Showing posts with label Skeaghanore. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Skeaghanore. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Ichigo Ichie goes again! And I’ll be going again. Friendly informal feast with Michelin flare!

 Ichigi Ichie once again. 

And I’ll be going again!

Duck with Nori potesala

Ichigo Ichie's 2024 version isn't just good, it's captivating

Ichigi Ichie goes again! It was good (good enough for a Michelin Star) in 2023 and previously. The 2024 edition is a diner's delight as the Fenns Quay restaurant now has more choices, credit-card friendly prices and still amazing quality (and almost immediately a Michelin Bib). It's the kind of place I certainly want to go to again. Encore!!

It is the last Tuesday of a far-from-dry January. Quite early in the evening and the two sections of Takashi Miyazaki’s reimagined Ichigo Ichie Noodle and Natural Wine Bar are more or less full by six o’clock and the delighted staff tell us the weekends are even busier, so do be sure and book ahead.


The same staff are also welcoming, friendly and helpful. And we certainly needed a few pointers when it came to the choices on offer. That offer is in two parts, the A La Carte which has a handful of starters and then three sections of main dishes. One is headed Rice Dishes (Doburi). Two come under the Handmade Buckwheat Noodles title, one section cold  (Hiya), the other hot (On). 

These noodles are the stars here and you’ll have plenty of choices. Oroshi bukkake soba - grated mooli daikon, ginger, sobatsuyu in the Hot for instance, nanbun soba- Skeaghanore duck, hay leek, scallion in the Cold.

Cantina Rallo's rosso and Original 7 Pale Ale

I have to admit though that we were captivated by the Specials Board, almost as expansive as the A La Carte, full of tempting dishes, even more enticing because there is a mix of small and larger plates, mostly designed for sharing. This second edition of Ichigo is much less formal and more fun. As it happened, everything we had came from the blackboard, leaving Takashi’s noodles for the next visit.

Local Ingredients, Unexpected Delights

Local suppliers are supported here. Indeed, the likes of Garryhinch Mushrooms and Skeaghanore Duck, both feature more than once over the two menus. Hongos (€15.50) al la plancha Kamo Yaki, mushrooms with egg yolk, turned out to be a terrific “starter” for us though I’m sure the other mushroom dish would also be fine.

Expect the unexpected. Tripe, an old Cork favourite, features and was given a flavoursome and palate-pleasing twist by Miyazaki. The “Tonchan” came with cabbage, bean sprouts, Fukuoka-style tripe stew, ginger and garlic (€13.50).  


A beer by Original 7, the brewery based in the Franciscan Well in the North Mall, is available on draught here. Had to try that pale ale and it just so happened to be a perfect pairing for the tripe!

O’Mahony Butchers of the English Market supplied the beef for our next dish. The fillet came with egg yolk, Cucumber, Moyahsi, and Namul (€16.50). We were tipped off in advance that this was something like a carpaccio and so it proved. But the marinated beef, super tasty with all its accompaniments, was cut, not into thin rounds but instead into finger-sized strips, the better to take up the marinade! Delicious.

Panna Cotta

Our largest dish of the evening featured Skeaghanore Duck (€22.00). It arrived charcoal grilled with Hay Leek, grilled scallion, leaves, Sansho salt and an unexpected garnish of potato with Nori that went down very well indeed.

Sweet Endings

The delicious delights didn’t stop there. I’d say you’d find it hard to get a better apple dessert than his Matcha Panna Cotta with caramelised apple, lycee ice cream and hazelnut praline, our favourite, and we got the impression it is a staff favourite as well. Just two desserts were available and the Gubbeen Smoked Cheese Cake with Wasabi ice cream was impressive also, even if the apple stole the sweet show.

Gubbeen Cheese Cake
Drinks Galore

This 2024 Ichigo Ichie doesn't lack drink options. A craft beer exclusive from Original 7, Beamish on draft, and an amazing, all-natural wine list curated by Le Caveau await. While the three Jura wines sit at the higher end, don't miss the house red and white from Sicily's Cantina Rallo at a budget-friendly €7.50 a glass. And there's much much more in between!

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Glass Curtain reveals its Cork on a Fork Fest Menu. Tried and tested last evening.

 Glass Curtain Reveals Its Cork on a Fork Fest Menu

The Glass Curtain was packed last evening as the popular Cork restaurant revealed its menu for the Cork on a Fork Fest that continues from today until Sunday with over 100 events scheduled. The good news is for the lucky punters who have booked as they will sample the Glass Curtain menu every evening with a booking between 5.00 and 6.00pm while the bad news for others is that the event has been booked out for every day.

