Margaret Griffin swears by the cooking of her mother. ‘She was a great homely cook and a superb baker, constantly baking for six of us at home.’, she tells us. From these beginnings, Margaret had a firm grounding in how to do things properly in the kitchen. No surprise then, that the menu at The Spinning Wheel Restaurant at Griffin’s Garden centre, which Margaret runs with her husband, is based on the very principle of homely food and superlative baking. Which customers come back for, time and again.
‘Mum and Dad used the English Market in Cork city to buy food for the family, long before it was ever famous’, says Margaret. ‘ This was how we grew up, with the best of good fresh food. That’s what we focus on in the restaurant, along with good presentation and service second to none, in this lovely natural environment.’ she continues. And so it is a very beautiful location - in scenic Dripsey, on a rural road in Co. Cork, running right beside the River Lee. An outdoor terrace with table seating overlooks the water, making the most of the views.
This multi-award winning destination garden centre and restaurant has been serving the local community and visitors for almost 25 years. Margaret is a trained horticulturalist. Her husband was a vegetable grower, now turning his hand to plants, flowers and shrubs on sale here. ‘Almost 80% of what we sell in the Garden Centre is grown by us.’ Margaret says proudly. That includes a polytunnel for fresh seasonal salad leaves, herbs and lettuces, which are to be found on the menu at The Garden Restaurant and Café. Margaret oversees things at the restaurant and offers her horticultural expertise in the garden centre. Head Chef Raphael heads up the Spinning Wheel’s kitchen team. 'We pride ourselves on using the best local ingredients, like Toonsbridge Mozzarella and Follain preserves and relishes from Macroom, and local honey from here in Dripsey, to name just some.', Margaret emphasises. The bounty of the seasons and the wealth of produce from the local area defines this restaurant and inspires its menus.
Food is served all day. Breakfast kicks off with anything from a bowl of porridge to the Full Irish, all served with Granny Griffin’s homebaked brown bread. Don’t miss Granny Griffin’s famous scones, baked fresh every morning, which are so good they have been voted the best scones in Ireland 2015! They come as traditional fruit scones, wholemeal scones, savoury cheese scones, apple scones, and a seasonal selection like rhubarb or strawberry. Lunch offers an array of light dishes and sandwiches to a full-on traditional roast, quiche, fish dishes and daily specials. Local produce is used throughout and highlighted on the menu. ' Home-baked desserts include Granny Griffin's famous apple pie, delicious coffee cake, Black Forest Gateau and Pavlova to name a few, all made in traditional style with closely guarded recipes! When tea time comes, indulge in a genteel offering of little sandwiches and petite savoury and sweet treats, served with a fine pot of Cork’s Barry’s Tea. Speciality teas also on the menu if you wish.
Griffin's are family orientated. Kids especially love seeing the house pheasants, cockerels and flock of Silky Hens, wandering around. It’s a regular occurrence for a child to be presented with a special little box containing the gift of a freshly laid hen’s egg, to take home! There’s a small playground area for the little ones. Griffin’s provides an outside catering service for parties and has a selection of home baking on sale to take home. Tour groups can be booked. The garden centre has parking for coaches and plenty of seating in the restaurant area. Educational demonstrations and Master Classes can be arranged.