When lockdown came back in March, a wave of fear and anxiety initially ripped through the Irish hospitality sector with almost the same contagion as the deadly virus that triggered the closure in the first place.
But it wasn’t long at all before the innate resilience that is a hallmark of the industry began to reassert itself.
First order of business for many establishments was to donate all perishable and now unusable stock to charities such as Simon and Cork Penny Dinners.
Next up was a drive to feed frontline workers in the health and emergency services and a fund set up to pay restaurants to do so soon found it impossible to spend the rapidly accumulating war chest as most restaurants insisted on doing it for free.
The Government’s decision to issue a Covid payment proved to be a valuable lifeline, enabling furloughed staff to tread water and providing some hope for the future and many operators chose to use to the enforced break as an opportunity for an overall reassessment of their businesses in a sector that had been shaving margins finer than a barber’s baby for far too long.
Let’s face it, you need to top up all your superhuman powers with a soupcon of madness in this particular game and for some of the most driven operators, the notion of waiting it out proved impossible, for whatever reason, they simply couldn’t stifle for a minute the compulsion to cook food and sell it to the public. So they began to pivot their businesses to continue trading under the new restrictions and the public responded in spades, and ‘dining out at home’ became one of those defining lockdown tropes right up there with baking sourdough and cocktail parties on Zoom.
The mark of a true champion however is not the amount of victories marked up but rather the ability to keep getting up from the canvas after each blow and so once more many are returning once more to the ‘dining out at home’ model, anything to keep their businesses moving forward.
We in the Irish Examiner have sold many newspapers in the past on the back of the great successes and triumphs of the Irish hospitality sector so it well behoves us to be there in the bad times as well, to attempt in our own small way to do something to support the sector during these most trying of times.
We have compiled a list (beginning with Cork city and county, to be followed, hopefully, by a national list) of some of those who are once more pivoting to serve up some of the finest food in the world for you to enjoy in the comfort and safety of your own home. We hope you will do your best to support this hugely important Irish sector that not only provides over 200,000 jobs but is also the backdrop for so many of the most important social occasions in our life, a recurring source of joy and pleasure without which our lives would be so much the poorer.
(Joe McNamee is also delighted to offer coverage of any similar initiatives in The Menu, his weekly Irish Examiner food column, every Saturday in the Weekend magazine. Email details to [email protected] or fill out the form at the end of this article)
NB During these turbulent times with new developments cropping up all the time, it is important to check all information online for any updates on the information supplied below.
Also, many of the establishments listed below fit in many of the listed categories, not just one, and offer outdoor dining as well as takeaway options and even delivery.
Pure Cork Afternoon Tea. Afternoon Tea on three-tiered carryout box, for two guests, featuring sweet and savoury treats and an elegant dessert selection
Recommended: (Sweet Selection) Midleton Very Rare Whiskey Fudge, Killahora Pear & Milk Chocolate Tart, Beamish & White Chocolate Mousse; (Savoury Selection) Heirloom Tomato & Toons Bridge Mozzarella Ciabatta, Skeaghanore Duck & Onion Marmalade Brioche Roll, Bandon Vale Cheese, Baked Ham & Ballymaloe Relish Finger
Order Mon to Sat. Tel 021 453 0050 to order and pay and collect wearing mask between 12.30pm to 3pm
Afternoon Tea for takeaway or delivery
Sandwiches (including free range egg and cress, pastrami and rocket, and smoked salmon on brown bread with cream cheese), whole wheat savoury scones and sweet treats (including Creamy vanilla cheesecake with fresh raspberry, Chocolate assiette of milk and white chocolate, macarons and sweet scones) with the option of adding Prosecco or wine to your order. Little Ones Afternoon Tea option also available
To order, Tel 021 4643700 or order online (https://the-met.tablepath.com/afternoon-tea). Collection and delivery available.
Once Upon a Tea Time Afternoon Tea
Afternoon tea with option to ‘borrow’ a three-tier stand featuring innovative pastries and confections named after famous former guests (Princess Grace, Michael Collins, Charles Dickens) and scones, as well as savoury options and a good selection of teas, coffee and hot chocolate as well as Prosecco and champagne.
