Silver Key Ballinlough

Last night, I went to the Silver Key in Ballinlough with my parents for a belated Mothers Day dinner for my mum. The Silver Key is my parents favourite restaurant in the city so it was the natural choice. It’s a bar as well as having the restaurant upstairs, so as you can imagine, because of the rugby, it was buzzing when we arrived.

The staff here are great and very efficient. We were seated promptly (having already made a reservation because otherwise there wouldn’t have been a table for us I’d say!). Having scanned the extensive menu, we made our selection.

We all had starters which were lovely – I had breaded garlic mushrooms with garlic mayo and a dressed salad, dad had his usual vegetable soup with soda bread and my mum opted for the brie in filo pastry – we all enjoyed it, however my mum did say that the brie was a little greasy being in the pastry; she was comparing it to the brie she had had the week previous when she went away for a few days with friends and stayed in the sneem hotel – this brie was superior she said (made in breadcrumbs rather than pastry).

For the main, my dad had a dish he had eaten before and enjoyed and he is a creature if habit when it comes to food (if he liked it before, he’ll get it again and again, not very adventurous!) – it was plaice with king prawns cooked in garlic butter and served with chips and salad. It did look pretty tasty I must say.

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My mum is also lumped into the “creature of habit” category, even more so than my dad, so as usual she opted for the sirloin steak with crispy onions, mushrooms, potato gratin and veg…

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The steak was huge! I have has the steak on a few occasions before and have to say it is delicious.

I took a bit of time deciding on what to have, you know when you don’t know what you’re in the mood for (!) And eventually decided on the penne pasta with red onion, cherry tomato, bell peppers and basil pesto and an addition of chicken and bacon, topped with parmesan cheese. It arrived with a serving of garlic bread also. I enjoyed it but for some reason it wasn’t what I expected, a bit too oily (probably due to the pesto to be fair) but it was just lacking a little bit in seasoning and something else but I don’t know what! Nevertheless, I still ate it (it was edible!) but I don’t think I’d have it again.

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We were too full to order dessert so the bill came to 87e – that was for 3 starters, 3 mains (including a 12oz sirloin), a glass of house white and a pint of Heineken and a cappuccino.  I thought this was pretty good value.

As I said already, there is quite a selection on the menu and I have tried a few of the dishes on previous visits and they were excellent. The food overall here is very good and this, together with the comfortable surroundings and good service, makes the Silver Key a great restaurant for any special occasion 🙂

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St. Patricks Weekend Baking!

For the weekend that was in it, I decided to make Donal Skehan’s Chocolate Guinness Cake which he demonstrated on his youtube channel (highly recommend this btw – you can’t but love Donal, his recipes are always great!). Oh My God, it turned out so well and tastes so SO GOOD!! It’s not for the diet conscious human being might I add, but what the heck, it’s our national holiday, might as well indulge and bulge…!

You can find the recipe here http://www.donalskehan.com/2015/03/chocolate-guinness-cake/ and the video with Donal making the cake is here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-0_RcaWZFU

Just a heads up – there is a LOT of icing in this recipe so I only used about three quarters of it because I don’t like too much. I put the remainder in the freezer for the next time I make it….which won’t be for a loooong time if I don’t want to end up the size of a house!!

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Lunch at Oscars!

So, on Saturday I met my friend Gemma in town for lunch and we decided to try somewhere new for a change. There are quite a few new restaurants/lunch spots popping up in Cork City recently (which can only be a good thing) so Gemma suggested Oscars on Cook Street (formerly Streat).

We arrived to quite a busy cafe, which is nearly always a good sign in my opinion, and were lucky to get a table. The menu is simple with a good number of breakfast options (which appear to be served all day; another customer was ordering the “Wild Boar Fry” when we arrived), seasonal soup of the day, 2 salads and a number of sandwiches “from the grill” or just plain if you’d prefer.

After much deliberation as to which grilled sandwich to get, as they all sounded pretty good, I opted for the Turkey Swiss Melt and Gemma decided to try the Toonsbridge Buffalo Mozarella. We ordered at the till and were served by a very friendly guy (perhaps the owner?) who told us to take a seat and he would drop over the tea.

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Menu is displayed casually on blackboards suspended above the counter

Having caught up on our weekly news and taken in our surroundings, we were still waiting, 15 minutes later, for our sandwiches. They eventually arrived and we were relieved and hungry! The first, most obvious, thing about the sandwiches was the way they were served – in a white, blue-rimmed pottery-style dish – a nice touch and less formal than the current “en vogue” slates that you find in so many other restaurants these days.

