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Showing posts with label River Lee Hotel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label River Lee Hotel. Show all posts

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Beats and Brunch. Music and Munch. All Happens at The River Club.


Beats and Brunch. Music and Munch.
All Happens at The River Club.

Cork’s progressive River Lee Hotel has spectacularly transformed its dining and beverage facilities in recent months. The eye-catching River Club is now their ultra comfortable centre. 

Here you can relax and enjoy brunch, lunch and drinks (with the alternative of the adjoining enclosed riverside terrace) and there’s sophisticated dining in the Grill Room. Sophisticated or casual or just in for a drink and nibbles with friends, the River Club is worth a call.

We visited the colourful venue on Sunday as a part of a Media Sneak Peek. Head Chef Paul Lane had a line-up of tempting brunch dishes for us while the music, from vinyl, added to the buzz. Claire and Sinead, rightly proud of the new set-up, greeted us and told us their ingredients come from an array of local suppliers including the English Market and that all their beef is 100% per cent Irish.

Soon their Signature Bloody Mary (Ketel One Vodka, River Club Mary Mix, Lemon and with or without oyster garnish) made a welcome appearance and we were up and running in our comfortable high seats. You also have the armchair option! Enjoyed too one of their Juicery Shots (mine was the Blueberry with Almond Milk and Coconut water). And then followed the Granola (Greek yogurt, seasonal fruit compote).

By now, we were finding out more about the menu, making our choices. I put my eye on the Sautéed Wild Mushroom and Spinach (English muffin, poached eggs chilli flakes, and hollandaise sauce) and I wasn’t disappointed. Far from it. 

CL too was very happy with her choice: Tomato and Avocado Toast (English muffin, poached eggs, chilli flakes and hollandaise sauce). We were both saying that we preferred the muffin to sourdough in the dishes. What do you think?

Also available were the River Club Brunch Special, Eggs Florentine and Toasted Banana Bread. And, don’t worry, on their full menu you’ll find Eggs Benedict and Eggs Royale and more.

And we also had dessert. CL picked the Lemon Posset, a very good one indeed. Meanwhile I was spooning from my tall Chocolate Sundae and sipping from a flavour packed Espresso O’Martini (Kalak Irish Vodka, Black Twist Liqueur, Espresso, Demerara). Both the Kalak and the Black Twist are Irish by the way.

Lots of tempting cocktails on offer, a selection from their Hi-Ball and Classic lists. Very tempted by the Safe Harbour (Kraken Spiced Rum, Ginger Beer, Lime, Murphy’s Irish Stout, Demerara) and the Barry’s Brandy (Courvoisier VSOP Cognac, Cold Brew Barry’s Tea, Honey, Lemon). I did get a taste of the the Brandy but my favourite was the Velvet Lady (Blackwater No. 5 Gin, Velvet Falernum, Cointreau, Lemon). Just perfect!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Jamie Goode: Why Beaujolais is better.


Jamie Goode: Why Beaujolais is better.
Jamie Goode, the wine journalist, book author and flavour obsessive, reckons the move towards natural wine has been a big factor in the renaissance of Beaujolais. 

Speaking at Monday’s masterclass on the region at the River Lee Hotel, the jet-lagged Goode (he had just come that morning from Vancouver), said that the movement (including Jean Foillard, another recent visitor to Cork) has “inspired a new generation”. “It is encouraging to see many more working organically or on the way towards it.”

Goode, like quite a few before him, reckoned that Beaujolais Nouveau didn’t do the region any great favours. The Gamay grape also suffered in reputation. But that is now reversed and there is lots of excitement worldwide about Gamay. He maintained the trend towards lighter wines is also helping as Beaujolais can come up with lighter styles that are still complex and he would use the masterclass to demonstrate that and the the diversity within the region.

He took us back to the time when climate was everything. Find a climate like Burgundy and you can make great Pinot Noir. It doesn’t necessarily follow. The focus is now on soil, the granite here, limestone is also sought after. He doutlined the very detailed work done on soil in Beaujolais and promised us a “very intertesting range”.

Jamie did make a case for the wine critics. “The community of critics can determine which wines are the best.” Though not necessarily unanimously. Sometimes it is not easy. Jamie told us of experts being given Beaujolais in disguise as Burgundy and falling for it!