Recommended: Princess Grace Pistachio Crust Choux with Irish Raspberry Gel & Pistachio Disk; Ballycotton Cold Smoked Irish Salmon and Fresh Dill sandwich served on Doty’s Brown Bread.
24 hours advance ordering. Telephone (021 4274040), email ([email protected] ) or online for collection.
Hugely popular Blackrock village ‘pizza-pub’ has supplemented its lockdown menu with seafood dishes (prawns pil pil, fishcakes) and ‘kebabs’ (actually more like piadina, the Italian flatbread sandwich) and don’t forget to order a tropical daiquiri slushie!
Recommended: Italian Sausage pizza, The Sneem Black Pudding ‘Kebab’; Prawns Pil Pil, Tropical Daiquiri Slushie Takeaway.
Call and Collect Thurs to Sun 5pm to 9pm
Wide ranging menu offering some of the finest pizzas in Cork, supplied as hot or chilled pizzas (blast chilled, seven-day shelf life, five mins in oven to finish) or pizza kits to assemble and finish at home. Vegan Margherita kit also available. Side & Dips: Sharing Focaccia Salad with Dips (Aubergine, Hummus, Tapenade); Cheesy Garlic Bread; Garlic Bread; Spicy or Garlic-Stued Green Olives; Pesto; Tapenade; Garlic Aioli
Open air dining & Takeaway: Home Delivery or order in person for takeaway.
Mon to Fri, 3pm-10pm; Sat to Sun, 1pm-10pm
The Coal Quay-based bar and brewery offers seating outside for up to 15 customers as well as click and collect takeaway from a menu of pizzas, nachos and meat and cheese boards. Reservations advised but walk-ins also welcome.
Recommended: 12” pizza and Handsum Sons 5L takeaway keg.
Bistro-style offering adding exotic accents to fine, fresh local fare and available for takeaway as fresh cooked meals and frozen dishes, also sweet treats and wine.
Recommended: Whole Roast Chicken with Fresh herb stuffing, rosemary rustic potatoes, gravy (serves 4); Cookies & Cream Cheesecake, Chocolate Sauce.
To order Tel. 021-4273987 or email [email protected] Click and collect on website (https://dockland.clickandcollection.com/) and social media pages.
Collection Fri/Sat, 2pm-8pm
Tapas Menu Click and collect ordering (Wed to Sun, 4pm-9pm) through website www.vikkis.ie
Hamlet’s Street Food & Gastro Garden Kinsale, Co Cork Street Food, BBQ and woodfired pizza.
Click & Collect 7 days a week from 12 midday to 9pm.
This world renowned vegetarian restaurant offers an online menu with a choice of three starters, three mains and two desserts (each choice suitable for two diners) in meal kits to be finished simply at home. Instructions on packs and also on YouTube (paradisoathome). Online shop selling seasonal Paradiso products including Walnut Crumb and Smoky Peperonata as well as wines, t-shirts, tote bags and books.
Open for orders on Wednesday mornings for collection on Fri and Saturday afternoons.
One of Ireland’s finest vegan food outlets offering vegan, probiotic, gluten free and refined sugar-free pre-booked takeaway offering reflecting co-proprietor Virginia O’Gara’s Tex-Mex culinary heritage as well as extensive range of fermented beverages.
Recommended: Big Tex Taco (Hand pressed corn masa deep fried Taco stuffed with bbq beans, smokey tempeh, daikon kimchi pickle and french fries. Served with vegan sour cream, kimchi pico, salad and curtido); NOTchos (Black bean and tempeh chipotle chilli, tortilla chips, notcho cheeze, kimchi pico de gallo, turmeric rice, vegan sour cream, fermented curtido & jalapenos)
Order and pre-pay online. 20% off first order and every 10th order is free.
Collection between 11am-4pm
One of the jewels of West Cork dining, furnishing superbly innovative fare using a hyper-local menu of some of the very finest produce in the country. Starters, mains breads, homemade yoghurt, butter and cashew ‘cheese’ and salads and fresh garden produce. Natural and organic wine list. Limited outdoor seating and takeaway menu.
Recommended: Tatsuta age (Japanese-style fried chicken, ponzu dip; Whole lemon sole, brown butter, capers, almonds, wilted kale, fish stock potatoes, sea purslane; Pistachio dacquoise, polytunnel tayberry, elderflower + buffalo ricotta chantilly cream, strawberry coulis.
