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Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Local Producers Shine as Cask Introduces Weekend Brunch
When Cork’s Cask recently introduced its weekend Brunch, there was no doubt that it would be local and seasonal. Head Chef Bryan McCarthy emphasised it in the notice: “For the brunch menu at Cask we wanted to keep it simple, offering no-frills brunch favourites with the focus firmly on the quality of the ingredients which we’ve sourced from some wonderful local producers. We’re delighted with how it has turned out and we think people are going to love it.”
I tried it out this weekend, enjoyed it and delighted too that Killahora Orchards, a producer just about five miles east of the city, figured so much in my choice. I should say choices as there was a cocktail involved as well! Well, it was a late brunch.
The menu is short, with favourites, such as Eggs Benedict featuring. Seated by the window, we ignored the busy street scene outside and studied the options. My choice was the French Toast with the Killahora Apple Syrup and Strawberries (bananas were an alternative).
So what cocktail? You have to smile at the names here but there is something a little more serious behind the one I picked: Bee Positive. Ketel One vodka, Killahora Rare Apple Iced Wine, Suze, Borage and local honey are the ingredients. And it comes with a packet of wildflower seeds to throw and grow! Aside from the needed nod to the bees, the drink itself is delicious, nectar springs to mind!
In any event, the drink and the superb French Toast went very well together, I’m glad to report. CL meantime was enjoying her substantial plate of Avocado, Bacon, Tomato, Rocket, and Poached Egg on toast. That too was delicious, quite a feed. I know, as we swapped halfway through.
Like an increasing number of places, Cask offer a non alcoholic cocktail. Their Shrub consists of Ceders Non Alcoholic Spirit, Seasonal Shrub, and Poachers Ginger Ale. Tonic and soda are listed as alternatives but Dan, who was looking after us, hinted that the Poachers Ginger ale was just the job and he was talking to the converted as CL had recently enjoyed a cocktail with ginger ale in Kerry. This didn’t look all that spectacular, just the one flowerhead, providing colour, but it tasted very well indeed.
Having been asked to put it to the test, we can endorse that! Also on the menu are Eggs Benedict on Toasted Honey Spelt Bread; Potato, Black Pudding and Beef Hash with Baked Eggs. Lighter dining options include Granola with Natural Yogurt and Berry Compote, and Smoked Salmon with Scrambled Eggs and Chives.
Brunch is available here from 10:00am - 3:00pm every Saturday and Sunday. Cask is also open daily for lunch and dinner from 12:30pm - 10:00pm.
48 MacCurtain Street
Tel: (021) 450 0011
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Gallaghers GastroPub Rocks
Funny how things work out. Didn’t intend to spend all of last Sunday night in the company of old rockers. But that’s what happened. Can’t really take full credit for it but it turned out to be a terrific night with a super meal in Gallagher’s GastroPub and a lively charity concert in the Everyman with Dezperado (an Eagles tribute band).
The first plan had been to call to the White Rabbit at the exact opposite end of MacCurtain Street to Gallagher’s and try something from the grill there along with a glass or two from their renowned Bourbon selection. But a block-booking at the Rabbit snared that one and so we, four of us, ended up in Gallagher’s, taking in the view (and the sun) from our window seat that also allowed a view across towards Shandon.
The reservation here had been online, made with D***a, and she was back confirming it within a few minutes. And that kind of customer service continued in the bar/restaurant when we met and chatted with R****n. Service with a smile is always a big help.
I did have a quick look at the menu online before I booked and had a good feeling. Choices looked tempting. Starters included Burnt Maple and Cider Glazed Baby vegetables, Ras el Hanout Cauliflower Purée and Dukkah and also Skeaghanore Duck Leg Confit, rolled in Parma ham, corn and thyme purée, Kale red cabbage slaw and spiced plum gel.
There are impressive sharing boards, a choice of meats and a also a choice of fish. Other mains include a Crispy pan-roasted kale and leek “Bubble and squeak” Jerusalem artichoke velouté, roasted artichoke, charred apple, Cashel Blue crumble and truffle oil. Being Sunday, you might go for their signature pie: Irish Beef and Cork’s local stout “Beamish” with root veg, topped with puff pastry and served with fries.
All very tempting but our two friends had a few tips for us. Firstly, the fish and chips is excellent and secondly be sure and study the Cork on a Fork Special. So we read that board: Hazelnut crumbed duck leg, asparagus, candied beetroot, charred baby gem, celeriac purée and duck fat potatoes (21 euro).
