Showing posts with label VQ Quarter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label VQ Quarter. Show all posts

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Glass Curtain Kitchen Team in Sparkling Form. "Cooked with grá" A little flame also!

Glass Curtain Kitchen Team in Sparkling Form At The Weekend

 "Cooked with grá".  And a little flame!

Red mullet, cuttlefish, broth.

"Both the name and the large photo on the back wall pay homage to this building’s former life as the iconic Thompson’s Bakery; now a compact brasserie. Monochrome décor, exposed pipework and a charming team set the scene. Modern dishes have a personal touch and are cooked with grá (Gaelic for ‘love’)." 

That is the verdict delivered by the Michelin Guide when they awarded Cork's Glass Curtain with a Michelin Bib.

It is indeed, as you'd expect, an accurate description of the busy venue where Chef Brian Murray has been setting a very high standard since he opened here in MacCurtain Street in the autumn of 2020. Brian's travels around the world have given him a finely tuned international experience yet in this lively spot, it is the flavour of local ingredients that star on the menus, both A La Carte and Tasting.

Beef is one hundred per cent Irish and local producers supported include the likes of Cais na Tire and Hegarty's cheese, Skeaghanmore Duck, and Ballymakenny potatoes. 


No shortage of drink choices. There's a tempting Cocktail List that includes three non-alcoholic options. Quite a wine offering here.  You can taste your way through different styles, countries and grape varieties through white, red and the increasingly popular orange (check out that Ageno from the lovely Elena Pantaleoni of Italy's La Stoppa). 

Local producers like the Cotton Ball and 9 White Deer Breweries get a chance to shine in the drinks section as does the Stonewell Cidery from Novohal. As you'd expect, there are many Irish spirits available or why not enjoy the very special ice wine from Killarhora Orchards in Glounthaune, one of my favourite ways to finish a meal.


The tasting menu costs €75.00 per person and a wine option will add another €45 to that. With an early 5.00pm* start, we decided against the wine option and instead picked the Dirk Niepoort, Vinho Verde, Portugal 2021 Alvarinho. This aromatic and well-balanced Alvarinho (Albarino in Spain) by the famous port company worked out well for us even if it had to be parked when the lamb came around!

 * That 5.00pm start was all that was available when we booked two weeks in advance. It is a busy place so make your reservations early!


Tasting Menu

Crudo, Cashew, Blood Orange, Puffed Barley, Shiso, with Prawn heads. 

“Jambon”, Dill pickle, Lardo

 Aged rump of beef tartare, pear and endive

A bit unusual to see Prawn Heads in one of the three snacks but we were assured they were edible and got stuck in and enjoyed the "careful" crunch. Actually, that particular snack was very flavoursome in any case. We enjoyed it and the other two as well.


Glazed beets, House ricotta hazelnut brown butter 

Focaccia, Roast Onion Butter

On to this pair then, served together. An unexpected highlight here was the Roast Onion Butter and the Focaccia. In fairness, the other "starter" was also excellent.


Grilled Red Mullet, Cuttlefish, Turbot roe taramasalata, fish broth, 

The fish course starred the Red Mullet and the broth. Not overly keen on the cuttlefish (who belong to a class that includes squid and octopus) and hadn't expected too much from it in any case. But that Mullet was something else and such a pity we don't see it on that many menus in Ireland.


Rack of Lamb, crushed artichoke, pistachio, glazed lamb belly and celeriac.

This was the piece de resistance. Lamb came two ways, the fat and flavoursome rack was a delight to dispatch while the belly (it came in a separate dish with celeriac) was also quite a treat.


Time then to cleanse the palate and the Rhubarb Sorbet, Almond, and Rose Jelly did it well.  The dessert of Orange Polenta Cake, Ricotta ice cream, sheep yoghurt, rhubarb wasn't at all bad but I had been expecting a bit more from it. Still time for another sweet bit as the petit fours arrived to send two happy customers off into the night.

Lamb, two ways.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023




It's great to see Cork’s Metropole, one of Ireland’s most historic hotels, highlighting and supporting local businesses in its new menu.  Suppliers from around Cork City and county and neighbouring areas are named on a map at the back of the new MET menu and include the likes of the Chicken Inn of the English Market, 9 White Deer Brewery (Ballyvourney), Caherbeg Meats of West Cork and Jack McCarthy of Kanturk, to mention just a few.

New Head Chef Vasil Baci

The menu at the Met Bar and Restaurant has been designed by Head Chef Vasil Baci and his team who have been inspired by the wealth of fresh ingredients available locally.  They have created a varied menu combining global dishes with the best Cork flavours including fresh meat, fish and cheese.

