French woman Isabelle Sheridan’s reputation in Cork was already established at her brilliant shop selling charcuterie, farmhouse cheeses and other gourmet products in the English Market, long before she opened up this branch of On the Pig’s Back in Douglas.
But here she has an extra, a lovely, lively café, in a quirky room with a large tree as its centrepiece, where you may sit down and enjoy some great food after doing your shopping.
And you will find yourself enjoying it with complete strangers, as you could well end up sharing one of the sturdy tables. Friendly, helpful and informative staff are very willing to find a seat for you - it’s all part of the excellent sharp service - and there are little tables out on the pavement for fine weather too.
As would be expected of Isabelle Sheridan, On the Pig’s Back is all about the produce which, in both the café and the deli, features a wonderful selection from top local producers such as Kanturk’s Jack McCarthy, Arbutus Bread, Ardsallagh Goat Cheese, other cheeses by Ardrahan, Durrus, Milleens, Gubbeen, chocolates by Lorge and O’Conaill, Caherbeg Pork, G’s Jams, and many more trusted names. And you’ll also find some carefully chosen French produce here too, imported directly.
The café opens with a limited morning menu, but lunchtime sees it filling up with eager regulars, so get there in good time. Like soups, daily specials can be a good indication of the values of a place, showing that freshness and quality matter to the owners.
And here they have almost as many specials as regular dishes. On any given day, they may include classic dishes such as salad nicoise and quiche lorraine, and another quiche, perhaps spinach, goats cheese and roasted peppers, served with gorgeous salad.
The dessert special could be a sinfully gooey chocolate fondant, but there’s no shortage of sweet treats on the regular list where one could easily be tempted by the coffee and walnut cake, or maybe the pear, berry and almond tart...
Finish off with a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate - or perhaps an Early Grey or a Sicilian Lemon from the Gurman’s Herbal Tea Range.