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“The most remarkable thing about Cork’s English Market, beyond its diversity – which is on a par with any French market you have idled through in envy – is its intrinsic regionalness. Preserving its own ancient traditions seems to have emboldened Cork to espouse those of its nearer neighbours.”

The food writer Tamasin Day-Lewis wrote that, back in 2000, and it’s a spot-on summation of what makes the English Market special. Diverse. Regional. Traditional. Yet open to its neighbours and their traits and products and ways of working. The EM is a meshwork for foods, by which we mean that one stall – and they are stalls, not shops, another key characteristic – supports the others in terms of the overall offer. Shopping here, you ping-pong between one stall and another, so that should you want to cook the recipe for salsify scallops that appeared on the same page of The Daily Telegraph as Ms Day-Lewis was writing, you get your fish in one side of the market and your salsify at another end and your butter elsewhere, and you buy all these things from Different Stalls run by Different People who may be different but who share high-level Skills and Expertise in their special area. The English Market is, mercifully, The Anti-Supermarket. It is the antithesis of supermarket blandness. It is the Soul of the City.

The Bridgestone 100 Best Restaurants in Ireland 2011

Classic Restaurant's Category - The Farmgate Café, The English Market, Cork

The Farm Gate's contemporary take on culinary classics from Ireland's history produces inimitable food.

Kay Harte is one of the mighty Cork Food Havens - Cork's culinary culture is a female one, unlike the rest of the country where the culture is dominated by men - and there is no one more steadfast in asserting the value, nobility, and splendour of specialist local foods than this formidable, enigmatic lady.  Her daily menus present seemingly simple things: potato, thyme, and wild garlic soup (the wild garlic picked by Ms Harte herself); Clare Island organic salmon; St Tola goat's cheese salad; whiting with champ; tripe and drisheen; English Market corned beef; portobello mushroom and Mossfield cheese tart; apple tart; Milleens cheese; Farmgate bread and butter pudding.  Could there be anything nicer than this for lunch?  Truly, we don't think so.  The food in The Farmgate isn't just sustenance, it is food that also offers a philosophy, a narrative, a history, a personality, and it is offered without pretension, modestly and generously served by wonderfully characterful staff whose relish for their work is infectious.  This is the real Cork cuisine, boy.