Showing posts with label Stonewell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stonewell. Show all posts

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Electric's "Cork on a Fork Fest Menu" Highlights Local Producers

 Electric's "Cork on a Fork Fest Menu" Highlights Local Producers

Got ourselves an upstairs window table overlooking the river as we enjoyed the special Cork on a Fork Festival Menu at South Mall's Electric yesterday evening. We had a great view of the sunny scene and the outdoor tables by the boardwalk were packed. 

Local producers are highlighted on the menu including Ardsallagh Goats, Twomey's Butchers, Toons Bridge Dairy, Stonewell, Kinnegar, 9 White Deer, Franciscan Well and Beamish! The menu consists of three courses, costs €35.00 per person and runs until Saturday the 19th of August. There are choices under each course heading and some delicious surprises along the way, including that Beamish dessert! Check it all out here at Cork on a Fork or book direct at Electric.

Both of our starters were top drawer.
The Carpaccio of Twomey's Beef Fillet (above) came with wild mushrooms and shallot rings and was packed with flavour and also much more tender than most of the type, much closer to melt in the mouth, a million miles away from those tough and stringy examples you sometimes come across.

Our other starter (below) was Ballycotton Scallops with Two
mey's Black Pudding and shallot. This is a tried and tested combination enhanced here by quality ingredients.
The third starter on the menu was Ardsallagh Goats Cheese parcel with Blackberry & Apple Compote. Sounds good too!

Must say I was very happy indeed with my juicy cheesy mains, the Toons Bridge Mozzarella Moussaka with Grilled Aubergine, Courgette & Crushed Tomatoes (above). The vegetables, especially the tomatoes, were just superb.

Above, we have your classic fish and chips, another superb dish from the Electric kitchen described as Ballycotton Beer Battered Hake and Chips with minted pea purée, tempura. You had no bother finding the generous fish here as the batter was less than wafer thin.
The third mains available was Twomey's 6-oz sirloin steak with Mushrooms, Onion Rings, Goose Fat Chips and North Cork Garlic Butter

We enjoyed both desserts but the Beamish and Date Pudding with Beamish Caramel and Vanilla Ice Cream (below) got the nod as being the favourite on the night! Dangerously delicious! Not that there was anything amiss with the West Cork Strawberry Mille Feuille with the Strawberry and Prosecco Coulis. 

One for the road? This Stonewell is the one!

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, March 14, 2023

Drinking Beer While Dining Out. Elbow Lane and Radisson Hotel. CorkBillyBeers #18: Craft Beer with Food!

CorkBillyBeers #18

Craft Beer with Food!

Drinking Beer While Dining Out

Elbow Lane and Radisson Hotel

Steak in the lane

If you like a beer when dining out, then it's hard to beat Cork’s Elbow Lane as it is both a smokehouse and a brewhouse.

Black Lager
And, unlike some brewhouses, Elbow Lane are always welcoming to new brews. Such was the case the other night. They even dropped their own fantastic stout in favour of the Ukrainian equivalent called Resist* on draught . 

And they also have the terrific Kolsch from 9 White Deer in bottle. We like our Kolsch around here and this one got an unsolicited ringing endorsement from a friend of ours who enjoyed it recently at a concert in the White Horse and said they thought they were back home in Germany.

Two of our party went for the host's Wisdom Ale, another for the Stonewell Cider. But the one I couldn’t resist was another guest in draught: the Schwarzbier  by the Dublin Brewery Hopburgh (a project of JW Sweetman’s).  A few Irish brewers, including Kinnegar, Whitefield, Whiplash and Lineman, have relatively recently brewed in this German style, essentially a black lager. 

The later history of this style goes back to the toppling of the Berlin Wall (according to World Atlas of Beer) and the re-unification of Germany. “What the five East German states brought back to the nation was Schwarzbier.” It had more or less died out in the west of the country. Those states also brought Angela Merkel of course!

Elbow Lane (pic by JR, one of our group).
Looks like 
the chef in action 
through right hand panel of door

The cool fermentation method used places these beers in the lager style and, as it is made from roasted malt, it has a dark colour and so some of flavours of stout. Quite a happy hybrid as far as I’m concerned.

The brewers say that long cold conditioning means the beer is crisp and clean but the use of toasted malts adds texture and a subtle richer flavour.

I can endorse that, a very enjoyable pint indeed, easy drinking - don’t be put off by the black colour. The ABV by the way is 5.2%. And I enjoyed the company so I wasn’t really taking notes. 

Also I enjoyed my terrific Wood-grilled Rib-eye with toasted Cascade butter, with a side salad and fries. Before that, the Smoked lamb sausage, grilled plum mustard, and brussel kraut, was easily dispatched. I think CL has become addicted to their Slow smoked baby back ribs, with that amazing house sauce.

