Showing posts with label lunch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lunch. Show all posts

Monday, April 8, 2019

Lingering by the Waterfall at Greene's Tasting Lunch


Lingering by the Waterfall at Greene's Tasting Lunch
Lamb 

We started lunch in Greene’s last Friday with a glass of Prosecco. This was a rather special lunch, one with a tasting menu, and the bubbles were included. Based on local and seasonal produce, as is always the case here, it was superb from start to finish.
Pickled mackerel snack

And, as often happens here, it was the smaller elements that caught the attention of the taste buds:   the pickled dillisk with the monkfish, the Sweet Woodruff Kefir, the carrot purée with the lamb, the flecks of apricot with the Coconut White Chocolate. Of course, the major items, the fish and the meat were superb as well.

After the bubbles, the breads arrived. And then a selection of “snacks”: pickled mackerel with dillisk and wild garlic, Purple potato chip with paté and elderflower jelly, Beef beignets with oriental mayonnaise, and a Mexican cracker sandwich. All small, all perfectly formed, all easily dispatched.

The starter was a little bit bigger: torched mackerel, asparagus, shallot, herb velouté, cucumber oil, dill leaf and wild garlic flowers. Now we were up and running, flavours galore yet all combining superbly. Time then for a Lychee and Lime (with Matcha Tea powder) palate cleanser.
Torched mackerel

Our main fish course was next: monkfish with a creamy dashi, spinach and that outstanding pickled dillisk, dashi powder and also a small cube or two of Morteaux sausage. A perfect melange of textures and flavours, immaculately presented and faultlessly cooked.

By the way, you don’t get a written menu. The offering can change from day to day so your server will tell you exactly what’s on your plate. And our server did that with precision and good humour and if there’s an error in these paragraphs than I’ll hold my hands up.
Dessert

Sorbet time now. We got a Lemon Sorbet with salt and, in a separate glass, a mouthful or two of that amazing Sweet Woodruff Kefir. Amazing on its own but even more so, surprisingly so, in combination with the sorbet.

We got lamb two ways in in our mains: the shoulder was cooked low and slow, the chop was also perfectly cooked, loved the carrot purée and the grilled asparagus and carrot. Not a spud in sight and it wasn’t missed either as we happily murmured our way through this delightful combination.

“Two desserts,” our server announced. “One big, one small.” Woodruff and rhubarb were the main elements in a dish that included espuma, meringue and a ginger sorbet. Big yes but also light and, at this stage, eminently digestible!

The truffles (the “small” dessert!)  came with their excellent coffee. One was a Coconut White Chocolate perked up with those littles bit of apricot and the other was a Dark Chocolate juiced up with a drop of Jameson. Cheers to chef Bryan and to all the team at Greene’s. Quite a lunch!

  • Quite often it pays to keep an eye on social media. I spotted somewhere a few months back that Greene’s were selling a voucher for this lunch at a 40% discount. I’m glad I pounced then!

48 McCurtain Street
Cork
021 455 2279

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Late Lunch in the City. How About Dockland?

Late Lunch in the City. How About Dockland?

A trip down town yesterday meant an unexpected but very enjoyable late lunch,  in the sun, at Dockland on Lapps Quay. Superb dishes, full of flavour.


Chargrilled chicken, tomato fondue, Gubbeen chorizo, basil pesto, olive oil mash.
Dockland Fish Cakes, watercress mayonaisse, wilted spinach, red pepper relish.
No big secret here: they use lots of fish in the cakes!

Ideal for a sunny day: Raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake.




Sunday, January 25, 2015

Crawford Gallery Café. Bright Palette in City Centre.

Crawford Gallery Café

Bright Palette in City Centre
Cured Bream
A touch of Spring about the scene in the Crawford Gallery Café when I called there last Thursday. Light streaming through the high windows, daffodils on the tables, smiles on the welcoming faces. And a tempting menu to study.

The January menu is outstanding actually, regular favourites such as Steak and Chips but also quite a few different items such as the Roast Marrow Bone.
Turnip and Bacon
CL picked the Turnip and Bacon Soup (5.50) as her starter. Not everyday you see that combination but the local produce was excellent and, well cooked, proved a lovely warm starter on a cold day.

