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Showing posts with label Waterford. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Waterford. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Granville Hotel’s a Superb Base for Waterford Getaway


Granville Hotel’s a Superb Base for Waterford Getaway
Blaa Eggs Benedict at The Granville

I’m sitting in the busy TF Meagher Bar in Waterford’s Granville Hotel, sipping a pint of Helvic Gold Ale by Dungarvan Brewery. The bar is busy, with most of the customers eating from the well-priced bar menu. There are old prints and pictures all over the place, hardly a spare bit of space on the walls. 

One catches my eye. The tour de France is currently running and Carrick on Suir man Sean Kelly is one of the Eurosport commentators. The Granville have a painting of the cyclist when he was a very young competitor indeed. 

Another pic is even more eye-catching. It is a large scale drawing of a group of heads, nine in all if I remember rightly. Who are they? Politicians? Perhaps, but we don't recognise any. We ask the barman and he tells it’s an representation of a bunch of regulars and that a few are still alive. Great to see a bar appreciate their regulars!
Breakfast plaice at The Granville

The Granville is a friendly place, thanks to its staff. Our room is excellent; we have everything we need and a view over the quays where our car is parked for free (thanks to an arrangement between the hotel and the operators). 

We are in Waterford for about twenty four hours and our first stop for grub is at the Candied Hazelnut, a relatively new restaurant on O’Connell Street. Its food is gluten free, peanut free and plant based and the casual and colourful space is fast becoming a favourite haunt for foodies, coeliacs, vegetarians, vegans, plant based people, tea and coffee lovers, and those with a sweet tooth. We enjoyed our meal there and you may read about it here.
O'Connell Street

Mount Congreve view
On recent visits, we’ve seen the three museums (account here) and taken the Waterford Crystal tour (account here). So we headed out to nearby Kilmeaden to visit Mount Congreve House and Gardens. 

Quite a few signed walks on this massive 70-acre estate and of course we took the orange one, the long one. There is a walled garden here, with a frail Georgian glasshouse. But it is mainly about large-scale plantings where some great views open up over the Suir, especially from the Temple. 

The 4-acre walled garden was alive with bees and insects and further into the walk we saw a couple of sturdy rabbits bouncing around in the trees. Later, near the entrance/exit, a fox prowled in the distant corner of a field.

As we finished our walk, we got a fine view of the house itself. There is a excellent café near the garden shop and here we enjoyed a decent cup of coffee but, with dinner not too far away, we avoided the good things. Nearby is the terminus for the Waterford & Suir Valley railway but we had missed the last run at four o’clock. Next time. This picturesque run takes you into Waterford and back, and runs at the margins of Mount Congreve, alongside the Suir and the Greenway.
Your move

The dinner I mentioned would be in Everett’s, another relatively new restaurant here, sited near the Medieval Museum in a very old building indeed and part of it is based in ancient wine vaults. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and the account is here.

It was after that that we enjoyed a spell in the Granville bar. After a good night’s sleep we were ready for breakfast. And what a breakfast you get here in the Bianconi Room, their main restaurant. 

Take the porridge, for example. It is of course the Flahavan’s variety and you can add to it from a selection of Bailey’s Cream, Irish Whiskey, Muldoon’s Waterford Whiskey Liqueur, or Highbank organic Apple Syrup!

It is a fantastic buffet selection and the hot dishes from the kitchen are also top notch, including the Full Irish of course. But being in Waterford, I just had to have a Blaa. And there it was on the menu: Blaa Eggs Benedict Waterford Style (poached eggs and ham on toasted Waterford blaa with Hollandaise). Delighted with it. Maybe Cork Chef Bryan McCarthy should have went with the Blaa in Barrack Street rather than the bao. Blaa Boi would make a good name too!


The Pagoda
Mount Congreve
Full after that excellent breakfast, it was time to say goodbye to the Granville and head west along. And we stayed on the main road (the N25) until just beyond Leamybrien when we turned left on a country road towards Durrow. We were following signs for the Waterford Greenway and soon arrived at the parking area near a bar and shop where you could have a bite to eat and hire a bike.

No bikes for us and we walked along in the sun. For a while. After a few minutes we found ourselves in the Ballyvoile Tunnel, cool and a few drops of water falling down too. Soon we were back in the sun, admiring the countryside and before we knew it were atop the Ballyvoile viaduct where the views improved! Quite a few cycling and not too many walking.