Radisson Venison Hot Pot

A few days earlier, the four of us had been part of a larger group at a “reunion” dinner in the Radisson in Little Island. Lot of changes down there since I was a kid chasing rabbits around a very rural island indeed, the reward then a glass of lemonade at the Dew Drop Inn (now the Island Gate).

What I did notice in the hotel was that they had two taps, one selling Pale Ale and one Lager, and both badged as Hungry Hills. They say they are their own beers and as far as I know they are brewed locally - must check that out! In any case, I can recommended the Pale Ale.

And the food menu is pretty good here too. Watch out for dishes using Andarl Farm produce. This time though, I said I’d go for the seasonal Venison Hot Pot (Braised venison with bitter chocolate and chili seared potatoes) and it was terrific. Those that choose the Fish and Chips were quite happy as were those that had Salmon and also those on the Chicken Burger. 

Resist is loosely based on a recipe released by the Pravda brewery in Ukraine at the start of the conflict. They encouraged all brewers to produce it as a special as they were busy making Molotov cocktails, so our brewers  did. It is a full bodied stout with roasted malt and a kiss of beetroot and is, fittingly, courageously robust! Profits from it go to the International Red Cross.
** One other dining room I enjoy going into is the Mad Monk by Quinlans in Killarney. Here they have just two beers on draught, both from the local Killarney Brewery, the Golden Spear Blonde and, my favourite, the Casey Brothers Stout. Would love sometime to have a head to head between the Casey Brothers and the Angel Stout from Elbow Lane. No losers there, I'd say!
Smoked Lamb Sausage

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Long May Dede Reign In Baltimore

 Long May Dede Reign In Baltimore

Ottoman Spiced Firik Risotto

When I was growing up (in the middle of the last century), I was aware of three grain crops: barley, oats and wheat. I knew them well, from the time they broke ground to the time they were threshed (the workers enjoyed a bottle or two of the black stuff!). 

Later on, much later on, I became aware of other grains (rye, spelt) and, last weekend in Baltimore, Dede introduced us to another one or at least to another variation: Firik, an ancient grain from his Turkey.

Aged Striploin (Wagyu Dexter cross)

And there was much more from Ahmet Dede’s native country including mulberries, his spice mix, Turkish cold pressed olive oil. Indeed, he has some 50 different spices, oils, molasses, nuts, grains and more from Turkey.

Sourdough and glimpses of Stonewell Cider.

The restaurant in the local Customs House elaborates:  “Our spiced based Turkish fusion cuisine is created by using raw and fresh ingredients from West Cork… An emphasis on beautiful local produce married with Chef Ahmet Dede’s Turkish heritage…”. 

Turkish Delight

And then, to the premium inputs from Turkey and Ireland,  he and his team add amazing technical skills, precision and attention to detail.

We start our culinary trek, no cutlery required for this first step, with a couple of amazing snacks. One is based on a biscuit made from mushrooms, a toothsome squeeze of mature Coolea, then a sliver of onion, all crowned with a spicy crisp. The other was the dolma,  a top to bottom segment of poached onion stuffed with rice, topped with smoked yogurt and caviar, and decorated with chive flowers. 

Red Mulberry Vacherin

What a beginning! And it just got better. As we made our delightful way through the many courses, we said “that was the best” and repeated the phrase again when the next one came along.

But this next one was truly amazing, an illustration that this Irish-Turkish fusion was giving us the most amazing food. It was the Spiced Lobster Bisque, Brown Crab Manti and Caviar. The fish of course came from the waters around the nearby islands and the cape.


Around this point, he introduced us to his beautiful sourdough bread along with the Turkish olive oil and the Irish butter from Gloun Dairy. 

Now time for another gem: Langoustine, radish, pea, smoked Crème Fraiche, and spiced consommé. And it just got better with the Cod, Chicken, Butter, Grapefruit, Lobster, and Fermented Chili Oil. The cod is not a rare fish on Irish menus but rarely do you get it so pristine and beautiful as this, singing on the plate. Of course it had a classy chorus to accompany it.

Rice pudding tartlet

Course six was soon in front of us, the only meat of the day, a Wagyu and Dexter cross Aged Striploin, Ottoman Spiced Firik, Mint, Carrot, Kumquat and Isot. The meat, from Macroom, was excellent and yet it was that Firik that stole my taste buds, quite an amazing “risotto” with the grain looking like pearl barley but so much more flavoursome. In fairness, the grain and the meat together were quite the main course.

