Showing posts with label Toons Bridge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Toons Bridge. 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!

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Nash 19 Takes Night Shift In Its Stride

 Nash 19 Takes Night Shift In Its Stride
Highlights on every corner from the 
Apple Mint (bottom right) to the Pickled Mushroom (top left)

Princes Street, and its many and varied restaurants and cafes, was quick to adopt outdoor dining and rapidly became the country’s poster child for the Covid enforced change to the undependable Irish exterior. 

We had our first visit there on Culture Night and it turned into an evening of delectation under the shelters of Nash 19 and owner Claire Nash.  Just the day before, Nash was awarded by the Georgina Campbell Awards as the person to represent being “the very best of community”, acknowledging Claire’s part in leading the Princes Street charge and in changing her dynamic daytime enterprise to an equally energetic day and night star.

Heirloom Tomatoes and Purple Basil

It was a double change for Nash, from daytime to night time and from indoors to outdoors. And immediately, they saw and began to work on the possibility of innovation that the double move allows. And it isn’t that Nash 19 just tagged along with the existing evening menus. No, if you know Claire, you know they jumped straight to the front and the menu is right on trend with a slew of small plates and no sectional guidance that you should follow the old three course pattern. Hop in to the menu, forget tradition, go free style and enjoy yourself.

But if you do like the comfort of a big feed, and we all do from time to time, some of us more than others, then Nash 19 have you covered well on that front also.

Crispy Chicken Confit of Leg

Claire is rightly proud of the menu and delighted too with the mini-menu she had drawn up for the Culture Night event going on simultaneously in her Stern Gallery (in the backroom of the restaurant). That included the new vermouth by two sisters from Valentia Island and that was our first drop of the evening.

Nash 19 have quite a wine selection now, some fifty bottles, mostly organic, some natural, all low intervention and quite a few by the glass. There’s sparkling wine, rosé, red and white of course, and sweet to finish. We thought we’d have white and enjoyed a glass of Izadi Larrosa Blanc (a Garnacha blanca from Rioja) and one of Von Winning Weissburgunder (Pinot blanc from the Pfalz in Germany).  Glass prices vary from €6.50 to 11.50 in white, roughly similar in red.

Smokers Plate via Hederman

We were soon down to the food. CL’s first dish was the Seared Scallops with Annascaul Black Pudding and apple mint. Superlatives all around here, even that apple mint was outstanding and, in any case, CL is a big fan of the Kerry blackpudding. 

Plum dessert
Mine was the Frank Hederman Smokers Plate (another 14 euro dish). Hard to describe the mix on that plate, ineffable. Let us say it was a delicious mix of mussels, crab, and salmon, all given the unique Hederman touch in his harbourside smokehouse (decades old and now itself an integral part of the smoking process) and even that pickled cucumber by Nash kitchen was quite possibly the best of its type.

Round one may have been a knockout but we were ready for round two, along with what remained of our colourful and flavourful side of the gorgeous Heirloom Tomato and Purple Basil Salad. 

Nash have employed new tasters for this menu.
Illustration from the menu

And we did our delicious duty again. Mine was the Garryhinch Wild Mushroom Ragu on Sourdough Toast with a generous coating of Parmesan. And it came with a steak knife. Superb texture, moist temptation, hardly time to share a morsel or two as I fought back the urge to rush but instead took an unwavering steady stroll to satisfy my senses with its warmth and savour. All for 12 euro!

CL bit into her Crispy Chicken Confit of Leg with Korean Dressing and Charred Corn (also 12 euro) and her casual tongue was immediately stung into alertness by the Korean spice. But, once she got the various elements together, the spice became a key though not dominant facilitator of amazing flavour, and she was as happy as any diner on the busy street.

It wasn’t the only busy street on Friday as quite a few folks were out and about taking in the many events of Culture Night. We began heading back to our hill. We crossed the river and headed for Harley’s Street and its little market and found the place rammed, the crowd there enjoying the bites and exotic music. 

Great craic evident too at St Luke’s Cross with Henchy's and the wine bar the main venues. Lovely to see Culture Night back on the streets and hopefully the English Markets will be back at the heart of it next year.

Lemon Meringue

As is the case with Nash by Day, the Nash by Night Menu provides lots of variety, not just throughout the menu itself but also via its daily changes.

Valentia vermouth
& strollers

Our culture night menu started with a bunch of “small plates” of which no less than five were fish; we picked two and the others, just to give you a hint of what may be coming your way if you call in (and you should), are Irish Prawns with Sea Samphire, Wild Irish Tuna Sashimi, and a “Taste” of Monkfish Tempura. We had two of the non-fish small plates and the others was Ham Hock Terrine and Free Range Chicken Liver Paté.

