|Chris (left) and Luke|
Sunday, November 19, 2017
Davidson's Craft Butchers
Standard Bearers in Montenotte
I asked our local butcher Chris Davidson about his plans for the run-in to Christmas. “We’ve already started”, he said. “It's the earliest we’ve ever started but people started asking so we started taking the orders. It is our fourth Christmas here and we have great confidence in our products at this stage.”
And top of the Christmas wish list are their free-range East Ferry Turkeys. Easy Ferry also supply them with eggs and chickens. “The most popular order is the boneless Turkey Crown, now selling all year round. Spiced beef too is incredibly popular. We use the eye of the round, a very lean cut, very good.”
“We have plenty of alternatives, including duck, beef fillet, crusted lamb, and pork steak Wellington. And we also have a special: Cranberry and sausage meat stuffing balls.”
Chris, from Cobh, is a 4th generation butcher. His great grand-father was a butcher in the harbour town, followed by Chris’s grand-uncle and then by an uncle. Chris himself started learning the steps, the ones well down the ladder, as a 14 year old at the well respected Jim Crowley butcher shop in Midleton.
He worked there during the holidays, even when he started going to UCC. “I was never bored, it was always interesting.” And the thing was that Chris himself was always interested and eventually decided that it was for him.
He started work in the Montenotte premises with the previous owner in 2009 and, just about three years ago, took it over. He found it hard to get used to the paperwork but “so far, so good” is his verdict now.”Every year has been better than the previous one. The three years have flown. Now we are more comfortable, more confident, particularly over the past six months.”
The “we” is Chris and Luke, the two full-time employees. He also had two part-time workers.
You’ll see newly installed flower boxes on the building and also notice Craft Butcher displayed over the Davidson doors. I asked Chris about that. A lot of hard study over three years by the looks of it.
“To be qualified as craft, you have to do the 8-module course. It is very comprehensive. It covers every single aspect of modern butchery. When you finish, there is nothing left to learn. You've been trained also to present your produce, to engage with and sell to the customer. All about hygiene and food safety. The qualification is all about reliability. I see it as being a standard bearer.”
Chris has put the training to good use, especially in their speciality range. They are very strong here and have won many awards at craft competitions. Davidson’s have been national runners-up with their Pork Steak Wellington and with their Home-made Meat Loaf, national champion with their absolutely delicious (personal experience) Crusted Rack of Lamb. And they have gold for quite a few specials including Steak Stir Fry, Butterflied Leg of Lamb, Chicken Pizzaiola, and Chicken Supreme stuffed with broccoli and gruyere cheese.
And, looking to the future, the plan is to keep up that standard, to keep innovating. “We’re always tipping away here, trying to improve the range. We plan to increase our presence on Social Media as well. And an upgrade of machinery is also on the cards.”
And you can, of course, get more than meat here. “Arbutus Bread is a fantastic product and we also have their pastries on Saturday mornings. We stock some kitchen essentials such as bread and milk. And newspapers of course. We have Green Saffron spices and the Gran Grans Chutneys are also available here.” Well worth a visit!
Davidson's Craft Butchers
7 St Christopher's Dr, Montenotte, Cork, T23 KV96
Hours: Open Monday-Friday· 8a.m.–6:30p.m.
Saturday: 8a.m. - 6.00p.m.
Phone: (021) 451 8184
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Montenotte Hotel Whiskey Battle
|Let battle commence!|
Last night I took part in a “battle”, a whiskey battle that is, in the Montenotte Hotel. It was all part of the Cork Whiskey Festival. There is a terrific view over the city from the hotel's bar but I was concentrating on the three beauties in front of me.
They were staging three “battles” in all, each involving an Irish, a Scotch and an American Whiskey. I could have had a Jameson, Glenfiddich, and Bulleit Bourbon for €15.00 or a Red Breast 15 year Old, Laphroaig 10 year old Single Malt and Maker’s 46 for €35.00.
But I picked the €25.00 trio of Green Spot Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey, Bowmore 12 Year Old and the Knob Creek Bourbon. There was no further info available as info sheets hadn't turned up.
So, with an open mind, if an amateur one as regards whiskey, I got down to work, a glass of water at the side. Tasted the three in the above order and was quite pleased with the Irish and the Scotch. The initial meeting with the Knob Creek, by Jim Beam, seemed fine but I found something of an alcohol burn on the finish.
Tried them all neat again, this time with an emphasis on the aromas. And that's when the peat began to bother me. As Henry VIII said about one of the ladies he was about to marry: “I like her not!”. And, there was to be no cure for it, only a divorce!
But there was a cure for the Bourbon: a few drops of good old Cork water brought a very acceptable smoothness to the finish. Took my time after that and finished off all three.
And the final verdict? I declare the Green Spot, a superb whiskey, finished in a selection of ex-bourbon (ironically) and ex-sherry casks, and so well balanced, the winner of this particular battle. Slainte!
Friday, April 6, 2012
Vista Bar And Grill
I’ve been using some of those better than half price deal vouchers and the most recent was this week when I called to one of my local hotels, the Hotel Montenotte. The Groupon voucher promised a couple of cocktails and a main course each for €25.00.
Hadn’t been to the Montenotte for quite a while but it turned out to be quite an enjoyable experience. The voucher mentioned the Vista Bar and Grill but we were directed to the adjoining restaurant section; both enjoy the same views over the city.
The hotel and dining room looked brilliant. Service was low key, courteous and efficient. The cocktails didn’t materialise. Instead we were served with a glass each of a rosé Prosecco, quite dry and tasty. No quibbles there; only bubbles. There were supplements on the various steaks but again this had been flagged to some extent by Groupon.
We checked out the well worn menus as we sipped the bubbly. CL decided to go for the Poached Darne of Atlantic Salmon (C), priced at €16.75. This turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise. It was served, unusually, on baby potatoes with a fresh mussel and winter vegetable broth, with a side dish of spot-on vegetables. A little different and a very pleasing main course indeed.
Didn’t expect any problems with my sirloin and none materialised. It was done just as requested and I really enjoyed the creamy mushroom sauce and my little bucket of French fries (nice touch!).
Had a look at the desserts but, after two sizeable platefuls (and the fact the Champions League was about to start on telly!), decided to finish off with coffee. Again, this was well up to standard, Bewley's I believe.