Mine was the Cured Sea Bream with Pomegranate Juice and Cumin (7.00), the inspiration for this from a little further east than the turnip and bacon! Looked like a work of art (had to squeeze that in, since the cafe is on the heart of the Gallery). Tasted rather well too, terrific flavors and textures, the rich fish enhanced by the juice and taking a wee lift from the cumin. Delightful. Very highly recommended. And do watch out for other dishes of this style here in the future.
Salmon
The Salmon dish had attracted CL from the minute she saw it on the list: Salmon in a tomato, roast red pepper, herby broth, with garlic sauce and sourdough crouton (14.95). And she was delighted with it, loved the combination and thrilled with the light broth. No cream here to fill you up and so you go on to clean the plate.


Much the same could be said for me, except that mine was served on a timber platter. I love my aubergine, perhaps my favourite of the non-traditional vegetables, and I’ve had some great dishes with it featuring.
A right royal toastie!

And this, even though it was just a humble “toastie”, was another excellent one. Aubergine, roasted red pepper, Gruyere toasted sourdough, with sundried tomato pesto, cucumber pickle and a little salad (10.95). Toastie or not, I dined like a king, for this was a royal standard sandwich. Just goes to show when the ingredients are good and matched by the kitchen, the customer is a winner.

And the customer is certainly a winner here. And quite a few know it, as the room was packed last Thursday!






Monday, July 1, 2013

Arthur Mayne’s. Cool spot!

Arthur Mayne’s
Found a cool spot in the hot city centre a few days ago and enjoyed a tasty lunch there. This longish narrow outdoor area is at the back of the Arthur Mayne’s Pharmacy, the relatively new wine-bar in Pembroke Street.

Not now a chemist, though many interesting artefacts remain on view. Indeed, you might well think you are making a visit to the chemist when you see things such as  Senna Leaves, Brylcream and Wrights Coal Tar Soap on display. These and much more were found during the renovation and, luckily, not thrown away! Indeed, the ladies can check out some old style lipsticks.

Had been there a few weeks earlier on the Tapas Trail and noticed quite an extensive menu. On this follow-up visit, I was there for lunch. And was glad to get a seat in this outdoor oasis where the concrete is softened by the addition of some greenery overhead.

Had a look at the menu, set up by head chef Darren Connolly, and decided to start with the Mushroom Soup. Got a big bowl of it, an excellent soup and the brown soda bread was also spot-on.

I rarely pass up a chance of trying the local spiced beef and didn’t miss out on their “stack”: a Sandwich Stack to be precise, packed with the spiced beef, with caramelised onions, cucumber pickle, mixed leaves, seasoned tomatoes, and served with a seasoned mustard aioli.

I was well fed and so too was CL. She had also enjoyed the soup and her mains was a very tasty Asian Infused Chicken salad (with chicken, bean sprouts, noodles, onions and peppers with a sesame, chilli and honey dressing).

Finished off with some of that excellent coffee from Maher’s. Oh by the way, I did have to try something from the long wine list. There is quite a choice of wines available and a prescription (yes, I kid you not) will allow you sample from the 24 kept fresh on their state-of-the-art enomatic system.

Didn’t go for the prescription but did order a glass of their Obra Prima Reserva, a smooth strong Merlot from Mendoza. Took my time with that as I enjoyed my lunch break in the sun. Cheers, Arthur!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Nash 19. Alive with good food and good humour.

Nash 19. 
Alive with good food and good humour.

 Thought I wouldn’t get a spot at Nash 19 yesterday at lunchtime but there was a table at the back. After a big warm welcome we settled down, our order was taken and we sipped the gorgeous Italian white wine Pecorino.

While we were waiting for the mains, we were treated to an Amuse Bouche, chicken liver paté with their own cranberry sauce (when it is as good as this, a little goes a long way).

 Then down to business, sorry, that should read pleasure. CL picked the O’Connell’s Hake, served with a pea puree and field mushrooms. As usual the fish was fresh, just out of the water you’d think, and cooked to perfection as was everything else on the plate.
 I choose the Supreme of O’Sullivan’s Chicken with Gubbeen chorizo and spinach. Supreme is the word. Moist and tasty and a spirited reminder every now and then from Fingal Ferguson’s lively chorizo. A vote of confidence in this game is an empty plate and two of them went back to the kitchen.
 If you are in Nash 19 at this time of the year, you just have to try the Christmas treats. I went for the traditional Mince Pie. Been eating these for over 60 years now and I reckon the Princes Street version is the best ever. Try it for yourself some day. Even if you don’t have time for a meal, just drop in for a pie and a cup of coffee and let me know!