It was to be cheese and sweet all the way after that and so we switched from Stonewell Cider to Killahora Ice Wine, just as the Red Mulberry Vacherin (a soft cow’s cheese), pomegranate, wood sorrel, young meadowsweet, arrived on the table. It looked beautiful but, we were “ordered” to smash it with the spoon. And, having taken the photo of course, we did the vandal bit and then tucked in and enjoyed every large and little fragment.

Hazelnut Bon Bon

Next a trio of small sweets were introduced: Hazelnut Bon Bon, Blood Orange & Cardamom along with the best Turkish Delight I’ve ever tasted.

And yet one more treat before we made a leisurely farewell. As with all the previous courses, our friendly and efficient servers (and there were quite a few) gave us the details and, on this occasion, the chef showed amazing precision as he made the most flawless quinnelles to top the Sütlaç ‘Rice Pudding’ Tartlet.  

Killahora Ice Wine. Delicious

And that topped our memorable 10 course lunch at the Michelin Star restaurant. Thanks to Dede and Maria and to their lovely staff. Long may they reign in Baltimore.

Baltimore Video (short)

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Sunday Lunch at Ballymaloe House is one to experience time and again

Sunday Lunch at Ballymaloe House is one to experience time and again. 

Sweet Spots!

“This is not cheap food, it is food that has been loved and cared for by knowledgeable producers.  We think that it is Ireland's best.” Myrtle Allen. 

Sunday’s lunch in Ballymaloe House showed how well loved the local food produce is by the kitchen staff and by us, the customers. The food on the plate speaks for itself. It is indeed all on plates (no flowerpots), no nitro show, no foams, no coloured dots.

Beetroot starter

Still, the food here is very well presented. It looks appetising. And it is. That is soon confirmed. The experience - and even without the dots, the flowerpots, the nitro and the foams - this is quite the experience, aided in no small way by the culture of calm courtesy and quiet efficiency of the reception and serving staff.

So we are seated in one of the high-ceilinged rooms, not the only such room in use on the day. We have ordered. Soon, our server is back with an offering of delicious cheese croquettes (not mentioned on the menu!) which we enjoy while we wait for our starters.

Fritto Misto

And that’s when it began to get serious, seriously enjoyable. For this is a comfortable experience (not just the chair) - you won’t be left wondering what you have on your plate, nothing is deconstructed here.

My starter is Sesame Crusted Fritto Misto di Mare with Roast Garlic Aioli and Parsley oil while CL has the Ruby Beetroot Fritters with Preserved Lemon Salsa and Farm Yogurt. 


The fish (soft and white) on my plate are squid and ray wing, the aioli and oil a key part of a deftly crusted dish that you don’t come across everyday, really really excellent. And as is often the case it is the little things on the plate that can make the difference, that Salsa and Yogurt lifting the local beetroot to a different level.


Other starters available included Cannellini Bean & Chorizo Broth; Spinach Gnocchi with Roast Cherry Tomatoes; and Pâté Maison.

Virtually everything is local here, much of it ultra-local as it comes from their own walled garden and farm. 


They don’t have their own wine but they are trying! There is a quite a list presented to us and we pick the delicious Picpoul de Pinet, Château Petit Roubié,  one of the house whites, at €8.50 a glass or €30.00 a bottle, and one that we know and love from the Mary Pawle portfolio.While this list is quite large, there is also the fuller list, one that you may need to start studying before you travel! 

I did notice quite a few local drinks on the house drinks list, including their own gin, beers from the Cotton Ball and Blacks of Kinsale. As the designated driver, I was very happy to see the Stonewell Non Alcoholic available (€5.00 a bottle), one of the best of its type in the country and one that I enjoyed again.

Time now for the main event and soon CL was tucking into the Pan-seared Ballycotton Cod and Scallop with Bretonne Sauce and Braised Florence Fennel. A superb piece of well cooked fish, well teamed with the fennel and the Bretonne. Perfection on the plate.

I was every bit as pleased with the Roast East Cork Leg of Lamb with salsa verde and crushed Swede Turnips. Another highlight, again not mentioned on the menu, was the redcurrant jelly (that came in the most attractive spouted mini serving boat) and the jelly made the already toothsome lamb even more so. Our main courses were served with Scallion champ along with seasonal Roast Carrots and Parsnips.

Other choices on the day were Clancy’s free-range chicken with Tarragon stuffing, Kilmacahill Beef Cheeks Braised with shallots and Marsala jus, and Gently spiced aubergine, St Tola Cheese. 

Ballymaloe in January 2022

Over the decades, Ballymaloe has become loved for its ultra tempting Sweet Trolley, a tradition within the tradition of the house hospitality. Between us, we came close to getting a little bit of everything including individual Blackberry and Apple tarts, Raspberry Compote (perhaps my favourite), a power-packed Tiramisu, and other melt-in-the-mouth treats.

