Bake a Flourless Chocolate Cake with Farmgate Cafe in Cork, Ireland.
How did you get started?
Farmgate Cafe was set up in 1984 by Kay Harte in the English Market in Cork city. This was 10 years after the original Farmgate Country Store & Restaurant was set up by Kay's sister, Marog, in Midleton, Co. Cork. Since then the sisters, and now their respective daughters, have survived a recession, a boom and then another recession, pretty much in tact.
Where are you located?
Farmgate Cafe is located in the heart of Cork in the old English Market. It is the heartbeat of the city, located in the centre of the island - the river splits in two, which can be very confusing for visitors.
What are your specialities?
We specialise in local regional food - so a mix of modern and traditional Irish cuisine. Ingredients are sourced in the Market downstairs and from trusted suppliers around the county of Cork, and the province of Munster. We are known for dishes such as traditional Corned Beef & Parsley Sauce, Poached Leg of Mutton with Caper Sauce, fresh Fish, Oysters, Tripe with Onions and Drisheen, Fish Pie, Irish Lamb Stew and farmhouse Cheeses & Charcuterie from the region.
What's your personal favorite thing on the menu?
I think there is tremendous flavour in Mutton and love our poached leg of Mutton with Caper Sauce. We have a wonderful supplier here the in the Market from mother and son team Catherine & Eoin O'Mahony. The meat is over 2 years old and is hung for over 2 weeks. It's a wonderful food chain, Catherine's brother is a farmer and another has an abattoir - so full traceability. We also buy meat from another relation in the Market - from Bresnan's - so the extended family really have it covered. We serve this dish with steamed jacket potatoes and west cork carrots. I always feel happy, replete and somehow grounded after eating it. Some people are 'afraid' of Mutton - they think it's tough and too strong a flavour. They just haven't tried our version.
What's on the stereo?
In the dining room you could hear anything from Miles Davis to Dianne Reeves, Dave Brubeck, Donal Casey (local musician), French cafe music, Martin Hayes (Irish fiddler player), Mary Black (Irish ballad singer), and we have a resident guitar player three days a week - Nick Sanquest - who often plays requests.
Where else should we visit in your area?
Food-wise I particularly love Isaaces restaurant, Jacques, The Fish Bar, Idaho cafe and Cafe Paradiso. For something quick Ramen (noodle bar) and my local wine tavern in St. Luke's cross for a cheese plate and glass of wine. This is beside my favourite pub, Henchy's - you never know who you might meet in there, it's very relaxed and friendly - also with a great wine list. In terms of things to do, there's lots to see and do, both gallery's - the Crawford and the Glucksman are wonderful. The Butter Museum is really interesting and the Lavit Gallery (a private gallery) has beautiful local artists work and crafts for sale. The Triskell art centre has a brilliant programme of events the whole year around. I also like to get to the mountains and coast to go walking - it only takes 30 minutes to get out of the city somewhere beautiful. West Cork is particularly close to my heart - my father is from here - it is very beautiful indeed.
Do you host any special events?
Yes, we host a number of events throughout the year. This this month we hosted a film supper for the Cork International Film Festival. We screened 'The Bird Cage' in tribute to Robin Williams, with mulled wine and lamb tagine. It was a very eccentric funny night with everyone wrapped in blankets drinking mulled wine and spiced apple juice, laughing at the wonderful fun and hilarity of the performances. We also host music and art events - which always link back into the local arts community, invariable raising money for local charities. It's essential to give back to the place you live and work in.
Is there anything else you'd like us to know?
I'm not sure what else to add...we are a gallery cafe overlooking the stalls of the Market below. It's a place to meet and eat - have a coffee or a full lunch watching the hustle and bustle below. There is a direct connection between the menu and the produce downstairs, and while we are a modern, multicultural cafe, we also endeavour to showcase the centuries old dishes of our city and region. We work with trusted suppliers and see ourselves as very fortunate to be part of this wonderful, historic working Market in the beautiful town of Cork
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