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Showing posts with label Maryborough Hotel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Maryborough Hotel. Show all posts

Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Best of Game. Venison Dishes to Track Down


The Best of Game
Venison Dishes to Track Down

It’s game time in Ireland and one of the best places to get your fix is at Blair’s Inn in Cloghroe. You get hungry just listening to chef Duncan Blair: “Game is a big part of our menus this time of year. We introduce it gradually in November. It’s a slow burner at first, but it becomes extremely popular as the season progresses. 

“Our venison, stout and dark chocolate casserole is a real hit. Our own favourite has to be the haunch steaks (or the loin if we’re feeling fancy pants). Love serving it simply; rare with honey roasted celeriac and parsnip with a red currant and dark chocolate jus.”

Blair’s is well known and loved as a supporter of local craft beers so I wasn’t surprised with the answer when I asked Duncan what he’d drink with venison.  “With a casserole, it has to be the 9 White Deer Stag Stout. With the haunch or loin I love it with a decent Pinot Noir, like the Forrest Estate, which has a delicate fruitiness but with a bit of bite too. Savage!”

Martina Cronin, the excellent chef at Blarney’s Square Table told me they do venison every year. “We would do a bit more game but are a small restaurant and don't want to have waste.”

“We do a roast venison loin and braised venison served with Caramelised Brussel spouts, smoke bacon lardons, chestnuts and a parsnip puree. The orange and ginger and juniper berries in the parsnip puree works really well cuts through the richness of the venison.  It’s a really solid dish full of complementary flavours and the Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar in the venison braise brings a touch of acidity to the dish and balances well with sweetness of puree and saltiness of the smoked bacon.” Sounds superb! 
Square Table venison

At The Montenotte
Last April, the Irish Times headlined “Consumer interest in venison falls dramatically” . But is doesn’t seem to be the case around Cork. I’ve had some terrific examples recently, beginning with Liam Kirwan’s Wellington in the Montenotte Hotel.


This is somewhat deceptive, as at first it looks like a small pie in a big dish. And I was thinking maybe I should have had ordered a side. But the Ballinwillin Venison Wellington is loaded with the aromas and tastes of Autumn in the wild - that “little pastry” packs a powerful punch of flavour and texture, with no little help in that department coming from the cavolo nero (the kale of Tuscany), the dark chocolate jus and the roast celeriac.
At the Maryborough

Gemma Murphy is Head Chef at Bellini's in the Maryborough Hotel and she impresses with her Venison Loin, coffee and orange glazed salsify, heritage beetroot, parsnip foam. A magnificent combination and that venison was superb, possibly the best piece of meat, of any kind, that I’ve come across this year. And, in unknowing keeping with Duncan’s wine hint, our wine from Les Deux Cols, was a blend of Grenache Syrah and Cinsault (producer Simon Tyrrell calls this the Pinot Noir of the south); put to the test, it matched well with the venison, a super dish indeed.

Loving Salads

Loving Salads

During a special Game evening in Loving Salads, the venison was the star of the show. Chef-Owner Jason Carroll had major help from Craig Coady on the night and this was Craig's dish. The meat came wrapped in brioche and immediately under that was a moist circle of mushrooms, and parma ham. Black truffles, mustard, juniper and herbs had all been used to enhance the seared saddle of venison and there were also golden and red beets on the plate and a helping of madeira jus. Absolutely superb. Shame this game special lasted just for two days.

Top of the Game
Venison, as you know, often comes as part of a game pie and one of the best examples I came across over the past two years was the one at the Village Tavern in Murrisk (Mayo). 
Well fed in Mayo

I had been looking forward to that Game Pie since I first saw the list. The mega mix included rabbit, pheasant and venison with a horseradish and cheddar mash and the pie was surrounded by a tonne of roasted root vegetables. And then there was a bottle of Westporter Stout (from the local Mescan Brewery) to help it down. A memorable meal.