We carried on for another while in the direction of Clonea and, not too far from the viaduct, we got a brilliant view of the ocean. Time to return, we thought, and so we retraced our steps to Durrow, the total walk, a leisurely one with lots of stops for photos, taking just over an hour.
Al Fresco at The Granary

Greenway tunnel
It was getting close to lunch-time and we had just the spot in mind, having read a few days earlier that the Cliff House Bar had introduced a new menu. And a good one it is as we found out as we relaxed on the terrace watching the comings and goings on the blue waters below. A superb finalé - read all about the meal below - to our superb trip to Waterford. 

Also on this trip:

On The Greenway






Monday, August 6, 2018

Everett’s Vaulting To Culinary Peaks. New Waterford Dining Destination


Everett’s Vaulting To Culinary Peaks
New Waterford Dining Destination
Cod
Ireland’s love affair with wine has left a legacy of wine vaults. Some have been converted and are now being used as restaurants, Ely in Dublin and Holy Smoke in Cork spring to mind. The latest are Everett’s in High Street in Waterford who are using the 15th century vaults of a local mayor. 

James Rice gave this wine vault and the dwelling above it to Dean John Collyn on the 6th July 1468 and it was used to house the priests of the new chantry chapel built by Collyn until 1520. Now Everett’s, just opened a few months back and already gaining quite a reputation, are using the building for their 58 seater restaurant. The street level room seats 28 while the vaults below cater for 30.
Knockalara cheese

 It is quite an atmospheric place, especially if there’s a party going on downstairs! But no great point in having a historic venue for your restaurant unless the food is good. And that’s where chef Peter Everett, who owns the restaurant with partner Keith Noonan, comes in. 


The Chapter One trained chef, back in his native Waterford, is using the best of local produce and using it well. Beautifully cooked and presented plates are flying out of the kitchen and the customers are flying in. The menu is short but long on quality.
Rilletes

Three courses here will set you back forty euro. Let me be clear. It is not a set back, it is great value considering the high quality. And I reckon the Pre-Theatre menu is probably even better value. You may like to know that they do lunch on Fridays and Saturdays (not on Sundays).


We called there recently and, after an initial “set back” about the reservation, we settled in and throughly enjoyed the accomplished cooking and the service from start to finish.
beef

 We had five starters to pick from and one was the Knockalara Sheep’s Cheese with pistachio, baby artichoke and roasted red pepper. The cheese, made by Agnes and Wolfgang Schliebitz in West Waterford, was the centrepoint of a delightfully delicious dish.


Our other starter was the Andarl Farm Free Range Pork Rillettes, Cherry, Beetroot and Almond. Another winner, again beautifully presented, a gorgeous toothsome combination. Needless to say, two empty plates went back. And that was to be repeated, twice!
mash
I think there were five mains on for the night and mine was the Striploin and Braised Brisket of Derek Walsh's Beef, Carrot cooked in Ale, Spring Onion. The local beef was spot on, even the carrot in ale was a highlight.


Meanwhile, the CL was happily tucking into her Fillet of Cod, N'duja Crust, Courgette, Samphire, Sherry Sauce. The shimmering cod looked as if it had just been plucked from the ocean outside Dunmore East. And the mash was smoother, certainly more buttery, than an electioneering politician’s words.

Chocolat
Now for the real sweet stuff, the chocolat! At least, pour moi. Opera Chocolate Fondant with Malt Ice-Cream had me singing, well metaphorically so, for I was the class crow, not even allowed in the group - no bum notes allowed in Mrs Shaw’s chorus. 


And there were happy notes coming from across the table as the Fresh Peach Purée, Raspberry and Elderflower combo struck the perfect balance, the Peach on the sweet side, the Raspberry on the tart. Quite a finalé at Everett’s. Just opened in the spring, they may be in their infancy but the stride is already confident, the outlook good.

Also on this trip:
The Candied Hazelnut

Lunch at Spectacular Cliff House

22 High Street
Waterford
(051) 325 174


Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Let's Avocuddle at Waterford’s Colourful Candied Hazlenut


Let's Avocuddle at Waterford’s Colourful Candied Hazlenut

The colourful tree, painted between the front door and the window, and climbing up the wall above both, catches your eye as you stroll along O’Connell Street in Waterford City.


There is a plant based restaurant inside and that interior is colourful too, a variety of tables and different coloured chairs, amusingly illustrated cushions scattered around a narrow shelf and a dresser full of pottery pieces.


Even the food is colourful. Gluten free, peanut free and plant based dishes are the order of the day (and of the evening) here and these dishes are full of flavour as well as we found out on a recent lunchtime visit to Teresa Heffernan’s The Candied Hazelnut.

Teresa, the chef/patron, is a busy girl, producing exciting, vibrant and extremely flavourful food using locally sourced produce. The menu changes daily and besides quite a few bits and pieces come from her very own garden.

