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

Monday, October 17, 2022

Cracking Wine and Warm Welcome in MacCurtain Wine Cellar

 Cracking Wine and Warm Welcome in MacCurtain Wine Cellar

The MacCurtain Wine Cellar has just celebrated six months in business and is already making its mark on the busy street, now a go-to destination for eating and drinking with a huge choice of venues and styles to choose from.

The Cellar is essentially a wine shop where you may select your purchases from a huge wall of wine. Don't worry though, you'll have lots of excellent advice, given with knowledge and a rare enthusiasm, not to mention charm. If you wish to drink on the premises, that is no problem in the evenings. And while wine is their priority, they also provide some very tasty small plates and sharing boards as well.

They are owners Trudy Ahern and Sean Gargano, both very experienced in the restaurant industry and thrilled to have finally been able to establish a small business of their own here in Cork's Victorian Quarter. Trudy’s career was as a restaurant manager while Sean was (and is!) a sommelier, drinks buyer and bar manager. The team is completed by sommelier Paris who is "our front of house whiz". You'll find ex-charcuterie butcher Bryan Rudd (who is now studying wine) mostly in the little kitchen.

West Kerry Saucisson, pickles & bread
After a warm welcome from Sean, we were soon sipping our wines and enjoying our small plates. They have a varying list of about 20 wines by the glass, plus some fortified wines as well. We settle on the Trepat by Succéss from Catalonia (Spain).  The grape is new to me and Sean explained that is close to Gamay. It is a light-bodied aromatic red, close to what you get either in Beaujolais or the Jura. Well worth a try. 

We were in more familiar territory with the Holzer Grüner Veltliner from the Wagram in Austria. It was fruity (tree fruits), zingy and refreshing, lime and pepper on the nose and versatile with the food. 

Macroom Ricotta with Squash, Hazelnut and Speck on toast

Food may not be number one here but the short list offers a pleasant accompaniment to the wines. Along with the two pictured, we had the options of Smoked Almonds; Nocellara Olives; Bread, Butter and Tapenade; Cheese Board; Charcuterie Board; a plate of Burrata, Mozzarella and Bresaola; and more. Very happy with the two that we chose!

We were never going to leave without getting a bottle or two from the fantastic range on the wall, all organic, biodynamic or natural. I picked the Godello and Treixadura blend from Monterrei while Sean suggested the Celler del Roure Cullerot Blanco. He was very enthusiastic about this winemaker and about the future of wines from the Valencia area. Looking forward to trying the pair in the weeks ahead and they are likely candidates for our Good Value Wine List.

Check menus and opening times and stay up to date with MacCurtain Wine Cellar (who also do pop-ups and tastings) by following their Instagram here.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Tour de Gastronomie. Greene's Kitchen Skilfully Manage The Bounties Of The Seasons .

Tour de Gastronomie


Greenes Kitchen Skilfully Manage The Bounties Of The Seasons

It’s early on a September Friday evening and the courtyard between Greenes Restaurant and her now grown-up sister Cask is abuzz with diners. We make our way through to the waterfall and turn right into the restaurant and there’s a warm welcome from sommelier Frank* who combine(s)d his wine duties with restaurant manager. 

We were in early, early enough for their excellent value Early Bird (5-6pm). Other choices also available, including Prix Fixe, A La Carte and Tasting Menu. After a fair bit of “reading” and double checking, we settle on the Prix Fixe (55 euro a head) and we will not be at all disappointed. Au contraire!

The excellence here begins in the fields, the seas and the forests, with farmers, growers, foragers and fishermen, in Cork and in the region generally. It is meticulously maintained and cooked and presented by the team in Greene’s kitchen. And it is served with accuracy and smiles by the front of house team. 

We’ve made our choices and our wines have been brought to the table. A glass of Grüner Veltliner (Steiniger, Kamptal, Austria), light, fruity and with crisp acidity, for her; a glass of Lingenfelder Fox Label (Pfalz, Germany), deliciously juicy with ripe fruits by the German family for me. Both glasses are 175ml by the way, as large as you’ll get anywhere in Ireland.

Then there’s a surprise unlisted set of snacks, salmon sushi style, a creamy apple-topped soup and a pork belly croquette. Super bites and signs of the goodness to come. Delicious breads on the table also.

