crunchy texture, one to crunch and savour each delicious biteful. Just as with the carrot, you can feel the freshness. 

These vegetables haven’t travelled far! Just from the farm in Nohoval - by the way, their vegetable stall was due to open this month. Check the Gort-na-Nain facebook for updates here.

Paradiso has a superb wine list. The lower end and the slow-moving higher end were chopped from the list about three years ago and what remains is packed with quality, great choices, between approximately thirty and fifty five euro a bottle. By the way, all the wines are available by the glass, by 250ml (quartino) and 500ml (mezzo) carafe and by the bottle.
Corn pancakes

We had started with the Domaine Séguinot Bordet Chablis 1er Cru 2016, bright and vivacious, harmonious from start to finish. And our second wine - we knew we had to have this even before we left home - was the superb Jean Foillard Morgon ‘Cote du Py’, 2016. This natural wine, intense and soft, from Beaujolais is one the very best expressions of the Gamay grape you are likely to come across. 

Corn pancakes of leek, parsnip and Dunmanus cheese (by Durrus), potato-wild garlic terrine, fennel-caper salsa, smoked tomato is a delightful main dish, very highly recommended if you get an opportunity to call in.

Again we were sharing and we both enjoyed the Aubergine parcels of spinach and Knockalara sheep’s cheese, miso gravy, walnut crumb, beluga lentils, broad beans, purple potato. Thought that the potato was beetroot at first - all those coloured vegetables nowadays makes it hard to keep up!

One of my friends, who travels widely in the hospitality industry, told me a few years back: "It is not alone the best vegetarian restaurant in Ireland, it is probably the best restaurant in Ireland”. I wonder has the Michelin man ever called to Lancaster Quay.

16 Lancaster Quay
Tel: +353 21 4277 939
Opening Hours: Monday - Saturday, 17:30 - 21.30

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Dockland's Post-Christmas Delights

Dockland's Post-Christmas Delights

Amazing how the Turkey and Ham (and the spiced beef) seem to overstretch their welcome every single Christmas. Time to get out and about and away from the many variations of that particular diet and no better place to head to than the beautifully decorated Dockland on Lapps Quay. Open from 2.00pm (on the 28th December) and we arrived soon afterwards to a warm welcome and a meal that was right on the money.
Broccoli Caesar Salad

Don’t get me wrong  - you may have lots of meats here. They offer Toulouse Sausage and Clonakilty Black pudding among the starters, Lamb and Steak among the mains. But definitely no turkey!

There’s Baltimore Shiitake with all the little trimmings and also a West Cork Crab crepe offered on the Bites to Bigger Bites list. On a previous visit, I had tasted the Chargrilled Broccoli tender stem Caesar Salad with toasted hazelnuts, parmesan crumble, and parmesan cheese (€6.00). This was every bit as good, as tasty, as I remembered.
Aubergine, Mozzarella

And CL also had a winner in her Roasted aubergine, Macroom Mozzarella,  tomato fondue bake, parmesan, pesto (also six euro), juicy and delicious, another lovely “Bite” in this attractive space.

No less than eleven choices (meat, fish, duck included) on the Mains List, pork belly too and fish cakes. The Dahl took my fancy: Spiced lentil and sweet potato Dahl, spinach, basmati rise, poppadum crisps, yogurt (16.00). Superb, a lovely mix of flavour and texture and quite a feed too.

Our other mains was the Thai Green chicken curry, basmati rice, cucumber mint salad (18.00). This has been well tried and tested here and was spot-on, nicely spiced, no shortage of top notch chicken and overall quite a treat.

At this stage too, Beth’s Picpoul de Pinet had proved itself a terrific match to both the mains. Happy New Year to Dockland, to Beth and Harold and their terrific staff. Service was once again terrific - it wasn’t that mighty busy in mid-afternoon - but we enjoyed the smiles and the chats as always.
Hadn’t noticed this before but they do have an excellent gin list here, a good mix of Irish and imported. The offer includes Dingle, Blackwater and Gunpowder. Most local of all is Cork Dry Gin and that comes with Rosemary, Lemon, and Fever-tree Tonic (9.00). 