See website for ordering, payment and collection details.
Sticks and Twigs may be a more casual take on this wonderful Michelin-starred restaurant’s hyper-locavore offering but remains a step above the usual domestic fare with a weekly changing set three-courser for two ridiculously good value at €60.
Recommended: (Starter) Crab roll with pickles; (main) Market fish papillote with mussels, samphire, grilled courgette, potato, kale and fish bone sauce; Pork with black truffle, aged cheese and leek pie; Lobster with yuzu mayonnaise served with baby gem and Cesar dressing; Brambles with curd, meringue and bee pollen.
Menu goes live on website on Wed eve, order Thurs/Fri from 12pm. Collections Sat & Sun.
This very fine new addition to West Cork and Irish dining offers a takeaway menu and large selection from the in-house delicatessen, including sourdough bread and cakes, rotisserie chickens, salads and dips, as well as wines. In addition, open air dining is available in the courtyard to the rear for dinner and lunch. Set menu is €30pp and changes each week with vegetarian option always available.
Recommended: Roast beef from Walsh’s butcher served with winter vegetables cooked in beef fat, beef gravy, potato gratin accompanied by sourdough bread and salted butter from Glouncross farm, Cape clear salad leaves.
Available Fri/Sat/Sun. To order, phone 028-48248 from Wed 10am-4pm, payment when ordering or on collection. Collection, Fri/Sat, 6pm-8pm; Sun, 2.30pm-8pm.
Greene’s Finish at Home was a great success during the initial lockdown and Executive Chef Bryan McCarthy returns with yet another intriguing menu while sister establishment Cask will continue to also serve food, cocktails and wine to up to 15 diners in the open air courtyard. Greene’s Finish at Home is starter and main for two people at €40 with desserts and sides as add-ons. Tutorials on finishing and wine advice on social media channels.
Recommended: (Greene’s) Slow Braised Shoulder of Macroom Lamb Root Vegetable Puree, Summer Vegetables, Red Wine Jus; Ballyhoura Mountain Mushroom Risotto, Coolea & Parmesan Cheese.
Cask opening, Mon to Fri, 6pm-10pm; Sat/Sun, 4pm-10pm.
Greene’s: order by click and collect up to 12pm for same day collection, Wed to Fri, 4.30pm-7pm; Sat/Sun 3pm-6pm.
Open air dining on heated terrace; Click & Collect Takeaway Award-winning brew pub and smokehouse with an innovative menu of meat and fish options cooked over open fire.
Recommended: 16-hour smoked Ballinwillin goat, molé poblano, house slaw, citrus pickled onion served on homemade brioche; Smoked Carrigcleena duck sausage with black garlic & anise, kimchi mayo, caramelised onions served on homemade brioche
Order, menus and booking
Excellent and always innovative restaurant 15 minutes drive from Cork city is currently operating as a farmshop & café with outdoor seating in the picturesque granny’s back garden and courtyard, serving great Golden Bean coffee, filled Bread & Roses bagels, seasonal hot dish, baked goods and cake for eat-in or takeaway. Also offering local design, craft and beauty products and artisanal food produce. Hosts weekly NeighbourFood market Wednesday evening.
Recommended: Asian dimsum menu (including Irish seaweed miso, The Croppy Boy’s okonomiyaki, Carrigclena Duck pot stickers, Jack Mac black pudding wontons, Fitzgeralds butchers siomai beef/pork dumplings) All in set menu €25. Full vegetarian menu available. Individual dishes also available to order.
Tel. 086 8316879 to order. Collections Fri & Sat 4.30pm-8.30pm
Collections between 4.30-8.30 Fri & Sat.
Excellent value to be had from chef-proprietor Brian Murray’s two-courser for two people at just €40, featuring sharp and innovative cooking, all to takeaway at weekends. Daily changing menus with veggie option. Wine and Cotton Ball craft beers to takeaway. Also selling extras such as cookies, caramel sauce and branded tote bags.
Recommended: Fish pie, Monkfish, smoked haddock, mussels and prawns in puff pastry, baby potatoes lemon herb butter, chargrilled vadouvan spiced broccoli Lemon posset, poached rhubarb, white chocolate cornflakes.
