STAYCATIONS – Focus On Cork
Planning a trip to the “Real Capital”? We’ve got you covered!
THE KINGSLEY HOTEL:
There was jubilation last year when the luxurious Kingsley Hotel reopened after being closed for five years following extensive flood damage in 2009.
Situated about two kilometres from Cork city centre, the hotel boasts a magnificent entrance hall which opens up into the coolest lounge with stunning views of the River Lee, where you could easily just hang out and enjoy the pleasures of river watching and all that goes with it. Afternoon tea at the Kingsley, with its scrumptious savoury and sweet tartlets, scones, open and closed sandwiches, cakes and pastries, all served with home-made jam and whipped cream, would be hard to beat in Cork or anywhere else for that matter. It’s a great idea for a gift and at €39 for two people sharing, it punches well above its weight in terms of value, taste and of course surroundings.
The hotel has a superb spa extending over two floors and the Pevonia Botanica, spa ritual and Vita Liberata treatments are well worth checking out. It’s fair to say that, generally speaking, hotel dining suffers from a bit of a poor reputation and so we don’t tend to think of them when planning a special occasion, but the Kingsley will force you to think again because their food is as good – if not better – than you will get at any top restaurant.
Dining on the banks of the River Lee is a unique experience in the hotel’s relaxed bistro, the Springboard, which got its name from the public Lee baths which were situated on the hotel’s site between 1934 and 1986.
During one of the rare sunny evenings this summer, a friend and I decided to check out the Springboard restaurant at the Kingsley where we started with Skeaghanore confit duck leg (€9.50) and smoked haddock risotto (€9). Our main courses consisted of roasted delice of salmon and seared scallop, salt and vinegar mash, wilted rocket leaves, smoked anchovy, San Marzano tomatoes and fennel sherry vinegar dressing (€20) and pot-roasted shank of lamb, mustard seed mash, honey roasted root vegetables and tarragon jus (€19.50).
The quality of the food was exceptional and perfectly cooked and presented and it’s only fair to give a special mention to the serving staff who couldn’t do enough – without being overbearing. The desserts were to die for but we simply couldn’t do it as they don’t hold back when it comes to portion sizes. The Springboard offers a super two-course menu for €25 with a complimentary dessert.
The Kingsley is also home to the more formal Fairbands restaurant, an ideal spot for very special occasions and is definitely on our list for a return visit.If you’re planning a trip to the Kingsley Hotel, try to book a river view room where you’re sure to be spoiled by a spectacular surprise when you open the curtains in the morning.
www.thekingsley.ie / (021) 480 0500
SOME REAL CORKERS:
For a drink
Arthur Maynes Pharmacy: A former pharmacy, this quirky and unique pub is a must for drinkers, foodies and party people. Facebook.com/Arthur.Maynes
The Chateau Bar: Dating from 1793, the Chateau Bar is the only bar on Cork’s Patrick street and is well worth a visit.
Goldbergs: The bar with the friendliest staff in Cork is set in Cork’s dockland and inspired by the historic Jewish quarter of the city. It’s currently the hot spot in town. www.goldbergs.ie
Crane Lane: The perfect spot for late night revellers. www.cranelanetheatre.ie
Where to eat
Elbow Lane Brew & Smoke House: Set in a handsome building, this restaurant also houses an in-house nano brewery serving up craft beers and a smoke house with mouth watering food. www.elbowlane.ie
Coqbull: Coqbull specialises in chicken and beef with its delicious menu of rotisserie chicken and beef burgers. www.coqbull.com
Les Gourmandises: Les Gourmandises is renowned for the finest French cuisine using locally sourced products in a sophisticated dining room. www.lesgourmandises.ie
Flemings: Set in an historic Georgian house, Flemings was built by one of the prominent merchant princes of Cork. It is one of Cork’s dining institutions serving contemporary French cuisine with an impressive wine cellar. www.flemingsrestaurant.ie
Café Paradiso: Renowned for setting new standards for vegetarianism, this restaurant will please the palate of even the most hard-core carnivores. www.cafeparadiso.ie
Best for Brunch
Liberty Grill: Serving brunch from 8am to midday, the menu includes everything from homemade granola, American pancakes, eggs benedict and posh toast! And if you want a bubbly start, choose from Kir Royale, Bellini, Mimosa or Ruby Duchess. www.libertygrill.ie
Bodega: Brunch at the Bodega is a firm favourite on Sundays when jazz sessions accompany delicious dishes such as chilli and chorizo eggs, full Irish and vegetarian breakfast. www.bodegacork.ie
SUPERFOOD OF THE SEA:
Having spent most our lives desperately trying to avoid seaweed when having a dip in the ocean, we were a little cynical about whether a seaweed workshop would be something that we would enjoy. However, after spending an afternoon being educated on its amazing health benefits, we left as complete converts of this sea super-food.
Wild Atlantic Way Products are presently hosting Seaweed Workshops in Kinsale and we guarantee it will change the way you think about this nutritional powerhouse. The first part of the day is spent coasting over rocks with the endlessly knowledgeable Zita, discovering different types of seaweed, their specific benefits and how to harvest them. We tasted many seaweeds fresh from the ocean, and to our surprise they tasted delicious!
We had worked up an appetite after our beach visit, so it was back to the kitchen to cook up some seaweed delights. The great part of this portion of the day is that you learn how to incorporate seaweed into your diet – and in a very practical way. We were even tutored on how to get seaweed into a gin and tonic! Packed full of goodness, iodine, iron, magnesium and vitamins, the benefits of seaweed are second to none, but it’s even better to know the tasty treats were gwood for us too.
With a hands-on cooking demo, dinner, take home recipes and a handbook all included in the price, the Seaweed Workshop comes highly recommended if you’re looking for something totally different, and to educate yourself about this indigenous wonder food that is in abundance on Ireland’s doorstep.
To book: Call 087 982 8943 or Email: email@example.com