Tanqueray, Hendricks, and Beefeater are among the imports. And here too you’ll find the Botanist. This Scottish gin is a favourite of mine and here they offer it with Lavender, Lemon, and Mediterranean Fever-Tree Tonic (10.00). Bottoms up!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Inchydoney Island & Maison Louis Jadot. Location and Terroir Combine

Inchydoney Island & Maison Louis Jadot
Stunning Combination of Location and Terroir

Isn’t the Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa one of the best situated hotels in the country? One of the most welcoming too! Can’t recall any other greeting me (and every guest) at reception with a glass of the excellent (and local) Stonewell Tawny. And when you leave, well there is a pot (a very tasty one too) of their own Winter-Berry Jam. 

So now add in a wine dinner with the renowned Maison Louis Jadot and you can understand I was in a foodie heaven. The weather didn’t exactly cooperate (it was about 12 hours behind schedule!) so the event didn't quite live up to the Burgundy on the Beach title but it was top class in every aspect.

The beach-side hotel, miles of sand to each side, supports quite a few local producers and a few were featured in the five course menu. But I spotted many also in the ancillary menus: Kids, Sandwiches, Room Service, and Afternoon Tea. Some of those included were: Clonakilty Pork, Bushby Strawberries, cheesemakers (Coolea, Cashel Blue, and Bandon Vale), Timoleague Ham, Ummera Smokehouse, and Shannonvale Chicken. Breakfast is also quite an occasion, some great choices on the menu (hot and cold) and lovely service in a smashing room.

And that Gulfstream Restaurant, with its windows looking down on the Atlantic,  was also the venue for the Wine Tasting Dinner at which I was an invitee. The guests met in the superb lounge and we were welcomed with some tasty canapés and a cool glass of Chablis, by Louis Jadot bien sur. This bright and fresh wine was just the ticket to get the evening off to an excellent start, the canapés vanishing and the chats starting.

Marie-Pierre Dardouillet (left), Export Director with Maison Louis Jadot, supported by distributors Findlater's, was introduced in the restaurant before dinner. And, not wanting to interfere with the flow of the dinner, spoke about the three white wines, produced by Jadot from their 250 hectares of vineyard.

The Chablis comes from the northern part of Burgundy, somewhat cooler than the second wine, the fresh and fruity Saint-Véran. This comes from a small village in the Maconnais region, “nice to compare the two, side by side”. Both are produced from Chardonnay. Generally, white wines from here are Chardonnay, reds are Pinot Noir.

Soon we would “meet” the third white, the Meursault, another 100 per cent Chardonnay. This is fermented in wooden barrels and aged 15 months before bottling. “well balanced oakiness, much more complex and deep,” said Marie-Pierre. A beautiful wine, full-fruited bouquet, generous palate and a long finish and a terrific match with the Gulfstream Seafood Assiette.
Seafood Assiette

Now too sure which I was most looking forward to try: the fillet of Macroom beef or the Nuits-Saint-George. The wine is one of the region’s most famous wines, aged in oak barrels for 12 months, deep of colour and flavour. Marie-Pierre: “Lots of structure, tannin. Elegant.” Mais oui!

For our final wine, we moved south from Burgundy to Beaujolais next door and that meant a change of grape from the Pinot Noir of the Nuits-Saint-George to the Gamay.

As you might expect, it wasn't any old Gamay (Beaujolais nouveau for instance is a Gamay) but a cru. There are ten crus in Beaujolais and Moulin-a-Vent (Windmill) was where our wine was produced. “The Gamay thrives on the granite soil and this spends 12 months in barrel. It is much more fruit driven and will be interesting with dessert!”, said Maire-Pierre. Probably not the best match but a lovely wine that I more or less held back until my plate was cleared. Then I enjoyed it and its reviving acidity all the more!