Oddly enough, our second bottle came in a Bordeaux shape. This was the 2017 Maison Coquard from clay and limestone soils, aromatic, ripe fruits, fresh acidity and “pretty impressive for a regular Beaujolais.”

Up a step then to Beaujolais Villages, this the Moillard 2014, light of colour, moderately aromatic and good for food. Interesting thing here is that one half goes under carbonic maceration, the second is destemmed and ferments traditionally in stainless steel.

Then we were on to the crus starting with the Chiroubles Domaine des Marrans Vielles Vignes 2015 aged for 12 months in old oak foudres, nicely scented with sweet ripe fruit, tannins and some fresh acidity and an excellent finish.

Our Régnié was the most impressive at this stage and not because it came in an almost squat bottle, “a statement” according to Jamie. Ripeness in the scents, fresh yet luxurious, good balance, tannins almost contained and excellent finish. But, like quite a few of the wines on show, not available here and looking for a distributor.

The Saint-Amour, your Valentine’s day bottle, kept the standard up. The Chardigny A La Folie 2017 had direct fruit, smooth texture, tannins too and a hint of minerality, not bad at all from a high density planting.

The Bertand Vuril 2016 from Brouilly, the largest of the crus, comes from “quite a mixture of soil types” including clay, silt and limestone. Supple and elegant with that fresh fruit again, a little bit of pepper, nice mouthfeel and good finish.

Fleurie is one of my favourite crus but the Chateau Gaillard 2017 is not showing great at the moment. It has potential though and Jamie reckons it will age well.

Chateau Thivin, in conversion to organics, has “a high reputation, really solid wines” and their Les Sept Vignes 2016 demonstrated that in abundance. This excellent drop has a lovely structure, good fruit of course, very impressive for a young wine. This estate in Côtes de Brouilly is in conversion to organics.

The Chers Vielles Vignes 2017 was grown on schist soils with volcanic blue stones. I liked this, from the Juliénas cru, with its soft fresh fruit scents, its smoothness on the palate, lively acidity and long dry finish. Very Impressive.
Jamie, with Beverley of L'Atitude (Cork's top wine bar)

The Chénas region was represented by Domaine de Côtes Rémont 2916, fresh and bright, slight grip, nice finish and a “good example”.

Morgon would provide my favourite of the day, the biodynamic Villa Ponciago Les Pierres Bleues 2016. The fruit is grown on a mix of blue schist and ancient igneous type rocks. Complex aromas, excellent fruit, some grip, acidity too and a superb finish. Very Very Impressive. In 2016 and 2017 the quantity of wine produced in Beaujolais was down because of hail but the quality was up.

Moulin A Vent is another well know cru and the 2016 wine here came from Richard Rottiers. This was another with potential, one to wait for.

My Tops:
1 - Morgon
2 - Juliénas
3 - Régnié, Côte de Brouilly

Previous Beaujolais masterclasses

The Beaujolais Irish tour continues: Galway and Limerick, details below




Sunday, April 15, 2018

Grapecircus at Spit Cork. Fantasia. Insania. Campania. Italia.


Grapecircus at Spit Cork.
Fantasia. Insania. Campania. Italia.
Enrico, with square halo, and Aileen

Enrico Fantasia is enthusiastic about wine #77 on his stand at the Spit Cork event in the River Lee Hotel. It is Falanghina ‘Insania’ 2016 by Bambinuto. That Falanghina is the grape variety and the best known variety from this area in Campania is Greco di Tufo which is also produced by Bambinuto.

The vineyard is about an hour east of Naples, yet in 2006 Marilena Aufiero was told she was mad to start her operation here, hence the name Insania. “She took a chance,” said an admiring Enrico, the man behind Grapecircus who are best known for Italian wines. The wine, which has spent six month on lees, is delicious, fresh with minerality. This, and others from the Grapecircus portfolio, are available via Sheridan’s Cheesemongers. Others available online via SIYPS.

Enrico has been described as “the charismatic ringmaster of Italian wines in Ireland”. He also owns a wine bar, Piglet in Temple Bar. It is not his first restaurant venture. “I couldn't stay away.”. While Grapecircus have a strong Italian list, they now include wines from all over Europe, “made by passionate people with respect for nature.. that express terroir and tradition.”

