Showing posts with label O'Mahony Butchers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label O'Mahony Butchers. Show all posts

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Liberty Grill. Best of Food. Warmest of Welcomes.


Liberty Grill. Best of Food. Warmest of Welcomes.

Liberty Chicken

Céad Míle Failte. A worthless cliché? Certainly not at Liberty Grill, busy from early ’til late in Cork’s Washington Street. We called in for our 5.15 booking on a recent Friday and got the warmest of welcomes. And that chatty approach, studded with vital info about the day’s specials, continued from start to finish. We met three helpful and knowledgeable front-of-house people during our meal before we were waved off with cracking smiles. And, I’d better mention the food was superb as well.

The place was packed at 5.15pm. “You should have seen earlier in the afternoon,” our server said. “When I came on it was like Christmas. Great!” So if you’re thinking of going, then be sure and book ahead.

Just earlier we had been in the English Market, buying our Saturday dinner meat from O’Mahony Butchers. Eoin served us his special (pork steak stuffed with Italian sausage and wrapped in Parma ham) and when we mentioned Liberty Grill tipped us off that his 35-day aged rib-eye was on special and was worth looking out for.

So we did, and I ordered it. The Rib-Eye special was one of six listed and the full description was: Char-grilled 10 ounce rib-eye on the bone with Café de Paris butter or Béarnaise sauce, served with sautéd mushrooms and onions, oven-roasted cherry tomatoes and French Fries. I choose the Café de Paris and medium. 
Mexico

I knew immediately I saw it that I was on a winner. Then touched it with the knife and the gentlest of pressure produced the tastiest biteful ever. Amazing steak, one of the very best I’ve had. Everything on the plate was perfect, the button mushrooms, the sweet onions. And terrific value at €22.90!

I wasn’t the only happy camper at this stage as CL was thrilled with her chicken. This was also a special: Amalfi Chicken (16.90), chargrilled supreme of free range East Ferry Chicken served with a warm salad of baby potatoes, spinach, sun blushed tomatoes, roast peppers, and tapenade. This had all the flavour and colour of a Mediterranean dish in the grey dusk of this northern city, a beautiful combination of tastes and textures, so well assembled, so well cooked, the chicken itself juicy, a plateful that illustrates fully that buying the best of local and treating it properly from delivery to the fairly-priced plate will keep the customer happy.

Liberty has always been well-known for its burgers and, while there is mega competition in the field, they are still very popular here. The choice is wide. Aside from six or seven on the regular menu, there were two on the specials: a spiced honey Halloumi (honey from their own hive in Fountainstown) and also a Sienna Beefburger featuring chuck steak and Toons Bridge Smoked Scarmoza.

We didn’t get to the desserts but did enjoy a couple of lovely starters, each from the regular menu.   I fancied the Mexican Mille Feuille description: Crispy tor­tilla lay­ers of tem­peh, gua­camole and salsa (6.50). A little bit of spice, a little bit of sweet, lost of textures and colours, an excellent starter. CL also enjoyed her Small Plate of Crushed tomato and avocado toast (5.00).

BRUNCH · LUNCH · DINNER
32 WASHINGTON STREET, CORK
TEL: +353 21 427 1049


After Liberty, we walked to the “back” of the block to Impala, the new craft beer pub in Liberty Street. Buzzing, just managed to get two seats at the counter. Was looking for the February Flagship special, a pint of Sierra Nevada for a fiver. But it was no longer available so I enjoyed another ale, the Gamma Ray by Beavertown. A huge range of craft (and some mainstream too) available, no shortage of local gins either. And do bring your credit card. Well, they do take cash no problem but tap and pay is the customer’s preferred method of payment here!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Two Hundred Year Old Pub Gets New Lease of Life Thanks to Máire and Victor. Emphasis very much on Local Food and Drink at O’Mahony’s Watergrasshill.


Two Hundred Year Old Pub Gets New Lease of Life Thanks to Máire and Victor.
Emphasis very much on Local Food and Drink at O’Mahony’s Watergrasshill.