CL thoroughly enjoyed her Warm Festive Fruit Tart and I loved my sample but it’s the mince pies for me, though I could me tempted by the Christmas pudding next time.

I finished off with a couple of cups of Bewley’s Coffee and headed out in good humour, not just because of the good food but because of the good humour of everyone we met in the restaurant. It is true what they say – it is contagious. Laugh and the world laughs with you. Happy Christmas to all at Nash 19.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Discover the magic of Barnabrow


Discover the magic of Barnabrow

 Barnabrow House, a top wedding and Sunday lunch venue, reveals its magic little by little. Driving up the tree lined lane on a dark winter’s night, you might easily imagine a band of fairies at the weak edge of the headlight beams. In the morning, no imagination required, you will see a bunch of friendly donkeys, four generations, including a couple of this year’s foals.

Climb up a little higher behind the house towards the main restaurant, where the weddings are held, and lift your head and you will see a terrific view, over the neighbours in Ballymaloe, all the way to Ballycotton on the coast and its lighthouse winking in the grey morning light.


Lodge interior

Imagine this in the Spring and Summer. Then you begin to realise why the fairy of Cloyne based herself here, not that we did get to see the fairy fort. But there is so much else to see here, thanks to the magic, not to mention the hard work, of owner Geraldine Kidd who has been restoring and developing the ancient house and its surrounding acres over the past 16 years.

And the newest magic, and again hard work, is being supplied by recently installed head chef Stuart Bowes. His aim is to make everything on the table “as local, as organic and as fresh as possible”. We saw the motto put into super tasty reality in a stunning meal in one of the dining rooms in the house and you may read all about it here.

As part of a party of journalists and bloggers, we were welcomed warmly by Geraldine and her staff.  As we sipped the mulled wine, she explained that the place had been evolving for hundreds of years. After working in London, Geraldine came to visit Ballymaloe, saw the melons growing in the greenhouse, "an epiphany moment",  and signed up for a three months course.




Lodges

 She added to her cooking experience with a stint in the Arbutus and also worked with Denis Cotter of Café Paradiso and also in Midleton’s Farmgate. She bought it “very cheaply” in the mid 90s. It has proved very popular as a wedding venue.

After a candlelit breakfast, Geraldine and Stuart took us on a tour of the facility, which is on three levels, almost terraces. There are various accommodation units and at the top you have the large room where the weddings are held and directly in front there is a decked area from which you have the views over East Cork. It is an exclusive location and a bespoke service is offered to each bride and groom.

They can cater for up to wedding150 guests and, yes they can stay overnight, not in the house itself but in a dozen or so lodges nearby. And very impressive lodges they are. Can be used by non wedding guests as well.



All are individually furnished and very tastefully so, loads of space. The one we toured had a huge kitchen cum living room, a massive upstairs bedroom (double and 2 singles), and as much downstairs, including a four poster bed.




Wedding venue
The rooms in the main house itself are also individually furnished with different styles from traditional to bright and airy with a Mediterranean touch. Ours had its own touches, among them some old suitcases casually on the top of the wardrobe and a packed bookcase.



Accomodation
Indeed, the house itself can be something of a mystery to the first timer. Which door to use? In the room where we dined, you push a door and a bookcase revolves to meet you.

In the greenhouse
On our walkabout, we were accompanied by the dogs, and saw the donkeys and the walled garden where Stuart can get his grapes, organic purples ones. His know-how and a little pectin is added and hey presto you have a delectable purple jelly! More animals on view, including a goat and also some poultry wandering around. All so natural here.





And that about sums up Barnabrow, hidden behind the trees for most of the year. Just another farmhouse you might think but there is a magic at work here, the latest supplied by the accomplished young Scottish chef. Well worth a visit. Or two. One couple with us had been married here a few years ago and enjoyed the return to Barnabrow.