Open for orders every Monday online, collection Fri/Sat/Sun, 4pm-7pm
Fine and funky Kinsale cafe-restaurant offering Provisions Bag containing five courses and wine for just €60, restaurant quality dishes to finish at home, selection of house breads, morning bakes and lunches, to eat on-site at heated outdoor seating or to takeaway.
Recommended: Braised beef short rib, flageolet beans, aioli; baked gnocchi, girolles, kale, pangratto.
Pre-order on 0830636879 , 24 hours in advance. Collection: Fri/Sat, 4.30pm-5.30pm
Offering weekend outdoor brunch and lunch on the sheltered patio (bring a blanket!) in their inner city sanctuary in the gardens of the Nano Nagle Centre. Burgers & Buddha Bowls click and collect takeaway option (GDD Chimichurri Egg Scramble, Halloumi Breakfast Brioche, GDD Big Kiwi Burger + an Autumn Buddha Bowl as well as cakes, juices + kombuchas). GDD shop offers includes natural wines, Luke Sisk espresso cups, GDD cakes, coffees.
Recommended: Kai Moana Fish Tacos, Good Day Deli cakes Reservations for outdoor dining: www.gooddaydeli.ie/reservations. Burgers & Buddha Bowls click and collect.
Opening just five weeks before the initial lockdown back in March, No 51 nonetheless has all the hallmarks of a keeper and will continue to offer limited open air dining on the city’s iconic Coal Quay plaza, from a changing seasonal menu strong on warm pies and chowders and featuring their legendary scones, from a concise six-option daily menu. Takeaway options also available. Cakes also available for pre-order.
To pre-order, tel. 0830102321 or email [email protected] Open Wed to Sun, 10am-4pm for both dining (reservations) and take away.
Open air dining & Takeaway. Opening Hours: Mon to Fri, 9am-1pm & 4pm-8pm; Sat, 9am-8pm; Sun 9am-8pm
One of the success stories of the West Cork summer, a permanent food truck serving a street food-style menu using finest local produce to eat on the patio with a view of the lagoon.
Recommended: (Breakfast) Huevos Rancheros, American-style pancakes, hot chicken roll; (Dinner) pork belly carnitas, Thai yellow seafood curry To order: Tel. +353 (0)23 8878108
Cafe, Deli and Bakery offering homemade cakes, breads, scones and salads for takeaway and single portion meals available fresh or frozen daily for reheating (eg shepherds pie, beef lasagne, chicken and brocolli bake, chicken curry). On site dining includes breakfast, lunch and snacks in enclosed covered garden with heaters.
Opening: Wed to Sat, 8.30am to 4pm
Very popular city centre brunching and lunching cafe-restaurant or take your chances on non-reservable outdoor seating on Rory Gallagher Plaza, on Paul St. serving winter warming toasties and brunch. Pre-order for takeaway menu offering [email protected] Brunch Boxes, family favourites such as Chicken Cacciatore and Roast Vegetable Bakes., and Boxes of Bakes.
Recommended: Beef Short Rib Ragù/Lasagne, Cinnamon Buns Friday & Sat 9:30 till 2:30; Sunday 11 to 2:30 To pre-order, email: [email protected] (24 hours notice required). Payment on collection.
Under new head chef Iain Flynn, Bakestone offer open air dining under covered seating in adjoining garden centre including breakfast (until 3pm) lunch and baked cakes and pastries as well as takeaway menu. Large range of artisan products to takeaway and Bakestone’s Ready Made Meals to reheat at home.
Recommended: Guinness braised beef brisket, Brie cheese, beetroot relish and hazelnut butter sambos, Lamb Tagine with couscous, cardamom yogurt No pre-ordering or reservations, walk-in only.
Mon-Sat, 9am-5pm; Sun 10am-5pm
The River Club terrace is offering opening air dining with extended opening hours for breakfast, lunch & brunch, and dinner with limited spaces for non-residents.
8am-10pm daily. Book online.
