Showing posts with label Pier 26. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pier 26. Show all posts

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Ballycotton's Pier 26. A Natural for Fish!

Ballycotton's Pier 26. A Natural for Fish!
These delicious Crab Claws came with Garlic Butter and Organic Leaves. I think I've have preferred it if the claws hadn't been released from the shell. But they had and I missed that little bit of a tussle! Better outcome though than last year in a West Cork dining room when they came entire and I was presented with a plastic hammer!

In Ballycotton's excellent Pier 26 restaurant, head chef Colin Hennessy can't write the menu (at least the fish part) until the boats come in at the pier below. Only then does he know what he has to work with and that is why you'll find most of the fish dishes on the Specials Board. There is a lovely bar alongside, even a handful of rooms, all now under the Pier 26 name.

We were there recently - be sure and book before you go - and enjoyed our meal from start to finish. Fish, of course dominated, at least until the desserts!



We started with a couple of aperitifs. I enjoyed my Kir as I looked out the large window in front of me towards the island and its lighthouse. If you are in the inner room, you'll miss that view. CL had her back to the water as she concentrated on her Pimm's (left).



Fresh Crab with pickled gooseberries and organic leaves. An unusual combination but another excellent starter.

Roast Fillet of Hake, summer greens and pickled fennel. Just perfect. By the way, you get some fabulous sides here as well including Buttered Mash, Skinny Fries,  Buttered Summer Greens, John Kennefick's British Queens, Truffle Aioli and Parmesan Fries...

John Dory is a favourite here. This winner is served with Purple Broccoli, Heritage tomatoes and the combination with that seafood bisque is hard to beat.


No fishy dessert, that I know of. This flower enhanced Pavlova with fresh strawberries, blackberries, poached apricots and Chantilly Cream (and a bit of rhubarb too) was a beauty while the Raspberry Soufflé with white chocolate ice cream (below) was just the ticket to finish off an excellent meal.

Next time I'm down, I may well try this Seafood Platter. What do you think?


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

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Dine by the Water

Dine by the Water
Superb food and superb views

Bunnyconnellan's
I’ve been very lucky this past few years to have dined in some well placed restaurants and cafes, places from Cork to Donegal that have a dining room with a view over water. Sometimes over a river, maybe over an estuary, over a lake perhaps, and then sometimes over the ocean. I was lucky too to have brilliant weather in most of the places.
Carrig Country House

Caragh Lake is in Kerry, not too far from Killorglin, and you have great views over its waters when you dine in the splendid Carrig Country House
Screebe House - their photo

There are some similarities between Carrig House and the lovely Screebe House  in Connemara; great food and great views. 
Blairscove

And in West Cork, near Durrus, there is Blairscove House. Here you can enjoy a splendid dinner and views over Dunmanus Bay.
Breakfast view (just a small section of it!) from the Trident's Pier One

There are no shortages of views in Kinsale. One of my most recent visits was to Man Friday on the hills above the bay Man Friday. And another recent visit was to the Trident Hotel, right in the town and so close to the waters that you think a boat is going to come through the dining room windows.
Sunrise at Garryvoe
The Samphire at the Garryvoe Hotel has expansive views of Ballycotton Bay and the lighthouse, excellent food too. And across the bay, its sister hotel, the Bayview has an even more spectacular cliff-top situation.
Hake at Celtic Ross
The views at Rosscarberry’s Celtic Ross, where French chef Alex Petit maintains a high standard, are quieter but no less pleasant.
Cliff House View
Ardmore’s Cliff House is renowned for the food, the views over the bay and their 3-word tweets!
Pier 26
Back again to Ballycotton and to Pier 26. This restaurant overlooks the harbour and the lighthouse island and the fish is highly recommended, of course! And down in Schull, L'Escale is right in the harbour area; the lobster here is a must try.


And if you really want a 360 degree ocean view while dining then take a trip from Ringaskiddy in Cork to Roscoff in Brittany on board the Pont Aven.  Splendid food and views!

Dingle

For harbour views, you'll find it hard to beat the sights as you come and go to Dingle’s Out of the Blue. And close by is the Boatyard. Fish will be on the menus of both for sure. Then again, there's a splendid view of Cork Harbour from the tea rooms at Camden Fort Meagher (below).
View over Cork Harbour from Camden Fort Meagher

Rosapenna

No shortage of seaside restaurants in Donegal. One of the best is the Seaview Tavern in Malin Head village even if the view to the sea is somewhat interrupted by the cars parking across the road. No such problems at the Rosapenna Golf Hotel, whose dining room overlooks Sheephaven Bay and the beach at Downies. Further west, the bar at the Cove at Portnablagh, another top restaurant, overlooks a different part of the same bay.
The Bayview, Ballycotton

Perhaps the best ocean view is that enjoyed from your table in Bunnyconnellan’s, a very pleasant view and very enjoyable food here at this renowned Crosshaven (Cork) venue.
Islander's Rest on Sherkin
Back to West Cork and to Baltimore and Le Jolie Brise where I’ve sometimes enjoyed a dish of mussels as the day drew to a close with the island of Sherkin out in front. Speaking of Sherkin, the Islander's Rest sure has great water views!
Ostan Gweedore
Hard to top that. One view that comes close, maybe level, maybe even better, is from the Donegal restaurant of Ostan Gweedore where there is the most fantastic view over the beaches and the waters of the Atlantic.

