Showing posts with label Sketch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sketch. Show all posts

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Where's the Beef? Ten of the best in Cork City

Where's the Beef?

Ten of the best in Cork City

(beef round-up for 2022/23)

Brown's Brasserie at BT Jan 2023 €15.50
French Dip: Rotisserie North Cork Sirloin, Emmental Cheese,
Caramelized Onion Emulsion, Red Wine Jus, ODB Sourdough

Impressive steak salad at Liberty Grill Aug 22

Cork City has had a long, and continuing, history in beef. Such was the scale of the trade here in the 18th century that it was known as the slaughterhouse of Ireland. 

And it wasn’t just Ireland. In 1756, France and Britain were at each other’s throats in the Seven Years War and “the Great Ox-slaying city of Cork” emerged as the Royal Navy’s preferred supplier for beef, pork and butter.

So where’s the beef now? Let me take you on a lunch-time tour of the city and check out what is on offer. Some terrific beef-based dishes in Liberty Grill, Market Lane, Nua Asador, Oliver Plunkett, On The Pig's Back, Sketch at The Imperial and Woodside Farm, Bella Napoli and L'Atitude 51and all were enjoyed over the past few months.

We’re starting with a beauty at Liberty Grill on Washington Street: a seared beef salad (vodka and chilli marinated fillet strips, chargrilled on leaves with balsamic onions, rustic potatoes, red peppers and toasted pecans) was outstanding, a highlight being the palate pleasing combination of the meat and balsamic onions. A terrific dish for €15.50.

Market Lane: Korean bulgogi steak sandwich
Dec 2022

Now (a different day, of course!), it is the turn of Market Lane and their superb Korean bulgogi steak sandwich on sourdough baguette, chilli, sesame and soy marinade, carrots, spring onions, lime mayo and with a helping of excellent house chips (€16.90). The marinade is key here and the kitchen certainly did it well and the meat was top quality; the sourdough was moistened as well and they all worked so well together, enhanced by the crunch of carrot strips and the onions, the salad leaves and those very tasty fries. A terrific dish and well priced.

Picanha Steak by Nua Asador May 2022

We make a visit to the Marina Market and the Nua Asador stall where Chef Victor Franca, in partnership with Tom Durcan Meats, serves up, without gas or electricity, just fire, the best of Irish beef in a Brazilian style. You’ll really enjoy the Picanha Steak with sourdough bread, grilled baby potatoes, chargrilled onions, Farofa, and Chimichurri Sauce (13.00).

Oliver Plunkett's Seared Steak Sandwich July 2022

It was a visit to the Oliver Plunkett that started me on this beef trail. Here’s why: Seared Steak Sandwich was worth every cent of the €18.95. Four generous slices of beef wrapped in Garlic Ciabatta, with a red onion and Smoky Bacon Jam, Pepper Jack Chips, Brandy Pepper Sauce and a Little Salad.

I wasn’t letting go of this, clinging on until the last bite. It was sensual, an enthralling mix of textures and flavours. The steak was ace,  cooked to perfection and so easy to slice. And then the enhancement, that garlic ciabatta, the onion and the bacon jam. The Brandy Pepper Sauce was another major player on the palate, deeply enticingly enhancing everything else. The salad too was perfect and then those Pepper Jack Chips, cheesy, tasty, delicious.

On the pig's back with Bourguignon Beef Baguette Oct 2022

Next stop is Douglas to visit On the Pig’s Back and enjoy their Bourguignon Beef Baguette: Braised Beef Brisket, Mushrooms, Bacon and Pearl Onions on Toasted Arbutus Baguette with Red Wine Jus. Just five-star lunch-ing, spot-on for the cool day, quite a warming ensemble, robed deliciously in the red wine jus. Love the French touch!

Delicious steak at Sketch Oct 2022

Here we are in Sketch, the bright and airy dining room in the lovely Imperial Hotel, a room where new executive chef Ali Honour is making her mark. There was a group of us and the Steak Sandwich (6oz Sirloin, Onions, Garlic Butter, Focaccia, Lettuce, Tomato, Fries) for  €19.00 proved very popular, ordered by three of the seven adults. The meat and the Focaccia were absolute top notch and all three were well satisfied.

