Above: Chef Nathan Timmons
The Winery on Asna Square, in the heart of Clonakilty, is a venue for all seasons. Catching the afternoon and late evening sun, its outdoor tables buzzed all Summer long, as customers enjoyed leisurely conversations over a glass of wine and a plate of tapas. Now, as the winter evenings draw in, the crowd has moved indoors, where a blazing fire and cozy corners provide instant atmosphere.
It is the aforementioned tapas that have really gotten people talking in the last six months. With a mix of meat, seafood and vegetable dishes to choose from, this Spanish way of eating works as just a quick bite to keep you going, or order several dishes together for a full meal with plenty of variety.
Just a couple of the meat options include ‘Serrano ham and Manchego cheese croquets with allioli’ or ‘Spicy and crispy honey glazed chicken wings with blue cheese dip’. Fish lovers will drool over the ‘Tiger prawns woked in garlic, fresh chilli and olive oil served with warm bread’ or the ‘Crisp fried calamari with mild chilli salsa. If you’re a vegetarian, do not leave without trying the ‘Courgette and feta fritters with yogurt dip. There are many more tasty tapas options to choose from.
Chef Nathan Timmons explains where he gets his inspiration from, “As a young boy growing up in England, I learned at an early age that quality food was an essential ingredient to good living as I watched my parents prepare culinary masterpieces from scratch. My parents weren’t avid travellers but they were experimental with food and instilled in me the importance of experiencing the many diverse cuisines from around the globe.
“When I qualified as a chef, I moved to Spain for a while, to a small town near Granada. There I spent my days learning and helping out in my then girlfriend’s family-run delicatessen and tapas restaurant. This gave me great inspiration and a love for Spanish food and culture. As a chef for over 20 years, I’ve been expanding and perfecting (I hope) the different styles and flavours of food that you get from the various regions in Spain.
“Now a member of the team in The Winery, I’ve been given the opportunity to showcase some of what Spain has to offer in a way that is both traditional and modern. I feel that tapas have started to take off in lreland in big way, with bars popping up all over the place.
“Going forward I intend to grow what we have started here in the Winery. I plan to introduce new, Spanish influenced dishes to our specials boards and pair wines that complement the food. This will hopefully give the customer an experience to remember while dining with us.”
Owner Brian Dillon is looking forward to the Christmas season, as The Winery is a popular choice for get-togethers of friends who are home for the holidays, and the place hums with chat and laughter all week long. Brian is planning several nights of musical entertainment too, keep an eye on posters in the window for what’s coming up.
The Winery also serves lunch, coffee and cake, so whatever the time of day and whatever the weather, call in for a flavour of Spain served up with a warm Clonakilty welcome. The Winery is more than just a place — it’s an experience!