The Menu: Food news with Joe McNamee

Rachel Allen will be a guest chef at the Ballycotton Seafood and Shanty Festival.

Cap’n’ Menu has been polishing his maritime metaphors and honing his seaborne similes the better to tackle a whole host of ocean-related events in the offing.

The annual Cork Harbour Festival (June 1-9) has grown in popularity each year, befitting a city with such a nautical history and heritage.

Frank Hederman’s Belvelly Smoke House is open for food tours (June 1 & 9), taking visitors through the process of sourcing, curing, and smoking with succulent samples close to hand, while there is a seaweed talk, tasting and cooking demonstration (June 2) at Inch Hideaway in East Cork where marine biologist Frances Gallagher will conduct an outdoor class on identifying and foraging edible Irish seaweed as well as providing a cooking demo and tasting, to further learn about the wondrous sea vegetable’s nutritional properties.

The Menu is delighted to see that the entire town of Cobh is turning itself into an ‘event’, Cobh Seafood Week (June 1-9), which sees most of the local hospitality venues giving over the bulk of their menus to fish and shellfish dishes.

Participating venues include Jacobs Ladder at WatersEdge Hotel, Commodore Hotel, and the Titanic Restaurant, and The Menu is especially taken with promising newcomer Seasalt’s offering, including very on-trend fish tacos with avocado cream, slaw & chipotle mayo and a Hederman’s smoked seafood platter.


The Ballycotton Seafood & Shanty Festival Family Fun Day (June 2) returns once more to the lovely little East Cork fishing village with a packed programme, including a commendable Beach Clean at Ballynamona Beach with special guest Flossie and The Beach Cleaners, heaps of children’s entertainment, food stalls, including Pier 26, sushi, kebabs and lobster, and seafood demos from Rachel Allen and Arun ‘Green Saffron’ Kapil.


One of The Menu’s favourite places in the land for a spot of piscine pleasuring of the palate is Dublin’s Fish Shop, which combines cracking and imaginative delivery of seafood with some very special wines and sherries, so the Fish Shop Benburb Street Monday Wine Club, from 5pm, sounds just the ticket, tasting six or seven wines and possibly snaffling a plate of fishy nibbles into the bargain!


Hooked on the Sea 2019 (June 2-4), includes a pirate ship ‘run aground’ at the foot of Hook Lighthouse for youthful ‘barnacles’ which will remain in situ for the summer and a very special Traditional Fish & Chip Supper (June 2) includes a trip to the 800-year-old lighthouse and a drinks reception.


Listowel’s Lizzy’s Little Kitchen and the Spanish Embassy present a Spanish Wine Supper (May 31) with proprietor Lizzy Lyons providing the tapas to go with a wonderful selection of Spain’s finest wines.



Having recently vacated their long-held space in the National Science Gallery for a gorgeous new cafe premises of their own across the road on Dublin’s Pearse Street, The Menu felt it to be a most apposite time to mention of CloudPicker Coffee and their excellent roasted beans.

He greatly enjoyed a Rwandan Nyamasheke Peaberry, a pour-over brew revealing its nutty, biscuity profile topped with sweet cherry.

He equally concurred with the more mainstream inclinations of Mrs Menu, who thought Henry (Brazilian Fazenda Recrio, Colombian Gran Galope, and Rwandan Shanga), named after Cloud Picker owners Frank Kavanagh’s and Peter Sztal’s pet Great Dane, to be one of the finest blends she has drunk in many a long moon, an enormously quaffable, medium-bodied, sweet, nutty affair with notes of pecan and maple, all makes for a most excellent espresso as well as partnering quite splendidly with heated milk.

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