Showing posts with label dining out. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dining out. Show all posts

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Jacques and the outdoor city. Dining out on the banks of the Lee.

 Jacques and the outdoor city. Dining out on the banks of the Lee. 

A delicious meal in Jacques last Thursday, was book-ended by a two-part walk around part of the city as Corkonians packed the many outdoor dining spaces that have sprung up in recent weeks.

Started by Thompsons in MacCurtain Street, then Isaacs. Greenes and Cask have their own “outdoor space” and that too was busy. The Metropole had a shaded, almost hidden, line of tables. The Shelbourne Bar has always had a lively outdoor area and that is now slightly enlarged. And so it continues on both sides of the street, most notably Son of a Bun. No such joy though for Bridge Street, with Da Mirco and others frustrated and hoping for an early resumption of indoor dining.

Sliced gets the evening sun on Parnell Place

The Patrick Street space outside Le Chateau was packed. And then came the tight squeeze of Carey’s Lane where you had to watch your step while willingly giving the servers the right of way as they sought the clear path between the many tables from many restaurants and cafes. Harmony reigned in the tight spaces, no dissonant exchanges, just the soft jovial buzz of young and old enjoying the outdoors city. 

Rory Gallagher Square was similarly abuzz with diners and drinkers and busy too was very narrow French Church Street though the likes of Cafe Mexicana is temporarily shuttered.

Leaving aside, for this time, the busy Cornmarket Street, Washington Street, Popes Quay, so many other side streets and squares, we headed across Patrick Street to Princes Street which the whole world knows by now is the epicentre of outdoor dining in the city, certainly the best-covered of the streets. Now we were heading for Jacques on Oliver Plunkett Street and noticed quite a few pubs had seats out and those seats full.

Crab. And Bushbys

Had a quick look at Pembroke Street and that was busy too. Our destination was Phoenix Street and the original front entrance of Jacques and here we got a big and warm welcome from co-owners and co-founders Eithne and sister Jacque. Soon we were seated and studying the menu. You may also enter from the Oliver Plunkett Street door where Jacques have more outside tables.

And then a little coincidence. Hours earlier, Facebook showed me a memory from the same date (15th July) in 2017, of a crab and strawberry starter at Jacques. And yes, Crab and Strawberry featured again. The details: Fresh Castletownbere Crab Salad, Mixed Leaves, Bushby Strawberries and Mint (14.90).  Couldn’t resist going for this rather substantial starter again and was well satisfied with a super combination of tastes, textures and flavours. Lots of nibbles and small plates here, including Rossmore Oysters.

More Bushbys!

Lobster featured on the mains. Tempted by that for sure but since we had enjoyed it (as take-out) recently and also because I had been on a run of fish dishes, I decided to go with the lamb. I liked the description: Rump of Lamb Greek style (pink) in a crust of small seeds, green beans, tomato, olives, Ardsallagh Goats Cheese, and Crispy potatoes (28.00). I’ve been very happy indeed with some of my recent fish dishes and glad to report that the Jacques lamb was in that top class bracket as well, indeed one of the best lamb dishes I’ve come across in a long time. Very Highly Recommended.

I’ve also been delighted with recent desserts and that trend continued too at Jacques. Well, there’s never any hesitation if you read Bushbys on the menu: Bushby Strawberries, Vanilla ice-cream and honeycomb (7.50). Superb. Those Bushbys are the best and brought a lovely meal in the urban outdoors to a sweet conclusion!

The outdoor "dining room" of Princes Street

As it happened, our Jacques table was directly opposite the space between Crane Lane and Arthur Mayne and I got a close up of that well-weathered timber door and the old brick steps that lead into that space (an long-standing sheltered, outdoor alley that has long been used for dining and drinking). That doorway by the way is now used as exit only and, in fairness, every customer that I saw approach read the notice and went back to enter via the Pembroke Street door of Arthur Maynes. Both places are under the Cork Heritage pubs umbrella and also had tables on Phoenix Street.

The sturdy door and brickwork at Crane Lane/Arthur Maynes

The sun was still strong as we two happy customers left our Jacques table and headed for a stroll and a look at Oliver Plunkett Street diners, lots of them, especially at the junction of the street with Caroline Street, many people enjoying the offerings of Jacques, the Oliver Plunkett itself, Cafe 115 and the Old Oak. And then another smaller concentration of diners outside the doors of Goldie, Elbow Lane and their mothership Market Lane. And a glance up Maylor Street revealed even more outdoor tables and diners!

Keep on keeping on. Hands mural at Harley's Street

We crossed the Mary Elmes bridge (lots of plastic bottles on the deck by the seating - didn’t spot any bin) to Patrick’s Quay. I had heard about the Harley’s Street market but didn’t expect it to be open in the evening. But open it was and busy too as customers lined up for smaller bites plus coffees from the likes of Taco Rebel, Bevs and Brews, and BBQ pop-up Bird Song and others.

Our stroll around was now coming to an end as we crossed MacCurtain Street and headed for the hills!


Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Maestro in top form at the Radisson Blu!