O’Mahony’s Pub in Watergrasshill packs a lot into its weekend life. Start with the food: delicious sharing boards and small plates are based on the best of local and seasonal produce and don't cost the earth. While you will get your mainstream pints, you may also enjoy a good craft beer or two and their current House Drink is Bertha’s Revenge Gin made by their neighbours over in Castlelyons.

And that’s only the start of it. Take a look outside and you’ll see an area “as big as a field”. More like a big garden, with a stage platform and there’s lots of cover here making it an ideal spot for a celebration of any kind (they’ve already had a wedding here) and great too for BBQ with its own bar.
Antipasto

And it’s also here that you’ll find the Long Room, the music venue. And if you feel like dancing, go right ahead. Take the floor, a real dance-floor, maybe a chunk of a ballroom of romance recycled.

And all that music and dancing takes place in a recycled cow shed. The village used to be a staging post for cattle on their way to the city and indeed, there was a slaughter house at the back (a glasshouse will be going up there soon). The meat hooks hanging in the bar will remind you of those times.
Artists at work

And that’s not all you’ll see hanging here. Máire is an artist and her works are proudly on display. And that  leads me to the kids. Yours are more than welcome. Their own menu is up on the big blackboard. And there’s another blackboard, a whole wall of them, outside in a smaller sheltered area. Here the children can draw to their heart's content and every now and then there is a competition.

Just so much going on here. The Bushby strawberries, those beautiful fruits from West Cork had run out, just a few left. No problem. Blackberries are growing well “out the back” - lots of herbs there too and there will be more. So those blackberries are on the menu in an instant! Beat that for fresh and local.
Kofta

So what did we have al fresco on a sunny Friday evening? Started with Antipasto (10.50), one of three sharing boards. It consisted of Pana Sourdough, Mozzarella from Macroom, artichoke hearts and more, with little bowls of hummus and pesto. Enjoyed that, me sipping from a cooling flavourful pint of Eight Degrees Howling Gale Ale (5.00) while CL was enjoying some of Bertha’s Revenge Gin with Fever-tree Tonic (9.50).

Victor is well known for his part in the House Cafe in the Opera House and there are similarities with the food in that successful venture. For instance, suppliers such as Ballyhoura and Kilbrack Farm also feature in Watergrasshill.
Bavette

As does butcher Eoin O’Mahony (no relation). The O’Mahony’s Bavette steak salad, a beautiful Asian marinade worked a treat on the meat which is scattered with sesame seeds and served with vermicelli noodles (9.50), is a beauty. 

The Lamb Kofta is another highlight, also €9.50. This comes with Cork made Syrian flatbread, hummus, tzatziki, sumac pickled onions and leaves.
Dessert, with ultra local blackberries! The timber serving boards are made in nearby Carrignavar.

Time now for dessert. With the strawberries running out, Victor suggested the Treats Board (8.50). And we shared the delights of the mix of a Shortbread treat with fruit (those blackberries from Watergrasshill, not Guatemala), a chocolate brownie, a lemon curd slice, and more.
Local drinks: Bertha's Revenge and Eight Degrees

Too full to dance after that! Only joking. The food here is excellent, well sourced and you won’t be stuffed with chips, mash, baked potatoes and so on. But do watch out for their side of Patatas Bravas, just one of many good things in this warm welcoming venue. Try it out soon, just ten minutes from the tunnel!

Tradition and sustainability
O'Mahony's
Main St, Watergrasshill, Co. Cork
Food
6pm – 9pm, Fri – Sun

ENQUIRIES
+353 (0)86 831 6879

Monday, August 7, 2017

Taste of the Week On the Double: Crépinettes and Cider

Taste of the Week

On the double: Crépinettes and Cider


Just west of the city, Mark Hennessy raises a few free range pigs. To the east, Johnny Fall Down makes an award winning cider. Put them together and you have our Taste of the Week!


In the city’s English Market, butcher Eoin O’Mahony makes crépinettes (and more) from the limited supply of Hennessy’s pork. When I arrived there on Saturday morning, he had sold out but was about to make more!



In the meantime, I headed up to Bradley’s and got a few items including the 2016 Johnny Fall Down, reckoned to be better than the initial 2015 and “flying out the door”.