Vasil: “Locally sourced food is really important to me when I’m considering any menu and I think the customers like to see where the ingredients of their meal come from which is why we decided to include the map on the menu.  Food and cooking are my passions and supporting small local suppliers and respecting the food is part of that.  Our dinner and lunch menus have been designed to offer diners at the Met Bar and Restaurant a variety of tastes and flavours to suit every palate and we are fortunate in Cork to have such a wide range of suppliers on our doorstep.”

Mushroom starter

Vasil’s family originate from Greece and he lived in a number of countries before moving to Cork in 2005 where he became an executive chef in various restaurants in Cork City after studying culinary arts at Munster Technological University.  He is passionate about using fresh local ingredients that are in season.

General Manager of The Metropole Hotel, Roger Russell said; “The summer menu at The Met Bar and Restaurant represents all that Cork food is renowned for - fresh and unique flavours which have been cooked with flair and passion by a team of dedicated chefs lead by Vasil Baci who brings over 20 years of experience to the kitchen.  The Metropole Hotel has been feeding customers for more than 125 years and we are confident that people will continue to enjoy the experience with this new menu.”

Fish Cake Starter

And that confidence is well placed, we decided after giving the new menu a try in the beautiful dining room, one of the most pleasant around, last week.

At first glance, you see Chicken Kiev, Baked Alaska, Fish and Chips, Burgers and so on. You could be thinking: what's so new here? But give Vasil a chance and see how his experience adds that little something extra and enjoyable to enhance your night out. And it is not just the kitchen. The team out front are both friendly and efficient, knows the menu and will answer any question you may have.

Chicken mains

We were happy to go along with the flow and had a close look at the starters - they also have a selection of nibbles if you want a "small” start. 

My pick, from a choice of eight, was the Local Crab Fish Cake Dressed baby leaves, mango & papaya salsa, lemon gel. The salsa and gel played key roles here and I enjoyed the quality and generous size of the fish cake itself. Thumbs up from the other side of the table also as CL loved her Wild Mushroom Croquettes with Irish cauliflower purée, vegetable crisps, pomegranate salsa. Again, the salsa and the crisps (parsnip) went superbly with the terrific flavour of the mushrooms.

Baked yogurt dessert

Next up, CL had picked the staff-recommended Wild Atlantic John Dory that came with Lemon, caper & dill butter, greens, and new season baby potatoes. A beautiful fish, cooked with precision and again the little things, including the caper and dill butter, lift it to a different level. Superb.

But how could Vasil manage with Chicken Kiev? No problem at all, it turned out to be flavoursome and delicious with Café de Paris butter, smoked squash, wild garlic oil, broccoli and asparagus, toasted almonds. The chicken, the Chicken Inn are the suppliers, was gorgeous and the smoked squash also stood out. Quite a dish and well priced at 18 euro.

When it came to dessert, the decision was to share one and so Baked Alaska lost out in favour of the Baked West Cork Yoghurt with Poached rhubarb, honeycomb, West Cork whiskey syrup, and cinnamon sablé. A perfect finalé as it turned out, easy to dispatch and unexpectedly enjoyable. But by then, we had come to expect that from Vasil and his team.

Ceiling and light fitting.

From a short but excellent choice of wines, we very much enjoyed the Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s Nelson and the Farnio blend of Montepulciano (70%) and Sangiovese from Italy’s Marche.

The Met menu can be found here

Suppliers map

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Powers 100% Irish Rye Whiskey. On the shelves today! Latest on Cork Whiskey Fest.

Powers Launch their 100% Irish Rye Whiskey today. 

 Latest on Cork Whiskey Festival.

Powers Launch their 100% Irish Rye Whiskey 43.2% ABV, 

RRP €40.00, widely available

The world’s first 100% Irish rye whiskey is on shelves around the world today. The producers are happy: “Proudly honouring the pioneering spirit of Powers Irish Whiskey, this ground-breaking release uses 100% Irish rye for the first time ever. The result is Powers Irish Rye, a complex and flavourful Irish whiskey that is set to shake up the increasingly popular rye whiskey category.”

It appears in your glass as a warm bronze liquid. Aromas are complex, barbecued banana, cherries and vanilla along with spicy notes especially of clove, with pepper and ginger also in mix. The rye announces itself more in the mouth along with the banana and clove and waves of sweetness (sugar and vanilla). A relatively mild but very satisfactory experience in the palate is followed by something similar on the finish, the flavours smoother, the spices enhanced, as they mix in harmony and waltz for quite a while.

Didn’t quite finish the 100ml sample provided on the first go. Went back a second time and was even more impressed. This 100% Irish Rye Whiskey is 100% compatible with this palate. Very happy indeed with it and thrilled to be able “award” a Very Highly Recommended stamp!