The Maestro in top form at the Radisson Blu!
Dessert terrine
After having sampled lots of food goodies at the official celebration of the Radisson Blu revamp, I was keen to try it out in depth. And we took the opportunity last week on a magnificent sunny evening. Indeed, there were quite a few families out on the sheltered terrace celebrating the local confirmations.

This time, we started in the Banks Bar and were treated to a couple of cocktails. A Cosmo (Absolut Vodka, Cointreau, Cranberry juice, lime juice) and a Bramble (Hendricks Gin, lemon Juice, Sugar syrup, Crème de Mure) pour moi. Up and running!
Starter terrine
 We took some time to go through the menu. It is a large hotel so they cater for a wide variety of tastes, for adults and kids, so it is a large menu, with everything from small plates to sandwiches, to pizzas, to salads, to fish and steaks. Starters range from €5.50 to €13.95, mains from the mid teens to the high twenties (7-ounce fillet, for instance, is 29.95).

CL started with the Chicken, duck and smoked bacon terrine, with roast baby vegetable salad, orange and chocolate balsamic syrup. This was absolutely delicious, a great mix of textures and flavours but a surprisingly mega-plateful under the menu heading of “Something Small”. Meanwhile, I was eagerly tucking into my equally delicious Pan fried confit of lamb shoulder on a bed of braised Puy lentils, morel cream sauce. Hadn’t seen this as a starter before.
Confit of lamb
 I stayed with the meat for the mains and picked the Pan fried prime Irish 8-ounce rib-eye, with chunky skin-on fries, baked Portobello mushroom, slow roasted vine tomato, green beans and onion rings, and peppercorn sauce (from choice of three). It was quite the main event indeed, full of great flavour and I enjoyed every single element on the packed plate.

The other side of the table was also doing well, happy with her Pan fried salmon, chorizo and leek risotto, with lime and green tea dressing. All done to perfection and the risotto was highly impressive, really tasty.
 Service was efficient and friendly from start to finish and a little tempting (along with recommendations) from that quarter saw us order dessert. Lemon Meringue Pie with Crème Anglaise was CL’s pick while my cool choice was the Raspberry and chocolate terrine, with lemon curd crème fraiche, and fresh berries. Happy campers after those two sweets!

Both wines came from Mendoza in Argentina. The white was Donna Paula Sauvignon Blanc, aromatic, crisp and lively and €6.95 per glass. Same price for the red, the Paula Malbec, a lovely supple wine, fruity and with a rich finish.
Main event!
 The significant refurbishment project, completed last month, incorporated The Great Island Ballroom, the chic hotel lobby, stylish Banks Bar and over 40 bedrooms, and culminated in the complete revamp of the hotel’s restaurant. Now sophisticatedly adorned with plush carpets, mahogany furniture and brown leather booths, the restaurant is the cherry on top of the hotel’s brand new look and has been renamed the Maestro. Well worth a try, for sure.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Dining Out Highlights 2014-2015

Dining Out Highlights 2014-2015
Places to stay. Visits, tours and more.
Elbow Lane

Excellent for Dinner

All White on the Night. Dining Out in Cork City*

One of Miyazaki's salmon dishes
An Canteen (Dingle) 2015
Bantry's Fish KitchenF
Blair’s Inn
Bodega, Waterford
Brook Inn
Cafe Gusto, weekend evenings
Cafe Serendipity
Chapel Steps, Bandon
Club Brasserie
Commons Express Inn 2015
Electric F
ely Wine Bar (Dublin)
Grey's Lane Bistro, Dingle
Heather (Killarney)
La Dolce Vita
Les Gourmandises
Macroom’s Church Lane Restaurant. 
Mitchell’s (Clifden) F
O’Connor’s (Bantry) F
Pier 26 F
Richy's Clonakilty
Rising Tide F
Star Anise
The Fairways (Nenagh)
The Global Village (Dingle) 2015
Tuscany Bistro (Ballina, Tipperary)
West End (Killarney)
Salad Nicoise by Richy

Excellent for Lunch

Bula Bus U Kilkenny
Castle Cafe
Coffee Shop (Union Hall)
Cosy Kitchen (Roscrea)
Crawford Gallery Cafe
Dillon's of Timoleague
Diva, Ballinspittle
Greenbarn (Killeagh)
Griffin’s Spinning Wheel
Islander's Rest (Sherkin Island)F
L'Atitude 51
Manning's Emporium (Ballylickey)
Monk's Lane, Timoleague
Nine Market Street, Kinsale
Pie Cafe (Dingle)
Richy's Bistro, Clonakilty
Sage (Youghal)
Schull’s Café Cois Cuan.
Thatch and Thyme, Kildorrery
The Square Table Dec 15
The Workshop
Toons Bridge Dairy
Hake, with poached egg, at Bramley Lodge

* Exceptional meal on visit
F  Great for fish
U  Most unusual lunch venue (in a parked bus)

All above visited last 24 months or so. Lots of other good places out there. If I didn’t get to your place last year, maybe we’ll meet in 2016! Hard to keep track - might need a reminder!