After that, you are moving into more serious platefuls including Rib Eye of Beef, Pan Seared Hake, their familiar and always superb Producers Plate Tapas Style; also a local Charcuterie Board plus there’s a Heirloom Tomato Pasta Penne with Toonsbridge Feta and an Irish Cheese Board with Fig Confit. Descriptions have been abbreviated in these two paragraphs.

And there are sides of course. Our Heirloom Tomato and Purple Basil Salad was a super treat and others on offer were Fries (smoked butter, sea salt), Waterfall Green Leaf and Herb Salad, Mediterranean Olives or Salted Valentia Nuts, along with Bread, Seaweed Butter and Olive Oil (all at 4.50 aside from the tomatoes at 6.00).

Homeward bound

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Splendid Festival Food From Market Lane. (and they'll be doing it again at Easter!)

 Splendid Festival Food From Market Lane

(and they'll be doing it again at Easter!)

Ballinwillin Venison Pit with Wisdom Ale & Flaky Pastry!
Side dishes were Creamy garlic potato gratin with Coolea Cheese and Thyme.
Fondant carrots, Braised Hispi Cabbage.

Spiced Veggie Moussaka (baked aubergines,
tomatoes, lentils and cinnamon, topped with
Toons Bridge Feta and Pinenuts.)

Tempting Moussaka, just out of the oven.

Chocolate cheesecake with
hazelnut Praline

Orange & Vanilla bread and butter pudding
with custard.

Just got in the Market Easter Menu. Very tempting!

Monday, February 3, 2020

Jacques. Perfect. Since 1980.

Jacques. Perfect. Since 1980.
Cod Fritters

Jacques, started by two sisters in 1980, quickly hit the culinary high notes and has remained top of the Cork charts. Also in the 80s, Fairground Attraction had a big hit with It’s got to be perfect. It could have been a tribute to the Barry sisters, Eithne and Jacque.

Too many people take second best
Well, I won't take anything less

We certainly knew we were on to a good thing when we headed to the venue recently. Not too sure which door we’d take though. Jacques are a bit unusual. In 1980, you entered through the door at 9 Phoenix Street. In recent years, they extended to Oliver Plunkett Street and the main door is at No. 23. Take either. Behind each is a warm welcome and excellent food. And drink.
Smoked Duck Salad

There’s a full bar here, with pints of Murphy’s and Heineken. You’ll also find craft beers, including those from the Cotton Ball, a local brewery, and local ciders Stonewell and Longueville are also supported. Irish spirits of course, including Bertha’s Revenge and Kalak. As are a variety of local food producers such as Skeaghanore, Toons Bridge, Ardsallagh, Ballinrostig Cheese, Goatsbridge, and Knockalara. Kilbrack Farm.

Cheers! Negroni
One thing I noted about the dishes at Jacques is that you get plenty of greens and veg on your plate. Unlike some places where you’d be lucky to get a see through sliver of carrot or a mini-cube of beetroot, too tiny for the tines. Kilbrack Farm are among their greens and vegetable suppliers and the produce is terrific. And just because they are generous with the veg, doesn’t mean they skimp with the meat or fish.

My mains is a perfect case in point: Fresh wild tranche of Turbot, hollandaise, green beans, olives and crispy potatoes. That tranche was really big, beautifully cooked, fresh and full of flavour. And the experience was enhanced no end by the sauce, potatoes, the olives, and the greens (which included more than the beans).  

CL, disappointed that pheasant was off the menu at another restaurant recently, finally got her bird here: Roast pheasant wrapped in pancetta, potato and cranberry cake and red cabbage. Seasonal, savoury and a perfect (that word again) fit for a coolish January night.

One of my favourite cocktails is Negroni. I don’t always have the three ingredients handy at home so when I saw the mix of Campari, Vermouth and Gin, offered at the head of the menu, I ordered it and I was off to the perfect start. There’s a multi-page wine list here with a page of “pouring wines”, each by the glass. CL picked the Poggio Alla Luna Chianti (DOCG), aromatic, fruity, good acidity, and an excellent match with the game.

We were in early enough for the Early Bird but stuck with the main menu. Some great choices here, both of mains and starters. And we began with two beauties. CL’s was the Smoked Skeaghanore Duck Salad, Toons Bridge Mozzarella, plum dressing and spicy granola. Can’t recall seeing Mozzarella with duck before but it was a treat. 