The menu costs €38.00 for three courses (starter, main and dessert) but you can also treat yourself to a snack and also a special cocktail (both extra). And of course they have quite a wine list here also and I noted the Cotton Ball beers were going down well last evening. The restaurant supports local and that can also be seen in the menus.

Our starters last night were Skeaghanore duck terrine, house pickles, rhubarb relish (top) and Sticky beets, pistachio cream, Sobhriste cheese. The beets and cheese were probably my dish of the night. The cheese is a crumbly, younger, milled-curd style, like a Caerphilly/Lancashire. Sobhriste, meaning fragile or delicate, is aged for roughly 6 weeks. It has a subtle, slightly lactic flavour, with a crumbly texture and biscuity rind. Delicious. And the terrine was excellent also!


The Grilled mackerel, spicy padron broth, nasturtium was the third starter choice.

I was on a dry night, but that was no bother as I was able
 to enjoy a couple of bottles of Stonewell Non-Alcoholic
Cider. I reckon this is one of the best 
non-alcoholic drinks,
if not the best, in Ireland.

On to the mains now and CL was impressed with the BBQ cod, San Marzano tomato, courgette, and bouillabaisse sauce while I enjoyed my Lost Valley Dairy rare breed pork, grilled beans, rowan berry jus, cauliflower (especially the pork belly). Sides (optional) included Potato Terrine (pictured with pork), Summer Salad, and Greens.

The third choice in this section was the Grilled Peri Peri courgette, tempura courgette flower, pumpkin seeds, courgette.

Delighted to see the fabulous fruit of West Cork Bushbys featuring not once but twice in the desserts and that made the choosing easy. CL picked the Bushby's strawberry, ricotta ice cream, oat biscuit while my choice was the Milk chocolate crémeux, chocolate sablé, Bushby's raspberries, and yoghurt sorbet. No regrets there! Though I'm sure the Carraignamuc farmhouse cheese, honeycomb, and cheese biscuits would have been delicious as well.

A sweet end to a lovely buzzy evening of terrific food and service. 


Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Excellent Elbow Lane Continues Leading Smoking and Brewing Role as 10th Anniversary Approaches

Excellent Elbow Lane Continues Leading Smoking and Brewing Role as 10th Anniversary Approaches

Duck breast

The Sharpe brothers, Ronan (manager) and Harrison (chef), have recently been appointed to the two top roles at Elbow Lane, Cork’s iconic Smokehouse and Brewery as it moves to celebrate its upcoming 10th anniversary. 

But it was an old favourite that I first turned to on last week’s visit.

I’ve often said here, and elsewhere, that their Angel Stout is one of the very best, a superb combination of hops and malt, made with the restaurant's food in mind. My very first sip confirmed previous impressions as the roasted malt showed well in the flavour. The hops  - Hercules Germany, Pilgrim UK and Williamette USA - go in early in the process and their bittering qualities make for a lovely balance, a delicious pint and even better with the dishes that follow.

Duck in blankets

The menu is written daily and is divided into Snacks, Small Plates and Mains. Of course, there are sides too and you could well have an enjoyable meal from that list which includes the likes of Blue Cheese Creamed Greens with almonds; King Oyster Mushrooms in panko crumb with Chorizo and aioli; and Baby Potatoes, crème fraiche, malt syrup and fine herbs.

To get up and running, we picked one from the Snacks: the Duck in Blankets, Berbere, herb yoghurt and one from the Starters, the Confit Octopus, roasted salsa, pickled red onion and ancho mayo. Berbere, a spicy mix, is a key ingredient in the cuisines of Ethiopia and Eritrea. And it is their use of spices, seasonings and sauces from around the world that really set Elbow Lane apart. Both the duck and octopus benefitted from their judicious application the other night.


On Friday, 19th August, as part of Cork on a Fork Fest, Elbow Lane Brewery will showcase its limited-edition range of award-winning beers. Join head brewer Russell Garet for an informal, informative and FUN tasting in the restaurant. More details here.


Outstanding Deep fried pork belly

Pork Belly
I was pleasantly surprised to be offered a taste of the deep-fried pork belly with fish sauce caramel, chilli and peanut. This starter is a testament to the skill of Chef Sharpe (at work less than 2 metres away) who is able to create such a delicious and flavourful dish with just a few simple ingredients. 