I started with a colourful and wonderful plate of Glenmar Salmon Gravlax, Toasted Almond Milk, Parsley, Pickled Red Onion, Crispy Capers. The salmon and the toothsome red onion were the main duo and the milky sauce helped it all on its delightful way.

My second choice (from five) would have been the Heirloom Tomato, with Basil Yogurt, Grapefruit, Vanilla, Sunflower Seeds, Tomato Water and CL loved it. There was a bit of sharing going on, there always is. I enjoyed my bits no end, as did she. Next time, we’ll have to swap courses!

Then it was on to Market Chicken (from Twomey’s of Macroom) and, as always here, the breast meat was soft, tender, succulent, moreish! Especially with the Coconut and Lemon Grass, Sweet potato, Bok Choi, Crispy Chickpeas.


Again, we had five choices and my pick was a favourite, the Skeaghanore Duck Breast (medium rare), with Carrot, Braised Endives, and Jus and more. Tasty and toothsome, this consistently satisfying dish is a must if you like duck. By the way, all main courses come with a side of vegetables and potatoes to share. Needless to say, these were spot-on.

Desserts can often be a letdown in restaurants. Quite often the lemon posset is no great shakes. But it is a different story, different class, here and the Lemon Posset and Raspberries, Oatmeal Lace Biscuit, Raspberry Sorbet is highly recommended by CL. And I can honestly give a major thumbs up to my Dark Chocolate and Hazelnuts Torte, Praline Caramel, Barley Ice Cream. 

* Suppliers, just to give you an idea of the provenance here, include: Waterfall Farm, Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms, Scup Gelato, Glenmar Shellfish, Ballycotton Seafood, Skeaghanore Duck, McCarthys of Kanturk, Michael Twomey (Macroom), Ardsallagh Goats, and Bushby Strawberries. Just a few names, list changes by the season.

* Frank Schiltcamp, who told me last week, publicly announced on Twitter on Sunday last that he was leaving: 
After 7 amazing years, today was my last day in It's been an absolute pleasure working with such talented people throughout the years but now it's time for a little sabbatical. Thank you guys, you've been nothing short of legendary!

Best of luck Frank and enjoy!!! And best wishes also to Head Chef Veronica and to new manager Noel.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Dining At Home With Mirco

 Dining At Home With Mirco

Fancy a piece of my Cannelloni?

Mirco Fondrini is the business owner of Da Mirco Osteria, the  Italian Restaurant in Bridge Street, Cork. He has been in business there for three years (after a long spell on front of house duties in the Farm Gate Café in the market).

The first year or so was very good and Da Mirco became well-known and popular. But then you know what happened. During Covid, Mirco relied on his At Home menus as he had no outside dining option. Even though restaurants have now opened up, his numbers inside are restricted to the mid twenties and his At Home option continues.

Some aubergine?

And so his name came up the other night when we felt like dining at home rather than going out. And we checked out his September menu and saw more than enough there for a little Italian feast. With Mirco himself coming from the northern Italian area of Valtellino, you can rest assured that you are getting the real thing here (much of it based on excellent local produce).

Speaking of the real thing, you certainly see it on two of the starters, his Tagliere Da Mirco with Italian Cured meats, cheeses, olives and “all our homemade favourites - focaccia bread, pickled vegetables and tomato jam” (serves 2 people) and the Tagliere Vegetariano with Northern Italian cheeses, mixed Italian preserved vegetables, olives and “all our homemade favourites - focaccia bread, pickled vegetables and tomato jam” (serves 2 people).

Meat balls perhaps?

Our pick though was the Parmigiana di melanzane: alternating layers of fried aubergine, tomato sauce, and pecorino cheese. We have enjoyed this on a few occasions - it has many fans around town - and we enjoyed it again on Friday night.

Good choices of main course here as well. We would have been tempted by the Lasagna Bianca Salsiccia e Cavolo Nero (Handmade Egg Lasagna filled with layers of O’Mahony Sausages, Black Kale and Casera Cheese (semi-skimmed cow’s cheese)). But we had our own version of Lasagna the night before so that was ruled out!

The Polla alla Diavola also sounded great: a Free Range Breast of Chicken rolled in Speck, with a spicy Nduja stuffing and Nduja sauce. Served with Roast garlic potatoes. Hot stuff indeed.

But I’m a bit of a Cannelloni fiend and so the Cannelloni di Magro (homemade Cannelloni with a light filling of Spinach, Ricotta and Pecorino Cheese) was picked. This is finished in the oven with Da Mirco Tomato and Basil Sauce. Well worth the little wait.

