A cosy corner in Skibbereen
There has been a Glebe Gardens Café and Restaurant in Baltimore for 15 years, run by the Perry sisters who delight in using local ingredients, many grown by Jean Perry on the family's five coastal acres which are open to the public in the summer. Baltimore has a short season though, and Glebe on the coast is not open all year.
In Spring 2018 therefore, they opened a new café in nearby Skibbereen to be open all year round, taking inspiration from the family’s aim to feed customers with some of the best of West Cork.
Travelling with our lovely Lola, we needed to find a dog-friendly place when we wanted to have breakfast in Skibbereen, a town we have stopped in a few times before. Last time we stayed with the marvellous Mona at the Bridge House B&B and enjoyed her home cooked breakfast.
This time though we had slept down by the coast, and come in to town to eat. We couldn’t find anywhere listed on t’interweb, but the café looked inviting, and when David popped his head through the door, he was told the dog would be welcome.
It was the start of a beautiful friendship, and we revisited many times to work our way through the menu.
They open from nine in the morning till 5pm from Monday to Saturday, and then re-open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 6-9pm. The menu features seasonal produce, much of it from Baltimore and the surrounding area, so may change from day to day depending on what is available.
Expect to see buttermilk pancakes, homemade granola or herby mushrooms, and dishes using Baltimore eggs and lovely home made breads for breakfast. Lunch might be soup of the day, more of that fresh bread, a homemade tart and salad or a dish with an Italian twist.
Situated on a corner near the centre of town, within walking distance of the shops, the Heritage Centre, the Arts Centre and weekly Farmer’s Market, it’s a great spot to rest a while in informal, comfortable surroundings. There’s a corner with cosy sofas, and plush red velvet curtains to keep the winter draughts at bay whilst you tuck in to a slice of marmalade and ginger cake or a plate of spinach and marscapone malfatti with Baltimore salad leaves. They have a licence, so you can have a glass of well-chosen wine with your lunch or in the evenings.
Tea is presented in a sensibly sized teapot, and an eclectic mix of china cups and plates add a cheerful informality. Bags of Red Strand coffee or jars of Glebe's own sweet chilli jam can be bought to take home.
Glebe Gardens in Baltimore is part of the community, hosting music and theatre events in their natural amphitheatre, and the Skibbereen café clearly also embraces their new neighbourhood. The venue is available for private parties, and when we were there in October 2018, there were posters advertising a pop-up restaurant hosted by Michelin-starred chef Danni Barry.
Service was friendly and efficient, and they were happy for us to linger a while, and use it as a venue for foodie chats. You can just sit and enjoy a coffee or tea, but the tantalising display of freshly baked cakes and tarts on the counter is hard to resist.
I think I will let the food do the rest of the talking… so here is a collection of images, and if you look closely enough, you might catch a glimpse of Lola looking longingly at the lemon curd meringue cake!