Like to know more about venison? Then one of the best places to try is Ballinwillin House, suppliers to restaurants in Ireland and the UK. Their website is here

* Just notice that Pier 26 in Ballycotton have a game night on Nov 30th. Details here

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Maryborough Food and Wine Evening. Rhone Wine Week Celebrated!


Maryborough Food and Wine Evening
Celebrating Rhone Wine Week
Cool. Sorbet


A wine of the Rhone and some fantastic Irish venison came together in perfect harmony at the Maryborough Hotel’s Food and Wine Evening in their Bellini restaurant last week. 

But first, there was a Kir reception where the hotel’s Adrian Fitzgerald welcomed the guests on a wet and windy evening. Kir or Kir Royale (the one with the bubbles!) were part of that welcome as we sat and relaxed by the fire.

Soon we were led to our tables and then the food began to appear. First up were some lovely breads and the highlight here was the Cranberry and Garlic Butter. The kitchen team, led by the Head Chef Gemma Murphy, then sent out the starter and a delicious one it was: Torched Mackerel, Cucumber, Miso, Yuzo and Coconut. 
Breads, with that superb butter top middle

A good fresh wine was required to match the tasty oily fish and we had just the job in Chateau Pesquie’s Le Paradou 2016 from the Ventoux, from under the white head of Mount Ventoux. It is a superb Viognier, with apricot flavours, floral, fresh, and delicious. Perfect for the first half of the meal.

Now the soup appeared. Not quite. First came a bowl with a chanterelle topping a neat and small arrangement. Next the staff poured from little jugs and it all came together as Quail Consommé with chanterelle, fig and walnut. It was a gorgeous combination, even the consommé on its own was quite a pleasure.
Mackerel

Consommé
Chef Gemma always has a great touch with her sorbets and this occasion was no different. Her Mandarin Champagne and Lime Sorbet (it was in a lime skin) looked well and was a superb refresher at more or else the halfway point.

Still with me? Here comes the Sea Bass with artichoke, Savoy cabbage, Leeks and Sauternes Vinaigrette. I rarely order Sea Bass (mainly because its not Irish) but this was an exception and exceptional, beautifully done and again Le Paradou, now nicely warmed up from a rather cold start, matched up spectacularly well.

By now, the friendly and efficient staff were pouring our red, the Côtes du Rhone Cuvée d’Alize 2016. Irishman Simon Tyrrell, an unofficial ambassador of the Rhone, produced this beauty at the Les Deux Cols . It is called after a local wind. Lots of winds around here, after all Ventoux is the windy mountain. By the way, Simon is also known for making cider in County Wicklow.
Sea Bass
The blend of Grenache Syrah and Cinsault (Simon calls this the Pinot Noir of the south) was soon put to the test but, no worries, it matched well with the venison, a super dish indeed. Let me give you the full title: Venison Loin, coffee and orange glazed salsify, heritage beetroot, parsnip foam. A magnificent combination and that venison was superb, possibly the best piece of meat, of any kind, that I’ve come across this year.
Venison

Now we were ready for the finalé: It just had to be Valrhona Chocolate which is, of course, produced in the Rhone Valley and this was very much a Rhone Wine Week event! So we finished with a French flourish: Valrhona Chocolate and Praline Torte, nougatine parfait, pear emulsion and hazelnut, every element on the plate a pleasure but that chocolate is something else. Indeed, the wine dinners at the Maryborough are also something else so do keep an eye out for future events.
Chocolat!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Maryborough to celebrate Rhone Wine Week in style.

Maryborough to celebrate Rhone Wine Week in style.




Southern Rhone

The annual Rhone Wine Week kicked off on Saturday and I’m certainly looking forward to renewing acquaintance with two of the region’s gems during next Friday's Wine Dinner in the Maryborough Hotel. No doubt talented Chef Gemma Murphy's menu will prove a perfect match.

