Showing posts with label Midleton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Midleton. Show all posts

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Midleton food and drink up and running. New Gastro Pub and Coffee Outlet; Sage reopen café

Midleton food and drink up and running. 

New Gastro Pub and Coffee Outlet. 

Menus and Times from Sage as they reopen café on Feb 21st

The new Church Lane gastropub

 I visited Midleton Farmers Market for the first time in a long while last Saturday. Our star purchase was the delicious Rosewater Marshmallows pack at the Ballymaloe Cookery Stall. Then I took a stroll around the town. Quite a lot going on there, virtually every kind of service you'd need on Main Street alone.

Some market purchases: Ballymaloe Cookery School Marshmallow,
Brown soda by Arbutus and Balsamic from the Olive Stall.

Lots of competition on the food front, for instance, the Pantry is back to back with Monty's and more or less next door to the excellent Ferrit & Lee. What looks like a proper coffee place, Caife Mo Chara, has just opened in Market Green. The amount of cafes in the town is amazing. You certainly won't be short of a cuppa or a sandwich or more substantial sustenance here as there are food outlets everywhere you turn.
Montys and Pantry side by side

The new Church Lane, a gastropub, is in an impressive building and will certainly provide more competition. Head Chef is James Cullinane who started in Ballymaloe, worked with Richard Corrigan in London and then at The Cliff House before becoming Head Chef at Longueville House and Castlemartyr Resort. Brothers Barry and Colin Hennessy have opened this venture, they are local with quite a lot of experience.
Sage reopen cafe!

You may or may not have heard that Sage has decided to reopen their cafe. It will be offering a Brunch and Light lunch menu 5 days per week Wednesday to Sunday from 8am. Kevin Aherne: "We had planned to open towards the end of last year but that plan was literally washed away. The Cafe will be opening as of next week on February 21st! With the Cafe opening we have reshaped our hours. The Restaurant & Cafe will both operate 5 days".

The menus & new opening hours are below for you to have a look at.


Thursday, August 11, 2022

Midleton’s Finín’s Up And Running Under New Owners

 Midleton’s Finín’s Up And Running Under New Owners

A lesson on the double from my first visit to Midleton’s Finín’s after its recent takeover, and make-over, by Kinsale’s Blue Haven. In the same way as you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, you shouldn’t judge a dish by how it looks. Even if the dish does look laid as the French say or moche as their teenagers would put it or just plain berk as the more outspoken might emit.

Hardly the most enticing Tiramisu to look at
but it is one of the best!

Toulouse Sausage
Let me start at the end, with the dessert, a Tiramisu. It came in a little bowl and looked like an emoji that had been badly designed. Yet it was superb, one of the best we’ve come across in recent times. Just seemed to have all the correct ingredients and it was sensational on the palate. Perhaps a presentation in a glass would have improved the initial impression but I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

And the other less-than-good-looking dish also provided a very happy outcome. This was the French onion soup (below), looked rather muddy in the bowl, but turned out fantastically well, sweetly delicious, another that was one of the best of its kind tasted on a long long while. A very big thumbs up here or, as the French might say: C’est vraiment très bon or perhaps just Miam! (Yum!).

Not the prettiest to look at but a joy to eat.

Black's KPA
Both dishes came from the specials board on the night and indeed the vast majority of our meal came from that board, though they do have quite a choice on the regular menu. We got a warm welcome and were soon seated downstairs - upstairs will not be ready for a few weeks yet. The bar, with its full length mirror behind, looks inviting and that was even more the case when I saw a tap for Black’s Kinsale Pale Ale, an excellent local beer and a favourite of mine. 

In face they have quite a choice of other craft beers in bottle including Porterhouse, Kinnegar and Galway Bay and also cider by Stonewell from Nohoval. Local producers are also supported when it comes to food and their suppliers include Horizon Farms in Kinsale, Harty's Cheddar, West Cork Olives, Ummera Irish Smokehouse, Cliona Dairy, Gubbeen Smokehouse, Jim Crowley's Butchers & Ballycotton Seafood (just across the street in Midleton).

It was a busy evening but the friendly staff did well, gave us a few tips when we were choosing and all worked out fine. Our other starter was from the regular menu: a deliciously crunchy Tempura of Broccoli, served with basil mayo and crispy Parma Ham and parmesan.

Mains include Wild Mushroom Tagliatelle, Smoked Chicken Caesar salad, and Catch of the Day. We could see from the dishes coming out from the kitchen that their Burger and Fish and Chips are very very popular indeed.

On the Specials, we picked the Seafood Salad, Samphire and burnt lemon but our server explained it was more like a seafood medley and immediately the board was changed to a Seafood Selection. That came with a helping of fries and went down well indeed, especially the mussels and also the min-portion of Fish (cod) and Chips.

My choice was the Toulouse Sausage dish, with Thyme mash, roasted parsnip, black pudding and red wine jus. Flavours were excellent though. I had been expecting a heart rustic dish and that was exactly what I got. Fairly priced too at €16.50 as was the Seafood Selection at €18.90.

