Situated at the entrance to one of Cork City's cultural and historical landmarks, The Crawford Gallery Cafe is a veritable oasis of calm, existing between the bustle of a vibrant city centre plaza and the cocoon of the city's art gallery.
The ambience of the cafe is both informal and understated, yet redolent of an elegant urban bistro. Muted tones; a light-filled, airy space; and regularly changing works of art convey the atmosphere of the gallery through to the cafe. Large pots of scented sweet geranium and lemon balm sit comfortably in the deep-set windows, and an eclectic mix of fine-bone china and refurbished bistro chairs create a unique space.
A natural meeting spot in the heart of the city, The Crawford has been host over the years to many Corkonian family celebrations – weddings, birthdays, and even engagements. From the ladies of Cork to trendy art students, business professionals, or tourists, the cafe offers something to everyone – a creative space in which to linger over coffee; the perfect spot for afternoon tea; or a lunch venue with a difference.
In The Beginning
The roots of the Crawford Gallery Cafe go back to 1986 when the doors were originally opened by Mrs. Myrtle Allen and her daughter Fern. That Ballymaloe ethos - taking the very best quality food and cooking it simply but beautifully - continues to underscore the cafe in its modern incarnation.
Since then, many Ballymaloe chefs and graduates of Ballymaloe Cookery School, including Rachel Allen, have earned their stripes here. In the early days, food was prepared at Ballymaloe House and transported in a little red van to the city each morning. On one ill-fated occasion, neglecting to firmly shut the back door of the van, the blissfully unaware driver left a costly food trail all the way to the Crawford! These days, of course, the menu is all freshly prepared in-house under the expert management of Sinead Doran.