You'll be welcomed at 7.00pm with a Kir or a Kir Royale. After that relaxing start, you can looked forward to no less than six delicious courses from Gemma and her team in the kitchen. Your starter will be Torched Mackerel, cucumber, miso, yuzu and coconut, followed by a Quail consommé. A sorbet will delightfully cleanse the palate before the fish course (Sea bass).

Time to change over to the red wine now as the Venison Loin (with coffee and orange glazed salsify and Heritage beetroot) makes its appearance. And to finish it all off there's a Valrhona Chocolate and Praline Torte!

Simon Tyrrell
Les Deux Cols
The chosen white wine comes from Chateau Pesquie, based in Provence under the shadow of Mont Ventoux. It is the 2016 Le Paradou, a superb Viognier, apricot flavours, floral, fresh, and delicious. This was a grape that nearly died out in the 20th century and this excellent example showed just what we would have had missed.

Irishman Simon Tyrrell of Les Deux Cols is an unofficial ambassador of the Rhone where he makes a few wines, including ‘Cuvée D’Alize’, named after a local wind. Lots of winds around here, after all Ventoux is the windy mountain.

“My staple wine”,  he says, “a blend of Grenache 60%, Syrah 30 and Cinsault (the Pinot Noir of the South)." No oak here, just stainless steel. His idea was to make “a moreish wine”. Reckon he pulled it off!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

A Magical New Menu at the Maryborough. Dinner at Bellini’s is a Top Local Treat

Dinner at Bellini’s is a Top Local Treat
A Magical New Menu at the Maryborough
Cod

Bellini’s, the classy comfortable restaurant at the Maryborough Hotel, may be a little bit out of town but the short hop has been worth it in recent years and even more so now that Head Chef Gemma Murphy has introduced a splendid new menu.

We were there the other night and the biggest problem was trying to decide between the many tempting dishes. There are no less than eight starters for instance and ingredients used include Ballinwillin Boar Salami, Heirloom Tomatoes, Baba Ganoush, Confit Pork Belly, Dill and Albarino Cream and Velvet Cloud Sheep’s Yogurt.
Carrots

Finally, we settled on a couple and CL beat me to the Grilled Mackerel, Red Pepper, Baba Ganoush, Feuille De Brick, Coriander Oil (€10.95). “Lovely,” she said. “Different. The pepper, the baba ganoush. Lots of different flavours but all combining, nothing dominating.”
Mackerel

Having enjoyed carrots with buttermilk some time back in Paradiso, I thought the smoothly delicious Velvet Cloud Sheep’s Yogurt (from County Mayo) would go well with the carrots so that was one reason I went for the Warm Irish Carrot Salad with Charred Baby Gem, Velvet Cloud Sheep’s Yoghurt, Sesame, Lime and Honey Dressing (€8.50). The combination was sublime and those carrots with that dressing were so incredibly sweet. 

And that harmonious high continued with my beautiful main course:  Miso and Ginger Marinated Cod, Wakame Seaweed, Compressed Cucumber, Irish Shiitake Mushroom, Shiso Gel, Dashi Broth (€26.00). A marriage made in culinary heaven. The freshness of the fish, the clean flavours of the broth and the vegetables, the precision of the whole dish were amazing, nothing else needed.

Trout

And CL was also well satisfied with the Fillet of Irish Trout, Brown Butter Shrimp, Shaved Fennel, Pepper, Caperberries, Local Gubbeen Chorizo Bisque (€26.50). The fish itself was excellent and the accompaniments all played a part, especially the Chorizo bisque which was nicely judged, not strong enough as to dominate but strong enough to support.

Desserts often disappoint, often because they are the same old suspects. Not here though. Mine was the White Chocolate Mousse, Blackberry and Gin Gel, Macerated Blackberries (€7.95). A generous topping of that gel led to the delicious chocolate underneath, all served in a large glass. Excellent, very satisfying finalé for me. And CL was more than pleased with her Tropical Delice, Mango Sorbet, Toasted Coconut (€7.95).
White chocolate mousse

What a chef! Gemma has been doing this here for quite a while now but rarely pops up in short lists of the top Cork chefs. She’s certainly on mine, as is Bellini’s and their courteous, informative and efficient staff.