Our other mains was the Polpette al Sugo, Italian Meatballs of mixed minced beef and pork in a slow cooked tomato sauce. An absolutely top class dish, needing only a side of Fresh handmade pasta Tagliatelle 150 g (eggs and flour) that we added to our order.


He has quite a few Sides and Sauces available including Giardiniera, Sugo Arrabbiata, Patate al Forno, Focaccia al Rosmarino, Da Mirco Tomato Marmalade and more… See all the choices and ordering details here.  

You can hardly have an Italian meal of this quality without pairing with an Italian wine. As it happened (it doesn’t always happen!) we had just the job at hand in the Donnafugata `Sherazade` Nero d’Avola Sicilia (DOC) 2019. Soft in the mouth, with plum and cherry and smooth tannins and spicy fruit, this is a beauty, a fragrant and pleasant wine with outstanding freshness. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

CorkBilly Latest Food & Drink

CorkBilly Latest Food & Drink
Week 210820. Update #1

Plan to issue this mid-week with updates towards weekend. If you have any food or drink news, DM me a line or two, plus a link and a photo if available. Of course, if you have "big" news, let me know also and we can do a full standalone post.

Escape to Celtic Ross for this three day lazy summer break

The team at Celtic Ross have created this three day lazy summer break in West Cork to maximise the benefits of a visit to Rosscarbery and experience the variety of culinary offerings at Celtic Ross and the local food producers featured on our menus. This three day escape is a definite opportunity to explore, eat sleep and enjoy!
Inclusions in this package are:
•Bed and breakfast for three nights in a double or twin room
•Clonakilty gin cocktail to enjoy at your leisure
•Dinner in the Kingfisher Restaurant on an evening of your choice
•West Cork style street food from CRAFT
•Afternoon tea for two with a selection of home baked sweet and savoury treats
•Complimentary Rosscarbery walking guidebook
•Complimentary use of the leisure centre.

More details and booking here

Hederman Smoked Salmon

Coming Fridays & Saturdays to the - freshly made Hederman smoked salmon wraps to go. Have a healthy & delicious picnic lunch.

Creamy Chocolate Eclairs from Hassett's

Did you know that Hassett's Bakery make their Eclairs with Fresh Irish Cream and rich Belgian chocolate? "Pop into our stores in Douglas, Carrigaline or The English Market to taste how great they are." Check out their video here on Twitter.


Vienna Woods Hotel

Cork's Vienna Woods Hotel is a country house hotel steeped in history. A ten minute drive from Cork's City Centre, perched among the leafy woodlands of Glanmire, Cork's Vienna Woods Hotel is the perfect getaway for every occasion.
Vienna Woods is open for residents and indoor and outdoor dining for non-residents. 
*To comply with government guidelines, indoor dining is only facilitated for fully vaccinated, please have your covid cert/ proof of vaccination and a valid ID. 
Please ring 021 455 6800 or email


The perfect subscription for you - The Wine Lover!

from Cork based Wines Of The World

Their wine experts select 6 delicious wines from around the world and send to your door each month.


  • A mix of 6 different wines each month

  • Free Delivery Nationwide

  • Tasting Notes for each wine


BILLY LYONS (from Irish Times 18th Nov 2013)

Dublin gets the column inches, but Cork has a renowned food scene, and there is good value to be found, says Lyons, who has blogged about food in Cork since he retired six years ago. He had a few local favourites (in 2013).

Cicchetti at Gusto Nov '13

“At Cafe Gusto, Washington Street, six Cicchetti (Italian tapas), two main courses (from a large choice) and two glasses of good wine costs €30 for two, Thursday to Saturday. At the House Cafe in the Opera House, typical fare includes Ballyhoura wild mushrooms with free range egg in a delicious omelette for €8.50. Small-plate menus are increasingly popular. Jacques, in the city, and the Greenroom at Sage in Midleton are also worth a call.”

More on the Gusto Cicchetti here

The Coffee House

Coffee House - Fermoy Café
Vine leaves from Kilworth!

A friend of mine in the Fermoy area  is very enthusiastic about the newish Coffee House in the town. It is run by Tom and located where the French restaurant  (La Bigoudenne) used to be many years ago.

"Tom has his own coffee roastery in Poland so has a very unique selection of coffees. His wife, Kasha, bakes all their cakes and breads and they do a roaring trade on a Friday night for interesting takeaway at very good value, from 12e per person, a feast! 