Three of us went for that and it was superb, not just the delicious duck but also the asparagus, the beetroot and the gem, not to mention those spuds! Gastropub is no empty title in this establishment. The fourth diner was following his Fish ’n Chips tip come what may and he too enjoyed a very satisfying mains. Described as locally sourced catch of the day (Haddock in this instance) in a Franciscan Well Chieftain IPA beer batter, fries, mushy peas and tartar sauce (18 euro).
Speaking of Franciscan Well, we enjoyed a few glasses of the Rebel Red and it was four very happy customers who said goodbye to Rock heroes Rory Gallagher (his portrait looked down on our table) and Phil Lynott (you’ll see him on your way downstairs to the toilets), and headed down the street to see the sold out Dezperado gig in aid of MS Ireland.
Veteran musicians from the Cork area formed the band - not all veterans by the way, young guitarist Sean Hegarty (playing with his dad Ray) showed enormous promise. Lead vocalist Der O’Riordan and also Ken Healy belted out the well-known classics of the American band. Backing vocals were provided by Anita Curtin and Neasa de Baróid.
Earlier, Neasa and her band opened the evening and included her new single Rain due to be launched upstairs in the Spailpín Fánach on Friday evening (9.30 sharp). Neasa, a relation of CL's, is quite the composer and other songs enjoyed by Sunday’s audience included Mrs Murphy’s Moving On and Tabhair dom do Lamh.
Perhaps you’ve known before now that McCurtain Street, with its hotels and theatre, its classy restaurants, its world class cocktails and buzzing bars, its ethnic cafés, and its burger & down-home BBQ joints, really rocks. Now you know for sure. Don’t know if I’ll ever need to walk southwards over Patrick's Bridge again!
Sunday, October 7, 2018
Rest. Relax. Restore. At The MET
|Pic from The MET|
Have you seen the refurbished dining facilities at the Metropole? Very impressive, well designed and ultra comfortable, plush, relaxing whether you’re in for a pint or a cocktail, a steak or a sandwich, a cuppa or the full afternoon tea. Dress up and come on down and restore, relax, rest. And the food is good too!
We got the grand tour of the McCurtain Street’s Grand Old Lady in midweek, eye-popping, jaw dropping. The inviting bar is a superb introduction and a superb Old Fashioned set the tone for the evening.
I enjoyed mine in the afternoon tea area, just out of sight (and sound) of the bar, a green tinged oasis of peace and calm - well we were among the first in. Might not be so calm if you have a group of ladies in sampling the savoury and sweet offerings of the classic Afternoon Tea. The MET will have some variations on the theme.
The jewel in the crown though is the restaurant, just behind the bar, a 45 seater. Oh but what seats. Again the decor is superb, along much the same lines as the Afternoon Tea room, beautifully lit and comfortably furnished and linen on the solid tables.
The wines (they have quite a selection here, many by the glass) were being poured as Head Chef Stuart Dardis introduces the new menu that has been designed for the late Autumn and mid-winter. Stuart explained that there had been many in-house tastings as they selected the dishes and is very proud of their local beef offering (we would soon find out why!).
Lots of sharing going on as the kitchen team did their best to help us get a good idea of what they had to offer. I got to taste two of the starters. One was the Roasted Asparagus, smoked bacon crisp, crispy egg finished with a silky Hollandaise sauce. Tasty stuff as was the Parmesan Cheese Shortbread Biscuit, spring vine tomato compote and goats cheese mousse. Other starters on the menu include a Saffron Risotto, Smoked Salmon, Burrata, and Pan Seared Scallops, also a Soup Du Jour.
And then it was time for McCarthy’s Grass fed 8 ounce fillet of Hereford Beef, served with a few tomatoes, tender, perfectly delicious, top class. On the side there were Gratin Dauphinois and Garlic Roasted Violet Potatoes.
The mains are more or less fifty fifty between meat and fish and our fish was an excellent Pan Fried Fillet of Hake with crispy kale, black pudding grits and a white wine cream sauce. Other mains include Catch of the Day, Sea Bass, Braised Beef Short rib, and also Rib Eye Steak.
Four desserts on the new menu. The ones we enjoyed were a Classic Pecan Pie with a dollop of vanilla cream (this could become a favourite of mine!) and a Strawberry Mille Feuille with mascarpone cream. Other temptations were Petit Choux Buns with hazelnut ice cream, warm chocolate sauce and also an Almond and Raspberry Bakewell Tart.
To get more detail on The Met menus (they also do lunch here), their provenance, and wines, check here.