‘Farm’ combines intimate surroundings with elegant food

Posted on: 3rd November, 2014

Category: Food & Wine

Contributor: West Cork People

‘Farm’ restaurant and wine bar — opening in the intimate premises of the old Malt House Granary on Ashe Street at the end of October — is a new venture for West Cork based husband and wife team, Jason and Aoife Smith. Both have a strong background in the food industry with a great passion for local produce and traditional cooking methods. The granary building has a long association with good food and ‘Farm’ aims to continue this relationship, promoting local Irish cuisine with subtle hints of French cooking techniques in a friendly and relaxed casual dining experience.

The couple has been overwhelmed to date with the incredible support and well wishes from the local community. Despite a delay in opening due to a sudden and unexpected family illness, they are looking forward to their new venture with eager anticipation.

This endeavour is a long time coming to fruition for Jason and Aoife. The couple met 15 years ago when Jason joined the kitchen in the family run Rectory Restaurant in Glandore and they have since been sharing a history of their own in both business and family life. “It means so much to be able to get back to working together again,” says Aoife. The hours in catering can often be long and with a young family the couple found they were passing each other by. When the opportunity presented itself they were thrilled that the owners entrusted them with the responsibility of the lease.

While Aoife was brought up in the hotel and restaurant business, Jason’s culinary career spans over 20 years. He quietly acknowledges his incredibly fortunate experiences working with some of the top chefs in the industry. It’s been a long journey, starting out at the bottom when, as a teenager, he spent four years as an apprentice to Michael Fleming at Flemings in Tivoli, Cork. After a short stint in the Rectory, he then went on to work for Conrad Gallagher’s Peacock Alley where he worked alongside Dylan McGrath (Masterchef Ireland) and Aidan Byrne (Great British Menu). Jason then went to London where he worked at Le Gavroche (Michel Roux Jr) and then with the influential Irish chef Richard Corrigan where you learn to taste everything.

After a year working at the famous Aria Restaurant directly next to the Sydney Opera House, Australia, in 2005, Jason and Aoife finally settled back in Aoife’s home of West Cork. Aoife has since been with the Rectory for nine years initially managing the venue for a few years alongside Jason. Jason has been head chef in some of West Cork’s finest establishments including The Rectory and Annie’s of Ballydehob. For the last four years, Jason went down the route of contract catering at Carbery Milk Products in Ballineen. He has just finished a season at the ever busy O’Connors Seafood Restaurant in Bantry.

Both Jason and Aoife have a healthy respect for the hard work and discipline required to work the land and sea. “You do not have to look far to see why we named our new venture ‘Farm’. West Cork and county has it all on the doorstep when it comes to food. Good produce is half the battle for good food. We see ‘Farm’ as a showcase for West Cork produce — to name a few, Devoy’s Organic Farm, Skeaghanore Duck, Caherbeg Pork, Clona and a number of award winning smokeries. While making best efforts to get to as many suppliers as possible, we’d love to hear from those we have not yet made contact with.”

“We aim to have seasonal dinner menus that will change frequently and also an early Farm Supper menu running from 5pm to 6.30pm, Wednesday to Sunday. This value for money menu will appeal to a wide variety of customers with dishes ranging from simple flavoursome options to those on a more adventurous route. Two courses are €22.50 or a three-course menu is €27.50. It includes crisp vegetable and chicken confit spring roll with a spicy dipping sauce or alternatively beef lasagne with smoked bacon and ToonsBridge buffalo mozzarella. The main dinner menu will run from 5pm to 9.30pm. Mains currently  include honey glazed Skeaghanore duck breast with crispy leg in a sweet and sour dressing. Alternatively there is 10oz beef sirloin with garlic butter, bacon and potato rosti or baked walnut crusted cod with parsnip sauce. Sunday lunch will run from 12pm to 3pm with options from hearty roasts to lighter fresh fish and chips and pie dishes.