With a rather big dinner scheduled for that evening, we were looking for something on the lighter side. Teresa has a good sense of humour too. After the first thing on the menu, Soup of the Day, she wrote: it’s too hot for soup folks! And, for most of this July, so it was.


I was tempted by The Bean Taco Fries served with salad (9.95). A terrific combination. The beans were a treat and you’d find it hard to get better fries.
Bean Taco Fries

At the other side of the table, the Blueberry Pancake Stack with Maple Syrup (5.95) was being eagerly demolished. And no shortage of blueberry. A few loose on the plate but plenty buried in the pancakes as well. Very very tasty indeed.

And we washed it all down with a a bottle each of the VitHit Apple and Elderflower (2.95,), a mid-day drink I’m getting to like, despite it costing forty five cent more here than I paid for it in Killaloe the previous week. They also sell bottled beer and wine by the glass and bottle. The wines (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvigon Blanc and Chardonnay) are all Chilean, all by Alameda, available by the bottle (€20), by the carafe and by the glass.

Some tempting dessert here also but we said we’d better give them a skip on this occasion. We certainly enjoyed our visit to this bright and colourful and high ceilinged dining room.

Also on this trip:
Lunch at Spectacular Cliff House
Everett's new Waterford restaurant
Another colourful building on O'Connell Street



Monday, July 23, 2018

Cliff House Hotel. New Menu. Bar above. Sea below.

Cliff House Hotel. New Menu.
Bar above. Sea below.
Salmon

Some people wanted a table in the sun. Some preferred to be in the shade. And a few stayed indoors. We were on the terrace at The Bar in the Cliff House on one of the sunniest days of this sunny summer. Earlier we had been walking on the Waterford Greenway and so we two settled for a place in the semi-shade to try out the new bar menu at this superbly situated hotel.
Looking out to sea

A glass of Rebel Red and lots of water helped cool things down as we studied that inviting menu, divided into sections: From the Garden, From the Land, From the Sea, Irish beef from McGrath’s and Sheelin,  Small Bites and Snacks, Sides, and Desserts. And also a Dish of the Day. This superb well-priced menu is served 12 noon to 4.00pm and 6.00pm to 9.00pm.

Service, we noticed, is rather leisurely here. In any case, it is the kind of spot you come to slow down, take in the fantastic views out to the ocean and back towards the curve of Ardmore beach. A “school” of young wanna-be sailors gather below at the base of the cliff and add a riot of colour. Who’s in a rush?
Asparagus
Spring rolls

So, eager to try out as much as possible, we pick and choose from under the various headings. My Green Asparagus Peperonata, Burrata, Almonds (9.75) comes from the Garden, maybe the Garden of Eden it is so tempting, so delicious.

Oysters, Iberico Ham and Organic Olives come under the Small Bites and Snacks section. So the Official Blog Chef (OBC) gets a surprise when she sees no less than three Skeaghanore Duck Spring Rolls (7.50) arrive. And they are packed with that renowned duck meat, rich and satisfying. She feels the energy lost on the Greenway flowing back!
Below the bar's terrace

A bit of a gap between round one and two. But the second phase is just as impressive. My pick, From the Sea, is the Organic Irish Smoked Salmon (12.50 small & 21.50) Mi-Cuit, Buttermilk, Dill Oil, Radish. I take the starter portion. The quantity is enough and the quality is off the charts. Just superb and the buttermilk, dill oil and radish make a great match with the warm flaky flavoursome fish.
Terrine

View from Table 40
Table number on the stone!


And it’s thumbs up at the other side of the table also as OBC tucks into the well presented (they are all well presented) Guinea Fowl Terrine Pickled Vegetables, Brioche, Parsley, Mayonnaise (9.50) that comes out of the Land section.

The Lemon and Cream pot with Blackwater Gin was calling me from the dessert menu but, having enjoyed a hearty breakfast earlier in the Granville in Waterford, we had had enough and so reluctantly bade goodbye to the lovely crew at The Bar. 

With so much much delicious food on that menu, we promised ourselves a return visit! After all, the hotel is just 53 minutes from the eastern side of Cork City (and Google Maps often over-estimate). No excuse.

Also on this trip:
The Candied Hazelnut
Everett's New Waterford Restaurant

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ardmore. A Gem on the Waterford Coast.

Ardmore. A Gem on the Waterford Coast.
Breakfast at Cliff House
Ardmore is a gem on the Waterford coast. Fortunately, one the generous Deise folks don't mind sharing. Generations of people from neighbouring counties have made Ardmore their summer destination for its beaches, history, walks and the nearby mountains.