Back at the Market, I picked up my crépinettes (six for a tenner) and headed home. They were in the bag with the cider but I had no idea at all at that stage that I'd be putting the two together that evening.
 Had a chat with the official blog chef and hatched the plan. The pork would be started in the pan and finished in the oven, a  cream, butter and tomato sauce would be added along with some mushrooms. And we’d pair it with the cider. It turned out to be a match made in Cork (otherwise known as food heaven), just perfect.


Either would have been good on its own but together they were outstanding. The Johnny Fall Down Rare Apple Cider 2016 has an ABV of 5.8% and cost €7.50 for 750ml at Bradley’s. 

This pure, strong bittersweet cider is made from no less than 47 varieties of cider apple, most grown on the warm south facing slopes of Killahora. They warn that if you still have any lingering love of commercial cider, this will liquidate it!

Due to the limited supply, O’Mahony’s won’t have these crépinettes every week but Eoin may well have others. Recently he did kid and veal. On Saturday, Eoin told me he had six of Hennessy's hams curing so they should be available any day now!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Warm Welcome to the Spit Jack

Warm Welcome to the SpitJack
Just off the rotisserie
There is something special about going into a restaurant for the first time, meeting people you've never met before and feeling right at home within a few seconds. That was the feeling I got at The SpitJack, the new Washington Street (Cork) restaurant. And that was before the beautiful food began to appear. Big credit here to owners Richard Gavin and Laura Sureda and their wonderful staff.

Chicken Croquettes
The owners have spent a lot of time and effort, not to mention money, in getting this place looking perfect, a place where once a medieval lane ran through. Lots of exposed brick in both downstairs and up. The highlight is perhaps the skylight, or at least, the area under it. The ground floor bar is lit by this light and its shelves extend upwards to the roof. You can see it at its best as you go to the upstairs dining room (or the lovely semi-private room, for 8/10, just off it).

Both the medium sized dining rooms are lit by light from the south and are bright and airy and busy and buzzy, even if they are still in soft opening mode (that may change this week). I’ll let Richard and Laura introduce their place: The SpitJack is a rotisserie concept and the first of its kind, offering only the highest quality Irish produce. All of our menus revolve around the rotisserie and we are opened from breakfast to bedtime.

We, and indeed all customers, were taken through the details of the menu and there were helpful suggestions as to what wine or side dishes go best with your order. And service continued in that helpful vein all through the meal. We were guests but could see and hear that all customers were getting the same treatment.
Goat Cheese Salad
There is a full bar so a great choice of spirits, including Dingle Gin and Vodka, Gunpowder Gin, lots of Irish (and international) whiskey, also tasting boards, local beer (including 8 Degrees) and the lovely Johnny Fall Down cider (my choice on the night). 

Didn't get to try any of the many cocktails - they have their own mixologist. Here’s an intriguing one: the Barrel Aged Midleton Hip Flask (Jameson Black Barrel, sour malt and Chard reduction-recycled mash from our friends in Midleton, Lillet blanc and orange bitters. Just one of many.

Nothing gets wasted here; they are always conscious of sustainability, using surplus ingredients to make their own garnishes, infusions, purées, cordials and shrubs. “No ingredient gets left behind.” And they support local. Their meat, for instance, comes from O’Mahony's Butchers in the nearby market.

Scotch Egg
Down to business with Rotisserie Chicken Croquettes with a lemon and thyme aioli. Laura is from Barcelona and her influence was evident here in their tapas style opener. A delicious sign of things to come.

My starter was their Scotch Egg (soft egg wrapped in English Market Italian Sausage with a crisp crumb). Fifteen minutes is the cooking time but it is well worth the wait. Gorgeous and it comes with a beautiful salad as well.
Pork-belly
 CL went for a salad: the honey baked Goat Cheese Salad. It comes in two sizes! They use Ardsallagh cheese on crostini, carrot ribbons, cherry tomato, local mixed leaves and tarragon dressing, more or less the same salad that came with the egg. Another delicious combination.