Traditionally, the Castelli dei Jesi wine-producing zone in eastern Italy is noted for its Verdicchio and Enrico’s example was the Saltatempo 2016 produced by La Marca de San Michele. Verdicchio apparently means the little green one and there are tints of green in the colour and apple notes on the palate. This one is soft and round with a crisp acidity and a pleasant slightly bitter finish.

My next white came from the Mengoba vineyard in Bierzo, Spain, the Brezo Blanco 2016. It is a Godello with some Dõna Blanca, produced more or less organically but with no certification. This relatively full-bodied wine has responded well to five months on lees, pretty intense and with a strikingly long finish.

I had intended to try his Muscadet but Enrico wasn't happy with the bottles supplied - just goes to show his professionalism - so I switched my attention to the Albarino. A taster alongside me remarked there is no such thing as a bad Albarino and this Saras 2015 by Entre Os Rios was another good one. Good colour and aroma (tropical fruits), a richer style perhaps than usual, fruity, juicy and a long dry finish. 

Aileen took me through some of the Grapecircus reds, a brilliant mini-tour, mainly through Italy. Starting with When We Dance 2015, the Chianti by the Sting co-owned winery Tenuta Il Palagio. “It is the entry level wine,” Aileen said. “they are just outside the Classico area so it is good value and 2015 was a very good year.” And indeed, this is a very good wine, cherry prominent, and fresh, organic of course.
When we dance

A quick step over to France and to Bourgueil by the Loire and a tasting of Yannick Amirault’s La Coudraye 2016. Yannick is “one of the top producers and is certified organic.” Cabernet Franc is the red grape all around this area. It is noted for its freshness and that shone through this lovely rich wine, Aileen describing it as dense.

Back to Tuscany now and the Rosso de Montalcino Banditella 2014, produced from Sangiovese grapes by Col D’Orcia. This is a super wine from “the area's third largest producer”. “But the focus is on quality. It was a tough year in 2014 but good producers produce good wine even in bad years.” The winery was certified organic in 1999 and this red is a beauty, balanced, great finish.

The Marche in Italy wasn't too far away and my final stop was Fattoria San Lorenzo for their Rosso Piceno Burello 2014, a blend of 50/50 Sangiovese and Montepulciano, their top wine,  rich but not heavy, superb and with a long long finish.

Last week, one hundred bottles of “wine without make-up” were up for tasting in the River Lee Hotel thanks to the combined efforts of four Dublin wine companies. Spit, as the combination is called, consists of Winemason, Nomad Wine, Vinostito, and Grapecircus and virtually all the wines were organic. And there wasn't a dud among them. 


Thursday, April 12, 2018

Nomad Wine at Spit Cork. The Pick of Burgundy.

Nomad Wine at Spit Cork
The Pick of Burgundy
Julian (Bubble Brothers) and, right, Michael (Bradley's of Cork)


Nomad Wine has for the past decade been known as the Burgundy specialists in Ireland. Jérémy Delannoy, who joined founders Thierry Grillet and Charles Derain in 2016, told me that they have expanded into “lesser known regions of France” and that was evident on their stand at Spit Cork. But Burgundy lovers need not fret. They travel there each year to taste the new vintages. With both the founders in the restaurant business, they are strong on food and wine pairings.

Vermentino from the Languedoc is perhaps an unexpected wine on the list but the Domaine Provenquire IGP Pays D’Oc 2016 caught my eye. Very pale yet very enjoyable with the “creaminess” typical of the variety.

Some Beaujolais Chardonnay ends up, quite legitimately, as Burgundy and it is rare enough to find a Beaujolais white in Ireland. Here’s a good one to try: Domaine des Nugues Beaujolais Village 2016, moderate fruity aromas, fresh and pure on the palate, with an impressively long finish.