Beautiful! Beef Burger by Woodside Farm Oct 2022

Alphabetically, Woodside Farm is our final destination and they are found every Thursday in Mahon Point Farmers Market (and at other markets on other days). They are perhaps best known for their magnificent free range pork but they also do a highly rated Beef Burger and serve it with relish and salad in a lovely bun, for 8 euro  (if I remember rightly). Superb meat and great value.

All their offerings are cooked and filled in front of you, and there's a chat as well, as the salads and relishes are added. And, if necessary, they even provide a tailor-made insulated envelope to take your purchases back to the office or home.

Bella Napoli Dec 2022

Bella Napoli came up Rigatoni with Ragu Napoletano with six-hour braised beef in an onion and tomato sauce served with rigatoni pasta and bruschetta (17 euro). I hit the jackpot here. This was beautifully cooked, the quality of the beef was top class and plenty of it as was also the case with the ragu. Very happy with this one.

L'Atitude pic Dec 2022

Slow-Braised Beef Cheeks, Celeriac Mash, Spiced Pickled Cranberries (a cool inclusion) was one of the highlights of a recent visit to L'Atitude, a superb dish in an impressively expanded menu and well worthy of inclusion here. More details at

* All these dishes enjoyed relatively recently but remember that menus and chefs change.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Ali Magic The Extra Ingredient In Sketch Menu At Imperial. πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

Chef Ali Magic

Extra Ingredient On Sketch Menu


Brunch and lunch customers at Sketch in the Imperial Hotel can expect some delicious surprises in the weeks and months ahead. The menu was always attractive but now you can add in the Ali Honour contribution, the X factor that the well-known chef displayed in abundance at her city centre venue Ali’s Kitchen.  

Ali has just been appointed Executive Head Chef at the Imperial. The comfortable and eye-catching Sketch was the venue last Friday for a media preview of what to expect, an event that also marked the first birthday of Sketch. 

Hash Royal with Goatsbridge trout

“That year has flown by,” said enthusiastic GM Bastien Peyraud as he welcome his guests for the lunchtime tasting. My highlight from the menu was the Hash Royal featuring Goatsbridge Trout with Potato, Poached Egg and Hollandaise sauce, all in its own saucepan! 

On their already famous birdcage (used mostly for Afternoon Tea) came a Savoury French Toast (with Creamy Mushrooms, Spinach and Gruyere). And then there was the Cork Monsieur, Ali’s take on the iconic French snack with the superb O’Connell ham, BΓ©chamel and Gruyere. Local produce is be supported on the new menu and next up was the Corn Fritter with Pea PurΓ©e, Mint Yoghurt and Ardsallagh Feta.

Anyone for steak?

The finish was quite a delight. The Toffee Apple Chia Pot was quite the treat, a well judged combination of the toffee and the crunchy apple itself. And I lingered long over the other dessert, the Sweet French Toast with seasonal compote, vanilla mascarpone and hazelnut crumble. I may well be ordering that again next time I’m in (which will be soon!).


We had a lovely start as well with an alcohol free Cocktail and an Ardsallagh Crispy Goats Cheese with Romesco, an amuse bouche that certainly engaged the taste-buds, alerting them ready for the delight to come.

The Cork Monsieur. O’Connell’s Ham, Bechamel, Gruyere

Ali herself came out for a chat and she didn’t let us go away empty handed, everyone happy to head off into the afternoon sunshine with one of her renowned Cinnamon Buns. Went down well at home with a late afternoon coffee!

For info on Sketch, including opening times and contact details, please click here 

Brunch Bowl
Poached Egg, Hummus, Tenderstem Broccoli, Quinoa, Roast Peppers, Onions,
Sweet Potato, Salad, Herb Dressing
Dining out in Ireland? Cork in particular. Check out our up to date reviews here
Restaurants, cafΓ©s, and trucks included.


Monday, October 3, 2022

Celebrating 1 year of Sketch in the City as New Executive Head Chef Ali Honour joins the Imperial Team

 Celebrating 1 year of Sketch in the City! 

