Venison Pie and Elderflower Cordials at The English Market's Farmgate Cafe in Cork, Ireland
I visited The English Market in Cork a day before Christmas. The timing amped up the energy at this beloved covered market to a festive level that felt crushing as I tried to navigate my way through stalls selling local delicacies like spiced beef, cranberry jam, raw milk goat cheese, and freshly plucked Christmas turkeys.
The Farmgate Cafe is always a welcome respite from the frenetic hustle tussle of the market but on this day that included more than a few elbows in the shoulder from customers eager to conclude their holiday shopping and get on with the merry making, it was an oasis of civility amidst the festive madness.
Divided into both a stand in line casual cafe on one side and a more refined restaurant on the other, Farmgate is located above the market itself. This makes it the perfect place to people watch without being sucked into the local delicacy fueled chaos of it all.
Meals at the restaurant are elegant without being fussy. Comprised of local ingredients from County Cork, a region that prides itself on its small family farm traditions, selections include tuck in an stay a while dishes like market butcher's sausage with champ, onion gravy and bacon, venison pie, and a savory tart of the day.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served during the market's opening hours and the hearty yet healthful meals are made all the more enticing when accompanied by libations such as elderflower juice and proseco or crisp sparking ciders.
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Very much an institution for locals and tourists alike, the Farmgate Café is set on the upper floor of the English Market and serves soups and sandwiches until 4 p.m. and coffee and cakes until 5 p.m. Come here for a traditional Irish breakfast or a lunch of soup, smoked salmon, freshly shucked oysters and the chance to sample a local black pudding–like delicacy called drisheen.