They were just into their second week after the opening under the new owners but, with many of the staff retained, they were going well, off to a good start. Finín’s will be worth keeping an eye on in the months ahead, especially with an experienced and respected chef as Pat Kiely (ex Les Gourmandises) at the helm.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Future of Micro Distillery Takes off with Notes from the Past. Rye and Malt from Midleton's Method and Madness

Drink to the Future as Micro Distillery Takes off with Notes from the Past.

Rye and Malt from Midleton's Method and Madness

Design for the future

Method and Madness is the name of the micro distillery at Irish Distillers in Midleton. Along with the Hamlet inspired name, I get the feeling there’s a little magic at work here also, especially when I hear recently appointed distiller Eva O’Doherty talk about knowing this amalgamation of pipes and cylinders “like a baby”, on the alert, listening and responding to the sounds of smooth and stress as the various recipes find their way through the darkness of the labyrinth to light or oblivion.

The latest, indeed the first, that made its all the way from start to finish here was launched into the world last Wednesday and “a small but super cool media crew” were gathered to help celebrate. The new baby, the first aged experimental distillate created in the Micro Distillery, is called Rye and Malt. 

It is 60% Rye and 40 % Malt and the distiller Katherine Condon, who originally joined Irish Distillers as part of the company’s Graduate Distiller Programme in 2014, relied for inspiration on the 19th notebooks (dating back to 1857) of John Jameson III, where the inclusion of Rye was recorded in various mash bills. 

Distiller Eva speaking at the launch

Kevin O’Gorman (Master Distiller)
Coffee and cocktails were available for the cool crew on arrival at the distillery. Three cocktails tempted, one French Connection, based on the M&M Single Pot Still, the second Malted Memory based on the Single Malt, and the third, Strawberry Cooler, built on the Single Grain. Hard to choose one but glad that I eventually settled on the Malted Memory with its charred cinnamon stick!

Time then for a detailed tour of the micro distillery with Eva, time for questions and answers.  Six years ago (the building itself goes back to the 1800s), the Micro Distillery opened its doors with a mission to further support the resurgence of Irish whiskey, drawing on research into wood influences and cereal mixes, historic mash bills from the Irish Distillers Archive and the restless curiosity of its craftspeople. Here they go outside the boundaries of tradition without casting that tradition aside. And from that quest to move on through a wide open door, Rye and Malt was created.

Eva and Kevin O’Gorman (Master Distiller) would take us through the various stages of trial and error. We began by nosing two new makes - the only difference in input being the yeast and that accounted for a clear variation.   We took a more in depth look at glass #3. Here Japanese chestnut had been used to compare with European and the country of origin gave the variation here. “We could see something coming from this in a few years,” said Kevin. Trial and error in action. And promise also in the cereal creaminess of #4 (60% oats).

The three stills of the Micro Distillery

The new whiskey was in glass #5 and is a superbly balanced drink. Clove and spice from the Rye on the nose. Must say I didn't get the Lemon Balm that was mentioned and I should know it as the self-seeding herb is all over the garden! The Malt led on the toasty palate, a peppery spice also. And spice still there through to the finish where the perfect balance was once again tellingly and delightfully illustrated. A terrific result in a very attractively presented green, gold and yellow bottle - put this gem on your shortlist! "Thanks for coming," concluded Eva. Thanks for having us.

Rye and Malt represents “the young team’s fearless and relentless approach to trial and error”. First experimenting in the lab to discover the ideal ratio of 60% rye to 40% malt, Condon and the team then took advantage of the Micro Distillery’s manual processes, trialing varying rates of reflux and distillation to achieve the perfect crisp yet spicy flavour.  

“Driven by a desire to create whiskey that paid heed to tradition while searching for the new and extraordinary, the Micro Distillery team double-distilled a mash of rye and malted barley and left it to mature in ex-bourbon American oak barrels.”  

Tasting tables

Distiller Katherine Condon (absent on her honeymoon) missed the launch. Her message: “We have been inspired by the innovators in Irish whiskey who came before us. In turn, we have questioned tradition and challenged convention to follow their inspiration and drive the Irish whiskey category forward for a new generation of creators, consumers, and indeed, suppliers”. 

Eva O'Doherty, newly appointed Distiller at the Micro Distillery, added: “While this whiskey has been maturing, we have not rested on our laurels. We have continued in earnest to experiment with new mash bills.  It is a great privilege and responsibility to help shape the future of Irish whiskey, and Method and Madness Rye and Malt represents the first in an incredible pipeline of innovation from this distillery.”  And having tasted #3 and #4, I'd have to be encouraged on that front as well.

If these old walls could speak..

And we finished as we started, with a cocktail. And of course this was based on the new whiskey. Chinese tea, a lemon distillate (didn’t get the exact name) and orange peel had been added, and the blend was marvellous, just the tonic before we stepped out into the rain.

Geek Bits

(from the dsitillery)

Bottled at 46% ABV, the limited-edition Method and Madness Rye and Malt Irish Whiskey will be available from September 20th in Ireland, the UK, Dublin Airport and online at the RRP of €95. 