We headed there last Friday, the fabulous Cliff House Hotel above the village our final destination. But, as usual, we had a few stops and detours. First halt was in Youghal. It is not looking its best at the moment and hopefully the paint and brushes will be out and used before the season starts.
Ardmore

But there is no shortage of eating places here, well known like Aherne’s or newer and more casual such as Clancy’s. We were looking for a light lunch and Sage (not related to the restaurant of the same name in Midleton) had been recommended. It was bright and busy and I enjoyed my quiche and salad there. Details here.

Plan then was head to Helvic and work our way back through the Rinn gaeltacht. The fishing boats gathered in the harbour were a bit like some of the shops in Youghal, looking the worse for wear, but then the boats and the seaside towns (there are still sandbags in Youghal) have been through some horrendous weather in recent months and we are all hoping for better to come

Youghal

It was sunny and windy when we arrived in Helvick and now the rain made its appearance. So we wasted little time as we drove through Sean Phobal and so on, past the familiar beach at Ballyquin and on to Ardmore itself and up to the Cliff where a warm welcome awaited,a brolly held open even as we stepped from the car (a hint of the excellent service to come).


Soon we were installed in our room with a view and quickly made our way to the fabulous swimming pool, equipped with sauna and steam room and which also enjoys a great view over the bay.


Helvick

When the rain died down, we walked down to the town (to work up an appetite!) and made a loop back that took us past the famous round tower built in the 12th century. St Declan was here in the 5th century and his name is associated with some of the walks. Many (including a loop around the cliffs) start by the hotel and the staff there will give you all the information you need and indeed will provide a guide if necessary.


Your excursions from Ardmore needn't be confined to the coast. You may head for the nearby mountains. Mahon Falls is one of the attractions up there. If you want to do some shopping, then Cork and Waterford are each about an hour away while the lively towns of Lismore (for its castle and heritage centre) and Dungarvan are much closer.
Lismore

The Cliff House has some fantastic facilities though the outdoor dining areas were out of bounds last weekend! Do take time to explore. You will find quite a few books in your room but there are many more in the spacious and comfortable library which has one of the best views because of its height. The hotel is also unusual in that when you enter from the parking area, you are already on the fifth floor!


We enjoyed a memorable dinner there that Friday (details here). It was dark at that stage so we weren't able to take in the view but we did get it in the morning at breakfast, a very enjoyable breakfast I might add. In between, there was a call to the bar. An extensive menu of drinks here, as you'd expect, and delighted to see a terrific selection of Irish craft beers (and cider) on the list.
View from Cliff House room

Saturday was quite a decent day and we headed east to Portlaw (Waterford) and Turkstown (Kilkenny) to visit relations. Indeed, we visited Kilkenny, Waterford and then Tipperary in quick succession as we made our way home via Clonmel, Cahir and the M8. Only problem: what would we eat for dinner? The answer was in the freezer, the second portion of a curry made with Green Saffron’s Tikka cook-in sauce. Not quite Michelin! But just perfect.  

Looking towards Ardmore from Cliff House library






Monday, March 24, 2014

The Cliff House: Dining on the Edge

The Cliff House: Dining on the Edge
Which way to the Cliff House?
The Cliff House Hotel is an amazing building on the cliffs at Ardmore but it is its House Restaurant that is the star attraction, a Michelin star at that. Re-opened in 2008, after a huge investment, the hotel and the restaurant, have been at the cutting edge since. We were looking forward to the experience and we will be talking about it for a long time to come.
On the edge.
The restaurant has great views over the bay, back to the village and out to the ocean, but darkness was falling as we were led to our table near the panoramic window. The food was now the focus. And the wine, of course. There is a multi-course tasting menu, a very famous one indeed, but on this occasion we choose from the A La Carte (three courses €70.00).


They have an “exciting, surprising wine list”. Lots of study needed so we took the easy way out and went for the matching option (€27.50). The Cliff House is a huge supporter of local food (farm and sea) and no surprise either that they have a beer list that highlights many of the local craft brewers (including Eight Degrees, Dungarvan and O’Hara’s) as well as the excellent Stonewell cidery.
Breads
A Cauliflower panna cotta, edible Clay stones, and Beetroot and Soft Goat Cheese Macaroons were some of the Amuse Bouches that arrived in rapid succession. And then there were the breads, three of them, each tempting and delicious in its own way: Brioche, Spelt, and a Multi-seeded Cornbread.