No shortage of drinks, including cocktails, here as the bar adjoins the restaurant. Quite a wine list too. I enjoyed a glass of Swallows Tail Sauvignon Blanc/Chenin from South Africa with the cod while the more aromatic Hooded Plover Semillon Chardonnay, from Australia, went very well with the trout. Think I got those pairings right! Gemma and her crew did everything else to make it a memorable meal.

Tropical Delice






Bellini's at The Maryborough Hotel
Maryborough Hill, Douglas, Cork, Ireland, T12XR12.
Tel +353 21 436 5555
Email: info@maryborough.ie







Thursday, February 15, 2018

Good food. Good Wine. And Two Amigos. Equals A Fun Experience in the Maryborough

Good food. Good Wine. And Two Amigos.

Add Up To A Fun Experience in the Maryborough
Venison

The Maryborough Hotel held their first ever wine dinner this week and it was a resounding sold-out success. Stanley A. Moss, representing the Riojan winery Luis Cañas, set the tone early on, promising to “be fun, not geeky” and fellow presenter John Wilson, the Irish Times wine writer, had no problem in making it a double act. The duo went to successfully impart plenty of information on the various wines without tying us up in technical knots.

Towards the end, John described the experience as “one of the bargains of the century!”, referring to the brilliant wines and the excellent food, and that was the cue for a round of applause for the Maryborough’s outstanding chef Gemma Murphy, with thanks too of course to Luis Cañas from Rioja Alavesa.

We were warmly welcomed at a lovely reception. Cava was on offer, a drink that John Wilson says is getting better and better, “different, distinctive”. The same words could well be attached to the Kalak vodka, produced by Tipperary man Patrick Shelley, “a rare single malt Irish vodka, distilled four times in Skibbereen” and available at the reception in a lovely cocktail.
Cod
Verdejo is one of my favourites white wine grapes and so I was delighted to see the Val de Vid 2016 paired with Scallops, Mandarin salsa and Yuzu Foam. Stanley said this aromatic and flavourful wine comes from Rueda and the production, from old vineyards, is small. It is difficult to obtain in Ireland and only available in restaurants.

John remarked that he thinks of it as the “Spanish Sauvignon blanc, with citrus, green fruits and dry like a New Zealand Sauvignon blanc.” He remarked that there are some cheap Verdejos out there and advised paying “a bit more to get the quality”. Tasty, aromatic and satiny and it got us off to a great start at the table.

We were now on to Cod, compressed cucumber, radish, shimeji, wakame, dashi, matcha green tea. More Verdejo? No, the reds were introduced, a lightly oaked elegant Crianza 2014, fruity on the nose and palate with a lively acidity playing a key role. John Wilson said that Rioja wines come ready to drink because of the ageing and classification system.  The pairing, by the way, was quite a success.
Beef Cheek Ravioli

Third course was Foie Gras, Crispy Chicken skin, Hazelnut and miso caramel and this was matched with the Luis Cañas Reserva 2011. John pointed out the main grape in Rioja is Tempranillo, “the Spanish variety”. Stanley said they do their best to produce good fruit. Sometimes that means cutting back on the yield and less grapes means more expensive wine. “But usually you get what you pay for.”

There was a double step up in class with the Gran Reserva being by-passed as we were treated to the Cañas Reserva La Familia 2011, a good year here in Rioja. With its pleasant and complex nose, round palate with great structure and juicy tannins, it was a super match with the Assiette of Ballinwillin Venison, perhaps the highlight of the meal.

And it paired well too with the next course, Beef Cheek Ravioli, kohlrabi, cured egg yolk and spilt red wine jus, 
Chocolate
This Familia is 85% Tempranillo with only the best of the grapes being selected to “magnify the good side”. It is a superb wine, intense and complex on the nose, “milkier, creamier on the palate”, powerful with chocolate notes (which came in handy as the dessert was Chocolate Pave with Cherry).