Turbot at Electric Fish Bar
Perhaps you prefer river views. One of the best in Cork is from Electric, especially from the Fish Bar. From the first floor of the South Mall building, you have fine views of the southern channel of Lee to the west and to the east.
River Lee Hotel, top left
Also in the city, you hand almost dip your fingers in the Lee as you wine and dine at the Weir Rooms of the lovely River Lee Hotel.  
View from the Spinning Wheel in Dripsey Garden Centre

The Spinning Wheel, above the same River Lee, is at the very popular Griffin’s Garden Centre in rural Dripsey. Here you can enjoy some of Granny Griffin’s delights as you watch the water-skiers speed by down below.

Never know what you might see passing as you dine in Cobh
You have no shortage of harbour views in Cobh where you’ll find The Quays and The Titanic Bar & Grill.  And you’ll also find pleasant estuary views not too far away at Murph’s  in East Ferry. 
Kenmare Bay
The Boathouse at Dromquinna, near Kenmare, is also well situated, right on the northern flank of the bay. And, in Limerick, the place to be is Locke Bar
Locke Bar's water-side tables

The Puffin Cafe on Long Strand, Castlefreke, Co.. Cork, is my latest addition (09.07.17). It overlooks that long beach and the ocean.

Have you a personal favourite view over water while dining? If you'd like to share, please use the Comment facility below.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Ballycotton: Bites And Boats. Even Goats!

Ballycotton: Bites And Boat.
Even Goats!
Goats and Gulls on the lighthouse island
Very enjoyable visit today to the Seafood and Shanty Festival on the pier at Ballycotton. We got there early, just in time to catch the boat for a trip around the lighthouse island. The lighthouse staff, now long gone from the island, used keep goats. There are seven up there now, up with the gulls. The building under the lighthouse, in the picture below, was the last building and such an improvement on the previous quarters that it became known as the Ballycotton Hilton. Great trip for a fiver.
Ballycotton Island, the side facing the sea.
Bill Casey's smoked salmon presented by
Ballymaloe Cookery School
Back on dry land, it was time for lunch and quite a choice around the pier. Some inviting things as you might expect on the Ballymaloe Cookery School stall and we started with some of their chicken liver pate and some smoked salmon, both on brown bread. Main course was the Fish and Chips by local restaurant Pier 26, great value at six euro. Also got some sushi for later on this evening from Okawari. Dessert would have to wait a while and mine came in the shape of a slice of Plum and Pistachio Cake when we called to meet friends at the lovely SPP cafe in nearby Shanagarry. There was also the small matter of a carton of Wexford strawberries from a roadside stall in Midleton!
Fish & Chips by Pier 26
Had been thinking that there might be traffic problems in and out of the village. But the folks down there know their business and, with their directions and just a little patience, we had no problem at all, either on the way in or out. Well done to all behind the festival, a big thumbs up from this quarter.

Watch out for these
at Wilton Market
Big Girls

Rachel Allen has had more impressive sets.
But she herself was impressive as always,
tossing away a couple of bad avocados in her stride.

Pistachio and Plum cake at the
delightful Stephen Pearce Potter Cafe, SPP Cafe in Shanagarry

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Get Your Fish. At Pier 26


Get Your Fish At Pier 26
Plaice and crab..
It’s a sunny Sunday, the final one in May; the beauty of Ballycotton is enhanced. And a delicious lunch awaits in friendly Pier 26.

But first a little walk, down the steps to the bottom of the cliffs, a sun trap and a great view of the cliffs themselves, of the nearby island and the lighthouse. All this, right on our doorstep.

Just as well we had booked ahead as most of the restaurant has been block booked by  a christening party. A warm welcome and soon we were studying the menu and a packed specials board. We had expected fish and that board was full of it: John Dory, Haddock, Hake, Plaice, Scallops, Squid, and Gurnard.
Vanilla roasted peaches
CL picked the Pan fried John Dory, carrot purée, tender stem broccoli, garlic and thyme roast potatoes, seaweed butter. An excellent dish, even if the carrot was missing, its absence noted about halfway through!

How many people check their dishes as they arrive to see if every element is present? In any case, we go out to enjoy the food as a whole, not to study every little detail. I fully agree with the well known Rhone winemaker who has said: “Two people talk about love, the poet and the gynaecologist. I prefer the poet.”

And enjoyment was also the operative word as I tucked in to my Poached Plaice, organic spinach, crab, fondant potato, sea vegetable cream (they do a fair bit of foraging here!). An superb combination, so well presented and enthusiastically dispatched, along with a glass of the rare Pazos De Ulloa blend of Torrontes, Treixadura and Palomino. Our other glass was from Australia, Berri Estates unoaked Chardonnay, another refreshing wine.

Top cheese
The dessert list is short enough but full of quality and we got two very good ones indeed. One was the divine Vanilla roasted peaches, Elderflower syrup, lemon Thyme, Madagascar Vanilla ice-cream, Almond brittle.

And the cheeseboard was highly impressive, billed simply as Selection of Irish Artisan cheese, Honey, oatmeal biscuits, Cockburns aged port. The drop of port and the little jug of honey were accompanied by Gubbeen, Toons Bridge smoked Scamorza, Bandon Vale Cheddar and the creamy Cashel Blue and those biscuits were quite a treat as well.

Took our time with that lot. And then it was out of the shade and into the sunny paradise outside, a short stroll down to the pier itself to get a different view of the lighthouse and take in the activity (not too much of that, aside from a few swimmers) on the pier. It will be much different this coming Sunday when the annual Seafood & Shanty festival takes place!

Ballycotton
County Cork
Tel: (021) 206 1449
Twitter: @Pier26cork
Hours
Wed-Thu:
5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Fri-Sat:
5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Sun:
12:30 pm - 7:30 pm