Wednesday 14 November 2018

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The joy of country pubs that serve great food

Wednesday, 6th June, 2018 3:36pm

I am very lucky to have two wonderful restaurants and a lovely café in Blarney, so I mostly stay local but I have to admit that I also think first of city restaurants when friends ask me for recommendations on where to eat.

Last Sunday, my wonderful sister-in-law Breda called me to tell me that the Old Mills Pub in Donoughmore has a new chef and if we like to join her and her husband for Sunday lunch. Always on the lookout for some new places to eat, we said yes. To make a long story short, the food was lovely (I had fish’n’chips with the loveliest crispy batter and delicious flaky fish) and I think we will go again – it’s just a stone throw away from her house and we spent a beautiful afternoon in her gardens.

Breda is a very talented gardener and I went home with young plants of celery, chilli and pepper.

While talking about the food we had just enjoyed, we were trying to come up with places in the countryside to eat rather than driving to Cork city. Blair’s Inn in Cloghroe and Deasy’s in Ring came to mind – both places are traditional country pubs that happen to serve excellent food.

But for the rest, we kind of drew a blank. Imagine a lovely Sunday morning – you drive down scenery country roads, go for lovely walks and then turn into a quirky country pub for your Sunday lunch and a cool pint of a local craft beer. Now, I call that a perfect Sunday.

Years ago, I went to a lovely country pub near Peterborough in UK – one of these old inns that date back to dinosaur times. Low ceilings, dark wood, whitewashed walls and squeaky floorboards – and the best mini fried whiting outside of Spain.

I am a picky diner – I want the whole package: great service, nice ambience and delicious food. And where could you get better ambience than in an old country pub run by a local family with a talented chef in the kitchen.

I think I am on a new quest: finding great country pubs with delicious food. Please let me know if you know of any pub restaurant worth a trip.

Coming back to gardening: Last Friday I attended the launch of the new Urban Garden Festival that will happen in August. The focus will be on gardening on a smaller scale in backyards, balconies and windowsills.

It will take place at the VoxGrow GeoDome garden in Mahon. The Urban Garden Festival is organized by my friend Kitty Scully, Project Manager at VoxGrow and Helene WallHoran of Jamesbrook Events. More about the event is coming soon.

 

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