Here at Good Food Ireland, we take great pleasure in finding a place that "does' local food in a simple way and at an affordable price. Good value for money is a key phrase these days. Marry it with quality ingredients, an ethos of keeping flavours unfussy, and service that makes you feel right at home, and we know we're onto a winner. Kalbos Café, in the West Cork town of Skibbereen ticks all these boxes, and then some. Siobhan O'Callaghan and husband Anthony Boyle are at the helm of this lively and longstanding town centre cafe.
Siobhan is the chef, with a light as a feather touch for food. She concentrates on making the most of the wealth of fresh and artisan produce West Cork is known for. Anthony is an organic grower with a smallholding nearby. He grows many seasonal vegetables for the café, including perky salad leaves and courgettes in spring and summer and squash and root vegetables in autumn and winter, and always a good selection of fresh herbs. Anthony also farms free range heritage breed pigs. Pictures of the herd adorn the walls of the cafe. Other suppliers here include Good Food Ireland Glenilen Dairy Products, Cashel Blue cheese and Ardsallagh Goats Cheese. Beef and lamb comes from Skibereen's local butchers. The sea is only a ten-minute drive away, so fish and shellfish is as fresh as it could be. Boats at Castletownbere and Union Hall deliver the daily catch. You may even see it arriving if you are here in the morning.
Kalbo's hops with a busy clientele. Painted walls in country blues and greens, tongue and groove timberwork and oilcloth covered tables adorned with posies of fresh cottage garden flowers give a homely feel. Breakfast includes porridge and homebaked scones and breads. The daily blackboard lunch menu offers great value for money, always with local ingredients named and a €5.00 special on offer. House desserts are displayed in the cabinet.
The wine list is small but well chosen, all served by glass or bottle. It's great in a small café to have the option to start with a flute of fizz - ever the stylish way to begin. Soft drinks, Irish apple juice, teas, coffees and hot chocolate also on offer.
Kalbo's has a catering menu for home parties and celebrations, Christenings and Communions. Choose from the wide selection of savoury bakes and tarts, substantial main courses and vegetable side dishes, vegetarian options, home baking, a range of fresh bread baked daily, and a lovely choice of desserts and cakes. The cafe also serves dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings during the summer season.