He is a real character who is not very good at self promotion! He does a great lunch during the week that is well worth checking out if you are in the area!"

More details on the Coffee House Facebook here.

Priory Coffee Arrive In The Victorian Quarter

The brand new Priory Coffee Co. on MacCurtain Street, Cork City, opened on Monday! "We can't wait to welcome you! You can come in or use our handy Priory Hatch for Coffee & food on the go! "

Priory are already well established in North Main St Cork (next to Gate Cinema), in Youghal (Main St), Mallow (106 Main St), Fermoy (Brian Boru Sq), and




Lord Mayor, Cllr. Colm Kelleher with Aaron Mansworth and Sandra Murphy of the Trigon Hotels clocking up the kilometres.

Trigon Hotels cycled the distance from Cork to Dublin and back during a six-hour spinathon in Cork City Centre last Friday. The event raised over €1,000 for Cope Foundation.

Hotel team members took to static bikes on Harley Street which were kindly given by UCC’s Mardyke Arena. They travelled 576km and burned a combined total of more than 14,000 calories. 

A team of 40 people were involved in the event including cyclists and bucket collectors. The Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Colm Kelleher was among the supporters to cheer on the participants. 

Lord Mayor, Cllr. Colm Kelleher said “It is wonderful to see this collaboration with Trigon Hotels and Cope Foundation and Ability@work. Inclusivity is imperative in the workplace and it is great to see Trigon Hotels foster such a close relationship with the Cope Foundation. It has been challenging for charities to have fundraising events since the pandemic began due to not being able to organise and host their usual events and so it is really important to support charities and companies when they do organise events.”

The Watergrasshill Vineyard
Did you know there's a vineyard in Watergrasshill? It is small, experimental and in its infancy. See more on its Twitter account: @Ireland_Wines

Design POP Info
Quite a lot of food interest in this month's Design Pop.
For instance, you can see creative studio Play Nice team up with food obsessives Currabinny at Wandesford Quay.

Play nice studio

Play Nice are a creative studio based in Dublin that designs, builds and styles eye-catching immersive spaces for people and products. Our aim is to create playful digital or physical worlds of colour for people to engage in and enjoy. That can range from providing creativity for photoshoots, temporary pop-ups or permanent work in public or commercial spaces.


William Murray & James Kavanagh gave birth to Currabinny after a discussion on how they could turn their unwavering obsession (food) into a career. William studied & grew his love of food at Ballymaloe Cookery School in Co. Cork - which is headed up Darina Allen & Rory O’Connell. In Ballymaloe, William nurtured his love of dishes that are unashamedly created with lots of real butter, Maldon Salt & seasonal, fresh vegetables. James comes from the other side of the food world; marketing. Having worked for two of his favourite Irish brands; Kerrygold & Barry’s Tea, he has learned what goes into making a beautiful product. Witnessing the passion & quality that goes into making a Barry’s teabag, and how the perfect grass has to exist in order for Kerrygold Butter to be as delicious as it is, has strongly influenced his food ethos.  

All the info on this and many other events here

Friday, July 9, 2021


 Press release


Harley’s Street Food Market launched with tacos, burgers, cocktails and coffee

A vibrant new street food offering has opened in the heart of Cork’s Victorian Quarter. Harley’s StrEAT Market is located next to The Metropole Hotel and features cocktails and coffee, tacos and speciality BBQ burgers all made with locally sourced ingredients.

The first vendors are Taco Rebel, Bevs and Brews, and BBQ pop-up Bird Song in the City. More food stalls are set to be added soon. The market is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10am until 8pm. 

Outdoor seating is available on Harley Street which has views of the Lee and is home to one of the Ardú Street Art Project murals. 

Managing Director of Trigon Hotels, Aaron Mansworth says: “Harley’s StrEAT Market is a wonderful addition to the Victorian Quarter in Cork. There is plenty of space on Harley Street to savour local produce by the Lee and I’m looking forward to seeing even more food additions being added in the coming weeks and months. In particular, I would like to extend my gratitude to Cork City Council who have been a wonderful support and instrumental in assisting with bringing this to life. The backdrop of the artwork really adds to the colour and vibrancy of the street - Ardú is the Irish for rise and this food market is just one example of how Cork is rising to the challenge of Covid-19 once again.”