Jérémy pointed me in the direction of Domaine Goisot, first to their Bourgogne Aligoté 2016. Green highlights in the light gold colour, a melange of floral and fruit in the aromas, also on the palate, a little spice too, well balanced with a long finish. 
Welcome to Nomad

But the big surprise from this producer was the Saint Bris “Exogyra Virgula” 2015, the surprise being that the grape variety was Sauvignon Blanc, a really different and very interesting expression of the grape. Citrus and floral on the nose continue on to the palate where you’ll also note some spice. Drink it young. 

It goes well with seafood, shellfish, fish, calf sweetbreads, cheese soufflés, goat cheese, Comté, Emmental, Munster and Roquefort cheese. By the way, both Goisot wines have a recommended serving temperature of 12 to 13 degrees.

Perhaps my favourite white here was the Jurançon Sec La Part Davant 2015 by Cavin Larredya, a blend of Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng, and Petit Courbou. Peach aromas, but also floral, continued on the velvety palate all the way to a long and satisfying finish.

Then I moved from the south west foothills to the Rhone for the first of reds: Domaine des Lises Equinoxe Crozes-Hermitage 2016. a delicious Syrah, ripe black fruit and lingering finish.

From there it was Burgundy and Pinot Noir all the way, starting with Les Tilles 2014 by Domaine Jacques Cacheux, a striking amalgam of red berry fruit and then a long finish. “Drink now or in another year,” advised Jérémy.

Soon he was pouring the Domaine Raquillet Mercurey Vieilles Vignes 2016. Not too much to say here: beautiful fruit, beautiful body, beautiful finish.

Back a year now to the Maranges 1er Cru Clos de la Boutiere 2015 by Domaine Bachelet Monnot. This is a classic Burgundy with expressive aromas, great depth and texture, fresh acidity and so very well balanced, superb finish as well.

Hard to beat that but Nomad had just the ticket: the biodynamically produced Vosne-Romanée Les Chalandins 2014 by Domaine Jacques Cacheux. Dark fruits on the nose, elegant and silky, complex, one sip to paradise. Great way to end my “visit” to Nomad!

Many of the Nomad wines are available via SIYPS online.

Last week, one hundred bottles of “wine without make-up” were up for tasting in the River Lee Hotel thanks to the combined efforts of four Dublin wine companies. Spit, as it as the combination is called, consists of Winemason, Nomad Wine, Vinostito, and Grapecircus and virtually all the wines were organic. And there wasn't a dud among them. To read our account of the Vinostito stand, please click here . Also at Spit Cork Winemason and Grapecircus.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Vinostito at Spit Cork! No Motor Bike and Wine Without Make-Up.


Vinostito at Spit Cork!
No Motor Bike. Wine Without Make-Up.

Antonio Lorente may have left his motor bike in Dublin but he and Vinostito partner Rafa Salazar made it to Cork for the Spit Tasting yesterday in the River Lee Hotel. Naturally enough, the company is know for its strong Spanish focus but over the last four years or more have begun to add wines from other countries to their portfolio. We love wine, they say, and good wine knows no borders. Not all Rioja wines, for instance, are contained within the administrative area of La Rioja.

I am surprised to see the Basque Txakoli wine, with its high acidity, on restaurant lists here and asked Antonio if it was a hard sell on the Irish market. “It was, at the start,” he said. “But now it is more accepted, it is very good for vegetable dishes and spicy food.” Would love to see an Irish server pouring it from shoulder hight into a tumbler by his waist as they do in Hondarribia and other Basque towns!

Sometimes, for whatever reason, a good wine doesn't take off in the market. We asked him if he thought any of their whites were under-appreciated. He pointed to the Bodegas Contreras Ruiz Edalo 2017 from Condado de Huelva. The grape variety here is the little known Zalema and the wine is very fresh, light and fruity. Very drinkable indeed. That reminds me I have a nephew living in Huelva - I may well be sending him a request before his next visit home.
Yours truly with Andrew (from Manning's, Ballylickey). Pic by Rafa!

Xarel-lo, used mostly in Cava and “seldom seen as a still wine”, was the next grape to explore, thanks to Cellar Pardas Rupestris 2016. This blend of Xarel-lo, Malvasia de Sidges and red Xarel-lo, is produced biodynamically and, like the Edalo, it is fresh and also excellent.