“We are conscious of the fact that some of our patrons will have dietary requirements and we are also keen to cater to families. Without doubt it’s always helpful to know particular needs in advance. For coeliacs, we have gluten free breads like banana bread, which gives a nice moist texture. Also a brown soda alternative rice and maize soda bread. Most of the dishes will be coeliac friendly. There is also a vegetarian and vegan menu available to choose from. One of our desserts will include our warm dairy free banana and poppy-seed cake with caramelised banana and dairy free ice-cream. This is equally suitable to vegans and pursuers of delectable low fat treats so no spinning classes required!”

Having always loved the premises, minor yet very noticeable decor changes have been carried out on the  restaurant. The idea was to play off the beautiful original characteristic features of the exposed brick walls and beams using more bolder wall colours. These include luxurious petrol blue, mustard gold flake and warm reds. They are balanced by large sophisticated gilt style mirrors to reflect the lighting and give a warm and welcoming feel. With candles and low lighting dotted around, you can’t help but relax into the cosy setting. Statement pieces like the electric blue gramophone and old Imperial Typewriter on display will take you back to the days of a bygone era.

“We hope to do producers proud and welcome all to hopefully many relaxing and enjoyable experiences. We thank you all for your support.”


023 88 34355.

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Wave to Mary! 65-year-old Mary Nolan Hickey is running around the entire coast of the Island of Ireland to raise funds & awareness for the RNLI and is currently running the roads of West Cork.

Mary is the only woman to have completed every single Dublin Marathon (all 38 of them). She’s also completed the grueling Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert, known as the ‘toughest foot race on earth’.

To mark her 50th year involved in Athletics Mary is taking on her biggest challenge yet (even though she thought she’d already done that when completing the Dublin Marathon when she was over six months pregnant!) She wants to raise as much money as possible for the RNLI.

Mary started her epic journey in Arklow, Co. Wicklow, on New Year’s Day. She aims to cover up to 5000 kilometers, using coastal routes, over the next five months. She hopes to get back in time to get her first pension payment in June when she turns 66.

Mary will stop off at as many RNLI stations as possible, on her once in a lifetime adventure. As far as she knows no other woman has ever taken on this challenge.

Speaking about her journey Mary said:

“I wanted to prove that age not a barrier. Coming from a coastal town I have a deep affinity with our local RNLI station & volunteers and have huge admiration for the brave men and women who risk their lives to save lives at sea”.

Mary, who’s depending on the goodwill of communities along her route for accommodation, has been astounded by the response so far. “The support has been overwhelming,” she said. “I have met the most amazing and encouraging people along the way”.

To see more about Mary’s adventures, and to pinpoint her location today, check out her Facebook page - rnlilapofthemap2018.

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20th March, 2018  ·  


This Saturday the 10th March, will see some magically curious activity as local Bandon national schools compete in a Wizarding Harry Potter Quiz. The prize will be the beautiful Bandon Banshee Perpetual Cup.

As any Harry Potter enthusiast knows, Bandon has the unique honour of having a character named after the town. The Bandon Banshee, was referred to as the nemesis of Gilderoy Lockhart in the Chamber of Secrets. The book grossed €60 million in sales and was the 7th highest earning film of all time.

Locals, looking to enhance the town for young people, saw the quiz as an ideal way promote the connection. The universally absorbing book series brings young readers on a huge adventure of magic, adversity and triumph. It is also an exploration of loyalty and friendship, good and evil – so it is not only popular way to engage young people, it is a hugely positive connection.

Zoe Tennyson, one of the organisers said they were delighted with the response from schools who ran a qualifying quiz as part of World Book Day. On Saturday Bandon Town Hall will be transformed into Hogwarts Great Hall, with proceeds going Bandon Playground Group, and to cover costs of the event.

Bandon Books will be rewarding the winning team with vouchers to each of the five members. The Bandon Banshee, or Bean-sidhe na Bandaan Perpetual Cup will be hotly contested – but which school will the Banshee go to??

If you have any questions please call Marguerite McQuaid on 087 900 9494
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8th March, 2018  ·  

Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

Both Cian and Charlie, along with thirty other members of the club will display their projects this coming Friday 23 February in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen. Doors open at 8pm and the event runs until 10pm. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Catering, including tea and coffee, will be provided on the night.
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20th February, 2018  ·  

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17th February, 2018  ·  

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