A few years ago at the little Micil Distillery in Galway, Pádraic Ó Griallais told me the three conditions needed to become a proper drinker: É a ioc, é a ól, é a iompar  (Pay for it; drink it; carry it.) When it comes to this Powers, I could well meet all three - not too expensive, not too harsh (far from it), and easy to drink and carry! A bigs thumbs up for this breakthrough from Powers. Not every day are you going to come across a whiskey of this quality at such a reasonable price.

The launch of Powers Irish Rye is grounded in the heritage of the whiskey brand, as Carol Quinn, Archivist at Irish Distillers, uncovered. Old mash bills and recipes reveal that Powers experimented with rye over their history, shows how, as the scientific knowledge of distilling expanded throughout the 19th century, they continually strove to innovate with new techniques and processes.  

This new bottle is born from trials at Irish Distillers’ renowned Midleton Distillery in Cork, Ireland, Powers Irish Rye balances the trademark earthy, peppery character of rye with the sweet flavour profile imparted from maturation in a full repertoire of American oak – with virgin oak, first fill and refills in the cask mix.

Rye is mainly grown in northern European countries and used in bread and beer. Not easy to find a farm growing it in Ireland. But Powers persevered and commissioned the planting of rye crops. With a commitment to sustainable farming, the Cooney Furlong Farm in Co. Wexford supply 100% of the rye used in Powers Irish Rye. Located just a short distance from Edermine House, the ancestral home of the Powers family, the farm guarantees ongoing Irish rye supply for this world first release.

In an interview conducted by Royal Commission on whiskey back in 1908, the Powers ethos was best described by James Talbot Power, ‘At Powers, we are producers of flavours, not of spirits`.  They are proud to continue this Powers legacy in 2023. And it is indeed the flavours that catch the attention in this latest release.

Bottled at 43.2% ABV, Powers Irish Rye will be released from 20th February in the US, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Dublin Airport and online at, and via The Whisky Exchange in the UK in the coming months at RRP €40.

The whiskey can be drunk neat but should also catch the attention of mixologists and Powers have already proposed this recipe for a Classic Manhattan cocktail.

Manhattan cocktail

Ingredients: 50ml Powers Irish Rye, 25ml sweet vermouth, 1 dash aromatic bitters, 1 dash orange bitters

Method: Add all ingredients to a mixing glass; Add ice and stir to mix and chill; Strain into a chilled coupe glass; Express orange oils from an orange zest and discard the zest; Garnish with 3 skewered maraschino cherries.


Cork Whiskey Fest 2023

Shelbourne ace Rory McGee.

The Cork Whiskey Fest 2023 continues to gather momentum and will get another boost with the official launch this coming Thursday.

Some 34 events have been organised over the three days and some have already been sold out. I'm looking forward to two events in particular: the Mitchell Spot Whiskeys & Wine Masterclass and also the Dunville Masterclass

Mitchell and Sons Wine & Spirits Merchants are the sole remaining licenced bonder with Irish Distillers. Their wine finished single pot still Irish whiskeys are a pillar in Irish Whiskey. Midleton legend Ger Garland and Brand Ambassador Mathew Smith will guide us through a selection of Spot whiskey along with their finishing wines, for this stellar masterclass.

Jarlath Watson’s Dunville’s Masterclasses have taken on legendary status. He always digs deep into the Echlinville Distillery’s stash of sherry bombs to blow people’s minds. Expect a lot!

Another event that promises much is the Jameson Tasting in the helbourne Bar on Sunday March 26th at 12 noon. Here, Tommy Byrne who is the lead educator in the Irish Whiskey Academy in Midleton and Deirdre O’Carroll (of the Blending Team) will host a lively informative session, bringing an exciting liquid insight to this historic brand. A masterclass not to be missed!

Tickets for this and all the events here.

Monday, December 5, 2022

A stunning white blend from Valencia and a delightful Cab Franc from Sancerre

A stunning white blend from Valencia and a Cab Franc gem from Sancerre


Cullerot Celler del Roure Valencia (DOP) 2021, 13%, €17.50 MacCurtain Wine Cellar

Cullerot is a white wine from the D.O. Valencia. produced by Celler del Roure. It is a blend of different grape varieties: 30% Macabeo, 30% Pedro Ximénez, 10% Chardonnay, 10% Malvasía, 10% Merseguera, 10% Verdil. Haven’t heard of the last two before. 

The wine is aged mostly in clay amphora (6 months) , a method which follows ancient winemaking traditions, and provides Cullerot with “a truly complex and unique character”. It is a blend and method that works very well indeed.

Straw yellow is the colour, clean and bright. It’s got a very interesting nose indeed, fruity, floral and herbaceous. Entry is impressive, fresh and packed with fruit flavour; it is well balanced thanks to a sharp acidity, has a beautiful texture and finishes strong and long. Very Highly Recommended.