New Executive Head Chef Ali Honour joins the Imperial Team just in time to

launch an exciting new brunch menu as part of Sketch’s first birthday celebrations
Welcome from GM Bastien Peyraud and new
Executive Head Chef Ali Honour.

Events planned for the birthday weekend include a live music brunch on Saturday 8th October and a yoga brunch on Sunday 9th October!

Cork’s Grande Dame, the Imperial Hotel, is celebrating this October as they mark one year since the launch of their vibrant cocktail hot spot Sketch, which was recently voted as one of the top cocktail bars in the city. The venue faces onto the newly pedestrianised Pembroke Street, off the South Mall.

The award-winning luxury boutique hotel has also announced the appointment of their new Executive Head Chef, Ali Honour, who is well known in Cork foodie circles, and an exciting new brunch menu.

In the first 12 months since opening, Sketch has become a place to be seen in the city, with its elegant interiors, Instagram walls, sumptuous food sharing platters and
bespoke cocktails, made with fresh ingredients by inhouse mixologists. Sketch offers
both style and substance with its strong focus on local ingredients, delicious food and
sustainability which informs everything that goes on the menus.

The appointment of Ali Honour (formerly of popular Cork eatery Ali’s Kitchen) to the position of Executive Head Chef at Sketch and The Imperial Hotel is exciting news on the Cork food scene and represents a strategic new direction for the hotel. Hotel GM Bastien Peyraud, who took over the role two years ago, has put a strong focus on the hotel as a stand-alone dining and social destination that serves quality local, sustainable food.

“We want to become known for heartfelt food in the heart of the city and this is exactly what Ali creates, so we are very excited to announce her appointment. Our new food direction will include more homemade comfort foods packed with flavour, which modern diners crave when eating out, while still maintaining the style and
sophistication you would expect from a luxury boutique hotel.”

A new brunch menu will launch in time for the one-year celebrations at Sketch.
Jampacked with flavoursome treats the menu will include Sweet French Toast with
seasonal compote, vanilla mascarpone and hazelnut crumble or a Savoury French toast topped with creamy mushrooms, spinach, and gruyere cheese. 

If poached eggs are your idea of peak brunch yumminess, then try the Corn Fritters which come with avocado, poached egg, chilli and coriander dressing. Or opt for the Brunch Bowl which has poached egg, hummus, tenderstem broccoli, quinoa, roast peppers, onions, sweet potato, salad and a herb dressing. 

Putting a local twist on a classic the Cork Monsieur Toastie has O’Connells baked ham, bechamel and gruyere. Another toastie option is the Kimchi and Cheese Vegan Toastie. For meat lovers the steak sandwich with fries is sure to appeal, the sandwich features a 6oz sirloin, onions garlic butter, focaccia, lettuce, and tomato. The final menu item is a delicious, spiced lamb flatbread with Ardsallagh feta, mint, yoghurt, mango chutney, salad, tomato and onion. 

The Imperial has also organised two fabulous, brunch events on the weekend of 8th/9th October to showcase the new menu. On the 8 th October from 12-4pm, Sketch will. add live music to their Saturday brunch featuring Cork pop singer Aine Carroll who was contestant on season 5 of The Voice UK.

A ‘Stretch at Sketch’ yoga brunch will take place on Sunday 9th at 11am. Tickets cost €59 an it includes an energising morning with a health shot from the Imperial's head chef Ali, a 45-minute yoga class with yogi Val from Soul Retreats Cork and After the workout guests will enjoy 3-courses of gorgeous fresh local produce from the new Brunch menu at Sketch (vegan and vegetarian catered for), and attendees will be given an energy ball to take home. This event is suitable for all levels of experience. Must bring your own mat.

Brunch with live music on Saturday or the Stretch at Sketch event can be booked Bastien continued; “We are thrilled to celebrate a hugely successful first year and are excited to continue to elevate and innovate both our food and cocktail offering. I think the appointment of Ali to the Executive Head Chef role will bring a lot of passion, creativity, and flavour to the table. 

Our commitment to sustainability informs everything we do, and she genuinely shares that ethos, making it a great fit. As a leader Ali prides herself on bringing the whole culinary team along on the journey, whether it’s encouraging creativity in terms of designing new dishes or offering ongoing training to upskill everyone in the kitchen to help them progress in their career and allow individual talents to blossom.”