The pork belly is perfectly cooked, with crispy skin and tender meat. The fish sauce caramel adds a sweet and salty flavour, while the chilli and peanut provide a bit of heat and crunch. If it is on whenever you call, it is well worth considering. I’ll certainly be ordering it next time as it is probably the best expression of pork belly that I've ever come across.

For our main courses, we chose the lavender honey duck breast and the wood-grilled ribeye steak. Both dishes were outstanding. The duck breast was tender and juicy, and the lavender honey sauce gave it a unique and delicious flavour. The ribeye steak was cooked to perfection, and the smoked cascade butter added a touch of richness. A serving of the excellent Elbow Chips (another of the sides) also embellished the meats as did a sip or two of that excellent stout.


Aside from Skeaghanore Duck, Elbow Lane also supports local producers such as the Allshire Family, Tom Durcan, K. O’Connell, Rossmore Oysters, Churchfield Community Gardens, Singing Frog Gardens, The Olive Stall and On the Pig's Back (both for cheese), Irish Gourmet Butter, Glen Farm (for goat), Mr Bells (spices and seasonings), Minch Malt, Killahora Orchards, Stonewell Cider, local gins, and also 9 White Deer (gluten-free Kolsch).
Ice wine by Killahora

Speaking of drinks, another that we enjoyed over the evening was their own Elbow Lager. They don’t over-process, and use old German brewing methods. The lager has a slight haze, is unfiltered and takes 6 weeks overall. This continental-style lager is particularly refreshing and owes its flavour to Pilsner and Munich malts and "Noble" hop varieties imported from Germany and Czechia. It weighs in at 4.4% ABV (same as the stout) and the hops used are Saaz, Hersbrucker (for its subtle aromas) and Hercules (for its bittering qualities) and is recommended for lighter dishes.

Dessert? Yes, please. Our choice was the Elderflower and mascarpone sorbet, pistachio crumble, white chocolate rice pudding, strawberries, and long pepper syrup. Lovely sweet amalgam, easily eaten at a relaxed pace. Of course, that pleasant sensation was infinitely enhanced by a glass of the Killahora Rare Apple Ice Wine. Just the job after an excellent meal.

By the way, it is not all meat here. There are vegetarian options and also a fish option (it was John Dory on the bone the night we were in). Add in the excellent friendly and helpful staff (they know the menu), always the case here, and you are on a winner. 

Check the menu here

Elbow Lane is part of the Market Lane group that also includes Market Lane, Goldie, ORSO and the Castle Café.

On Friday, 19th August, as part of Cork on a Fork Fest, Elbow Lane Brewery will showcase its limited-edition range of award-winning beers. Join head brewer Russell Garet for an informal, informative and FUN tasting in the restaurant. More details here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Happy on The Hill. Badass Brunch at O’Mahony’s

Happy on The Hill. Badass Brunch at O’Mahony’s

Planet Dessert

Brunch in O’Mahony’s of Watergrasshill is that bit different. Certainly you may have your eggs and bacon and maple syrup and they do a French Toast. But the dishes here, based on local and seasonal, have their own outstanding character as we soon found out.

I suppose what really stands out when you scan the menu is the amount of local producers that are mentioned. That French toast is on Arbutus Bread and the bacon is from Fitzgerald's. 

Then, there’s Ardsallagh goats cheese, Adam’s eggs, Skeaghanore duck, Knockalara cheese, Glenbrook Farm pork, Goatsbridge trout caviar and also the marvellous Yum Gelato. On the drinks side (including cocktails) you’ll find Blackwater Distillery, Valentia Island Vermouth, Stonewell, 9 White Deer, Killahora and Blacks of Kinsale among others.

Rosti with duck, bacon and eggs

Our small group were soon sorted and the order went in. I was tempted by one of the specials: Rossmore Oysters, Spinach and Shallot and Vermouth Sauce but in the end went for the House Potato Rosti, Poached Adams Eggs hollandaise, Skeaghanore confit duck leg, and Fitzgerald’s streaky bacon. 

Quite a precarious stack but a lovely meal, everything cooked to perfection, full of gorgeous flavours and with a lovely crunchy texture in the rosti and bacon, soft in the eggs and the shredded duck was the usual high quality you expect from its West Cork producers. Another of our party also enjoyed this one.

Turbot and scallop special

CL meantime (who had her eye on the rosti initially), settled for the the other special: Turbot, scallops on toast with Langoustine sauce. “Settled for” is probably the wrong phrase as this drew envious glances as it was served and lived up to its promise. Another top notch dish from O’Mahony’s kitchen. Our fourth member enjoyed his Fitzgerald’s striploin steak, Adam eggs, chips and hollandaise, so a very happy quartet indeed.