The producers suggest serving it at 7 degrees (others say 8 to 10) with rice dishes. Others, including the Wine Society, indicate Gazpacho, Prawns, Spaghetti Puttanesca, Olives, Shellfish risotto, Salads, Aperitifs, Rice with fish, white fish, and shellfish. 

Celler del Roure, founded in 1996, is a small family winery which works with the utmost care on every inch of land. The winery also keeps its eye on the future, collaborating on various projects with the Universitat Politècnica de València.

The use of large clay amphorae may be unusual in Spain but not so in other ancient wine countries such as Georgia. Celler del Roure’s utilisation of them is a nod to the tradition as well as a means of aging without oak influence.

I bought this bottle from the relatively new MacCurtain Wine Cellar in Cork. Co-owner Sean Gargano has visited the winery and been very impressed: "We love pretty much everything from Celler del Roure. Owner Pablo Calatayud is doing heroic work bringing local Valencian varieties back into fashion. He gets help in the cellar from Javi Revert, one of Spain brightest wine makers." 

"Watch out for Valencia to become a player in the near future. And if you see Celler del Roure be it red, white or rosé, buy it.  Prices are guaranteed to go up when they get the recognition they deserve." 

Watch this space!


Best Value Wines 2022 Under €18.00. With Reviews & Irish Stockists. 


Petit Bourgeois Cabernet Franc Val de Loire (IGP), 13% ABV, €17.45 (14.95)

The town of Chinon and its surrounds is the heartland of Cabernet Franc in the Loire Valley; this one though comes from Sancerre (a few hours, along the valley, to the east), an area best known for its eponymous Sauvignon Blanc.

Freshness is taken for granted with Loire Cabernet Franc and this one certainly has it. It’s also got the fruit, both in the aromas and on the palate, lots of lighter berries (raspberries and strawberries) plus darker (blackcurrant and blackberry) as well, and there are hints of spice. The lingering finish is along the same lines. That wonderful freshness keeps it light and easy drinking. Indeed, it may be served slightly chilled but you’ll hardly need to do that this time of year. A Highly Recommended wine.

We had a beautiful plate of Organic Kerry Wild Meat at a recent meal in Kinsale’s Rare and I reckon this Cabernet Franc would have been a terrific match. And the winery’s list of suggestions includes the French version as you can see: fowl or other white meats are perfect as a wide range of prepared cold meats such as a plate of French “charcuterie”. Could go well with the turkey! 

No mention of Chavignol goats cheese. Chavignol because that is the area where producer Henri Bourgeois is based. It is a renowned 10th generation winemaking family, making exquisite award-winning wines from some of the best terroir in the Loire Valley.

A few years back I was in Chinon and failed to drink a glass of Cabernet Franc! And that meant I didn’t quite make the cut for membership when I visited the Caves Painctes of Chinon, the headquarters of the Confrerie de Bons Entonneurs Rabelaisiens, situated in a network of subterranean tunnels running beneath the town’s chateau. You have to drink a glass of wine. What’s the problem? You may well ask. The problem is the glass takes a whole bottle and you must finish it without a pause! 

Chinon (and include nearby Bourgueil) is a terrific visit, especially if you go late August/early September. Our highlight was a day-long vintage fair with an old fashioned threshing. Thirsty work and that’s why we withdrew from the streets for a spell to Caves Painctes.

* Most of you will know that Cabernet Franc appears in Bordeaux red blends where, more often than not, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot take the lead roles.


Top Wines 2022. With Reviews & Irish Stockists. 


Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Moby Fish's Italian Lure Hooking Fish And Chip Lovers To MacCurtain Street

 Moby Fish's Italian Lure Hooking Fish 'n Chip Lovers To MacCurtain Street 

Moby Fish has recently taken over the former Fish Wife premises in MacCurtain Street. It's got a Latin motto over the door and is Italian style. But, not to worry, they do serve traditional fish and chips.

We were keen to try the Italian offering the other night and our pick was the Arancini Mozzarella and Spinach with Mozzarelline. As you can see from the picture, the Arancini is full of spinach. You can't see inside the smaller ones but they are packed with Mozzarella.

Other choices include Pumpkin Flower with Mozzarelline and Calzone with Ham and Cheese. Check out the menu on their facebook for more

Now for the Fish and Chips. You have a choice of four fish (cod, plaice, lemon sole and hake) and you can have them in Plain Flour or in Batter. We picked the cod in batter. The fish was top class and was in a lovely fine batter which meant you didn't have to poke around for the flesh! And watch out for their specials such as the recent "delicious squid with chips and tartar sauce".

They offer six burgers, from regular (beef) to Calabrian (pork). You may also get BBQ wings and Kentucky Wings (both in small or large sizes). And various sauces, from mild to hot.

See more on their Facebook page here.

The motto over the door is in Latin
 and means unity is strength 

Spinach in the arancini.

Nice piece of cod and mushy peas were spot on!