Showing posts with label The Barn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Barn. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Time to try The Barn. Spacious and comfortable with friendly service and huge choice of good food

Time to try The Barn. Spacious and comfortable 

with friendly service and huge choice of good food

Jack McCarthy Black Pudding Salad.

If you haven’t been to The Barn recently, you're in for a big surprise. It is big, much bigger than it was less than three years ago. Renovated and expanded, it now has covers for some 300 people - in comfort.

And, judging by our recent visit, it is taking it all in its stride, every day from 8.30pm until late. Its large car park is close to full all the time as patrons stream in for breakfast, brunch and (more recently) dinner.

We were there for lunch on a showery Tuesday afternoon and it was busy, not packed, just busy. Lots of couples, family groups (it was still school holiday time), birthday parties,  larger groups, and no shortage of smiling chatty efficient staff to deal with it all.

They spotted us quickly and soon we were seated. Had we been here before? We answered no and they quickly and concisely explained how it works. The carvery is up there on the left. Otherwise your order can be taken at the table. Or you can  scan a QR code at your table and send your own order and then pay for it, all over your phone. Oh and by the way, this is a cashless restaurant.

Some of the staff and much of the comfort of the old restaurant remains and there is a great buzz about the place. It is huge, really huge but you don’t really feel that you are in a large “barn” as the long building, all on a split level ground floor, is informally broken up into about six different dining zones. We were in #4 (these are not signposted or anything like that, it is all a bit casual but all very efficient) and our table was T410.

Apple Tart

You have a Breakfast menu (8.30-11.30 am), a Brunch menu (8.30am- 4.00pm), the Carvery (from noon until 7.00pm), an All Day menu (from noon until 7.00pm), and recently a Dinner Menu (from early evening until 9.00pm). Add in an impressive bar service and you’ll be well taken care of, no matter what time you come, as will the kids.

From the bar, you can may get wines (a short list, but all by the glass), lots of bottles of beer (including a couple of craft from the local brewery), mainstream beers on draught, spirits of all kinds plus quite a list of cocktails. And on some nights, they have music (that old piano has a prominent position!).

That carvery has been key to the Barn’s operations and popularity since it reopened last year and so we just had to try it out. CL was the volunteer and she got  terrific help from behind the counter (all the food is held under glass, the customer won't be breathing on it or touching it) and the server fills your plate for you. And than means “fills your plate”. 


CL came back with half a chicken and all the bells and whistles. All their meat is Irish (Kanturk’s Jack McCarthy and Macroom’s Michael Twomey are named on the menu as suppliers) and you may have beef, pork and lamb with all kinds of trimmings and sauces. And her piled plate was of excellent quality and proved very satisfactory indeed.

I was picking from the Day Menu and had all kinds of choices: burgers, salads, fish ’n chips, sandwiches, pizzas, and pasta dishes (not to mention sides). My pick was the Jack McCarthy Black Pudding Salad with roasted walnuts, boiled egg, Baby Spinach and home-made bacon and apple jam. Delicious from start to finish, every element from the well known prize-winning pudding to the well dressed salad and that appetising bacon and apple jam.

The feel good factor was high at this point and there was no resistance when desert was mentioned, even though often enough in some restaurants, this final course can be the disappointing one. They have some list here, over a dozen I think. We ordered, rather cautiously, the Apple Pie and the Tiramisu. But again the Barn kitchen came upon trumps with two excellent sweets. Happy Days.

In another contrast with the “old days”, when they ignored all social media requests, the current team make full use of Facebook and Insta and so on and you’ll have no problem checking the menus and the opening times before you go. The website has all you need and you’ll find it here. The restaurant itself is between Mayfield and the New Inn school on the Glanmire Road and has been there for about 40 years.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Excellent Meal at The Barn

Excellent Meal at The Barn

The ever popular Barn, between Mayfield and Glanmire, is probably the biggest and most comfortable restaurant in the Cork area. After its recent long-lasting renovations, it can now seat up to 300 people. We had an excellent meal there recently, well cooked and served with a smile and could hardly believe the generous space between the tables. We didn't see the whole place as the dining area is in different rooms and also split-level. Great care was taken during the renovation works and service was never interrupted. And the long-established venue is as popular as ever.