And the finish was also superb, harmonious even as all four of us picked the Spiced crème brûlée tart, strawberry and cream Yum Gelato. That particular Gelato is perhaps my favourite of the extensive flavours from Yum Gelato and that tart was indeed well spiced (I think there was a decent drop of rum in there). Full marks too by the way for the coffees.

Steak, eggs, chips

They do evening meals there on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 5.30 and I got a copy of that menu. Much more extensive than lunch or brunch and every bit as tempting. 

Victor, who does front of house with Máire, told us that Chef Phelan is very strong on Italian and his Knockalara agnolotti, with Raw Lough Honey and Hazelnuts, has been known to stop the conversation when delivered to the table. So there’s a tip for you!

Lunch is served between noon and 3.00pm Thursday to Saturday. The brunch window on Sunday is 10.30 to 2.30. Bookings at 086 8316879 or

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Saturday night buzz at Pigalle Kitchen in Barrack Street

Saturday night buzz at Pigalle Kitchen

Turbot starter

Hadn’t been to Barrack Street’s Pigalle for quite a while. With our 6.00pm dinner reservation, we were among the first to get to the venue last Saturday night, and it was quiet. Only for a moment! Five minutes later, the place was full, the buzz began and never stopped. We joined with the engaging staff, as the music played, lots of chats and laughs began, and in between there were a series of expertly thought out and executed dishes from a menu that is not repeated anywhere around this town.

Many restaurants do of course use local produce and so does Pigalle: Skeaghanore Duck, Kilbrack Farm, Macroom Buffalo, Ballea Lamb (via O’Mahony’s in the English Market), Velvet Cloud, Valentia Island Vermouth, West Cork Tofu, Rossmore Oysters and much more. Lots of good organic and natural wine here also, a selection of cocktails, Beamish of course (it is the drink in this street) and also Franciscan Well. Glad to see also that Sligo’s White Hag had two taps and we went on to enjoy their Lager and Atlantean IPA.

Duck, pic via Pigalle

We skipped the opening snacks of Rossmore Oyster with Tomatillo Chutney and the Courgette Bhaji with Macroom Buffalo Ricotta. Concentrated on the starters of which there was a short but tempting selection including a special of Razor Clams, Nduja, White Hag's Atlantean IPA Sourdough. Another featured Ballyhoura Wild Mushroom, another Macroom Buffalo Bocconcini.

No shortage of spices here and both of our choices had some. CL’s was Skeaghanore Duck Laab, House Sriracha, Kohlrabi Som Tam, Purple Basil (€10.00). Also known as Larb this a lively and lovely salad and was very much appreciated. 

I picked the Turbot Ceviche, Cucumber, Yuzu, Pickled Chilli, Vietnamese Coriander (€10), a gorgeous palate-waking dish that combined South American and Asian in a cosy old spot on an ancient Cork street. Is the world getting smaller or what? No doubt though our tastes are expanding as peoples interact across the globe. Wouldn’t it be great if we could keep all interactions peaceful.


It wasn’t all peace and quiet here in Pigalle. Here, you talk that bit louder, laugh a little louder. There was a party in the back room but the happy vibes were all over the place and we took it all in as we sipped the beers and waited for our mains. They didn’t take long. The crew here have time for the chat but are also on the ball.

I had the wonderful rump of lamb, a captivating combination of Ballea Lamb, Marquez Sausage, Aubergine, Smoked Beetroots, and Velvet Cloud Sheep’s Yoghurt (26). A slightly offbeat ensemble really but it all came together gorgeously, the lamb had of course the lead role yet everything else on the plate, especially the beetroot and the yogurt, had their moments. Bravo! And thumbs up also for our other mains, the fish special of Pan fried Bream with Valentia Island Vermouth Velouté, Confit Fennel, and Charred Leeks (€24).

The other choices available were Smoked Peanut Sambal, West Cork Tofu, Buckwheat Noodles, Sprouting Broccoli,Tomatillo, and Blackened Hake, Scallop, Langoustine Curry Butter, Pickles, Squid Ink.  

There were sides also on offer and we picked the Fried Rooftop Farm Potatoes with Hazelnut Parsley Butter (4). That rooftop farm is downtown, in Cornmarket Street, and their Green salad was another of the sides.

We weren’t, at a quick first glance, immediately impressed with the three desserts on offer but, considering what had gone before, a second reading was in order and was followed by an order. Good decision! 

