Showing posts with label Rachel Allen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rachel Allen. Show all posts

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Turbot A Royal Star At Rachel’s

Turbot A Royal Star At Rachel’s

Turbot is sometimes called the King of the Sea and we had a taste of flatfish royalty in Rachel’s last Friday evening, both of us taking the fish special as our main course.

It is a truly wonderful fish and the team at Rachel's certainly did it justice. Served with a basil hollandaise sauce and creamed veg (mainly green), it was a delight. Side dishes of Irish potatoes and a most deliciously dressed salad added to the fish. Indeed, I'd have been quite happy with a plate of those smoky tasty spuds on their own.

A friend of mine from Castletownbere says Turbot (Tubard in Irish) is the finest fish we have around the coast. This large strong predator is highly prized, up there with lobster and Dover Sole. So it can be expensive; ours was priced at €32.00.

Not the most expensive I've enjoyed. That was in 2012 in Nerua in Bilbao (a world top 100 restaurant) and the price then was €35.00 but, served with with rosemary jus and pickled turnip, it was perfection on the plate and on the palate.
Turbot, with Rosemary jus, in Bilbao

Just last year, I had one of the least expensive Turbot dishes ever at the Electric Fish-bar. Pan-roasted Turbot fillets, with a parmesan and herb crust and a rocket pesto was just €15.00. The Electric effort was basic but positively exquisite, all the elements, not least that delicious complementary crust, playing a part.

So back to Rachel’s where there was a terrific buzz in the large comfortable split-level room, the design of which has been termed industrial chic. No live music at that early hour (we started at 6.30) but Myles Davis tunes were on the system there. A cool combination, even cooler with a glass of Vidal Sauvignon blanc from Marlborough (7.50).
Crispy egg on top of this starter.

Starters range from €7.00 to €12.50. But it is quality all the way. One pick was the Jamon Serrano Gran Reserva, Ardsallagh Goats Cheese,  Onion Confiture, Toasted Almonds and Crispy Egg. Quite a plateful in terms of both quantity and quality. No shortage of that expensive and exquisite ham and that crispy egg was a tasty bonus.

Much the same story with our other choice:  Ballycotton Smoked Mackerel, Pickled beetroot, soft-boiled egg, peas and dill. A delicious mix of flavours and textures.
Smoked mackerel

And since we were celebrating a birthday (a little bit late), we also had desserts from a list that includes a 3-cheese cheeseboard, all priced at €6.50. 

Torta di Cappuccino, chocolate ice-cream, hazelnut crumb was my choice and quite good while CL, preferring something a little lighter, found the Apple jelly, crême Anglaise, butter shortbread, cinnamon apple snow tastily appropriate.

Service was friendly and excellent, a minor snag sorted in double-quick time. After the sweet ending, it was time to hit the streets and go in search of some more jazz tunes - easily found considering the weekend that was in it.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Heather’s Sunny Opening. New Gap of Dunloe Restaurant.

Heather’s Sunny Opening
New Gap of Dunloe Restaurant
Rachel Allen and Denis Pio Moriarty at Heather opening.

The sun shone, the band played, the crowd came, saw and approved as Heather, the new restaurant at The Gap of Dunloe, was officially opened by Rachel Allen yesterday. Ailish and Denis Pio Moriarty are the enterprising couple behind Heather, on the same site where Denis Pio’s parents established a shop, “in a shed”, fifty years ago. Amazingly that little shop has grown gradually into an amazing place.

Still some growing to do though. Ailish and Denis Pio have invested here both in the restaurant and in the large split level garden around it. The gardens looked well yesterday but I’m really looking forward to seeing them fully in bloom come next summer.

Rachel Allen, who obviously enjoyed the engagement, immediately saw similarities between the Moriartys and her own family, noting their shared commitment to good Irish food. And the Moriartys had some of their producers there yesterday, including Mountain Man and his craft beers, some gorgeous Kerry cheeses, Sasta Sausages (long queues for their products!), and Maurice Gilbert of Ballyhoura Apples with his great range of apple drinks.
Knockatee cheese
By the way, the gardens, which have amazing views towards the famous Gap of Dunloe, are not entirely decorative. Many fruit bushes have been planted on the slopes and the fruits will be used for jams, relishes and chutneys. And just across the little river that runs in front of the shop and restaurant, the newly built polytunnel is already producing salads and edible flowers for the restaurant and Head Chef Christian Conte is making the best of them.
Lots of samples from the kitchen were available for the guests yesterday. The wine flowed but the most popular drink was the Elderflower and Sparkling Water Cordial. That went down well with young and old and beat tea into second place!

Clare, Yours Truly, Jennifer and Karen

Delighted to meet up with Ailish and Denis Pio again and also with restaurant manager Jennifer Dowling. Also with Greg Canty and Deirdre Waldron of Fuzion who helped make the relaxed event run like clockwork - not that they were waving stop watches or anything. No shortage of tweeters either and we enjoyed the chats with Karen Coakley and Elke O’Mahony.

Heather is now up and running, a far cry from the time when young budding entrepreneur Michael Moriarty went up the mountain many years ago to pick bunches of heather flowers to sell to the passing tourists. A little enterprise goes a long long way!

A lovely day and I’m sure there’ll be many many more of them in the years to come.