Introducing Chef Stuart Bowes at Barnabrow

Introducing Chef Stuart Bowes at Barnabrow

 Experienced Scottish chef Stuart Bowes is the new Head Chef at Barnabrow House  in East Cork and owner Geraldine Kidd introduced him to the media last week. Later Stuart introduced himself with a smashing dinner.

But first we met in the smaller kitchen of the big house, Geraldine’s own kitchen! She told us Stuart spent six years training at the Michelin starred Chapter One in the UK before embarking on a trip to Australia where he broadened his experience before coming to Cork to work in the Orchids restaurant in Hayfield Manor. He joined Barnabrow last June.

While doing a little demo in the kitchen, Stuart told us that “preparation is vital...helps get consistency..whether your group is 20 or 120.”

 While demoing his Rabbit dish that we would so enjoy later on, he spoke of a new experience at the wedding meals in Barnabrow, the shared platter, which we would also see later. “We give the couple the choice and so far two have taken the shared platter. The reaction has been great and we hope to do more with it.” Many see the platter as a good ice-breaker.

Having talked the talk, Stuart walked the walk, starting us off with Cork-a-leekie! That Scottish classic was given an East Cork twist by the proud Scot with Dan Aherne’s organic chicken and leeks from Barnabrow’s own walled garden.

Some of my tasty bits from the Shared Platter

Conversation was now flowing and that flow was further enhanced as the shared platter was passed around. The wines too were flowing and they also were top notch. I could go on and on with the superlatives but I think I’ll just let you have a look at rest of the menu now. Top produce and a top chef meant we were in foodie heaven for the very enjoyable candlelit evening meal.

Food to Share:
Platters of Barnabrow’s home smoked Mallard duck, Gulf stream oak smoked salmon, Rosscarbery’s free range pork, pistachio and cranberry terrine, jamon Serrano.
Barnabrow’s home grown and home pickled artichokes, roasted and marinated beetroot and garden leaves, Olive Hallinan’s Cloyne Goat Cheese accompanied by hazelnut dressing, fig puree, aged balsamic and Barnabrow basil pesto.
Homemade rosemary and onion focaccia, hot crusty bread rolls.
Wine: Domaine Emilian Gillet 2009 from Burgundy.

 Bitter Sweet Sorbet:
Gin and pink grapefruit sorbet tanged with their very own organic apple jelly, married with fresh cucumber.



Main Course:
Loin of East Cork wild rabbit, poached and roasted, with a pithivier of rabbit leg, Cloyne quince, Barnabrow walled garden spinach and 8 Degrees Ale jus.
Wine: Paddy Borthwick Pinot Noir 2010.

Dessert:
Coast meets culture. Stuart’s parfait of Irish Atlantic sea salt and caramel with Green Saffron spiced marshmallows and Valrhona chocolate sabayon.
Wine: Château Joly Cuvee Jean.

One magnificent meal. Perhaps the humble rabbit provided the highlight but then I wouldn’t want to miss either the Shared Platter or the Dessert. Great stuff, thanks to Geraldine, to Stuart and their lovely staff.




Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Perfect Sunday Lunch Experience at Ballymaloe


Perfect Sunday Lunch
 Experience at Ballymaloe 

Ballymaloe seem always to get it just right. The balance is always so perfect. Did you ever try the relaxed Sunday lunch there? You should. The warm welcome, understated class and under bottom comfort, the perfect easy going service, and, of course, the most natural seasonal foods served up with care and love, ensuring that the quality from the farm and garden is carried through to the table.

They do, however, make sure that you arrive on time. This is a buffet and they want you to enjoy it at its best. So do yourself a favour and arrive a few minutes before 1.00pm, the appointed time. That is the end of the “pressure”, the beginning of a relaxing dining experience.

And you never know who you might meet. A family, kids and all, out for a quite celebration, other groups and couples. And I was lucky enough to meet up with Paulo Tullio. Had a nice chat. He told me he had enjoyed his meal in town on the previous evening and was very impressed with the amount of fish on offer in Cork restaurants saying they don’t get it as much on the East Coast.

After the warm welcome, we were guided to our reserved table. Two adjoining high ceilinged rooms, each comfortable with plenty of space between the tables, serves as the dining area with a long table in an adjoining room carrying the buffet.