And those plates. Thanks to Head Chef Adam Medcalf and his crew, they looked splendid from start to finish.

The starter was Macroom Buffalo Cheese Plate: crisp Feta and polenta, Ricotta pannacotta, Mozzarella and Tomato Tian with beetroot, sun-dried tomato and rocket. 

The fish course was entitled Gulfstream Seafood Assiette and consisted of Ummera Smoked Salmon and crab roulade, sugar cubed salmon, crisp fried squid with a celeriac remoulade, pickled cucumber, quail egg and a bisque reduction.

The came the Roasted Fillet of Macroom Beef with a lobster and prawn crust, fondant potato, celeriac purée, shiitake mushroom and a horseradish cream sauce.

Time then for dessert: Roasted Rhubarb and orange pannacotta with ginger biscuit Ice-cream.

The lovely evening was drawing to a conclusion but Ruth McCarthy, Director of Sales & Marketing at Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa, cheered the guests up with a promise of “many more evenings like this”. Marie-Pierre complimented the hotel kitchen saying the food was "very good". “Hope you enjoyed the wines and see you in Burgundy.” Inchydoney on tour. Now who’s organising that trip.

The Gulfstream Restaurant
Also on this trip:
Syrian Food at Bandon's Bayleaf.
Bantry Market Every Friday

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Cafe Paradiso. Seasons On The Quay

Cafe Paradiso

Seasons On The Quay
Aubergine parcels
Flatbread and orange wine (Ageno)
Seasons come. Seasons go. Café Paradiso notes the comings and the goings in the fields, in the orchards, in the gardens. The orders go out, the fresh produce comes in. Seasons are key. And the customers keep coming to the amazing restaurant on Cork’s Lancaster Quay.

Good food calls for good wine and you get that here too on a finely selected list that includes quite a few organic and natural wines. And all are available in four sizes: 150ml glass, carafes of 250ml (quartino) and 500ml (mezzo), and the full bottle of course.

Beetroot rasam
We started our early evening visit with a few nibbles: olives, nuts and a delicious seeded flatbread. As we nibbled we picked our wines. My choice was La Stoppa Ageno 2011, a lovely orange wine, made by Elena Pantaleoni in Emilia Romagna (who'll be in Dublin and Cork next week with Le Caveau) while CL’s was the Terras Gauda O Rosal Albarino 2016, one of the best of that now very popular variety.

You may need a little help here with the wine and menu if you’re not a regular. We did and it was given freely and informed our choices. 

Roast carrots, cheese
My starter was the Roast carrots, Macroom buffalo mozzarella, burnt aubergine, honey, pickled fennel, ras-el-hanout crumb, a gorgeous plate, full of flavours and textures and not a little colour.

And it was the colour of the other dish that first caught the eye but CL’s beetroot rasam, cauliflower kofta, cucumber coconut raita, a warm soup, had much more going for it as well.
Lemon Risotto and Artichokes
On to the mains then where I enjoyed the Aubergine parcels of spinach and sheep’s cheese with beluga lentils, miso gravy, pine-nut crumb, samphire, and radish. I do like aubergine and it was brilliant as were the lentils, indeed everything on the plate.

CL meanwhile was delighted with her Confit artichokes, broad beans & scallions with lemon risotto, parsley broth, hazelnut crumb, and Cratloe Hills sheep’s cheese. Again every little piece was polished off and that lemon flavoured risotto was something else.
Pear, Pecan pudding
Vin Santo
 A short dessert list but no lack of temptation though I went a little off piste with Vin Santo with Cantucci Biscotti. And I enjoyed that sweet holy wine (sweet yes, but well balanced) as I begged for a few spoonfuls of the delicious Roast Pear, Pecan Pudding and Beamish Ice-cream that CL had ordered. That Pecan Pudding could be a dessert on its own.

All in all, a lovely meal. And indeed a lovely relaxed evening at Café Paradiso where the welcome and the service left nothing to be desired.