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Thursday, May 9, 2019
Izz Café On George’s Quay
Quality Food in Cork from “our mothers and grandmothers”.
Izz Café have proved quite a hit in local farmer’s markets over the past few months. I, for one, have enjoyed their salads, their jars of good things, and their superb cakes. Now, you don’t have to wait until Thursday in Mahon or Saturday in Douglas as the Palestinian family behind the tasty venture have opened a café at 14 George’s Quay. They will continue their market stall.
The new café is small but bright and airy and, by the way, also does takeaway, and was officially opened last week by none other than Darina Allen. I made my first visit there this week and enjoyed a lovely lunch. The Alkarajeh family behind Izz Cafe are determined that their Cork customers will enjoy the “original quality of our mothers and grandmothers.” They’re off to a good start.
Not too sure what to order. There is no written menu yet but there will be as soon as they decide on what dishes to present. In the meantime, there is an electronic board showing all the choices: appetisers, manaeesh and desserts.
So there we were, staring at the displays until we spotted the Tasters Mix, a collection of their appetisers served with freshly baked bread (€9.50). So we absolutely enjoyed, with a glass of water (they do have soft drinks available), a silky smooth hummus, Fattoush, Babaganoush, with olives and pomegranate seeds. That bread was just out of the oven and was a treat.
Manaeesh, the heading for the main dishes, is a popular Levantine food consisting of dough topped with thyme, cheese, or ground meat, etc. Similar to a pizza, it can be sliced or folded, and it can be served either for breakfast or lunch. Most of these are priced at €6.50.
While mostly vegetarian, you can also get chicken and beef versions on George’s Quay. But why not try the Zaatar and Cheese version? This is a mixture of Palestinian oregano, with sesame and olive oil, and a blend of white traditional cheese, spread on their traditional dough and baked together. I saw a few customers enjoying those!
And as the regular market-goers will know, Izz has irresistible cakes. Their Cinnamon Roll (one is enough!) had customers drooling. And that roll is also here in George’s Quay. Along with a whole lot more.
They have Bounty Cake (coconut and chocolate), Warbat (a kind of enhanced Baklava), and Saffron Cake. Even scones if you want traditional Irish! I went for the Basbooseh, a delicious melange of coconut with semolina, eggs, yogurt, sunflower oil, vanilla baking powder, rose water and sugar syrup.
Okay, so you can’t be eating large slices of cake all day long. What do you do if all you want is a cuppa? Bet you’d like a little bite to go with it. Sure you would and Izz has just the thing. It is called Maamoul and is a traditional Palestinian bite-sized dessert stuffed with walnut or date. Ideal with that mid-morning or mid-afternoon coffee (which is also excellent here).
14 George’s Quay
Phone: 085 149 5625
Also on Facebook and Instagram.
Sunday, January 10, 2016
Cafe Paradiso. Back to the Garden
Eden may have been lost with a single bite of forbidden fruit but the garden can always be regained, at least in the Cork region, with a visit to Cafe Paradiso. No fruit, no vegetable forbidden here! Every meal in the city centre restaurant reinforces what one of my friends, who travels widely in the hospitality industry, told me a few years back: "It is not alone the best vegetarian restaurant in Ireland, it is probably the best restaurant in Ireland".
And what is perhaps not generally known, except to the regulars of course, is that Paradiso has a superb wine list. The lower end and the slow-moving higher end have been chopped from the list and what remains is packed with quality, great choices, between approximately thirty and forty five euro a bottle.
We were part of a seven person group the other night so the wines were shared, along with many a good laugh. Good advice on the wine list is also available and so we started with the Höpler Grüner Veltliner 2014, 12.5% Burgenland, Austria and finished with the Friedrich Becker Spatburgunder Pinot Noir 2011, 13.5%, Pfalz, Germany.
Others we could have had included the Susana Balbo ’Crios’ Malbec 2013, 14%, Mendoza, Argentina and the Alvaro Palacios La Montesa Rioja 2012 in the reds while among the whites that caught my eye were Wittmann Riesling Trocken 2012, 12% Rheinhessen, Germany and the Dos Victorias ‘Jose Pariente’ Verdejo 2013, 13%, Rueda. But it is easy to get a good one here as the list is really superb. If you’re not sure, just ask your server! By the way, all the wines are available by the glass, by 250ml and 500ml carafe and by the bottle.
Back to the food then and I'm not going to bore you with all the details. We picked the three course option here and you have lots of choice for forty euro. Two courses will set you back thirty three euro.