I think I speak for both of us when I say that the sandwiches were very tasty. Evenly grilled arbutus bread, golden brown with a buttery flavour, plenty of turkey and Swiss cheese in mine – the only thing I would say is that it would have been even better if there was a bit of lettuce and tomato in the sandwich also (normally there would be,even if it didn’t say it on the menu). Gemma’s sandwich also looked generous with the fillings – toonsbridge mozarrella (cartoon bridge ;-)), lettuce, tomato and pesto.

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Overall, I was impressed with what Oscars had to offer and I would definitely return; my only suggestion would be to perhaps speed up with the serving of the sandwiches as a lot of people coming in would be on lunch break and would only have limited time to relax and enjoy their meal. Price wise, they were perhaps a bit overpriced (6.95 for the sandwiches) but then most places in Cork are nowadays to be honest (and I’ve had a lot worse for the same price!).

I wish the owners the best of luck and hope Oscar goes from strength to strength! 😉

Mad about baking!

So, I haven’t posted on this in a looooong time! Needless to say I have many wonderful dining out experiences since my last post but I have been too lazy to review them (at least not “on paper”…)

Anyway, this blog isn’t just about dining out, it’s about yummy, tasty food in general, whether it be sweet or savoury!

At the moment, I am trying to curb my enthusiasm for baking but it just isn’t working! Which is not good news for my waistline….but I can’t help it! Why is it, that the more you try to put something to the back of your mind, the more you think about it!

So I have been gathering some pictures of what I have baked over the last few months and this is what I have come up with 🙂

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Ok, so I’m off to the kitchen now….. 😛 Until next time!

A delightful afternoon at the Workshop!

Hi all,

So my most recent trip for lunch/afternoon tea was a little closer to home; in the Real Capital one might say 😛

Having been badgered by my friend Brian Hurley (affectionately known as BH ;-)) to visit The Workshop Cafe, we finally found a suitable time in our busy schedules (….) to take some time out for tea, cake and chit chat, so off we went in my trusty Toyota Yaris one Sunday afternoon. We were also accompanied by the lovely NMO’R (aka Nicola Marie O’ Riordan).

The Workshop Cafe is located just beyond Cork Airport, on the road to Kinsale (Ballygarvan is the address I think…). Since BH had been there before, it was relatively easy to find, although if that hadn’t been the case then all we had to do was look out for the pink bikes (!) and the directions are also on their Facebook page.

We arrived to quite a busy carpark (especially for a Sunday)  and were lucky to get a space. BH and NMO’R were excited to show me the chicken coup outside (a nice touch, gives it a country, homely feel before you even step inside) and we took the opportunity to take some Vogue style snaps with the poultry….

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Outside the entrance was a cute little rustic pink bike surrounded by potted flowers welcoming us to the delightful tearoom.

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So, having had our fill of the chickens (well not really, because I had chicken in my sandwich…), we hurried inside as it was bloody cold and windy out there. The cafe is located very near the airport as I already mentioned and so is quite high up, hence much colder…brrrr!

On entering the cafe we were greeted by a very friendly man (I’m assuming he’s the owner) who promptly showed us to a free table amongst all the occupied ones! I could see straight away that this was a popular place! It’s a small premises but has a great atmosphere, a cosy open fireplace with a stove and an old fashioned record player piping out the Mary Poppins soundtrack in the background.

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We decided to go the whole hog and have a sandwich, as well as dessert after! The menu was simple but attractive with a choice of 3 salads and 4 different sandwiches served on beautiful, fresh arbutus bread. There was also, not surprisingly, an extensive menu of teas and although none of us actually had tea that day, NMO’R gave a thumbs up for the Earl Grey Blue Flower, which she had sampled on a previous visit.

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Myself and BH opted for the Steamed Chicken sandwich, while NMO’R chose the Home Cooked Ham. The sandwiches were served on a charcoal “slate” (for want of a better word) – this seems to be the “in” way to serve sandwiches at the moment I’ve noticed – accompanied by a small leafy salad mixed with some potato crisps. The steamed chicken sandwich was delish but I have to say that I thought it was a strange way to serve salad and there was no dressing even though the menu stated that there was a choice of dressing. We also had no cutlery so literally had to pick the leaves up with our hands…I know we should probably have asked for cutlery but hindsight is a great thing I suppose!