Had a short list of Vinostito reds to taste but that expanded - I wonder why! First I was interested in the Casa de Passarella A Descoberta, Colheita Tinto 2014. This blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Alfrcheiro, and Jaen, from Portugal’s DÃO, had a vivid colour and aromas, great fruit, lovely balance, long finish, quite a charmer all round.

On to the Douro then and Xisto iLimitado Tinto 2015 by Luis Seabra, another excellent red, this produced from a blend of Touriga Franca, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Malvasia Preta and Dozelinho. No wonder the supermarket go mad when trying to get all that onto the label. This wine from the Douro though is well worth it!



Now for another of the wines without make-up - forget where I read that but its certainly applies to Filipa Pato Tinto 2017 and to many of the wines here, most of them organic or close to it. Full bodied, black fruit, velvety tannins and acidity all in comfortable alignment. Amazing.

I’d have been happy to stop there and move on to another table but then I spotted the familiar netting and read the label: Rafael Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva 2005. I had visited tis bodega in Haro and was hooked; glad to be hooked by this brilliant wine and there were similar comments to the left and to the right of me.

If you ever do get the chance, buy (as many as you can) of the amazing aged whites from their Riojan winery. They also do an aged Rosé but only when the year is good, so the supply is scarce. Antonio told me they had managed to get some but alas they were quickly snapped up!

And still one more irresistible temptation from this area, the 2010 Remelluri Reserva, a Rioja Alavesa blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano. Smooth. Spicy. Superb. We hadn’t worked Rafa much but we had him on camera duty before we said goodbye to Vinostito.

Read about
Nomad Wines at Spit here
Grapecircus here
Winemason here

More on Spit Cork over the next few days. Nomad Wines, The WineMasons and Grapecircus were the other companies involved in the event at The River Lee Hotel.



Thursday, February 25, 2016

Whiskey and Chocolate. Best of Taste Mates!

Whiskey and Chocolate
Best of Taste Mates!
On the banks of the Lee:
Frank (left) and Niall.

So there’s a guy drinking whiskey. Not just any whiskey. This is The Pogues, fruity, rich and round, which is being launched in the US next week. But what’s he eating? Is that chocolate? Yes, it is. It is Shana Wilkies Amazones. What? Whiskey and chocolate. Yes, indeed, the perfect pairing. This whiskey and that chocolate meet on the palate and both are enhanced. What more do you need from a food and drink pairing?

That guy isn't the only one indulging. A whole roomful is at it. The room is called the Lookout, part of the revamp at the River Lee Hotel, a lovely room to which the River Lee’s Paula Cogan has just warmly welcomed us (mainly media and bloggers) to this unusual Whiskey and Chocolate Tasting. The guys taking us through the enjoyable evening (24th Feb 16) are Frank McHardy (a very experienced Scottish consultant with West Cork Distillery in Skibbereen) and Niall Daly (proprietor of the Chocolate Shop in Cork’s English Market).


As Paula said, the hotel is always on the lookout for “new local products” and was delighted that the two this evening were amazing and taking their place in the hotel offering. The evening had started in The Hub, a nearby room, where we enjoyed the Rebel Pour, a cocktail by River Lee mixologist Finbarr Collins. Ingredients: 40mls West Cork whiskey, 20 mls Pimms, topped up with homemade Lemonade, garnished with fresh strawberry and mint, an easy-drinking delight.


As we started the tasting, Frank told us he came from the Mull of Kintyre, 12 miles from the coast of Northern Ireland. “I’ve been working for fifty years in whiskey,’ he said. As a consultant he travels widely, soon off to Australia. “Not bad for a 71 year old bugger,” he laughed.
Mixing a Rebel Pour

These were the headline pairings for the evening:
No.
Pairings
Whiskey Flavour Notes
Chocolate Flavour Notes
1
West Cork Original Blend Whiskey &
Michel Cluizel’s Mangaro Lait 50% – Madagascan Origin
Sweet citrus and vanilla, malt. Sweet nougat with hints of lemon zest.
Caramel, exotic fruits, gingerbread, honey with sultana on the finish.
2
West Cork 10 Year Old Single Malt & Domori Occumare 77 – 70% Venezuelan Origin
Malty, toffee, treacle notes. Hints of dairy milk chocolate
Apricot jam, cream and dried fruit. Excellent roundness & persistence, with low acidity and bitterness.
3
The Pogues Whiskey & Pralus Chuao 70% - Venezuelan Origin
Full-bodied, ripe fruits, nutmeg and sweet digestive biscuits
Earthy tones, muscovado sugar, lemon zest – Exceptionally smooth & a fine balance of bitter and acidity.