My cider came into its own with my main course: Porchetta of pork-belly, stuffed with garlic and market herbs (sage mainly). And a tasty rim of crackling. Have had lots of excellent pork-belly since it came into fashion a few years ago but hard to beat this beautifully cooked effort. Great match with the cider!

You get one side (you may order more) with your mains and I was advised to take the classic potato and gruyere gratin. It was spot-on, a rich and cheesy delight. CL’s side - we did share - was another gem. The Rotisserie Roast Potatoes is a rather underrated description. The spuds, with little bacon bits, were roasted under the chicken, the juices falling down and working their magic.
Sides


The West Cork Rotisserie Chicken, by the way, spent 24 hours bring brined with Rosemary, Thyme and Lemon. And you get a breast and leg to enjoy at your leisure! Cooked to perfection and absolutely delectable. They’ve certainly mastered their roasting machine in the few weeks of the soft opening! 

And, of course, there was a sweet finish, a shared one. The dessert list is short but excellent. I noticed the rotisserie had come into play in one: the Coconut Panna Cotta (with Rotisserie Pineapple and a rum and raisin shortbread). As with the previous plates, there was nothing not playing a part on this one. The Panna Cotta itself was excellent while the shortbread made the taste buds sit up and notice even at the end of a magnificent meal.

Very Highly Recommended!

The SpitJack
34 Washington Street
Cork
Tel: 0212390613
Sweet

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Taste of the Week. Kerala Buffalo Curry

Taste of the Week
Kerala Buffalo Curry

When staying in a French town, I found there were two essentials that had to be located immediately. One was the Tourist Office and the other was the local traiteur.

The latter was a source of top notch prepared or semi-prepared dishes. And so I was delighted to see a notice in O’Mahony’s Butchers in the English Market quietly proclaiming that they had Kerala Buffalo Curry on offer.

And not alone that. Eoin O’Mahony himself was on hand to offer all the info needed on how to handle the dish at home. Add onions, a can of tomatoes and coconut milk (available a few yards away at Mr Bells). The buffalo meat, from Macroom, looked good and, with the additions and some slow cooking, proved to be a real treat and our Taste of the Week.

Well worth a try. And lets hope that Eoin comes up with a few more.

O’Mahony Butchers
Unit 37 Grand Parade side
English Market
Cork
Twitter: @guilderdbutcher

Tel: 021 4270254

Thursday, May 12, 2016

House Café. In the middle of our town

House Café
In the middle of our town
Mega mushrooms
The shows come and go but The House Café keeps performing in the Opera House, just a few yards from Patrick’s Street. So central, so good.

We called to this friendly place for lunch this week and enjoyed it from the start to finish, the welcome, the friendly informative service, the little chats and, of course, the food. Food that is based for the most part on top notch local produce: Crozier Blue, Knockalara, Ballyhoura, Coolea, O’Mahony Butchers among those featured.
Falafel
We could have had one of the soups (carrot, ginger and coriander looked tempting. Or one of the sandwiches (Coolea cheese with wild garlic pesto caught the eye). But once I saw the Creamed Ballyhoura Wild Mushrooms on sourdough toast with Parmesan and organic leaves, I was hooked. It is one of the best expressions of these fabulous mushrooms (much in demand by the country’s top chefs) you're likely to come across. Go in and try it!

CL too cleaned her plate, every little bit. Her choice was the Spiced Chickpea and Sweet potato Falafel with hummus, tahini sauce and salad with a roasted pide (a Turkish bread). Her dish cost nine euro, mine two euro more. Both were vegetarian but we didn't even think about that, just good food, and that’s the way it should be.

Since we had skipped the soup, dessert was on the cards. I went for one of the specials and it was very special, again worth a call if available. This was the Carrot and Pistachio cake (3/50), toasted and served with butter and cream. It was so good! Too good in fact. CL got very interested and I had to give over fifty per cent, On the other hand, I got fifty per cent of her lemon Drizzle Slice (3.50), and quite a superior Lemon drizzle it was.

Sp we relaxed and finished off our Golden Bean coffees (2.30) before settling up at the counter (cash only, by the way!) and heading off to Pana (the local name for Patrick Street).