But first came the soup course. We had a choice of two. One was Pea and Chill while the other, the chosen one, was the Celeriac. This was a superb creamy tasty warming blend, a promising start indeed.

Then we were invited to fill our plates at the long table. Choices, so many I can hardly remember. Salads, pizza slices, quiche slices, cheese croquets, gorgeous temping vegetables, a fish dish and no shortage of seafood (mussels, calamari, etc), roast potatoes (well it was Sunday) and juicy joints of meat.

I made the lamb the centrepiece of my plate but couldn’t resist adding a little bit of the bacon and its special sauce (lots of sauces). The lamb was juicy and tender and indeed the whole plateful was spot on, all helped on the way by a glass of Pena Roble (Ribero del Duero, Spain). If you didn’t get enough food first time, don’t worry, you are welcome to visit that long table again!
But I was happy enough with my amount and relaxed for a while before the dessert trolley was rolled out. Now I was on full alert again! Quite a few choices but settled for some of the Lemon Roulade and the Apple and Blackberry Tart. Quite a contrast here with the sophisticated mix of the roulade and the rustic crusty tart. Both brilliant!

Time then for a coffee or two before heading out into the Autumn sunshine, weak but welcome!

Sunday lunch at Ballymaloe costs €38.00 per person. 




Friday, August 24, 2012

Excellent Lunch in Pat Shortt’s Bar

Pat Shortt’s Bar
Lunch in Castlemartyr

 It was just about lunch-time when we arrived in Pat Shortt’s Bar in Castlemartyr last Saturday. The place was packed inside. Luckily, there were seats in the outside area by the local river, the Kiltha, and so, for the second time in eight days, we dined al fresco in Ireland!

And we got good stuff. The starters were terrific. I got an ample helping of Bill Casey’s Oak Smoked Organic Salmon served on a lovely brown bread (€7.50). Bill is just down the road; chef Mike Hanrahan told me he collected the fish that morning. It tasted gorgeous, really impressed.


The local theme is strong here and was again well illustrated in CL’s starter: Ardsallagh Goat’s Cheese, black pudding, and pear salad, served on a bed of leaves with roast peppers and Ballymaloe Relish (€6.50). A terrific well balanced combination of textures and tastes.

Had more than enough fries earlier in the week so had to give D’Unbelievable Burger a miss. Settled instead for the Chicken and Chorizo penne pasta in a tomato and herb sauce (€10.75). Quite a bit of chicken and it was first class, the real thing, and the sauce was brilliant and gave the dish a nice lift.


Polished it off in the sun and then crossed the road to the Village Greengrocer where Shortt’s get their veg. Just a few yards up is Clifford’s, his butcher. It was a busy afternoon but soon everything stopped as dozens and dozens of motorbikes came through the village. It was the members of the Gold Wing Treffen driving their bikes from Cobh to Youghal. Just another talking point on a terrific day in the East Cork area. 


Friday, August 3, 2012

Step up to a Dining Room with a View


Jacob’s Ladder



Jacob’s Ladder  is the harbour front restaurant of the Water’s Edge Hotel in Cobh. The views out over Cork Harbour are excellent – indeed you may well see a cruise liner float by between courses – and the food is not half bad either.

It is a bright room with comfortable seating.  Service during our recent lunch call was friendly and efficient. By the way, not all the windows have a view of the harbour.There are a few that overlook the neighbours who are The Quays, another waterside restaurant. 

The lunch, with some friends from the town, was unplanned but none the worse for that. Nobody though wanted to go the whole hog. Just one starter and that was a very tasty Bruschetta of Brie (with roasted peppers, summer squash and onion jam).

One of the party was happy with his Watersedge Toastie. The filling was honey ham, cheddar and red onion.

The most popular main course was the day’s special: Warm Chicken, Serrano Ham and Potato Salad with Chive Dressing. Must say I enjoyed mine even though I thought the ham was rather overwhelmed by the rest of the dish, an opinion not shared by a fellow diner. 

Prices were reasonable enough. For instance, the Toasted Sandwich cost €7.95 while the Warm Chicken salad came to €11.95. The house wine (both red and white) was €5.25 per glass (perhaps not the greatest value you’ll get).

We had been in the town for the Food and Heritage Day  and were royally entertained for a few hours. Really enjoyed the day and the lunch.