View from bedroom in Blairscove

Places to Stay
Albany House (Dublin)
Archways (Rosslare)
Ballymaloe House (Shanagarry)
Benner's (Dingle)
Blairscove (Durrus)
Brooklodge (Macreddin)
Celtic Ross (Rosscarbery)
Davitt's (Kenmare)
Dun Ri (Clifden)
Gleeson's Town House (Roscommon) 2015
Lakeside Hotel (Ballina, Tipperary)
MacNean House (Blacklion)
Maritime (Bantry)
Randle's Court (Killarney)
Rolf's (Baltimore)
Rosquil House (Kilkenny)
The Maryborough (Cork)
The Old Bank (Kinsale)
Brooklodge Hotel

Food Festivals

Ballymaloe LitFest 2015
Dingle 2015
Franciscan Well October Fest 2015
Kilkenny Savour 2014
Roscommon Lamb Festival 2015
Taste of West Cork 2015
Waterford Harvest 2015
West Waterford 2015

Ballycotton Cliff Walk

Visits & Tours. Events.

Arigna Mining Experience 2015
Atlantic Sea-kayaking 2015
Ballymaloe Garden Festival 2015
Ballycotton Cliff Walk 2015
Ballynatray House (Youghal) 2015
Blarney Castle 2015
Castlecoote House 2015
Castlefreke and Rathbarry. The castles and the wood 2015
Clonmacnoise 2015
Connemara 2014
Cork City Marathon 2015
Cork Harbour Festival. Boats & Bites 2015
Cork Jazz Festival 2015
Cork Saint Patrick's Day 2015
Cork Summer Show 2015
Culture Night. Paintings & Plates 2015
Doneraile Park 2014
Dublin. Summer Days 2015
Elizabeth Fort 2015
Fota Gardens & Arboretum 2015
Glenbower Wood, Killeagh 2015
Glendalough 2015
Highbank Organic Orchards 2015
House of Waterford Crystal 2015
Jameson Distillery Midleton 2015
Kilkenny 2014
Killarney in 24 hours 2014
Kinsale Harbour Cruise 2015
Loughbeg Farm. Meeting Mabel! 2015
National Botanic Gardens 2015
National Museum of Archaeology (Dublin) 2014
Powerscourt Gardens 2015
Teeling Distillery 2015
The Sheep's Head peninsula 2015
Waterford's Harvest Festival, including Medieval Museum, Bishop's Palace 2015
Wax Museum (Dublin) 2014
West Cork Islands, Ferries, Food 2015
Wexford's Johnstown Castle 2015
Youghal Medieval Festival 2015
Loughbeg Farm

Top Guides
Lots of excellent guides around the country, including the lady we met at Waterford Crystal and the lady who took us under her wing in the nearby Medieval Museum. But the three that stand out are, in no particular order:
Joe at Dingle Distillery,
Jimmy at Arigna Mines,
Johnny at Trinity College

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dine by the Water!

Dine by the Water
Superb food and superb views
Ostan Gweedore at Bunbeg, Donegal
I’ve been very lucky this past few months to have dined in some well placed restaurants, restaurants from Cork to Donegal that have a dining room with a view over water. Sometimes over a river, maybe over an estuary, and then sometimes over the ocean. I was lucky too to have brilliant weather in most of the places.

Let me start with river views. One of the best is from the newly opened Fish Bar inElectric. From the first floor of the South Mall building, you have fine views of the southern channel of Lee to the west and to the east. But have you been to Indigo Brasserie on Washington Street? Here too you have a fine view of a bend in the same river. 

Bunnyconnellan's Myrtilville (Cork)

And another excellent river view is to be found at the Market Kitchen restaurant, above the Murphy Brothers bar in Ballina. It wasn't quite warm enough to dine outside on the balcony but the Moy looked very well from the inside.

Time to move on now, nearer to the ocean, to the bays and estuaries and places such as the Rising Tide and Marlogue Inn in East Cork and further east you have the WalterRaleigh Hotel. You have no shortage in Cobh where you’ll find The Quays and The Titanic Bar. The Boathouse at Dromquinna, near Kenmare, is also well situated, right on the northern flank of the bay.
The Boathouse, Kenmare Bay

No shortage of seaside restaurants in Donegal. One of the best is the Seaview Tavern in Malin Head village but the view to the sea is somewhat interrupted by the cars parking across the road. No such problems at the Rosapenna Golf Hotel, whose dining room overlooks Sheephaven Bay and the beach at Downies. Further west along the same bay, the bar at the Cove at Portnablagh, another top restaurant, overlooks a different part of the same bay.

Back to Cork and to Baltimore and Le Jolie Brise where I’ve sometime enjoyed a dish of mussels as the day drew to a close with the island of Sherkin out in front. Locally, perhaps the best ocean view is that enjoyed from your table in Bunnyconnellan’s, a very pleasant view and very enjoyable food here. Hard to top that. One view that comes close, maybe level, maybe even better, is from the restaurant of Ostan Gweedore where there is the most fantastic view over the beaches and the waters of the Atlantic.
Rosapenna Hotel, Downies (Donegal)
Views are pleasing but you need good food too,
like this platter at the Seaview Tavern in Malin.

Have you a personal favourite view over water while dining? If you'd like to share, please use the Comment facility below.