House Café
Opera House
Emmet Place
Cork
Tel: (021) 490 5277
Email: housecafecork@gmail.com

Twitter: @HouseCafeCork

Monday, October 26, 2015

Italian Night at Farmgate. Umbria & Valtellina Combine

Italian Night at Farmgate
Umbria & Valtellina Combine
Mirco and the wines of his home region

The Munster branch of the Irish Wine and Food Society were joined by quite a few others at last week’s Italian night in the Farmgate at the English Market. The menu was cooked in the style of Umbria (the green centre of Italy) by well known chef Adelaide Michelini, while the wines, chosen by the Farmgate's Mirco Fondrini from his home area of Valtellina (Lombardy), were making their debut in this part of the world.

Mirco was delighted to be able to bring his hometown gems to Cork. He had quite a display ready as the fifty plus guests arrived. Valtellina is in the foothills of the Alps that Italy shares with Switzerland. The valleys are deep and the sun reaches just one side, the side you'll see the houses and the vines on. Wine-making here is hard work but the Pietro Nera Vineyard in Chiuro thrives on it.

Our opening wines as we arrived included the Terrazze Retiche di Sondrio Bianco IGT. The 2014 “La Novella” was made from a blend of Nebbiolo (vinified to white), Rossola, Chardonnay and Incrocio Manzoni grapes. Quite a mix in the blend but this white, with its flavours of tropical fruits and balancing acidity, was a delight.


You won't see tractors in these vineyards!

Some of us picked the 2010 Valtellina Superiore DOCG “Sassella Alisio” as our opening drink. This bright ruby coloured red, a blend of Nebbiolo, Pignola and Rossola, all grown in the village of Sassella, was a hint of the serious wines to come, once we had finished our opening canapes. One was Chicken Liver pralines with hazelnuts and cocoa beans, the other a Savoury choux with mortadella and pistachio.

We continued with the reds as the meal was served, enjoying more of the Sassella before moving on to its older sister the 2008 Sassella Riserva, made from 100% Nebbiolo (called Chiavennasca in these parts!). The bouquet and hints of oak and the wine itself was strong, smooth and velvety.

Our final wine was also 100% Chiavennasca, but with a difference. This 2009 Valtellina was a ”passito” wine, made from partially dried grapes, not unlike the Veneto’s Amarone della Valpolicella. This was quite concentrated, 15% abv also, rich in flavour and aromas. It had been aged for 18 months in oak, rested in stainless steel and refined in bottle for at least eight months. Quite a selection overall by Mirco. Maybe someone will start importing from his region!

Adelaide

The position of Principal Chef Instructor for the Gambero Rosso's International Cooking Schools abroad - Bangkok, Miami, Seoul Hong Kong - has given Adelaide Michelini “the great privilege to bring the true Italian haute cuisine in the world”.

“In 2013 I was included within the Catering & Delivery section of the Gambero Rosso - Rome Guide. In 2014, I became a TV host, presenting my very own TV show called La buona cucina di Adelaide (Gambero Rosso Channel, 412 Sky Italia).”

Adelaide, now living in Cork, used local produce in her dishes at the Farmgate and the Antipasto was a Soft Truffle Egg with Potato Mousse. Then followed the Primo Piatto, a Toonsbridge Ricotta & Hazelnut Gnocchi in West Cork Swiss Chard Soup.

Soft Truffle Egg

And then we were on to the star dish, the Secondo Piatto: O'Mahony's Porchettina with fennel semifreddo and Autumn vegetables. The perfectly cooked round of pork, with embedded herbs, was a delight in itself but the combination with the icy fennel took it all to another level. Perfect!

The Dolce was described as Tiramisu...almost! Let’s says there was no shortage of cream, no shortage of coffee as the night with a difference came to a sweet end. Thanks to Mirco and Adelaide, and to Rebecca and the crew at the Farmgate.