You do see the odd supplier listed on the menu, eg Clonakilty Black Pudding, and the beef is declared as Irish but there is little about provenance to be seen. Social media is not a priority (nor does it need to be by the looks of it) but you will find what looks like an up to date menu on their website. But forget about Facebook and Twitter. And it even took a few attempts over two days to get the phone answered. 

It did work out quite well at the table though! Even if the menu changes little over the years, just a few tweaks here and there. But there is a broad choice, the food is well cooked and service is excellent.

There is an immediate and warm welcome and you are seated in an ante-room where you may study the menu and enjoy an aperitif, not that there’s a hard sell or anything like that. Soon, you are guided to your table. Ours was by the window that looks out over the nearby fields. In summer you can see the cows grazing but in winter, well, the windows were nicely decorated.

We have been here a fair bit over the years, so much so that CL has a favourite starter, one that seems to be out of fashion elsewhere. It is the Melon and Fruit Platter With a Passion Fruit Reduction & Red Wine Reduced Fruit Coulis (7.50), nice and light and she reckons it would make a very presentable dessert as well. Though not on the same evening!

The menu is what could be called classical, no foams or fancy tricks here, and none the worse for that, though a breakout of personal expression by the kitchen team here and there would be appreciated. There are some ten starters, everything from Salmon Gravlax to Chicken Wings to Soup of the Day. And yet I ordered the excellent Clonakilty Black Pudding with Mustard Grain Sauce and Spiced Chutney (7.90) that I have enjoyed here previously, although you do get the slight variation. This latest one was top notch. 

No shortage of fish and poultry courses, lamb and pork too and also a couple of vegetarian options. I picked from the steak list, the 10 oz Aged ribeye steak (24.90) with roast (field) mushroom, balsamic glazed onion, roast seasonal veg, horseradish and walnut cream and demi-glaze, with fries. and cracked black pepper sauce. A perfect serve and very satisfying on all counts, cooked as requested, well presented and all the items on the large plate played a role. Faultless.

And it was the same verdict from the other side of the table where the Crispy Roasted Irish Duckling (22.50) with caramelised orange,  Port & Ginger compote, roast sweet potato and Caramelised Red Cabbage went down a treat.

No wine on the night though. No shortage of wine but the info is very sparse indeed. You get the usual suspects from a “cask” at the bar and, even on the wine menu, there is very little detail, not a producer mentioned at all, just something like Shiraz Eastern Australia or Merlot Central Valley, not even a year in some cases. They don’t make it easy for the customer at all. Room for improvement there for sure. I settled for a lovely glass of stout and had the wine later on in a different venue!

Mayfield-Glanmire Road
Co. Cork.
Tel: +353 21 4866 211

Sunday, August 5, 2018

The Barn: Changes, yes, but still a Comfort Zone

The Barn: Changes, yes, but still a Comfort Zone

While your eggs won’t be cooked in the compost here, as they do in another barn (Blue Hill, Stone Barns NY), there is much to be said for tradition and traditional recipes. Take the burger at The Barn, between Mayfield and Glanmire, for instance.

Burgers joints have been popping up all over the Irish food place in recent years, all trying to out-do each other with outrageous combinations of ingredients. Mostly though, it has to do with size: double deckers, stacks. More about quantity than quality. More waste; less taste.

No double decker here. No song and dance about the Barn burger. And I was a few bites into it before I realised that this was one of the best burgers I’ve had in quite a while. 

The Prime Beef Burger on a Brioche Bun came with excellent cheese, delicious mushrooms and was served with chips, salad and Garlic Mayo. The beef was certainly prime and I have a preference for brioche buns (even one half is enough!). Superb. 

Now, having said all that, now that facilities have been further improved, just wonder would the Barn consider some innovation in the menu (including a mention of provenance), and wine, offering.
Melon and fruit starter

With our original venue failing to let the public know of a much later than publicised opening time and with us not wanting to wait around in the countryside for an hour, we were at a loose end until on the way back we spotted the Early Bird sign at The Barn.