With the pleasant preliminaries completed, we were on to the real starters. Both of us went for the West Cork Scallops: Seared, Grilled, Ceviche, Crème, Celeriac Preparations, Black Garlic, Lettuce, Dutch Salad, Irish Caviar. Amazing dish, great presentation (included a side glass), beautiful textures and flavours.
Amuse Bouche
You are probably familiar with Tokaji, the sweet Hungarian wine. From the same Furmint grape, they also make a dry white wine and our glass was an excellent example of this style (2011), quite dry but still luscious and aromatic. Well they did say the list was surprising!

Next there was a surprise sorbet, a little highlight to remember: a carrot and fennel sorbet with a Green tea foam. What a lovely combination of flavours and textures. If they take that kind of trouble with the small things, you can be confident of the big courses.
Scallops
And that superb standard continued throughout. CL loved her mains, the McGrath's Black Angus Beef: Fillet, Sausage, Small Vegetables, Potato Fondant, Kilbeggan Whiskey, Beef Tea, Garden Herbs. The beef was just so, pink and tender. And then there was a small wow moment when the Beef Tea was made at the table, the stock poured over the herbs in a little cafetiere!

I didn't have any “tea” with mine but loved every little bit of the Irish Rose Veal: Strip Loin, Stuffed, Oven Roasted, Sweetbreads, Blue Foot Mushroom, Bread and Butter, Veal Jus. That mushroom by the way was out of this world.
Beef
The wines, both red as you'd expect, were top notch. CL’s Orzado Carignan 2011 came from the Maule Valley in Chile while mine, Chateau Bellevue Bordeaux, mainly Merlot, was from much closer to home.

The time was flying by and we were on the verge of dessert. All through, the service was highly efficient but always there was time for a quick chat, the patience, and more importantly the knowledge, to answer a question. Flawless and friendly.
Veal
Chocolate often catches my eye and so I ordered the Organic Chocolate 65%, Alto el Sol Peru - Vintage 2013 and the Garofolo Madagascar Vintage 2012: Mousse, Crème, Vanilla Semi Freddo, Olive Oil, Sea Salt, ‘White’ Coffee Ice Cream. The matching wine was the Grenache based Banyuls Rimage, Pietri-Gerard, France 2011. Could have had a Dungarvan Stout with it but then a visit to the bar later was on the cards! Would have liked to tried a Rasteau with it.
Rhubarb 
CL had a last minute change of mind and was delighted with her Rhubarb: Sphere, Compote, Poached, Consommé, Yoghurt Candy Floss, Almond, Ginger, Honey Ice Cream. And delighted too with her sparkling wine match, the Cremant D’Alsace, Meyer-Fonne NV. A classy end to a top class meal.










Monday, August 13, 2012

Lunch Treat at O’Brien Chop House


Lunch Treat at O’Brien Chop House
 Having worked up an appetite during an amazing sunny morning on The Vee, we dropped down to Lismore and sought out O’Brien’s Chop House for lunch. Best decision of a very good day in the area! The lunch, in the garden, was top drawer. Local food - they get their meat from McGrath’s on the main street - served simply, as they say themselves. Simply superb!
 We got a lovely greeting from Richard Reeve and his friendly and efficient staff and were soon at our table, under the dappled shade of the garden trees. A really smashing facility and what a pity it hasn’t seen very much use this grey summer. Still, they have plenty of seats indoors and indeed many were taken up for lunch.


One of our starters was the Apple & celery salad with toasted hazelnuts, Cashel Blue and a yoghurt dressing (€7.90). It wasn't mine but I did get a few samples and it was gorgeous, a brilliant combination of textures and flavours, really well balanced. Very pleased too with my own choice: Ballyvolane saddleback pork terrine with pistachio and pickles (€8.90). Looked well and tasted well.

We both agreed on the main course: fillet of Hake with sea vegetables and a lemon/butter sauce (€21.90). The Hake was cooked to perfection and the sauce and vegetables were an apt accompaniment. The sea vegetables were brilliant, comfortably crunchy and with a robust taste. Oh and we also got some tasty spuds! Highly recommended, if you get the chance.




With the sun beating down, the rosé was always a likely wine choice. O’Brien’s have a gem: Artadi Artazuri Garnacha 2010  from Navarra, €7.25 per glass, also available in 150ml pitcher, 250ml pitcher and full bottle.

But the drinks highlight for us was the Elderflower Bellini (€7.95). The Prosecco provided bubbles galore and there are inviting scents and flavours via the Elderflowers. Well worth a try!


Saw the Badger and Dodo  logo in the bar on the way in, so guessed the coffee would be good. It sure was, sterling stuff. Excellent way to finish off an excellent meal.