The very wonderful Farmgate offers a wide range of choices from the Weekend Supper for two (€38.50) to FarmgateToGo takeaway lunch offerings (soup, chowder, sandwiches, stew and a pie of the day) and a whole range [email protected] readymade meals for reheating or for stocking up the freezer. Also offering the usual range of b Recommended: Weekend Supper for 2: Mushroom Risotto; Slow Braised Featherblade of Beef with Duck Fat Roast Potatoes & Cauliflower Cheese; Apple & Blackberry Crumble with Custard.
FarmgateToGo: pre-order and collect, Tues to Sat, 10am-3pm. Walk-ins also welcome.
[email protected]: pre-order and collect, Tues to Sat, 10am-3pm
Farmgate Café Click & Collect https://farmgate-cafe.tablepath.com/menus
Coffee House serving great coffees along with extensive home-cooked breakfast and brunch menu.
Recommended: Smoked Salmon, Scrambled Eggs, Spinach & Potato Cake; French Toast, Pear, Lemon Curd, Mascarpone & Caramel Pecans; Chicken & Bacon Ciabatta with Melting Dubliner Cheddar & Ballymaloe Relish; Falafel Wrap with Red Peppers, Hummus, Avocado & Cous Cous; Vegan Rolls made with Chickpea, Almond & Quorn Filling Order online for collection and delivery
Lovely little waterfront cafe offering daily selection of rolls, vegan rolls, tarts & freshly baked cakes by top baker Alison Cullinane to takeaway.
Recommended: Roscarberry free range pork hash, roast sumac onions, spinach, organic poached eggs, hollandaise & plum chutney; Slow roast beef brisket toastie, house sauerkraut, horseradish mayo, Dubliner cheddar & leaves on Pana sourdough; Falafel, hummus, pickles, leaves, dukkah & harissa in Syrian flatbread.
Thurs to Sun, 10am-5pm Pre-order by phone (021 4813383) or in person.
One of Ireland’s champions of locavore eating, Kevin Ahern, offers open air dining in the lovely Sage Courtyard along with a menu of food to eat at home and shop offering local produce and readymade meals and a range of accompaniments and Kids’ meals.
Recommended: Family Special (Sharing Starter) 12 spice honey chicken wings & Ballinrostig cheese croquettes; 6oz Chargrilled Beef Patty from John Tait’s Farm in Rostellan, cheddar, crispy onions, garlic fries and slaw; Terry’s Chocolate Orange Cake.
Sage Open Outside, 9am-9pm. (Lunch, 12pm-3pm; Dinner, 4p-8.45pm) Takeaway Wed to Sun, 4pm-9pm. Food Store, Tues to Sun, 9am, walk-ins welcome.
Click and collect ordering
Open Air Dining & Click & Collect Takeaway or Home Delivery. Open seven days a week.
Hugely popular local restaurant and cocktail bar offering a wideranging menu of European and modern Irish dishes.
Recommended: Buffalo cauliflower, Szechuan sweet potatoes, roasted onions and chickpeas, dukkah, apple & celery sala; Fragrant fish curry, tomato, lime & coconut with courgette, peppers, fennel served with crispy rice
Orders, menu and booking
Offers pre-booked outdoor dining under heated canopy in beer garden and click and collect takeaway options. Family friendly American diner-style dishes along with classic comfort food dishes.
Recommended: (Starters) Slow Cooked Ribs, Nachos Grandes (vegetarian option available); (Mains) Classic Bacon & Cheese Burger, Fish & Chips, 12-Hour Slow Cooked Beef Short Rib.
Thurs/Fri/Sat, 4pm-10pm; Sun 1pm-8pm
Terrific little restaurant in Blarney, now offering a menu of ‘small bites’, salads, mains, burgers and sides along with Kiddies menu and sweet treats.
Recommended: Jack McCarthy’s black pudding croquettes with house piccalilli; Garden salad with Templegall cheese, pickled carrot, beetroot, celeriac, Velvet Cloud yogurt, hazelnuts, organic leaves; Michael Twomey’s beef and mushroom pie; Michael Twomey’s Wagyu beef burger, Hegarty’s cheddar, roast garlic mayo, Follain relish, pickled cucumber, organic leaves and chips.
Available weekends only, Fri/Sat 5p-8pm; Sun 3.30pm-7pm
Tel (021) 4382825 to order or email [email protected]
Cafe-restaurant offering outside dining and usual daily changing menu to takeaway at reduced prices.
