The River Lee Hotel
In The River Lee Hotel on Western Road.
I remember many years ago, when my better half was in the Theatrical business, having to get up at the crack of dawn on St. Stephen’s Day and drive like the clappers to Cork in time for the afternoon performance of the Pantomime in Cork Opera House, with which he was involved. There wasn’t a sinner on the road between Dublin and Cork and in record time we were checking into our Hotel – Jury’s Hotel on the Western Road! In fact, it was the only Hotel open in Cork on St. Stephen’s night and only goes to show what a great service they always provided.
However, the years move on and Jurys Cork Hotel is now part of the Doyle Collection and ever ahead of the time the hotel was completely rebuilt and restyled within the the past two years – it is a totally new hotel – the only original part is the site and the river! The minute you walk into the lobby you are blown away by the cool hip décor and feeling of light and spaciousness.
There are now 182 bedrooms each equipped to the highest standards of comfort and design to ensure the guest feels cosseted and comfortable. If you really want to push out the boat go for a Deluxe Room of which there are 44. These are on the penthouse level, which is the Executive Floor, and take full advantage of the views. Full height windows overlook the city and there is just that feeling of something really extra special – of pampering yourself.
However it is not all about accommodation and Spa at the new Jurys Cork Hotel for there is excellent food available in The Weir Bar, which is a lovely relaxing area, and also in their Weir Bistro with lovely views overlooking the River Lee. David Roche is the Head Chef. In the bar they do light meals as well as sandwiches, wraps and burgers. The food is contemporary and the emphasis is local and season produce. Light meals include fried Halloumi cheese with a celeriac and crème fraiche remoulade with tomato and red onion salad, or seared marinated tuna Nicoise – one of my all time favourite dishes – grilled tuna served rare with a salad of French beans, red onion, cherry tomatoes, new potatoes, olives, egg and sundried tomato. They do a delicious seafood chowder and also a very nice sundried tomato and Irish goats cheese risotto cake with baby spinach, tomato and rocket salad. Sandwiches are what I call posh sandwiches – a “modern day Club sandwich” is a toasted triple decker with grilled chicken and chorizo, avocado salsa, egg and sundried tomato mayo with fries. Burgers are great with a variety of toppings, as well as Tuna burger, a seared marinated tuna steak in a sesame bun with avocado salsa, red onion coleslaw, Weir fries and tomato salsa.From the grill you can have a rib-eye or fillet steak or grilled artisan "Bangers and Mash".
In the Weir Bistro, starters include West Coast Crab with Guacamole, mango and chilli salad, baby spinach, or Parma Ham and Buffalo Mozzarella with marinated olives, rocket salad and baby gherkins. Steamed green asparagus has a poached hen’s egg and Hollandaise sauce whilst beef carpaccio comes with horseradish crème fraiche, rocket and aged Parmesan salad. When it comes to mains, rump of Slaney Valley Lamb is served with Parmesan polenta chips, buttered French beans and olive jus, poached Irish salmon is with green asparagus, baby carrots, herb buttered baby potatoes and a citrus Hollandaise. Pan fried seabream is with creamed leeks and chorizo whilst 10 oz fillet and rib eye steaks are served with roasted Portobello mushroom, herb roasted vine tomatoes, cider battered onion rings, Weir fries and your choice of peppercorn, Bearnaise or whole grain mustard sauce.
Desserts are scrumptious from Belgian chocolate truffle mousse with an orange, passionfruit and mint salad, to Black Forest sundae with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, cherry and Kirsch compote, chocolate brownie and whipped cream.