I think mine was even better though! The Cod and Celeriac Fritters, with a Lime and Chili Dipping Sauce, is new to the menu but it is such a perfect combination of textures (there are some leaves there too) and flavour (that sauce is perhaps the catalyst) that I reckon it will be on offer for a long time to come.

We had been in quite early- the restaurant was getting busy but the level of service had never dropped. They don’t hang over your shoulder or anything like that but every now and then, there is a gentle query to see if everything is going well. “Perfect,” I replied each time!

Tel : +353 (0)21 4277387        Email :      
 Address : 23 Oliver Plunkett St, Cork

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Great Start to the Day at Good Day Deli

Great Start to the Day at Good Day Deli
GDD Benny

It was with a good gut feeling that we headed to Good Day Deli for a recent breakfast. And it was with a very good gut feeling that we left this oasis in the gardens of Nano Nagle Place off Douglas Street Cork.

You won’t get your Full Irish here as GDD is close to being fully vegetarian; they do offer a few (sustainable) fish dishes. Owners Claire and Kristin bill the restaurant as a “Sustainable Foods Cafe serving a mix of healthy, local, seasonal, organic and fair trade foods with a commitment to sustainability throughout our food chain. We aim to inspire sustainable lifestyles in Ireland by empowering people to make good food choices that will boost health and wellbeing; elevate local producers; support animal welfare; and protect the environment now and for future generations.”. 
Pear & Pancakes

And they have a host of local suppliers recruited to help them attain those goals.  Organic for Us (milk), Holo Organics (Kombucha); My Goodness (Kefir), Wilkie’s Organic Chocolate, West Cork Coffee, Blanco Nino (tortillas), Pana Bread, and Leamlara Micro-greens, are among the names on the January list.

There is a Kia Orana (welcome) sign on the path up to the restaurant and the welcome inside is warm, smiles and chat and no shortage of info about the menu. We are spoiled for choice, everything from Morena Granola to a Vibrant Vegan Trio to Connolly’s Any Way Organic Eggs. 

I’ve enjoyed their Benny here before and was tempted by the Smoked Beetroot version, also by the Stack of Seared Toons Bridge Halloumi. The Kia Orana Bruschetta (Ardsallagh Goats Cheese with caramelised Mealagulla apples) also beckoned.

My pick though was the Good Day Deli Smoked Salmon Benny. Frank Hederman’s superb salmon came with two organic poached eggs, a very well made Hollandaise (perfect in both quality and quantity), toasted seeds and leafy greens all on sourdough. Delicious!

CL’s choice was the The Hibiscus Poached Pear Pancakes (chunkier than usual), tasty too with a poached organic pear, coconut mascarpone and a drizzle of the Hivemind Honey from the innovative Crosshaven farm.

The drinks here are that bit different too, including a selection of natural wines via Le Caveau. Of course, they have teas and coffees but be sure and study the menu further. You may well like the Coco Mocha (a mocha or hot chocolate with rich Wilkies chocolate plus West Cork Coffee Espresso with coffee, coconut and Maple Cream Whip!)

And then there’s the Hibiscus Soda (a mix of Hibiscus and Poached Pear, with citrus fruits juice, fresh mint and Fizz). A beautifully refreshing soda is what the menu card says and I can confirm that for sure. Absolutely delicious and refreshing. And another superb drink, CL’s choice, was the Apple Juice from Mealagulla in Ovens.

Just as much choice on the lunch menu. But that’s another day’s work! Or should I say another day’s pleasure.

Nano Nagle Place, Douglas Street, Cork T12X704
Phone: 021 4322107

Monday, February 19, 2018

Outstanding Gourmet Night. Thanks to Barnabrow Chef Bowes

Outstanding Gourmet Night.
Thanks to Barnabrow Chef Bowes

Blood Orange and Burrata

The Barnabrow Gourmet Evening is becoming a must-have ticket. Head Chef Stuart Bowes, with the aid of sous chef Adrian Kaszynski and team,  put on a top class multi-course meal last Saturday evening, highlight following highlight, and each course well paired by Donie O’Brien of Eno Wines.

Stuart has been at the lovely 30 acre estate for the past six years. “It is a happy working relationship,” says owner Geraldine Kidd as she celebrates 21 years in business here. “One of friendship as well. Stuart is a very patient person with a passion for food and makes so much of his own stuff here. He and Adrian are a well-oiled machine.”