Sweet things to finish on.

And they were absolutely perfect. But Niall, assisted by Rose, had more than one pairing up his sleeve. When the English Market shop some fifteen years back, they were the first people to stock the famous Valrhona chocolate. But is was a hard sell and they moved very little of it for the first two years. Now their biggest selling bar is a 100%. His own favourite though is the 89% Wilkie's and indeed the Wilkies, made from bar to bean in Midleton, proved quite a favourite on the night.

There were also quite a few tips on the night. Frank cautioned against using ice in your whiskey. “Add a little water - it opens up the whiskey flavours. If you think it is a little cold, heat it up with your hand.” Niall warned us not to store chocolate in the fridge as “the cold damages the chocolate; heat will only change the shape. Store it at room temperature.” And then he had one more tip. You can start your day with it: Add some 100% to your porridge!

As I mentioned, the headline matches above all worked a treat. But there were one of two others worth mentioning, in particular the Vietnamese Marou 80% old plantation, a beautiful pairing with the West Cork Original Blend (75% grain, 25% malt).


River Lee Hotel (top left)
at sunset
Another star was the Akesson’s Single Plantation 75% from Bali, a great match with the 10 year old whiskey and then of course the Wilkies with the Pogues.


The Pogues (50% malt, 50% grain) is quite a whiskey, one that you could easily mistake for a much older drink. But is just the normal three years and one day. Frank: “It shows that whiskey doesn't have to be old to be good. You get those roasted nuts and vanilla aromas, fruity, rich and round on the palate. Quite malty, ginger-y. And don't forget, add a little water to enhance the flavours.”


West Cork Distillers was born from humble beginnings. From the coming together of a food and drinks engineer and his two fisherman friends it now has become a global business selling in over 35 countries worldwide.  John O’ Connell, Denis McCarthy and Ger McCarthy are the three pioneers. They reckon their use of local spring water (“from 3 kms down the road”) is a key factor as this natural soft water leads to a smoother whiskey. Nobody was arguing otherwise at the end of a very interesting and very enjoyable evening in the River Lee Hotel.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Weir Rooms. Pay attention to simple things

The Weir Rooms

Pay attention to simple things
Tomatoes and Mozzarella
 Last weekend, I had lunch on the bank of the south channel of the river, in the Weir Rooms of the River Lee hotel.

By coincidence, that very evening I began reading Chef by Jaspreet Singh in which the senior chef advises his apprentice (the author): Pay attention to simple things… If one cannot deal with a simple dish properly, there is no way one will be able to handle the more sophisticated. Take a tomato, for instance….. give it the reverence it deserves and ask: Tomato, what would you like to become? Do you want to be alone? or do you prefer company? Apricot…. would you like to become more than yourself in the company of saffron?”


Tomatoes and Goat's Cheese

The humble tomato is the link with the Weir Rooms as it featured in our starters. They could, of course, have sent it out on its own, like the famous Alice Waters peach, on second thoughts maybe not! But the chefs in the River Lee decided it to roast it up and give it some company, mainly a soaking in sweet balsamic.

Pay attention to the simple things paid off big time as the tomatoes were one element of a superb starter that also included goat’s cheese wrapped in golden fried kataifi and a well dressed salad. We also got to taste a big ball of Toonsbridge Mozzarella with a similar accompaniment and glad to report that both were excellent.


Quite a choice of starters (some shared plates) and the day's special was a Spiced Butternut Squash Soup. I love Skeaghanore Duck and picked the Crispy Duck Spring Roll confit cucumber, pickled ginger hoisin sauce, another winner, and I loved every little tasty bit as the river flowed by in the sun shine, just outside, well not so much outside as the “shelter” at our side could be lifted to allow more of the the outside in.

No shortage of choice of mains. Included on the list were a selection of sandwiches (including a Slow Cooked BBQ pulled pork), salads (including a smoked salmon special), steaks and curries and so on and also a Fish Pie (from the Specials Board).

