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O’Connor Butchers Expand. New Mayfield Cafe & Food Hall
Saturday December 2nd was a big day for the O'Connor family. What would the weather be like? They wondered. But they needn’t have worried. The sun shone and the music played, a big crowd showed up, even Santa appeared, as they officially opened their impressive new premises in Mayfield, a new premises that incorporates their long-running butcher shop business plus a brand new Food Hall and the lovely new Old Bank Café.
Why Old Bank, you might ask. Well because the new building stands on the Iona Road site occupied for many years by the Permanent TSB bank.
All quiet on a Sunday morning.
I met Sinead Daly, the café manager, one afternoon last week and she proudly filled me on the story of the O’Connor family. The business started back in 1988 with the closure of Byrne’s in Ballincollig. Cormac O'Connor took a chance and, starting with a small van, began to fill the gap and now they deliver in both west and east Cork, to hotels, butcher shops and more.
By 1996, Cormac opened his shop on Boherboy Road, just off the North Ring Road, in Mayfield. And now, twenty years later, the tireless entrepreneur has moved that business the short distance to Iona Road to a purpose built building that includes the Food Hall (hot and cold deli) and the busy café, the first and only facility of its kind in the area.
So great credit to Cormac. From that one man in a small van, the business has grown to twenty employees! Sons Cormac and Rory are now on the road, delivering east and west. The O'Connor family specialise in pork and bacon.
Sinead says they are now busy with Christmas orders, turkey and ham of course. Their traditional Christmas Cub is very popular. And another popular tradition is their Spice Beef. "Great aromas around the back these days!"
The Deli in the Food Hall opens at 7.30am and closes at 6.30pm. The Breakfast Bap is flying out the door. It is well priced: a fiver for the packed bap and tea or coffee. Another popular product here is your dinner on a plate: meat, vegetables and potatoes, fresh from the kitchen. A big ready-to-cook plate for €5.95 or two for a tenner. Good value and very convenient also.
The Food Hall is well stocked. Some good locally produced products on sale there such as Spice o’Life Sauces from Dunmanway and baked goods from Hassetts in Carrigaline. Watch out for the weekly offers and also popular, among the sporting fraternity, is the Protein Pack.
Sinead opens the Old Bank at 8.00am and soon the breakfast orders are coming in. The Full Irish (with tea or coffee) is in demand at €9.95. And you can have the mini-version for €5.95. Their Eggs Benedict, she has been told they “are the nicest in Cork”, is very popular and available for most of the day.
If your morning appetite is on the “small” side, why not try the Soft Poached Eggs or the Smoky Beans on Toast. Looking for something on the healthy side? They've got a Puffed Spelt and mixed nut granola and Porridge comes complete with Lemon Curd, seeds, berry compote, banana and honey.
Moving on then to lunch-time, you’ll be spoiled for choice. There’s their Roast of the Day and the Burger (all local meats by the way). Did you know that O'Connor’s hit the foodie headlines when their Glazed Ham was chosen to feed the hungry crews of the Clipper 09-10 race on Lapps Quay? Well that very ham is also on the lunch menu along with various salads and toasties.
Aside from breakfast and lunch, there are mid-morning and mid-afternoon opportunities to call in and relax with tea or coffee (loyalty card for regular coffee drinkers) along with scones, croissants, and pastries and more (Eggs Benedict for instance is on all day). And you can bring the kids. They’llenjoy some of the usual suspects but also have their own ham or chicken sandwich and will certainly be delighted with the highly rated Baldwin’s Ice-cream.
Baldwin’s are a farm in Knockanore, West Waterford and their inclusion on the menu is one way in which the café’s policy to use “the best seasonal and artisan produce available” is being achieved. The place was more or less full in mid-afternoon last Tuesday and it looks as if Sinead’s aim to make it “a great place to meet, socialise and eat” is on its way to being realised.
* Appropriately, since there is no longer a bank in Mayfield, the new premises includes an ATM.
Picked up a can of this Curry Sauce (it is made in Dunmanway by Spice O’Life) at the new O’Connor’s Butcher Food Hall in Mayfield that features some other artisan products as well.
There are some basic curry instructions on the side but no harm in adding carrots, mushrooms, onions, peppers, whatever you've handy, to the mix. And of course, you’ll have rice as well.
When cooked, just pour the sauce over the lot and fold in. That's what we did and were pleasantly surprised at the result. This sauce is excellent, our Taste of the Week.
The West Cork company “develop, create, and manufacture the solution to your sauce, marinades, dressings, spice, seasoning and new product development needs” and their other brands include Dip!t, Marinade Me, Insanely Good and Presto!
O’Connor’s, by the way, have a large bright building where the old Permanent TSB were and also a busy café called, appropriately enough, the Old Bank.