The big restaurant, with its church style windows, was packed for the occasion and, after a reception with Canapés and organic Cava, we were led to our seats and soon began with an amazing dish: Ballyhoura Wild Mushrooms, Ardsallagh Goats Cheese Polenta, Crispy Hens Egg, Pangrattato. Just a big “wow” all round and even better when sipping the Pa Road Pinot Noir from Marlborough. The owners are friends of Donie’s, friends worth keeping as this wine is an excellent rich, ripe and elegant. Fresh and enlivening and with woodland aromas, it certainly did the business with the mushrooms.
Crispy egg and mushrooms

A good standard had been set and would be maintained all through. Indeed, the next course was one of my favourites. The Lobster Agnolotti, White Cabbage, Cognac, was innovative and delightful, the soft texture of the pasta, the crunch of the cabbage, the flavour of the lobsters and the pairing with the Chatelain Sancerre all added up to a sensational experience. 

While Donie might rave about New Zealand Pinot Noir, when it comes to Sauvignon Blanc he cheers for the Loire. “This is Sauvignon Blanc at its best. Sauvignon is now produced all over the world but they never match the Loire.” The Chatelain, with is summer meadow aromas, its citrus fruit and mineral character, is a beauty.
Lobster Agnolotti, white cabbage

Time now for the big red and the Cuvée Raphael, Chateau Parenchere, Bordeaux 2013, was just the job with Roast Squab Pigeon, Smoked Potato, Celeriac Gratin, White Dandelion. This fifty fifty Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon is “one of the classics” said Donie. Very concentrated, smooth, full-bodied, mellow and rich with autumnal red fruits and excellent with the game dish and its accompaniments. Another well thought out plate and yet another well-executed.

And there was yet another beauty on the way, this the Toonsbridge Burrata, Blood orange, Corinader Seed, Lavosh. The occasion gives Stuart the opportunity to get some “unusual ingredients” and the blood oranges were one example. He didn't have to go to Sicily for the Burrata. That was made in Toonsbridge just 24 hours earlier. The superb Lavosh was made right here in Barnabrow. What a fantastic combination, another of my favourite courses (truth to tell, I liked them all). 

Must say chocolate pairs well with me! And so I was delighted to see Hot Valrhona Chocolate Mousse, Blackberry, Vanilla Ice-cream, Pain d’Epices appear in front of me. The ice-cream was “hidden” under the warm chocolate and the contrast in flavour and texture and temperature was a pleasant ambush! Delighted with dessert.

At this stage too we were enjoying sipping our Chateau Caillou Grand Cru Classé Sauternes 2007. Grand Cru Classé means it is one of the very best, very sweet on its own but, with rich desserts, it displays amazing richness and power yet has acidity enough. Donie filled us in: “They practice low yield, so the fruit is concentrated; it is rich and powerful and the flavour lingers.” Enjoyed that too.

We weren't quite finished yet as the Petit Fours appeared, some chocolate truffles and old fashioned delightful jellies.  A lovely end to an evening of gourmet pleasure.

I was a guest at Geraldine Kidd’s Barnabrow which is a superb location for weddings (the majestic, medieval-style banqueting hall, with its gothic windows, sets a grand, yet relaxed tone), for corporate events, for celebrations of all kinds (birthday parties, christenings, naming ceremonies, and Christmas parties), rooms and holiday cottages too and, don't forget, for Sunday lunch. Check it all out here.


Cava & Canapés (Pares Balta Cava)

Ballyhoura Wild Mushrooms, Ardsallagh Goats Cheese Polenta, Crispy Hens Egg, Pangrattato
(Pa Road Pinot Noir, New Zealand 2014)

Lobster Agnolotti, White Cabbage, Cognac
(Chatelain Sancerre, Loire 2016)

Roast Squab Pigeon, Smoked Potato, Celeriac Gratin, White Dandelion
(Cuvée Raphael, Chateau Parenchere, Bordeaux 2013)

Toonsbridge Burrata, Blood orange, Corinader Seed, Lavosh

Hot Valrhona Chocolate Mousse, Blackerry, Vanilla ice-cream, Pain d’Epices

Bewley’s Coffee, Barry’s Tea, and Petit Fours.

Dessert wine was Chateau Caillou Sauternes 2007

Head Chef: Stuart Bowes. Sous Chef: Adrian Kaszynski. Wines: Donie O’Brien of Eno Wines.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

My North Cork Collection. Including the Old Butter Roads Food Trail

My "North Cork" Collection
Including the Old Butter Roads Food Trail
Corrin Hill, one of many walks in North Cork area.

