Showing posts with label Valentia Island Vermouth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Valentia Island Vermouth. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Happy on The Hill. Badass Brunch at O’Mahony’s

Happy on The Hill. Badass Brunch at O’Mahony’s

Planet Dessert

Brunch in O’Mahony’s of Watergrasshill is that bit different. Certainly you may have your eggs and bacon and maple syrup and they do a French Toast. But the dishes here, based on local and seasonal, have their own outstanding character as we soon found out.

I suppose what really stands out when you scan the menu is the amount of local producers that are mentioned. That French toast is on Arbutus Bread and the bacon is from Fitzgerald's. 

Then, there’s Ardsallagh goats cheese, Adam’s eggs, Skeaghanore duck, Knockalara cheese, Glenbrook Farm pork, Goatsbridge trout caviar and also the marvellous Yum Gelato. On the drinks side (including cocktails) you’ll find Blackwater Distillery, Valentia Island Vermouth, Stonewell, 9 White Deer, Killahora and Blacks of Kinsale among others.

Rosti with duck, bacon and eggs

Our small group were soon sorted and the order went in. I was tempted by one of the specials: Rossmore Oysters, Spinach and Shallot and Vermouth Sauce but in the end went for the House Potato Rosti, Poached Adams Eggs hollandaise, Skeaghanore confit duck leg, and Fitzgerald’s streaky bacon. 

Quite a precarious stack but a lovely meal, everything cooked to perfection, full of gorgeous flavours and with a lovely crunchy texture in the rosti and bacon, soft in the eggs and the shredded duck was the usual high quality you expect from its West Cork producers. Another of our party also enjoyed this one.

Turbot and scallop special

CL meantime (who had her eye on the rosti initially), settled for the the other special: Turbot, scallops on toast with Langoustine sauce. “Settled for” is probably the wrong phrase as this drew envious glances as it was served and lived up to its promise. Another top notch dish from O’Mahony’s kitchen. Our fourth member enjoyed his Fitzgerald’s striploin steak, Adam eggs, chips and hollandaise, so a very happy quartet indeed.

And the finish was also superb, harmonious even as all four of us picked the Spiced crème brûlée tart, strawberry and cream Yum Gelato. That particular Gelato is perhaps my favourite of the extensive flavours from Yum Gelato and that tart was indeed well spiced (I think there was a decent drop of rum in there). Full marks too by the way for the coffees.

Steak, eggs, chips

They do evening meals there on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 5.30 and I got a copy of that menu. Much more extensive than lunch or brunch and every bit as tempting. 

Victor, who does front of house with Máire, told us that Chef Phelan is very strong on Italian and his Knockalara agnolotti, with Raw Lough Honey and Hazelnuts, has been known to stop the conversation when delivered to the table. So there’s a tip for you!

Lunch is served between noon and 3.00pm Thursday to Saturday. The brunch window on Sunday is 10.30 to 2.30. Bookings at 086 8316879 or

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Saturday night buzz at Pigalle Kitchen in Barrack Street

Saturday night buzz at Pigalle Kitchen

Turbot starter

Hadn’t been to Barrack Street’s Pigalle for quite a while. With our 6.00pm dinner reservation, we were among the first to get to the venue last Saturday night, and it was quiet. Only for a moment! Five minutes later, the place was full, the buzz began and never stopped. We joined with the engaging staff, as the music played, lots of chats and laughs began, and in between there were a series of expertly thought out and executed dishes from a menu that is not repeated anywhere around this town.

Many restaurants do of course use local produce and so does Pigalle: Skeaghanore Duck, Kilbrack Farm, Macroom Buffalo, Ballea Lamb (via O’Mahony’s in the English Market), Velvet Cloud, Valentia Island Vermouth, West Cork Tofu, Rossmore Oysters and much more. Lots of good organic and natural wine here also, a selection of cocktails, Beamish of course (it is the drink in this street) and also Franciscan Well. Glad to see also that Sligo’s White Hag had two taps and we went on to enjoy their Lager and Atlantean IPA.

Duck, pic via Pigalle

We skipped the opening snacks of Rossmore Oyster with Tomatillo Chutney and the Courgette Bhaji with Macroom Buffalo Ricotta. Concentrated on the starters of which there was a short but tempting selection including a special of Razor Clams, Nduja, White Hag's Atlantean IPA Sourdough. Another featured Ballyhoura Wild Mushroom, another Macroom Buffalo Bocconcini.