We both decided on the Pan fried fillets of Sea-Bass with sea asparagus and Seville oranges and pink grapefruit, acidulated fennel, and pommes noisette. This was a summer-time gem, full of colour, flavour and textures, a lovely little crunch coming via the samphire. Happy out, as we say around here. So happy in fact that we skipped the tempting array of desserts.

Two courses for two, including an aperitif of Campari on the rocks for me, came to €58.45.

The Weir Rooms is part pf the River Lee Hotel Western Road, Cork, Ireland.
Phone:+353 (21) 4252700,  Fax:+353 (21) 4274477

One corner of the Weir Rooms.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Dining On the Banks. Excellent River Lee Hotel Experience.

Dining On the Banks. Excellent River Lee Hotel Experience.
Friday evening and we are shown to our riverside table in the aptly named Weir Restaurant in the city centre River Lee Hotel. We are early but soon the large comfortable room fills up; the nearby bar is already full of groups, large and small, enjoying the food and the drinks. Our menu is promising, from regulars such as Roast Supreme of Skeaghanore Duck to specials like the Ballinwillin Wild Boar Chop.

We meet some of the team, including Head Chef Shane O’Sullivan (sometimes it pays to turn up early), and we are left to make our choices. A glass of ruby red fruity French Merlot (Croix des Vents) and CL’s vibrant New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (Ribbonwood) are sipped as the choices are made.

Great to see so much local produce on the menu and I go for the Panfried Castletownbere Scallops in Lemon foam with a seafood cracker. It is superb. The scallops are as fresh as can be and the Lemon foam, not just for show, plays a complementary role. The other starter, perhaps more substantial, is the Chicken Liver Pate, with Foie Gras and Rosemary Butter, pickled apple chutney and walnut bread crostini, quite an engaging mix of textures and flavours and is also very well received.

The sun gets low to the west and the restaurant team pick the right moment to drop the window shades and so diners continue in comfort. Service here is friendly and knowledgeable, all eager to help.

I get something of a surprise when my main course arrives. The day’s special, the Wild Boar Chop, is rather large! But not to worry, it is dispatched with some pleasure, aside from some of the opulent fat that is left on the plate. The chop is served with steamed asparagus, beetroot puree, sweet potato chips and an amazing warm rhubarb relish. Ballinwillin House is a country house, (with a Hungarian counterpart), near Mitchelstown. Check it out here .

CL often goes for seafood and her mains choice was no exception. Her Grilled Castletownbere Langoustines, the chef’s June Seasonal Signature Dish, was accompanied by a Pea, Asparagus and Seafood Risotto and finished with Iasc Seafood Butter. Another top notch dish.

They serve a great Cork cheese board here but we went for the sweet stuff! And enjoyed it, every bit. My dessert was the Raspberry Tiramisu. Raspberries also featured on the other dessert, the Baked Alaska, one that you don't see too often nowadays. Both were excellent and it was two happy diners that headed off down the sunny street.





Wednesday, April 10, 2013

River Lee Hotel's authentic Cork tasting menu.


River Lee Hotel's
 authentic Cork tasting menu... 
This new ‘The Gathering Package' menu gives visitors to the Rebel County an opportunity to sample foods sourced from local producers in every corner and coast of Ireland’s largest county, without having to take on such an epic journey.  Instead you can take a culinary journey of the senses from scenic West Cork to the fishing villages of East Cork as you whet your appetite with starter options such as ‘Truffle & Honey Scented Ardsallagh Goat’s Cheese’, ‘Sugar Cured Skeaghanore’, and ‘Castletownbere Crab Brulee’. 
Sample a salivating taste of the famous English Market with fresh dishes such as ‘Grilled Fillet of Ballycotton Cod’ and get a sense of the character of Corkonians with the aptly named ‘Optimistic Salad’ - jam packed with superfoods, it provides a witty play on the Cork sense of humour.    And because The Weir Bistro has a policy of making good healthy food available to kids, they also have joined the Irish Heart Foundation's Food for Kids programme so it is focused on healthier options making it perfect break for families. Read more here including full detailed menu,