And, yes they were doing that Early Bird menu, offering a 5-6.30 window, even though it was Saturday evening. So okay, we could have had a main course or more off the regular menu but had Early Bird on the brain and choose that, not quite realising we were committing ourselves to three courses (priced at €25.00). It worked out well enough though.

Did you know The Barn has recently completed a long-running major renovation? The comfort element here, always high, has been enhanced. One of the other benefits it that you can now sit outside on sunny evenings and sip your aperitif. Indeed, dine out there too, depending on the thermometer, of course.

We were inside as we started. Nothing overly exciting on the short list but my BBQ Marinated Chicken Wings, with Garlic Mayo and Salad was well up to scratch, very enjoyable and the provided bowl and wipe (sometimes, incredibly, you have to ask for these) came in handy. 

No mess for CL as she enjoyed her Melon and Fruit Platter with Passion fruit reduction and fruit coulis, a nice light appetiser, a regular here and seldom seen anywhere else.

She continued with their Fish and Chips which consisted of Hake, lightly battered with their crispy batter, served with mushy peas, lemon tartare sauce and chips. The hake was top notch, the batter nice and thin (no big empty air bubbles) and the sauce outstanding. Happy out.
Apple pie

The choice of dessert was from the Daily List, not from their famous trolley. No superlatives here. I had been disappointed with their regular Jam and Cream Mille Feuilles a few months ago so gave that a skip in favour of Dessert of the Day: a large chunk of coffee and walnut cake with a dollop of cream. Not bad at all. Particularly loved the creamy coffee bits. 

And CL noted that the Freshly Baked Apple Pie, little chunks of apple this time, was markedly better than the one (more of a paste) she had here a few months ago.  

A couple of anonymous wines (one red, one white) brought the bill for two to sixty two euro. But reasonably happy overall with the food, the service and the place itself.
al fresco

Monday, February 12, 2018

Excellent Dishes and Comfort All The Way at The Barn

Excellent Dishes and Comfort All The Way at The Barn

Carpets and comfort all the way at the long-established Barn Restaurant, between Mayfield and Glanmire, when we visited at the weekend. Excellent service too and some pretty decent food as well in this spacious busy place, courteous and as efficient as ever despite a long running renovation that will mean a big expansion on an already large venue.

The renovation area though is neatly tucked away and you hardly notice, especially these dark evenings. You certainly don't notice it once you enter to a warm welcome. You are seated in a sizeable waiting area, given the menus (Early Bird, Set, and A La Carte) and you can also order a drink as you study the dishes on offer. A note on provenance is on the menu to the effect that all their beef, lamb and pork are Irish.

Soon our order was taken and we were shown to our table. An amuse bouche of smoked salmon (their own) and cream cheese was a nice way of beginning. The melon and fruit platter is a long-standing favourite here, also a favourite of CL’s. But she ignored it this time and instead “voted” for the Chicken Caesar salad with garlic croutons and shaved parmesan (€8.90). That got ten out of ten for a well balanced dish and the croutons were also excellent, not the hard type that could break a tooth!

Chicken Caesar Salad
And I was well pleased too with a similarly priced Serrano Ham, Olive and semi-sundried tomato salad with a basil honey dressing, a delicious mix of textures and flavours, another well balanced mix of sweetness and sharpness, also €8.90. Other starters included a Duck and Chicken Paté, The Barn’s Black Pudding with spiced chutney, BBQ marinated chicken wings, Potted Garlic Prawns.

Lots of steak and fish (including fish and chips) on the mains, also chicken and duck and they also offered two vegetarian options.

The lamb was my pick: Marinated Roast Rack of Irish Lamb with minted Kiwi Compote, sweet chilli drizzle and Cabernet Sauce (23.90). This was perfectly cooked as ordered and nicely presented, some delicious veg on the side. All the extras played a part, especially that sumptuous sauce.

CL meanwhile was also very happy with her Roast Fillet of Pork Steak (20.90); the roulade was stuffed with savoury mushroom and bacon, beetroot and apple chutney and truffle drizzle, even if there was no sign of the beetroot!  

Plates were polished off and a fairly anonymous Malbec (6.50 a glass) also finished and we then turned our attention to the famous dessert trolley rolled, with some effort, over the plush carpet! Quite a choice here, all 7.50, and we enjoyed a Pavlova and a Marinated Fruit, each with a scoop of ice-cream. Nice finalé but the highlights came earlier.

