The South County bar is in Douglas village, just on the outskirts of Cork city. Douglas first appears on historical documents in the 12th century. In fairness the South County isn’t quite that old, but there has been a licensed premises on the site for over 200 years. In more recent times the pub was purchased in 1970 from the brewery Beamish and Crawford by Mary and John O’ Connor. Mary and john ran this family bar till 1997 when they handed over the business to their two sons Tom and Colm.
The lads had spent some time in the U.S working in hotel and restaurant business and when they took over in 1997 they refurbished the premises and began serving lunches on a daily basis. In 2009 there was a major overhaul of the pub while maintaining the old world charm. A new kitchen was put in place and the South County was ready to expand their food offering.
Now with a state of the art kitchen came a new head chef to make the South County the best place in Douglas to eat. This job went too Alexandra Honour, or Ali as she likes to be called. She has a flare and a love for good food which for me can be hard to find in Douglas - and she sure can cook. Lunch each day has a roast, or you can go for their Big Salad, which does exactly what it says. They also do a roast sandwich on doorstep bread and wedges for €6.50, which is great value.
On the night I was there I had the goat’s cheese bruschetta with sun dried tomato with homemade red onion marmalade. This was an excellent starter, well balanced and full of flavour. Next I had the creamy risotto with mushroom and Parmesan. I have been unlucky enough of late to have gotten some overcooked risotto, but this was cooked just right. Ali’s menu has plenty to offer, so you could also try the fresh fish gougons and there are specials on the blackboard each evening.
The South County Bar and Restaurant has really raised the bar with the new food offering. All the produce is sourced locally where possible, and the fish and shellfish come from Ballycotton. Alexandra Honour is a chef that can make a big name for her self with her excellent, modern food in this old world atmosphere.