11 November 2020
By Tom Collins
Farmgate Café, which last year celebrated 25 years at the English Market, has been “doing the right thing” in food and hospitality for decades. First mother Kay, now daughter Rebecca have provided local, consistent, restrained, sustainable, personal and copped-on authentic Irish food and service — quite literally, Farmgate Café’s (very delicious) bread and butter — for those 26 years.
During the current phase of restrictions, Farmgate’s table service is suspended, but the essential ethos of the Farmgate menus — a contemporary take on traditional classics, cooking produce sourced almost entirely from the market below — continues as FarmgateToGo at lunchtime, and Farmgate@Home, a click and collect dinner option, both available to pick up from 11am to 3pm, Wednesday to Saturday.
Farmgate@Home is a menu of ready meals created by the Café kitchen team that can be heated up at home, including a selection of individual items and firm Farmgate favourites to choose from, like homemade soda breads and duck liver pâté, fish pies, stews, desserts and cakes. With a three-course set menu weekend supper, and a two-course midweek supper, this is the perfect way to enjoy the Farmgate’s take on the finest ingredients the Market, the season and the region has to offer, that the late great Sunday Times critic AA Gill referred to as “…truly soft and generous, honest and delicious. A restaurant rooted in good things and fine tastes, all served with pleasure and good nature.”
The menu changes slightly every week but continues to reflect the stalls in the Market and their hardworking owners — the trusted small-scale market gardeners, cheese makers, smokehouses, fishmongers, butchers and many more. A sample weekend menu for two might include a mushroom risotto starter, slow braised featherblade of beef with duck fat roast potatoes & cauliflower cheese, followed by apple & blackberry crumble with custard for €35, with the option to add a bottle of wine for €15. See the week’s menus and order on https://farmgate-cafe.tablepath.com/menus
FarmgateToGo is a grab and go lunch offering with soup, chowder, sandwiches (roast free-range chicken and stuffing, spiced beef with cheddar, gherkins, Tabasco mayonnaise and pickled cabbage, toasties with loin of bacon, cheddar, scallions and relish or with Bandon Vale cheddar, caramelised onions and béchamel), stew and a pie of the day. The FarmgateToGo menu thankfully includes the justly renowned Irish lamb stew with Ladysbridge potatoes. “A bowl of piping-hot lamb stew is everything the day outside (and indeed most days) needs,” said Catherine Cleary in her review last year in the Irish Times. “Generous chunks of gnarly soft brown meat are served in a light broth with herby notes of thyme and sweet wedges of swede and carrot. It’s lamb stew like it should be made”. Order in advance, choose a pick-up time, and your FarmgateToGo will be ready for collection or come in and order at the counter if you’re passing.
Both FarmgateToGo and Farmgate@Home are collection offerings, entering via the central English Market stairs, picking up at the counter, and exiting via the Prince’s Street stairs.
And, in an exciting new development, Farmgate Café’s own market stall, downstairs in the English Market opens soon too, a pop-up stall selling Farmgate’s home baking and savouries as well as fresh flowers and also the FarmgateToGo lunch options.
For further convenience, Farmgate Café also has a NeighbourFood.ie page where there’s a shorter selection of dinners, desserts, sides and extras to order for collection in three of the Cork venues — Cork City Market, Watergrasshill and Douglas.
How to order?
- 021 427 8134
- Farmgate Café Click & Collect : https://farmgate-cafe.tablepath.com/menus
- Neighbourfood Cork City: https://www.neighbourfood.ie/producers/farmgate-caf/90345