* The renovation/extension works are on-going but the "old" area is still totally active, fifty or sixty in by the time we left, about 8.00pm. The new area, I was told, will take the pressure off the existing area. And there is a new patio with "the best views out over Glanmire”. When will it all be finished? Answers include “Your guess is as good as mine” and “They’re tipping away at it.” Hopefully, when it’s up and running, The Barn will look to improving their presence on social media!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Comfort at the Barn

Comfort at the Barn
Clockwise, from top left: A table, pork, melon, waiting area,
smoked salmon and duck.

Walk into the Barn in Mayfield and you’d think you are in a four star hotel, such is the comfort in the waiting area. After the warm welcome and with your coats taken to the cloakroom, you are seated, the menus are supplied and you may have a drink as you study.

The carpeted comfort continues into the very spacious dining room. On a recent Christmas visit, we were taken to a table, near one of the fires. Aside from the fact that I got a slightly sloppy pint of Murphy's, the friendly service was of a high standard and, more importantly, so was the food.

I was very happy with my starter: their very own Smoked Salmon, with garden salad and vanilla infused dill oil. The other starter, Melon and Fruit Platter with a Passion Fruit Reduction and Red Wine Reduced Fruit Coulis, was also well received and dispatched.

I gave the Savoury Stuffed Turkey Roulade a skip and instead picked the Crispy Roast Duckling, with Plum Jam, Beetroot Confit, Glazed Sweet Potato and Port Reduction. The duck was perfect and overall it was quite a combination.

No complaints either from the other side of the table where the mains chosen was the Savoury Apricot and Raisin Stuffed Pork Fillet, with Mushroom Ragout and Spiced Apple Chutney. This was better than I expected, really tasty indeed.

No shortage of well cooked vegetables (not too hard, not too soft) on the side. So we were well fed. So well indeed, that we had to resist dessert even though a laden trolley was rolled to the table but we just had to say no, regretfully!

The Barn, 30 years on the go, is one of those long established restaurants that we take for granted. The standard is as high as ever. Its reputation was enhanced recently when it was chosen to host the very prestigious gala dinner for Ireland’s first convention of all the health ministers of the European community.

I walk that way quite often and, ministers or no ministers, the Barn always seems to be quite busy. A very good sign indeed.

Saturday, January 14, 2012



I enjoyed a lovely meal at The Barn  last evening. For over thirty years, the venue, on the Mayfield to Glanmire Road, has been a fixture on the Cork dining scene. And that kind of longevity doesn’t happen by chance.

This is a comfortable place, starting with the ante-room where you may take a seat and check the menu while sipping an aperitif. The coats are put away neatly in the cloakroom and you are led along the carpets to your comfortable chair as the live music from the piano-man fills the room (not especially for your entrance, of course).

Service too is excellent, leisurely but not laggardly. For instance, when the main course was being served to our group (4), three people, maybe four, appeared with the dishes and, within a few seconds, all four of us had our main plates, along with the side plates of veg, in front of us and the water had been refilled without our asking for it to be done. And all done with a little chat and a big smile!

But all this comfort and service, even the piano-man, would count for little unless the food is good. And it is. It has of course moved on quite a bit from the early days of The Barn and now you see words like wasabi, tapenade, hummus and pork belly on the extensive menu.

All four of us were very happy with the meal. After some nice breads, I started off with the Crispy Pork Belly with Sour Cherry and Plum Chutney and Caramelised Red Onion (about €7.50, forget the exact price). Absolutely top class, done to a T, and the chutney was so moreish (even though I got two decent scoops of it!).

Then on to the piece de résistance! This was the Tapenade crumbed Cod Fillet, with Chablis Sauce and Spiced Mango Chutney (€21.50). Quite a decent sized piece of fish and there was also a side dish of nicely done vegetables (potato, carrot and creamed broccoli). Must say I really enjoyed it, the combination on the main plate was gorgeous. Quantity and quality was spot on here and left no desire for anything else, though I did look longingly at the famous dessert trolley that we passed on our exit!