At that stage, some more “sweets” appeared as well, as did a Black Twist Cocktail. Black Twist, invented by Conor Coughlan, is a blend of coffee and whiskey and you may read more about it here.  

All good things come to an end but I have the strong impression that the Maryborough will soon have another wine dinner. Watch this space!

* For more info on the wines check on Searsons.com


Food & Wine Event February 13th 2018 Tasting Menu 
Scallops, mandarin salsa, yuzu foam. 
Foie Gras, crispy chicken skin, hazelnut, miso caramel. 
Cod, compressed cucumber, radish, shimeji, wakame, dashi & matcha green tea oil. 
Assiette of Ballinwillin Venison Beef cheek ravioli, kohlrabi, cured egg yolk, spilt red wine jus. 
Beef Cheek Ravioli, kohlrabi, cured egg yolk and spilt red wine jus
Chocolate pave with cherry.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

In The Maryborough Drawing Room. Afternoon Tea’s Different Class

In The Maryborough Drawing Room

Afternoon Tea’s Different Class

Crème Brûlée

Butternut Squash Pannacotta
Cold and wet outside but in the Drawing Room of the Maryborough Hotel, there was a warm welcome to Afternoon Tea. The hotel’s dedicated afternoon tea room was opened earlier this month and you do get one of the best experience around in a beautifully appointed room, part of the Newenham suite, in the original 17th century house.  

The old world charm has been retained and you’ll relax under the high ceiling and take in the Georgian décor with plush lounge seating, listening to baroque (rather than rock) and, when you’re ready, let your concentration focus on the three tiers of deliciousness that the butler has just delivered to the table. 

Tea, of course, is an integral part of the event and you’ll have been helped make your choice from an impressive list of over a dozen, including well known ones such as Earl Grey, “safe” choices like Irish Breakfast, and the exotic Bi Lo Chun. In all, I tried three and my favourite was the Rooibos & Caramel (Relaxing - Full-bodied Rooibos sweetened with the delicate, sensual notes of caramel deliver a nicely rounded, sweet and mellow finish). Could be a great one for Christmas. 
House Cured Salmon

CL”s favourite was Ginger & Lemongrass (Uplifting - Green Tea from China with spicy ginger and the fresh delicate citrus notes of asian lemongrass). I hadn't heard of the Bi Lo Chun before. Maybe you haven't either? Its description is: Boasting a stunning sweet, slightly fruity and floral taste with a delicious lingering finish. 

There is also a full list of coffee options, from Espresso to Cappuccino. I think Hot Chocolate was also mentioned. We were guests for the occasion. Thirty five euro is the regular cost; add Prosecco (€43.00), Champagne (50.00). 

The savoury offerings looked great and tasted even better, a very strong line-up indeed, quite innovative too. This was our running order. I enjoyed them all and would be hard-pressed to find a winner, other than myself! Indeed, I was most surprised with the #3 and #4 as I didn't think they'd be as good as they were.

The second half was sweet indeed. All the items were excellent and again hard to pick a winner. The Crème Brûlée was a joint favourite. But when we finished up with the Grand Marnier Trifle, the heads were nodding in agreement that this was the one, thanks mainly to the fact that there was no shortage of the orange-flavoured Cognac based liqueur in the trifle sponge! Cold and wet outside but warm inside as we left.
Eclair


Savoury

1: Boa Bun filled with a Turmeric and Fermented Chilli Marinated Chicken, Carrot Slaw, Miso Aioli. 
2: House Cured Salmon, Wakame Seaweed, Cucumber Gel, Squid Ink Emulsion, and Toasted Rye Bread. 
3: Butternut Squash Pannacotta filled with West Cork Bluebell Falls Goat Cheese, Honey-ied Walnut, and Balsamic Pearls. 
4: Saffron and Basil Polenta Cake, Hummus and Heritage Tomato Salsa
Choc. Trifle
Apple, Coffee and Cinnamon Cake


Sweet

A: Caramelised Apple, Coffee and Cinnamon Cake. 
B: Chocolate and Grand Marnier Trifle. 
C: Chestnut and Pear Crème Brulée. 
D: Eclair filled with Pistachio and Hazelnut Praline. 
E: Warm Cranberry Scones served with House Preserves and Clotted Cream.