The Old Butter Roads Food Trail, launched earlier this year, is a cooperative effort between restaurants, producers and accommodation and activity providers in the North Cork area. 

North Cork is not an administrative area but then neither is West Cork. The boundaries are a bit flexible. The Food Trail organisers often refer to the three baronies of Duhallow, Muskerry and Avondhu (again none are administrative areas (except for GAA purposes!)) as being their constituent parts.

Blarney Castle

I have been visiting various restaurants and producers in the area over the past few years as you can see from the links below. Not all the places I've visited are necessarily members of  the Old Butter Roads Food Trail. If they are, you'll see the churn symbol displayed at the entrance or in their literature. Where there's a link below, it means that I have eaten, drank, visited or slept, maybe all four, at that place.

Glamping option at Ballyvolane House

So okay, just suppose you've landed in Blarney. Where to eat? Easy. Head to the The Square Table, Blarney in the evening. Just a few miles outside the village, you will find the boys of  Blairs Inn who'll feed you all day long (great place too for craft beer!). 
If you keep heading west, you may well end up in Macroom. Why not dine and stay the night in the Castle Hotel
Rainbow in Macroom

But perhaps you decide to head to the northeast. Lucky you will have much to choose from. Perhaps a day-time call to the Thatch and Thyme Café in Kildorrery. In the evening, visit the white deer at Mallow Castle and then call to the lovely and popular Peppers, Mallow for dinner. There are two cafes in Doneraile and, of course, the 166 hectare park with long and short walks that take you by the Awbeg River and herds of deer.

Deer in Doneraile Park

Lots of quality accommodation in the general area. Each of the three big houses below have an added attraction! Ballyvolane House near Castlelyons is the home of the renowned Bertha's Revenge gin. At Longueville House, enjoy the food and their very own cider, and don't forget their award winning Apple Brandy (as good as any from Normandy!).

Dinner is on. Longueville House

There's always a big welcome at Ballinwillin House & Farm and a tour of the farm where you'll see their Wild Boar and Deer. And the drink here is the wine, Chateau Mulcahy, from their very own vineyard in Hungary and the tasting is in a Hungarian style room. Cheers!

Wild Boar at Ballinwillin

And if you're a beer lover, then head west to the 9 White Deer micro-brewery in Ballyvourney.

He can talk and he can sing: Jack of McCarthy Butchers in Kanturk.

Looking for world class black-pudding and more? Then put McCarthy Butchers Kanturk on your list. You'll enjoy the produce and the chat. Close by, in Newtownshandrum you find the lovely Bluebell Falls Goats Cheese

Bluebell goat

Over in the Mallow direction, you'll come across Old Millbank Smoked Salmon. In the Blarney area, Hydro Farm Allotments and Blarney Chocolate are worth a check.
Toons Bridge

For great cheese and all things cheese related, Toons Bridge Dairy near Macroom is a must stop. Here too they have a café with lovely snacks and lunches, wine, even their own pizza oven.

View from Griffin's at lunch-time. Water-skier not guaranteed!
 A great place to sample what the area has to offer is the Killavullen Farmers Market. Lots of people like the garden centre and café double and you can score a good one at Griffin's Dripsey. Garden Centre & Restaurant.
Killavullen Farmers Market

If you venture into the Shandon area of the city, you'll find the place where all these old butter roads ended. While there, why not visit the Butter Museum (you might even see them making butter) and then ring the bells at St Anne's. Blarney Castle, right in the village, draws tourists from all over the world.

View of Firkin Crane from St Anne's Shandon

If you don't fancy sitting down, eating and drinking all day and need to stretch those legs then check out Blarney based Activity Days, with lots of choice for kids and adults. If you just have enough time for a short walk, there are a couple in Blarney, including the Blarney to Waterloo Loop. You'll enjoy your dinner, and the rest, that night!

Peppers in Mallow

Some other Butter Roads Food Trail members:

Annabelle Farm;
Follain, Baile Bhuirne;
Hegarty’s Cheese, Whitechurch;
O'Brien’s Free Range Eggs, Whitechurch;
Osbourne’s Butchers, Blarney;
Real Meat Co-op, Boherbue, Mallow;;
Twomey’s Buchers, Macroom;
Castle Hotel, Blarney;
Nibbles Cafe, Milstreet;
O Callaghan’s Delicatessen & Restau- rant, Mitchelstown;
Old Post Office Cafe, Blarney;
Praline Pastry Shop, Mitchelstown;
THe Farm Grenagh;
Old Post Office Cafe, Blarney