Find Sketch @ The Imperial Hotel on For bookings
use the Table Path booking feature . The events must be pre-booked.

Press release

Monday, October 18, 2021

Sketch opens at the Imperial. Cocktail and Birdcage with Grace and Jazz.

Oriental Martini
Sketch opens at the Imperial.

Cocktail and Birdcage with Grace and Jazz.

You’ll see illustrated echoes of Jazz and Princess Grace when you visit Sketch, the classy new Wine and Dine venue at the Imperial Hotel. Sketches by Ethan Desmond (From the Sketch Up) evoke the good times when Princess Grace stayed here some sixty years ago and also the hotel’s enduring links with the annual Jazz festival in this comfortable corner with its overall Rus en Urbe vibe created, with a light touch, by Sandra Looney of To Have and To Hold.

Les bon temps rouler

Let the good times roll! Grab a buddy and dust off those glad rags and head for the Sketch entrance on Pembroke Street (though you can of course access it also through the South Mall entrance). Here, relax and enjoy a cocktail or two and, of course, a Bird Cage full of top notch snacks, the produce sourced from the nearby English Market.

#2 Birdcage
We had the privilege of doing just that last weekend when the official opening took place. Hotel GM Bastien Peyraud had a warm welcome for his guests: “We are truly delighted to launch Sketch and to welcome you all to the opening. The Imperial family have worked incredibly hard over the past year, and we are extremely proud of our focus on local, sustainability and what we have created overall. The most important thing to us is creating memories and I anticipate Sketch will be a fantastic melting pot of people, style, music, good food and great drinks.”

And fair play to Bastien and his team as they went on to illustrate exactly what he had in mind for the rest of very enjoyable evening with superb cocktails and those tasty Birdcages! 

The mini cocktail on the way in, a welcoming shot of Glendalough Rose Gin and Taittinger, set the mood and, after that liquid amuse bouche, a good time ensued.

Appropriately, the first cocktail delivered to our table was Princess Grace, a delicious one of Ketel One Vodka, raspberries, Triple Sec, their own champagne syrup and Prosecco. 

The opening shot

They have a few smoked cocktails on the regular menu and we enjoyed the Spike Island (Oak Smoked Spike Island Rum Old Fashioned).

The most popular drink of the evening appeared to be the Eau De Champagne. The mix here is Taittinger Champagne, Glendalough RosΓ© Gin, Homemade Rosemary Syrup, Egg White.

There was a bit of theatrical fun to end with. The final cocktail, Lemon meringue (Ketel One Vodka, Lemon, Pineapple, Homemade Limoncello, Meringue) was served with the selection of petit fours. The ooh and aah bit came when the Meringue was blow torched at the table.

The regular menu has four Birdcages, each inspired by the English Market: Sushi, Charcuterie, Cheesy and Meaty.

The Princess Grace

Our selection, an extensive sample of what is available on a regular Sketch night, came in two servings. First top was Charcuterie & Cheesy with Tom Durcan’s Spiced Beef, Gubbeen Salami, Iberia Chorizo, Gubbeen Smoked cheese, Cashel Blue, Ardsallagh Goats Cheese, and Carrigaline Garlic and Herb. 

Quite a start to the evening and that was soon followed by Meaty, Seacurterie and Vegan and here we were tempted by Fribbins BBQ Glazed Ribs, Imperial Spiced Wings, Southern Fried Tenders, and Asian Duck Roll. The fishy bits were Peeky Toe Crab Roll, Sake Salmon, Torched Seabass and Ballycotton Smoked Salmon. And the third plate had Grilled Courgette, Ras El Hanout Spice, Avocado Mousse, Vine Tomato, Plum Tomato and Basil Bruschetta.

If you do call in, you don’t have to stick strictly with the cocktails and Birdcage. There are small plates of ribs, wings and Ham Hock Croquettes for instance. And, on the drinks side, there are many wines, also Prosecco and Champagne (including a flight for €20.00) listed. There’s a full bar at hand, so plenty of beers, gins and whiskeys to choose from. 

Read all about Sketch, including full menus, here.