Food trucks have come a long way from the greasy truck stop types with the soggy chips and deep-fried sausages in a bun. In Ireland’s lengthy Lockdown in Ireland’s Foodie Capital of West Cork the food truck movement is allowing local chefs to do what they do best; feed authentic dishes to the people, without the crushing worry of renting a premises and employing a fleet of staff. It’s a win/win; we get a fresh, exciting and unique meal handed to us by the very chef who made it (for a fraction of the price of that experience in a traditional restaurant).
The chefs get experience, time to grow and learn and tailor their offering while building their brand, but there’s an extra magic to the food truck experience too; location. Depending on where your favourite mobile kitchen is parked up for the day, the al fresco dining room could boast glittering views of the Atlantic ocean, the shade of an ancient forest or riverside idyll.
Craft West Cork Food Truck, Rosscarbery
One of the first off the mark the Celtic Ross’ Food Truck offering is a cut above with loads of outdoor seating and vistas of Rosscarbery Bay. This permanent artisanal food truck is located at the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery. Expect bacon butties and scones, among other treats, for breakfast. For dinner, there’s a wide variety available, including pork gyros in a homemade flatbread, served with Macroom Buffalo feta cheese and Irish yogurt tzatziki, Thai fishcakes, and sticky Timoleague carnitas are just some of the delicious options available at this popular spot.
Toto’s Pizza of Kinsale, Kinsale
French baker Christian Jambou of Toto’s Pizza of Kinsale has been working in the food industry for 30 years and for the past nine of them, he’s been satisfying locals and visitors to the beautiful seaside town of Kinsale in West Cork with his scrumptious offerings.
Quirkey Kitchen, Inishannon and Kinsale
Coffee and cake lovers might have the added bonus of being served by GAA legend and heart-throb Seán Óg O hAilpín if they’re in the Kinsale or Innishannon areas.The former inter-county player’s wife, Siobhan Quirke, has just launched her new food truck business called The Quirkey Kitchen and says Seán will be helping out at weekends.
Coastal Coffee, Haulbowline Island and Crosshaven
As well as great coffee, sandwiches and snacks Coastal Coffee serves homemade ice pops in delicious flavours and homemade Cookies & Cakes.
Perfect Burger, Howard Court, Weir street, Bandon
The Perfect Cup has always been a reliable set up with its charming cafe in Howard Court just beside the Riverview Shopping Centre. A reliable meeting place with great staff and excellent drinks, coffee, pastries, toasties and meals. Now it has a cool Airstream trailer addition “Perfect Burger” beside the soon to reopen cafe which open 7 days a week, from 10 until 8. Burgers and chips served from 12 until 8. These are indeed good Gourmet burgers freshly cooked with good local West Cork ingredients.
Located outside Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa overlooking one of West Cork’s most beautiful beaches was another early adaptor of outside dining although its “Food Truck” seems too mundane a description for its gleaming Airstream trailer. Expect a simple but tasty menu of warm wraps, homemade ice cream and shakes and fresh baked sourdough pizza. After all there is plenty of seating including an amphitheatre to take in the views of the Haven Coast on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Nico’s Street Food, Schull, West Cork
You will find Nico’s in the Car Park, Pier Road, and you will find a little gem, real “cheffy” food prepared with care. What he does is simple – burgers; wraps; hot dogs; sausage rolls – but the way he does it isn’t simple. In fact, it’s complex, tactile, and very tasty. Take his brisket burger, for instance. The meat is as toothy but it’s the interplay of two types of onions – a crunchy, sharp red onion pickle, and a long-cooked sweet tangle of white onion.
Bia Blasta, Tanyard Lane Car park, Dunmanway, Co. Cork
Set in a great position in the car park behind SuperValu this new addition which translates as “Tasty Food” by an enterprising Dunmanway local ticks quite a few boxes and lives up to its name. First of all the position is great , by the Sally River with a shaded grassy area with picnic tables and seats and close to public loos and a short walk off the main street. Secondly Nadine majors on good local produce including burgers, chicken and steak from Collins Brothers, Dunmanway’s much loved artisan butchers. The steak baguette with pepper sauce is already getting a cult following and as the line of builders queuing up at lunch hour testifies Bia Blasta is satisfying the most demanding punters.
Catch of the Day, New Bridge Kinsale
The New Bridge on the way into Kinsale is like Food Truck village with two or three trucks offering a wide choice to eat on the picnic tables by the river Bandon and watch the world go by. It’s a popular spot and a very recognisable sight for Leesiders – the little white and blue food truck by the New Bridge in Kinsale. Now the Catch of the Day food truck has been judged the best in Ireland by Lucinda O’Sullivan, food-critic, taste-maker and author of the Little Black Book of Places to Stay & Eat, saying; “It may be the best fish n’chip van around.” Catch of the Day has been in the same spot for years and has a large and loyal clientele – especially on sunny days like yesterday when Kinsale and its nearby beaches are hopping.
So it will be interesting to see what happens when Ireland reopens as Lockdown eases. People’s tastes are changing. They are willing to experiment, they want tastier lighter food and flexible eating hours. The days of overpriced restaurants serving turgid “Farmer’s Plates” of canteen style food at silly prices seem to be over as do the greasy spoon chip van offerings. Cork Co. Council and Irish Tourism need to respond properly to this new trend and provide proper pitches with no onerous entry requirements serviced with electricity and water.
The Food Truck is here to stay and natives and visitors alike welcome the combination of good local ingredients, value and taste it brings to Ireland’s Foodie Capital of West Cork.
Full Article in the forthcoming edition of “What’s on in West Cork” available from the usual outlets and online https://www.whatsoninwestcork.ie/