The Steamed Chicken

The Steamed Chicken

The Home Cooked Ham
The Home Cooked Ham


After polishing off our nom nom sandwiches and chatting about the greatness of Palm Beer (don’t ask!), it was time for cake! Myself and NMO’R both ordered Lemon Drizzle Cake, while BH opted for Rhubarb Meringue (or as I affectionately renamed it “Goo”). We all ordered hot chocolate (as the hot chocolate according to NMO’R was “totes amazeballs) rather than tea – which was a big decision to make considering the selection of teas available (#firstworldproblems). As we awaited our treats, disaster struck; it seemed, by some stroke of enormous bad luck, that there was only one lemon drizzle left! :-O Being the kind person that I am, I let NMO’R have it 😦 and I decided on the chocolate cake instead. There was lots of “ooohing” and “aaahing” when the sweet treats arrived and of course pictures had to be taken before we could tuck in! The chocolate cake was lovely, very moist and not too heavy and was served with cream. The lemon drizzle cake was equally moist and light. As for the “Goo”, it wouldn’t be my cup of tea but BH wolfed it down in no time! The hot chocolate was certainly very attractive as far as presentation goes but I wouldn’t say it was the best one I’ve ever had – there was a bit of a strange after taste from it; I think the word chlorine was used at some point…

Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate

OM NOM

OM NOM

BH loves The Workshop!

BH loves The Workshop!

Another thing about the Workshop is that you are surrounded by numerous items for sale; China tea cups and children’s soft toys were just some of the merchandise on display. On paying for my meal at the till, I also spotted the cutest cake pops (all the rage at the moment) as well as an old vintage telephone which is still in operation. The bill amounted to about 13e which I thought was very reasonable and would certainly encourage me to return and try something different from their menu.

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Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed our trip to the Workshop Cafe. With all these new tea rooms springing up all over the shop, it’s a tough business to be in, but I think this little cafe is more than up to the job. I look forward to my next visit 🙂

Until next time, adios!

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Afternoon Tea in the Westin Hotel, Dublin :-)

So, last weekend myself and 3 friends went to Dublin for a little post Christmas treat (and God knows we needed it!). As a 30th birthday gift for our friend Gemma, we went for afternoon tea and then onto Wicked in the Grand Canal Theatre (I refuse to call it by the other hideous name!).

We chose the Westin Hotel on Westmoreland Street (very easy to find) for afternoon tea and I’m glad we did! We arrived shortly before our reserved time and were warmly welcomed by the friendly waitress who showed us to our table, located next to a roaring fire. The area where they serve Afternoon Tea is called the Atrium Lounge and it certainly lived up to its name; airy and spacious with a 5 storey high glass ceiling which flooded the room with natural light.

The decor was beautiful, with plush armchairs and sofas giving the room a very warm, cosy feel.

Now for the main event…..”The Tea”!

Well, I have to say, for the money it was extremely good value. I had only had the ‘Afternoon Tea Experience’ once before in the Hayfield Manor in Cork and wasn’t particularly impressed. I can tell you, for one euro extra per person (26e pp) in The Westin, there was no comparison.

There are two Afternoon Teas to choose from: The Traditional Afternoon Tea and the Peculiar Afternoon Tea. Myself and two of my friends opted for the Traditional, while my other friend decided to try the Peculiar.

Well, I’m not going to type out the whole menu for you, too lazy for that! I have provided the link to the yummy delights that were served up to us.

My favourites had to be the brown scone with oak smoked Irish salmon and chive cream cheese, the scone with the clotted cream and strawberry jam, the pistachio macaroon and the red velvet cupcake from the Traditional and from the Peculiar (had to try something from that also!) it would be the banana bread with cinnamon and honey butter – so moist and delish!

The peculiar tea wasn’t named peculiar for nothing – instead of tea, a Victorian Mojito was served in a beautiful Hendricks Gin teapot; and it was indeed “absolutely spiffing”! The popping vanilla marshmallows were also interesting….and peculiar…you might say!

We stayed for over 2 and a half hours and also had refills of tea at no extra cost. It was extremely relaxing and the ambiance was splendid, as of course was the company 😉

I’d definitely recommend the Westin to anyone who is trying to decide on where to go for Afternoon Tea in the Capital.

I want to try the other big guns in Dublin now and see if they are worth the extra money!

Oh and Wicked was wicked! 😉

The airy atrium with glass ceiling Plush decor and palm trees! roaring fire Hendricks Gin Teapot with Victorian Mojito - Spiffing! Traditional Afternoon Tea yummy delights! Lemon Poppyseed Cake Brown scone with Irish oak smoked salmon and chive cream cheese The Atrium Lounge logo inscribed on a dark chocolate square

Welcome to my blog about all things food!

Hello there and welcome 🙂 I have decided to set up a blog about all things food related. I wanted a place to document my trips to various restaurants (in Cork City and beyond) and also somewhere to put up recipes that I have tried and tested (and that have actually worked out!). In short this is a blog about food!!

I hope you enjoy and I will try to keep it updated with photos of delicious delights to keep you interested 😉