No shortage of spices here and both of our choices had some. CL’s was Skeaghanore Duck Laab, House Sriracha, Kohlrabi Som Tam, Purple Basil (€10.00). Also known as Larb this a lively and lovely salad and was very much appreciated. 

I picked the Turbot Ceviche, Cucumber, Yuzu, Pickled Chilli, Vietnamese Coriander (€10), a gorgeous palate-waking dish that combined South American and Asian in a cosy old spot on an ancient Cork street. Is the world getting smaller or what? No doubt though our tastes are expanding as peoples interact across the globe. Wouldn’t it be great if we could keep all interactions peaceful.


It wasn’t all peace and quiet here in Pigalle. Here, you talk that bit louder, laugh a little louder. There was a party in the back room but the happy vibes were all over the place and we took it all in as we sipped the beers and waited for our mains. They didn’t take long. The crew here have time for the chat but are also on the ball.

I had the wonderful rump of lamb, a captivating combination of Ballea Lamb, Marquez Sausage, Aubergine, Smoked Beetroots, and Velvet Cloud Sheep’s Yoghurt (26). A slightly offbeat ensemble really but it all came together gorgeously, the lamb had of course the lead role yet everything else on the plate, especially the beetroot and the yogurt, had their moments. Bravo! And thumbs up also for our other mains, the fish special of Pan fried Bream with Valentia Island Vermouth Velouté, Confit Fennel, and Charred Leeks (€24).

The other choices available were Smoked Peanut Sambal, West Cork Tofu, Buckwheat Noodles, Sprouting Broccoli,Tomatillo, and Blackened Hake, Scallop, Langoustine Curry Butter, Pickles, Squid Ink.  

There were sides also on offer and we picked the Fried Rooftop Farm Potatoes with Hazelnut Parsley Butter (4). That rooftop farm is downtown, in Cornmarket Street, and their Green salad was another of the sides.

We weren’t, at a quick first glance, immediately impressed with the three desserts on offer but, considering what had gone before, a second reading was in order and was followed by an order. Good decision! 

We went on to enjoy the Killeen Cumin Goat's Gouda, Templegall Cow's Cheese, Apple Jelly, & Crackers (€10) and also Blackberry & Cider Jelly, Marshmallow, Honey & Lavender Ice Cream (€8). The Blackberry & Cider jelly was excellent while the cheese (in generous quantities and enhanced by the superb apple jelly) was a treat. I always enjoy Hegarty’s but hadn’t come across this Killeen before (will be looking out for it now).

* Pigalle are continuing with their 3 courses for €35 option on Wednesdays and Thursdays, where all the dishes are from the main menu and that means good food and great value.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Taste of the Week. Valentia Island “Ór” Vermouth

Taste of the Week 

Valentia Island “Ór” Vermouth, 17%

Widely available in Kerry (including local SuperValus). Other stockists include in Cork at Bradleys and in Dublin at Celtic Whiskey. RRP €35.00. Updates on their Facebook here.

Yellow/gold is the colour of this, the first commercially available Irish Vermouth, produced by duo Ann and Orla on Valentia Island. The colour is appropriate as the flowers of the furze bush is one of the many local botanicals.

I haven’t seen the botanicals listed but stockists Celtic Whiskey say that “Wormwood, nutmeg, yarrow, and orris root are just some of the 21 different botanicals that are blended with carefully selected Spanish white wine…”

Aromas are somewhat zesty. If it came from the South of France, you’d be inclined to say scents of the garrigue. Well the local garrigue contains that furze and the dandelion that the two love! There’s a good hint of sweetness on the palate, full of flavour with a mild Campari like bitterness in the background. Good finish too with a little sweetness lingering on the lips.

That was the neat taste. Now…with tonic and ice..

Everything, both in the aromas and on the palate, is smoother, except perhaps for that Campari ghost in the background. Quite a pleasant drop though whether you’re sipping it on a sunny day on the lovely Kerry island (the Bray Head is one of my favourite walks anywhere) or even on a dull day in a warm room in a city suburb.

Tasted this first in Nash 19 where they added a slice of orange. Their usual serve is with tonic and that orange, and that is one of the producers’ suggestions as well. Vermouth is also a key part of the Negroni. This is my favourite cocktail - the ingredients are easy to remember! - one part vermouth, one part Campari and one part gin. While Valentia supplied the botanicals, the vermouth is based on a Verdejo wine from the Rueda region of Spain.