The next IWFS event:
Sunday November 8th. Harvest Lunch in Longueville House. We will join William and Aisling O'Callaghan for a tour to see the orchards, presses and stills where they make their fantastic cider and brandy. After the tour and tasting, we will head to the house for a special harvest lunch. William and Aisling are great hosts, so this will be a really special day out. A bus will be laid on from Cork City so people can enjoy the cider and brandy. Buses leave Cork City Hall at 11am. Price for bus and tour, tasting and lunch €65 (€73 non-members).
A lot of people have already signed up. Indeed it is very close to the limit but if you'd like to attend, please send an email to iwfsmunster@gmail.com

Porchettina (Google translates this as naughty girl!)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Taste of the Week. Macroom buffalo steaks

Taste of the Week. 
Macroom buffalo steaks
Pic by O'Mahony's Butchers

"Full of flavour and tender," I said. "What more would you want?" Stupid question.
"Another one," she said.

We were chatting about our Taste of the Week, the ribeye steaks produced by Johnny Lynch of Macroom Buffalo and sold in the English Market by Eoin O'Mahony. Sirloin also available.

Yes, indeed. Another one is the correct answer!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

O’Mahony Butchers Can Do It. Have Been Doing It Since 1898.

O’Mahony Butchers Can Do It.
Have Been Doing It Since 1898.


“I can't do that” are not words you’ll hear from Cork butcher Eoin O’Mahony, who has just opened a grand new stall (above), right next door to the older family unit Edward O’Mahony. Over the last few years, Eoin has had requests for different cuts, new to the market. He didn't just shrug his shoulders and tell a potential customer “we don't do that” or “we can’t do that”. No. He has a chat, finds out all about it and then comes up with the goods.

And that can-do attitude led directly to the new stall. That, along with the retiral of the O'Mahony’s neighbour. “The existing stall was busy, very busy. We didn't have enough space, the range had gotten so big, our own sausages and burgers were flying.” So he took the opportunity. And on the displays of the new stall you'll see veal, venison, buffalo, and, this week, they’ll be joined by poultry.

The story all started back in the 90s, the 1890s that is, when Eoin’s great grand-father Michael Bresnan left County Limerick to be apprenticed to a Cork butcher in the market. By 1898, he had his own stall. It is still there today (with Eoin’s uncle, also Michael, at the helm), making the Bresnan family the longest continuously trading in the English Market.
Not every one wants a full leg of lamb nowadays;
just ask them to cut it into fillets (top left).
Bottom: Bavettes (left)and Buffalo steaks.
The Bresnan's bought a farm in Ballinlough, where Lovett’s restaurant eventually set up. As the city had grown around them, they moved to a new farm and abattoir in Carrigaline in 1978 and this is where the Ballea Lamb and beef comes from. Meanwhile, a small stall at the Grand Parade end became vacant and was bought by Eoin’s mother (still working there today) and that's the one with Edward O’Mahony on the sign, right next door to the new one.

Eoin says they have lots of French cuts on the new stall. “We pride ourselves on being able to produce any cut. An enquiry from an Argentinian led to the Tira di asado ribs. And I picked up a  few good ideas on a recent trip to Montreal, so watch out for new stuff in the near future!”

Spiced Buffalo came in before Christmas and was a big hit and there were also great reports back on their recent marinated hanger steak. New cuts or not, it will still all be based on the best of local produce, the lamb and beef from Ballea, veal from Macroom, buffalo (they have the full range) from Toonsbridge.
Aged steak and, insert, Tira di asado ribs
We asked Eoin if the success of any particular product had surprised him. “Well, yes, the hanger steak and the bavette and the buffalo of course. Our customers, and we do have a broad range of customers, have taken to them in a big way.” His own favourite is aged sirloin steak. The bavette, by the way, “when shredded, makes a great stir-fry”.

This weather, the most popular are the Short Ribs, Beef Cheek, Feather-Blade, and the Osso Bucco and, in the summer, customers choose from a huge range of sausages and burgers. And it is not just customers at the market that O'Mahony's are popular with. They supply many of the restaurants, big and small, around the city. For instance you’ll see the Feather Blade on the menu at Fenn’s Quay and that too helps make the cuts better known.