Double distilled in ex Bourbon casks.

Non chilled filtered.

RRP: €95.

Tasting Notes: 

Nose: Lemon Balm, Floral Lavender, Clove Spice

Taste: White Pepper, Chilli Flakes, Toasted Wood

Finish: Fading Fruits, Lingering Spice, Cereal Malt & Barley

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Ballyannan Wood & Choctaw Monument

 Ballyannan Wood & Choctaw Monument

Midleton, Co. Cork. 20/09/2020




Message in a bottle. The Fairy Folk invite you to post a message!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Sunil Ghai at SAGE

Sunil Ghai, Master of PICKLE, at SAGE

Take A Break! Halfway through, we were invited to try
 the cucumber with three salts: black (mildest), lemon and chilli.
Sunil Ghai, of Pickle Dublin and one of Ireland's top chefs, was guest chef at Midleton's SAGE Restaurant last Saturday as part of the fantastic FEAST Cork festival, bringing together the best of produce from the area and featuring local and visiting chefs and a whole lot more besides.

Sunil, relaxed in the kitchen and dining room, went down a treat as did his food. It was an unmissable  opportunity to enjoy a feast by one of the foremost Indian chefs in Ireland, to sample his bold, contemporary cooking style. And we enjoyed an array of dishes inspired by his hometown of Gwalior in central India.
Sunil in Sage kitchen. Pic courtesy of Sage.

Kevin Aherne, chef patron st Sage, introduced Sunil and welcomed him, saying that the focus of FEAST 2019 was very much on the multiculturalism of food. Indeed there was a very successful 13 nation get-together in Midleton on the following day and, in my own case, I had attended a Polish dinner in Surf and Turf (Midleton) on Thursday night, an Argentinian BBQ at Barnabrow on Friday before heading back to Midleton on Saturday.

Kevin explained that both Sunil and he are members of Eurotoques. He said Sunil had surprised the chefs in the Sage kitchen with the variety of amazing aromas and flavours of his food and he would surprise us too. There was a surprise for Sunil himself. He told us he could hardly believe the way the local farmers brought their produce direct to the back door of the Midleton restaurant. "I don't know when this will happen in Dublin."

The Gupshup Gwalior Platter was our starter. On the left is the Semolina Puff with chickpea, pomegranate and tamarind chutney; in the middle, the Crispy fried kale leaf in carom infused gram flour batter with chilled yogurt and mint chutney; and finally the Grilled Artichoke marinated in PICKLE spice mix & smoky chilli yogurt. The kale was outstanding but each was delicious.
The Fish Course. But first we were invited to bite into the dark piece on top: a pickled lemon. Just bite in and you get an amazing explosion, like a concentrated lemon drink but with none of the sourness. Sunil told us that this Amritsari Fried Fish (cod in this case) is a very traditional Punjabi dish and he served it in Sage with a warm raita and charred asparagus.
Looked inviting and tasted even better.

The Gwalior Goat Keema Pao is the signature dish at Pickle. It is a Special goat preparation from Sunil's hometown: goat mince, diced and marinated liver, marinated for 24 hours in reshampatti (Rajasthani chillies) then slow cooked with shallots and yogurt. Served with Maska Pao (buttered Pao). Maska also means to "butter someone up, to flatter them".

Our dessert was Gulab Jamun: fried milk doughnut poached in saffron and cardamom flavour sugar syrup. Yumil!
Also at Feast

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Lobster & Sushi at Granary a Highlight of Midleton Sunday Stroll

Lobster & Sushi at Granary a Highlight of Midleton Sunday Stroll. FEAST 2019
Lobster from the Lobster Man
Food was left, right and centre in Midleton last Sunday as FEAST 2019 reached its finalé. Restraint was called for as there so much on offer. The Lobster and Sushi offering at The Granary had been pinpointed earlier as a likely lunch plate and that was where we found ourselves in the early afternoon.

A big warm welcome and soon we were sitting at our outdoor table awaiting one plate with lobster, the other with sushi, and both also packed with a range of delicious salads. Oh, and not forgetting the glass of wine, all for twenty euro per person. The tables were communal and we like that on these occasions, even more so when on Sunday we were joined by two young gentleman and we went on to have a lovely chat before heading out to all those stalls on the sunny main street.
Okawari supplied the sushi.
Our first stop on Sunday morning was to the demo area where Ballymaloe pastry chef JR Ryall and Ali of Ali's Kitchen were baking a "Raspberry Beret". They had to match their cake to a song and they choose the Prince number. Lots of fun as they got this part of the show on the road and they would be followed by a series of top names in the Irish food community.

Local hotels and restaurants were represented in the many stalls on the main street
and here we see Patryck of Surf and Turf greeting customers.

This bad boy would get busier and busier.

The bees came too! No shortage of wasps either.

Children were very well catered for, especially in the farmers market area.
Here they are busily painting their own tea towels.

We got our dessert from the Bite Size stall, very nice too!
Also at Feast