Jenny Rose Clarke has long been wowing customers with great sarnies at her famous Sandwich Stall in the English Market. This seasoned food provider is now wowing a different set of clientele all over again at the little café and pizzeria on site at Toons Bridge Dairy, where a range of cheeses are made with West Cork cows and sheeps milk.
Toons Bridge is the name of the hamlet deep in the countryside just outside the town of Macroom. It’s a pretty spot, taking its name from the little stone bridge that runs over the famous River Lee, which starts in Gougane Barra as a small mountain stream, runs through the countryside here by Macroom, gathering pace, width and depth, as it flows through Cork City centre. Toons Bridge Dairy was established here by Jenny Rose and her partner Toby Simmonds. This delightful café is situated in what was once the couple's family home with their children. The family lived here, next door to the creamery, with an airy conservatory sitting room heated by a wood burning stove. That conservatory sitting room is now the café, and what was once Jenny Rose’s home kitchen is a small but beautiful professional space where all good things are made for Toons Bridge Café. Attached to the conservatory there is an outdoor market style pizza kitchen with a wood-fire pizza oven.The smell of wood-fire pizzas cooking is one thing that always gets the nostrils twitching as you as approach the dairy!
Tables in the café are flooded with light and enjoy the view of the family garden, well established and providing much seasonal produce, salad leaves and herbs for the simple café menu of Tapas boards, salads and pizzas and a selection of freshly baked cakes & beverages. An outdoor terrace has table and chairs for eating al fresco – and it’s good know that if you have a salad on your plate it came from just a few steps away from where you are sitting. Jenny Rose’s food style has always focused on easy dishes with well produced ingredients. A delicious cafe menu features Toons Bridge Dairy’s famous handcrafted cheeses, Fior di Latte, Caciocavallo, and Straw Smoked Scamorza from local Kerry Cow's milk, or Pecorino from local sheep's milk - all are made on site by Italian fifth generation cheesemaker Franco Picciuolo from Capua, southern Italy. To complement these, find little nibbles and bites like good olives, sundried tomatoes, pesto sauce and other Mediterranean deli items with home made flatbreads fresh from the wood fire oven. There’s always a home made seasonally representative soup on offer, plus several salad and sandwich options. Also extremely popular here are the freshly cooked stone baked pizzas from the wood fired oven in the garden, made from fresh hand formed pizza dough, using traditional Italian Caputo flour for the bases. Topped with lovely produce from the Toons Bridge selection and the homemade cheeses, plus herbs from the garden, homemade plum tomato sauces, Real Olive Company Serrano, chorizo, olives, anchovies and artichoke hearts. A real taste of what this little dairy and cafe is all about. They're also available for takeaway, and proving very popular with visitors to the area, plus regulars and the neighbours!
For dessert, Jenny Rose's café baking is based on her favourite things to eat, plus cakes and treats she used to make for the children when they were small. Light as a feather scones with jam and cream, chocolate brownies, Irish farmhouse cakes and cookies are displayed proudly on the counter. A heap of crisp and delightfully wonky meringues also beckon, served with homemade berry compote and cream. The counter sways with the selection and we are pretty certain you won't be able to choose!
The drinks menu includes freshly made coffees, teas, herb teas, hot chocolate and Irish apple juice. The blackboard displays the organic wine selection, plus a choice of sherries which are quite the in thing these days with olives, tapas and the like! Also find craft beers from Mountain Man, a local brewery. A bottle of one of these is great on a lazy Sunday afternoon when you have nothing better to do but sit in this pleasant place, enjoying an ambience grounded upon good local and homemade food. Well done to Jenny Rose for getting it so very right once again. Where would Cork be without her? Toons Bridge Dairy also has a small shop separate to the café, where you can buy all the cheeses plus deli items and wine.
Toons Bridge Dairy Cafe runs a takeaway service for pizza and other food items.