Two (of three) tiers.




Thursday, July 20, 2017

Back to the Garden for Maryborough Chef. A Delicious New Summer-time Menu at Bellini’s

Back to the Garden for Maryborough Chef
A Delicious New Summer-time Menu at Bellini’s

Sea Bream

Hotel dining rooms are improving all over the city and Bellini’s at the Maryborough is at the forefront thanks to Head Chef Gemma Murphy and her team.

Gemma is renowned for her presentation skills. But there is substance galore behind the style on your plate. She is well able to source good produce, with the emphasis on local and seasonal, and cook it to perfection.

Macroom Buffalo Cheese, Goatsbridge Trout, La Rousse Fine Foods, Keeling’s Fruit and Vegetables, Matt O'Connell Seafood, the English Market and Ballinwillin Boar and Venison are among her sources.

And it's getting even more local! She has developed a vegetable and herb garden “so she can ensure only the best will be used in her cooking”.
Breads

Delighted to get the chance to try the new menu. After a warm welcome, we were seated comfortably and starting to make the choices. Not that easy as all the dishes appealed.

I was looking at the starters and found it difficult to get past the first two. Eventually though the Ballinwillin Wild Boar (Pea and Watercress Pannacotta, Apricot Mustarda) “won” against the Grilled Mackerel. The boar and venison coming from the Mulcahy's in Ballinwillin is top notch and this superb dish added another dimension.
Wild Boar


CL too had a difficult choice toying with the Assiette of Summer Vegetables (with Macroom ricotta) before settling on the Scallops (Bacon Dashi, Compressed Pineapple, Picked Shimeji, Cubanelle Chilli Oil). Another winner. The dashi was poured on at the table and the little umami mushrooms, like everything other element, played a tasty role. 

No big creamy sauces for the chef here. We both went for fish in the mains and each of us was very happy. CL enjoyed the Sea Bream Fillets (Grilled Asparagus, Charred Onion, Salt Baked Fingerling Potatoes, Shellfish Bisque, Squid Ink Dressing) while my Pan seared fillet of Cod (Braised Beluga Lentils, Fava Beans, Heritage Tomato, Grapefruit and Saffron Puree) was another delight.
Scallops

And of course there were sides; the House Fries and Market Vegetables (a substitute on the night for the  carrots) were our choices, both well up to standard.

So how about dessert? Some excellent choices here. Was looking at the Coconut and Yuzu Pannacotta before settling on the Pimm’s Jelly (Foraged Elderflower Scented Mascarpone Strawberry Sorbet, Shortbread). That was shared, our server diplomatically placing it centre-table. Service was excellent throughout. And another empty plate went back!

There are some fantastic wines on the list here, including quite a few by the glass and also a selection by the half-bottle. Once we decided on the fish, we ordered a glass of white each. One was the  German Eins-Zwei-Dry Riesling, smooth and fruity and dry for sure. The other was the Ara Della Valle Pinot Grigio, smooth and persistent. Both feature on the house white list, along with a few more.
Cod

If don't want the full menu of the restaurant, well take a look at the Bellini bar daytime menu here.  Here too, you’ll see Lots of cocktails on offer and you can also sample the local craft beer by the Franciscan Well Brewery.

And they also do Afternoon Tea in the Garden Room. And if the kids come, well there’s even an Afternoon Tea Menu for them. If you need to be pampered at any time, just follow the sounds of flowing water to the spa. And I'd better mention, they also have a gym!
Dessert