Eoin is looking forward to 2015 with renewed confidence. Like many market traders, that confidence has been boosted by a very busy Christmas, “one of the busiest in a few years” according to Eoin. So keep an eye on that new stall, especially from this week on, when the O’Mahony’s will be selling poultry, including “proper” chicken and duck. And not just any duck. These will be the old fashioned, “more meaty” Aylesbury bird. Happy New Year!

To see the latest from Eoin and family, follow his Twitter posts here.

The original stall, still going strong.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Taste of the Week

Taste of the Week
Spiced Buffalo


 A new stall and a new product for Eoin O'Mahony of the English Market. The new stall is right next door to the existing O'Mahony Butchers and the new product is Spiced Buffalo, a delicious variation on the traditional Spiced Beef and our Taste of the Week. The buffalo comes from the herd at Toonsbridge Dairy and, in the coming weeks, Eoin will have all the different cuts. Not too sure what to do with buffalo meat? Then check out the Toonsbridge recipes here. By the way, the spice used with the buffalo is not the same spice that Eoin uses with his beef!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Treasures of Fenn’s Quay

Treasures of Fenn’s Quay
Kate's Magic in the Kitchen
Monkfish

In a small kitchen, on the oldest terrace in Cork city, with much perspiration and no little inspiration, Head Chef Kate Lawlor works the magic for her many customers at No. 5 Fenn’s Quay. Both Kate and the building in which she operates are Cork treasures.

And what it is this exotic material that she turns to culinary gold? Nothing exotic at all, in fact. The produce comes from the local farms and seas, much of it via the familiar stalls of the nearby English and Coal Quay Markets. The magic has been acquired through years of hard work, watching and learning and doing, her long hours in the heat and steam often repetitive but sometimes brilliantly illuminated by a flash of inspiration.

There was quite a buzz there when we called in last week, happy customers by the sounds of it. The menu, quickly delivered to the table, and the Specials Blackboard on the wall, told us why, and soon we were reading our way through the offerings, the only problem being that if we choose one gem, another was to be remain untouched!


The 18th century terrace at Fenn's Quay pictured 1986.
The bookshop (far right)
is where the restaurant now stands.

There is a Fish Platter (to share) on the specials but we go for two of the regular starters. Eoin O'Mahony is one of our favourite butchers and is also a favourite at Fenn’s Quay and the  O’Mahony’s Pressed Ham Terrine, Pickled Quail Egg with Celery Salad & Lemon Aioli is a delight, every bit polished off.

The other starter is even better, perhaps the result of one of those magic moments. I absolutely enjoyed every morsel of the Chicken Liver Brûlée with Crozier Blue Cheese Ice Cream & Red Onion Compote. What a combination! It had beautiful textures and flavours, even the toasted bread was conveniently curled to hold the paté. All it lacked was a small spoon to take up the final drops of the Ice Cream.

Despite tempting chicken (O’Sullivan’s), O’Mahony’s feather blade with Ballyhoura mushrooms, and more, we both picked fish specials (from O’Connell’s) for mains.  CL loves her hake but, this being Fenn’s Quay, the dish was somewhat different: Roast Hake and Gubbeen Chorizo, chickpeas and seasonal vegetables in a mild spicy broth (15.95).

The Hake

This was a gorgeous dish and the spice, mild as stated, went well with the hake. And matched too with the wine we picked, the tingly multi-grape Claude Val blanc 2013 (Languedoc). Indeed, the wine was also suitable with my mains: Pan-fried Monkfish and potato rosti, braised leeks, celeriac and king oyster mushrooms in a delightful lemon butter sauce. I could have eaten any part of this on its own but put it all together as Kate did and it is top notch, all the ingredients (including that sauce) so well measured, so well matched.

And could she surprise us with dessert? Could she what? We went for the Mimi’s Cork Dry Gin and Tonic Dessert and the Vanilla Carrageen Moss with Seasonal Fruit. Where else would you get them? Beautiful. Terrific finalé to a very enjoyable meal.

Have to say before I finish that the service was excellent here. Our server was busy but still had time for a brief chat or two and a laugh or three. And she spotted that we were out of water before we had to ask for it. On the ball. Just like her hard-working chef-patron.

Desserts, Carrigeen Moss (left), Gin & Tonic.