Thursday, 9 August 2018

24 hours in Cork City!

 Just had a great weekend away with my girlfriends last week in Cork City.  
I love Cork - its people, the shopping, how easy it is to get around, great restaurants and bars....... it's an all rounder!
(pic ref CIT)

Hotel: The Metropole Hotel;
Dining at: Luigi Malones; 

Coffee at: Lafayettes, Imperial hotel)

We stayed at The Metropole Hotel on MacCurtin Street.  Totally central, 2 minute walk around to main street and so easy to get to coming from the M8 - up the quays, right onto Patrick's hill and around to MacCurtin street, headed for home again!
I really do recommend the Metropole for anyone looking for a central location, a friendly welcome, a comfy bed and an epic breakfast experience. And a reasonable rate. The minute you step out onto the street, you are spoiled for choice of pubs and cafes and a lovely stroll to the hub of the main street. 

Park the car up in the nearby secure car park for a flat rate for your entire stay.  After checking in with the very friendly and efficient receptionist, make your way to the lift to take you to your floor.  Outside each floor lift is a water tank where you can take a glass of water and a tray of apples if you're peckish! Nice touch.  And the decor is beautiful also with chandeliers, large mirror and console tables doted along the halls.
Hotel room beds are very comfy with fresh crisp white linen sheets.  You will definitely sink into these beds!  A great powerful shower with constant hot water and a steam free wall to wall mirror!  I love these!  Rooms also have complimentary bottled water; an iron/board; TV and hairdryer. I gotta say, rooms are pretty sound proof.

We popped into the bar for a cocktail before heading to dinner.  I'm glad to hear that they are renovating the bar.  I would love this great hotel to have an equally great bar area to chill and relax in with a cocktail   Look forward to seeing this upgrade addition very soon.

As we had a night out planned, the highlight of our stay at the Metropole i have to say, without hesitation, was the breakfast experience.  I loved the entrance and the display section, which is separate to the dining area, giving you a sense of privacy when choosing.  Absolutely everything you could want or need!  Fresh cereals, fruits, nuts, continental breakfasts, toast area and gluten free table which were topped up throughout.  Beautifully presented and clearly labelled.  Spotlessly clean.
And a delicious hot breakfast to order.  There was no problem when we all requested 3 completely different specific breakfasts. All absolutely delicious, hot, perfectly cooked and as we ordered.

Shout out to Michelle for her down to earth professionalism and service, offering us coffee top up and took the time out to chat to us at our table and showed a real interest on our opinions of the Breakfast.
And to Lorraine who greeted us so friendly and explained the whole breakfast layout to us.  A real gem.
Entrance to breakfast dining room - food buffet up to the right - seating area straight ahead

Beautiful flower and breakfast display


Nuts, seeds and dried fruit

Hard boiled eggs - a great addition, very rarely seen but a very handy breakfast addition 

Yummy mango smoothie - another lovely addition rarely seen elsewhere
Teas - traditional and herbal to choose from also

Milk and alternatives

Continental breakfast and fruit

Brown breads, rolls, pastries, butters and jams - another lovely display

Fantastic variety of condiments for porridge including honey, sugars, nuts, seeds and dried fruit.  Fantastic!

Gluten free table - we were advised by staff that they welcome any ideas or suggestions for continuous improvements - needless to say we had none to offer - what a fantastic array of foods. 

The staff here at the Metropole are brilliant at what they do.  They are professional yet friendly and very approachable.  Not false or overpowering - just lovely, down to earth.... yet still professional and efficient.  Down to the cleaning staff you meet in the hallways with a big smile and friendly greeting for you as you pass by.  And in my opinion, that's what makes a great hotel.
I really look forward to returning to Cork and without hesitation staying at the Metropole again soon.

We had a table booked in advance for evening dinner at Luigi Malones , located at 1-2 Emmet Place, opposite the Cork Opera House. 
An absolute gem of a place!  From the moment you step through that big door entrance with its luxurious red swooping curtains to the moment you leave, you are in for a treat here.  They have changed a little since i have been here last, a few years back.  But all good!  with its wooden tables, mix mash of different chairs and the stone walls.  The staff are welcoming and friendly and efficient.  They greeted us the moment we walked in,  showing us to a table in an open plan / open kitchen space.  Which i really loved - almost a "Friends" / New York feel to it!  The open pizza booth in the corner is a great addition with an epic shiny clay pizza oven - love this!
Pizza oven and kitchen
Your server will greet you at your table and go through specials and any questions you may have, taking your order for drinks.  Our server Matus recommended the House white pinot grigio.  A lovely light, dry wine, that goes very well with any meat. I love their wine glasses - they have their own engraved glasses which is a lovely touch.

All meals are presented well and perfectly cooked.  The meats exactly to order.  All so flavoursome.  We opted for a sharing starter platter of Nachos Grande which consisted of a platter with tortilla chips, homemade queso roja (red cheese), fresh guacamole, salsa, melted cheese and sour cream. Absolutely delicious - perfect for sharing as we natter! All the ingredients totally compliment each other.  This is a "fingers in" type of dish - don't be shy.  It's delicious. Also available as a single portion too.
I have to recommend my dish which was the Lamb and Chorizo espetadas.  They are presented on skewers with peppers and onions, served with fries, a cooling, delicious tzatziki, rocket and balsamic vinegar. Absolutly mouthwatering.  But make sure you're hungry, it is filling! I preferred the way it used to be presented on a "hangman" dangling skewer! Still, very delicious..... the tzatziki really compliments and cools the lamb.  And the chorizo are huge juicy to die for chunks.
The Steak and the Chicken bbq parrilla were pretty epic too.

Our server Matus was so helpful and informative without being intrusive or overpowering.  Very helpful in a reserved professional manner.  Nothing too much trouble.
We ended a beautiful meal with a complimentary piece of "Toblerone" Birthday cheesecake for my friend celebrating her 40th Birthday.  A perfect ending to a perfect meal.

Toblerone cheesecake
I definitely have my eye on a pizza for my next visit from this gorgeous clay pizza oven.
Check out their easy follow website for opening hours, menus and to book a table.  You won't be disappointed - I highly recommend the Luigi's experience.
Thanks guys for a very special evening.

Onto the Soho Bar on Grande Parade to finish off our evening with some delicious cocktails.  A great late night bar, with comfy couch booths, with great music til late. 

 Look at this deadly looking Starbucks building!  Too cool to pass up a pic opportunity!

After a lovely afternoon of shopping the following day, we made our way up South Mall Street to Lafayettes brasserie at the Imperial Hotel for coffee and desserts. 
THIS is something else with its lavish surroundings of painted mural ceilings and walls and marble pillars. You're in for a real treat here.  Aromas fill the air.  Dessert displays allow you to be tempted by the delicious treats on offer.  Aromatic coffees and handmade delicious desserts and tarts make for the perfect afternoon with friends.  A truly beautiful experience.  Well worth a visit away from the bustling shopping street coffee shops.

So there you have it, 24 hours in Cork city!  I cannot wait to get down there again.  There is so much to this city - it's got it all!

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