We went on to enjoy the Killeen Cumin Goat's Gouda, Templegall Cow's Cheese, Apple Jelly, & Crackers (€10) and also Blackberry & Cider Jelly, Marshmallow, Honey & Lavender Ice Cream (€8). The Blackberry & Cider jelly was excellent while the cheese (in generous quantities and enhanced by the superb apple jelly) was a treat. I always enjoy Hegarty’s but hadn’t come across this Killeen before (will be looking out for it now).

* Pigalle are continuing with their 3 courses for €35 option on Wednesdays and Thursdays, where all the dishes are from the main menu and that means good food and great value.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Tour de Gastronomie. Greene's Kitchen Skilfully Manage The Bounties Of The Seasons .

Tour de Gastronomie


Greenes Kitchen Skilfully Manage The Bounties Of The Seasons

It’s early on a September Friday evening and the courtyard between Greenes Restaurant and her now grown-up sister Cask is abuzz with diners. We make our way through to the waterfall and turn right into the restaurant and there’s a warm welcome from sommelier Frank* who combine(s)d his wine duties with restaurant manager. 

We were in early, early enough for their excellent value Early Bird (5-6pm). Other choices also available, including Prix Fixe, A La Carte and Tasting Menu. After a fair bit of “reading” and double checking, we settle on the Prix Fixe (55 euro a head) and we will not be at all disappointed. Au contraire!

The excellence here begins in the fields, the seas and the forests, with farmers, growers, foragers and fishermen, in Cork and in the region generally. It is meticulously maintained and cooked and presented by the team in Greene’s kitchen. And it is served with accuracy and smiles by the front of house team. 

We’ve made our choices and our wines have been brought to the table. A glass of Grüner Veltliner (Steiniger, Kamptal, Austria), light, fruity and with crisp acidity, for her; a glass of Lingenfelder Fox Label (Pfalz, Germany), deliciously juicy with ripe fruits by the German family for me. Both glasses are 175ml by the way, as large as you’ll get anywhere in Ireland.

Then there’s a surprise unlisted set of snacks, salmon sushi style, a creamy apple-topped soup and a pork belly croquette. Super bites and signs of the goodness to come. Delicious breads on the table also.

I started with a colourful and wonderful plate of Glenmar Salmon Gravlax, Toasted Almond Milk, Parsley, Pickled Red Onion, Crispy Capers. The salmon and the toothsome red onion were the main duo and the milky sauce helped it all on its delightful way.

My second choice (from five) would have been the Heirloom Tomato, with Basil Yogurt, Grapefruit, Vanilla, Sunflower Seeds, Tomato Water and CL loved it. There was a bit of sharing going on, there always is. I enjoyed my bits no end, as did she. Next time, we’ll have to swap courses!

Then it was on to Market Chicken (from Twomey’s of Macroom) and, as always here, the breast meat was soft, tender, succulent, moreish! Especially with the Coconut and Lemon Grass, Sweet potato, Bok Choi, Crispy Chickpeas.


Again, we had five choices and my pick was a favourite, the Skeaghanore Duck Breast (medium rare), with Carrot, Braised Endives, and Jus and more. Tasty and toothsome, this consistently satisfying dish is a must if you like duck. By the way, all main courses come with a side of vegetables and potatoes to share. Needless to say, these were spot-on.

Desserts can often be a letdown in restaurants. Quite often the lemon posset is no great shakes. But it is a different story, different class, here and the Lemon Posset and Raspberries, Oatmeal Lace Biscuit, Raspberry Sorbet is highly recommended by CL. And I can honestly give a major thumbs up to my Dark Chocolate and Hazelnuts Torte, Praline Caramel, Barley Ice Cream. 

* Suppliers, just to give you an idea of the provenance here, include: Waterfall Farm, Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms, Scup Gelato, Glenmar Shellfish, Ballycotton Seafood, Skeaghanore Duck, McCarthys of Kanturk, Michael Twomey (Macroom), Ardsallagh Goats, and Bushby Strawberries. Just a few names, list changes by the season.

* Frank Schiltcamp, who told me last week, publicly announced on Twitter on Sunday last that he was leaving: 
After 7 amazing years, today was my last day in It's been an absolute pleasure working with such talented people throughout the years but now it's time for a little sabbatical. Thank you guys, you've been nothing short of legendary!

Best of luck Frank and enjoy!!! And best wishes also to Head Chef Veronica and to new manager Noel.