CL meanwhile was delighted with her choice: roast beetroot, braised scorzonera and Knockalara sheep’s cheese with watercress, orange pickle and ras-el-hanout crumb. Colour, flavour, texture all combined, the dish showing that beetroot goes as well with sheep’s as goat’s. Great stuff indeed.
There were also six choices of mains but, amazingly, the majority of our group went for the roast aubergine parcels of cavolo nero and coolea cheese with miso gravy, beluga lentils,
pumpkin gnocchi and a green pepper and caramelised walnut salsa. Aubergine is one of my favourite vegetables in any restaurant but this was vegetable heaven, every little bit, the gravy, the lentils. Even CL polished off the gnocchi, usually left on the side! “These were good ones”, I was told.
And you must try the sides as they are superb as well. They do include sprouts but not like you've known them. Here they are served with tomato, chilli and ginger and well worth the fiver as are the Paradiso chips with truffled aioli.
Time then, and desire too, for dessert. Lots of temptation but I made up my mind early on the Orange and Date Bread and Butter Pudding and its Rum Custard. Oh la la! And other desserts enjoyed at the table included a Dark chocolate mousse with gingered pear and salted caramel popcorn and also Vanilla pod ice cream with brutti ma buoni, espresso and a shot of frangelico. A sweet end to a terrific meal and service was flawless throughout. Very Highly Recommended.
|More desserts, including popular Orange and Date pudding|
16 Lancaster Quay
(021) 427 7939
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday, 5.30 – 10.00pm
Monday, October 3, 2011
DEE’S REAL MEALS
Just finished one of Dee’s Real Meals and I feel real good. The Thai Butternut Squash, Potato and Lentil meal was excellent, really well balanced, creamy (coconut milk) and a little crunchy (the lentils). Very tasty indeed and also very healthy.
Each of these award winning (Great Taste Gold) 400g carton meals contains 3 of your daily 5. The ingredients are 100 per cent wholefood; there are no artificial additives.
One carton makes a meal for one person but you may use it as a side for two people, maybe add it to rice or pasta or whatever you fancy. There has to be many combinations for these tasty treats.
The meal came as part of a goodie bag handed out to those attending last Saturday’s VegFest in Electric. The bag also included one of her burgers (add a bun and you have a massive meal) but the burgers are so famous now I decided to go for the other one first!
The weather wasn't the best on Saturday but Dee was pleased: “Thanks to everyone that made it to the first VegFest Cork, hope you all enjoyed the food and your goodie bags. John Conway from The Hollies gave a fascinating talk and for those of you that might have missed it, they are having an open day on the 16th October.”
“ We are also really looking forward to The Evening Echo coverage in their Social Diary this week for those of you that got snapped, keep an eye on this week’s paper!”
“We were so happy with the feedback we got from our new range of meals - they are available to purchase in Tesco stores below from Monday - (note-the packaging on the outer sleeves will be a little stronger in two weeks time if any of them got bashed about a bit!)”
“We are trialling the use of QR codes on the base of the sleeves, if you have a Smartphone - you can download a QR code scanner with an application called ScanLife. Using the application, a photo of the code is taken and it should link you to a special V.I.P Club sign up page. For those of you that can do this we will send you some €1.00 off coupons in the post to say thanks. For those of you that do not have a Smartphone - maybe a son/daughter/friend could scan the code for you.”
“Thanks for the support, we finished a little earlier than expected but next year we will have it bigger and better with music and lots of stalls.”
|John Conway of The Hollies|
As Dee said, John Conway’s talk was fascinating, all about an alternative way of gardening. The attractive things about it are firstly that you treat the earth as it would treat itself, everything possible is recycled, and secondly that it is a non dig method of cultivation (except when you’re lifting your spuds, of course!). Check out the website or try and make it to the open day.
Electric were busy upstairs and downstairs on Saturday but they still took time to treat us to some of their veggie taster plates and very nice they were too. As the event drew to a close we lingered with a cup of coffee and some of the gorgeous cupcakes supplied by D’s Delights .
You will find Dee’s Real Meals at selected Tesco Stores, Dunnes Stores, Supervalu and independent stores nationwide. Recently added Tesco outlets: Greystones, Baggot St Upper, Rathfarnham, Sandymount, Bloomfields, Ballybrack, Galway, Stillorgan, Merrion, Rathmines, Clarehall Extra, Dundrum Town, Ardkeen, Maynooth Extra, Douglas Extra and Naas Extra.