Recommended:Twomey’s Wagyu beef burger with Toons bridge smoked Scamorza cheese, Black & white pudding, relish, coleslaw, pickled cucumber, balsamic beetroot
Mon to Sat, 9am-4pm; Sun, 10am-4pm
Pre-order on 02825842
Gastro-pub offering home-style cooking with menu of wholesome winter warmers. Also offering Blair’s Out Boxes (to be ordered two days in advance) and Heat at Home Christmas Dinner in December. Menus updated daily Recommended: Jameson Chicken Wings; Twomey’s Pork Belly & McCarthy’s Black Pudding; Fish Pie with Smoked Hegarty Cheese Mash;
Takeaway: Wed to Sat, 1pm-9pm (Collection only) To Order: Email [email protected] or phone 021 4381470
In recent years, the always charming and very friendly family-run Dunmore House Hotel has stepped up its food game substantially and are offering a Dunmore House at Home Takeaway menu.
Recommended: House Nut Roast, Garden Leaves, Parsley & Coriander Pesto; House burger, crispy bacon, Gubbeen cheese, Garden Lettuce, Hand Cut Chips, house ketchup.
To order and pre-pay, tel 023 883 3352
Thurs to Sun, 12pm-8pm
Open Air dining and Click & Collect. Weds to Sun, Breakfast and Lunch. Fri & Sat, Dinner on heated terrace.
Modern European dishes in the lovely setting of Blackrock Castle overlooking the River Lee Recommended: (Breakfast) Potato and kale boxty, poached Riverview eggs, Rosscarbery black pudding, hollandaise sauce. (Dinner) Fragrant monkfish curry, tomato, lime and coconut with courgette and peppers, fennel and crispy rice
Order, menus and booking
This is the New Yorker menu for the “New Yorker At Home” which is going to be available from the Cork International Hotel.
Recommended: (Starters) Confit Duck Spring Rolls, Pickled Ginger Salad, Orange Glaze, Cork Meat and Cheese Platter, Dips and Sourdough Croutes; (Mains) Steak Sandwich, Sauteed Onion, Tomato, Hollandaise Sauce on Ciabatta Bread, Pork Belly and Chorizo Linguini, Red Pesto and Rocket; (Dessert) Raspberry and Hazelnut Roulade, Berry Compote, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Butterscotch Sauce, Mascarpone Cream Takeaway.
The New Yorker At Home will be available for order for collection 7 days per week from 1pm-9pm. Call (021) 4549800 to order.
One of the great recent success stories of Cork dining, this little cafe selling authentic Palestinian home cooked food has a menu that is just perfect for takeaway, with the Manooshet flatbreads making for delicious home meals along with a range of dips and sides and delicious baked confections and desserts.
Recommended: Manooshet Musakhan — Local fresh Irish chicken breast, cooked with cardamom, red onions, pine nuts and Palestinian sumac in extra virgin olive oil served on traditional dough, baked and garnished with pomegranate seeds and yogurt dip; Tasters Mix: A sharing platter of our three speciality hummus, tabbouleh, babaganoush, makdous and pickles served with freshly made flat bread.
Order and pay online, delivery service available.
Italian trattoria-style menu for a great Italian-at-home dining experience, fresh pastas made daily, selection of sauces for two people, and desserts, all tailor-made for a long lockdown evening in autumn, available as takeaway finished options or finish-at-home
Recommended: Da Mirco’s Board with homemade Italian Cured meats, cheeses homemade bread, olives and homemade pickles (serves two); Polenta Taragna Ai Funghi Porcini Valtellinesi (Polenta filled with Casera Cheese and Wild Porcini Mushrooms from Valtellina; Lasagna Bolognese with five-hour slow cooked ragu of beef, pork and pancetta, fresh pasta and bechamel sauce.
Order online, Thurs to Sat, 5.30pm-8.30pm (Orders must be submitted 1 hour before collection)
Open air dining & Click & Collect Takeaway. Breakfast & Lunch, Mon to Sat. Dinner, Fri & Sat.
Mediterranean style restaurant with Lebanese and Moroccan dishes.
Recommended: Scrambled Egg & Spicy Bean Flatbread with Green Chilli & Dukkah; Orso Lunchbox: Baguette with Orso mixed Salads
Order, menus and booking