And still we weren’t finished. Ballymaloe Fudge, more melt-in-the-mouth, was served with Golden Bean Coffee (roasted just across the road that runs between the old house and Grainstore). Tea lovers had the pick of Herb Tea or Barry’s Tea.

A little “ramble”, past a few busy dining rooms, took us to the desk to pay up and, as is often the case here, another friendly chat. Never a rush in Ballymaloe House. After all, you are made to feel “at home” in this comfortable place with its engaging staff and magnificent food.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Beer of the Year 2021. The Reveal!

Beer of the Year 2021

Very difficult to separate the contenders but the nod for my Beer of the Year goes to the Brehon Brewhouse Oak & Mirrors Cask Aged Imperial Porter. Brehon: "Whiskey-aged porter from a collaboration with our good friends at TWO STACKS using their freshly emptied single malt cask to mature our brew. Of course, getting it right took a few tastings with the lads. This is a superior whiskey cask-aged imperial porter that will please the most discerning of whiskey-loving palettes. Limited edition.."

1 - Cask-Aged Brehon Brewhouse Oak & Mirrors Two Stacks Whiskey Cask Aged Imperial Porter

 2 (joint) - Yellow Belly “Red Noir” Dark Red Ale

                  Whiplash “Melodie Noir” Baltic Porter

4 -       Mescan Brewery Old Brown 

5  (joint) -   Western Herd Flora and Fauna 10 Hop DIPA 

                 - Hope “Limited Edition No 25“ Classic Gose

                 -  Dungarvan “Mahon Falls” Rye Pale

8 - Galway Bay NZ Pils Motueka Dry Hopped Pilsner

Mescan's Old Brown


Below are more of my favourites from the past 12 months. I'm lucky to have a great supplier here in Cork City and virtually every brewer in the country will know of Bradley's in North Main Street. There's a wall of beer there but I'm conscious that quite a few others don't make it this far south and so I've used various online shops to broaden my scope. If you feel, your beer is missing out, do please let me have a DM with info as to where I can buy it.

Category favourites 2021

Pale Ale:  White Hag “Magic Mist” Juicy Pale Ale (from a very competitive section)

IPA (also very competitive!): Blacks St Tropez IPA Summer IPA 4.8%

Session: Eight Degrees Seisíun IPA 4.5%. No shortage of competition here.

Lager: Galway Bay NZ Pils Motueka Dry Hopped Pilsner 4.9%, from a crowded field

Less competitive categories, even sub-categories

Coffee and Oatmeal Stout: Dungarvan Brewing.

Cask-Aged: Brehon Brewhouse Oak & Mirrors Two Stacks Whiskey Cask Aged Imperial Porter 7.5%; 

Porter: Whiplash The Sup

Rauchbier: Kinnegar 20÷2 Anniversary Rauchbier 5%

Barleywine: Eight Degrees Irish Oak-aged Barleywine 12.2%

Old Brown: Mescan

Spon: Land & Labour Crimson Kriek Framboise

Baltic Porter: Whiplash Melodie Noir Baltic Porter

Wheatbeer/Witbier/Wheat: Curious Society Wheat Beer

DIPA: Western Herd Flora and Fauna 10 Hop DIPA, 9.45%

Black IPA: 9 White Deer Black Lightning; 

Rye Pale Ale: Dungarvan “Mahon Falls” Rye Pale Ale

Bitter: Lough Gill Five Candles Extra Special Bitter

Stout: Ballykilcavan Blackwell Stout.

Kolsch: Rye River Grafters Clocking Off Kölsch Style

Red Ale: Yellow Belly “Red Noir” Dark Red Ale 4.5%

Gose: Hope “Limited Edition No 25“ Classic Gose

Non Alcoholic: Stonewell 0% Cider

Amber Ale: Kinnegar Devil’s Backbone 

Sour: Wide Street “Peach Berliner”Sour or Wheat? 

Brown Ale: Whiplash “The Ocean Wide” 

NEIPA: Heaney New England.


Favourite beer in brew pubs:

Crew “Polly” IPA.

Also enjoyed:

Cotton Ball "Lynch’s" Stout (Cork City); Elbow Lane's "Angel" Stout (Cork City); and Tom Crean's "Six Magpies" Stout in Kenmare.


Favourite Cider 2021: 

Stonewell Cask

Also enjoyed:

Johnny Fall Down Rare Apple Cider 2019. Longueville “Mór” Cider 8%.

Others to note:

Mac Ivors Traditional Dry Cider; Viking Orchard Cuvée; Con’s Irish Cider; Viking Hop It Craft Cider; Highbank “Proper Irish Cider” 2016. 

Irish Perry

Cockagee Cider Piorraí Irish Sparkling Perry