While The Menu believes simplicity to be the core value of the finest meals, he nonetheless relishes any opportunity to spice up his dining with a bit of pizzazz and, currently, the Dublin-based and impossibly glamorous Queens of Neon appear to have pizzazz well and truly sewn up. Which is why The Menu has his heart set on their next outing, Supper On The Square (Nov 10), a Georgian-inspired supper club as part of the Merrion Square Initiative. Taking place in the offbeat surroundings of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, at No 63, Merrion Square, with canapés, bubbly and a three-course dinner cooked by Wildside Catering, it seems the weird and wonderful dreams will commence long before the cheese course has even been broached, let alone digested. At 60 bucks a skull (bring your own wine), this promises to be the pop-up restaurant to beat all popups! www.merrionsquare.ie / www.queensofneon.com
The Menu is freshly returned from Turin, in Italy and the biennial Slow Food movement’s Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre, bringing together delegates from every continent and, without doubt, the emotional highlight of The Menu’s long life in food. Slow Food is very much about the preservation and promotion of traditional, sustainable food cultures, most especially local, so one of Slow Food Ireland’s flagship events, Wild & Slow (Nov 10/11), in Wicklow, shouldn’t be missed: wild foods, their harvesting, preparation and consumption; a huge range of workshops and what is most likely Europe’s largest wild food market. www.wildandslow.com
The Menu may well champion the local above all else when it comes to fine produce, but his ethos is not exclusionary — after all, he would struggle gravely to survive in a world without wine and olive oil, recent blood tests revealing the ideal location for The Menu’s next transfusion to be at the Grain Store, at Ballymaloe (Nov 8), for the New Season’s Tuscan Olive Oil launch. The proprietors of some of Tuscany’s most iconic olive oil and wine estates will be there to facilitate presentation and tasting of the liquid green gold along with some very fine Tuscan vinos and nibbles aplenty on what promises to be a most splendid occasion. Booking: email firstname.lastname@example.org
Julie Calder-Potts was also in Turin this week with husband Rod at Salone Del Gusto, so her squeals of delight as RTE’s John Murray announced her winner of Savour Kilkenny’s Food Hero Award, came courtesy of a Skype connection. The prize was awarded for much more than their Highbank Orchard Syrup, but it was most certainly a star attraction with visitors from all nations on the Irish Raw Milk Cheese stand. With the taste of fresh, sweet apples transmuted into a deep, rich syrup often touted as Ireland’s ‘maple syrup’, it’s a stunner on ice cream and myriad other desserts, but The Menu has plans to open up whole new worlds with a few savoury experiments, beginning with a spot of Woodside Farm pork belly.
Contact Joe McNamee at email@example.com
Munich’s Oktoberfest is over for another year but some of the beers from the six designated breweries are still available. Special seasonal beer for the festival, which is a little stronger than the standard version, makes it onto the Irish market. As well as Löwenbräu you may also find Spaten, Augustiner, Paulaner or Hacker-Pschorr and all are worth trying in either their basic or Oktoberfest formats. Munich beer is all about purity of flavour and this version has hints of lime and pear and a slightly bitter-sweet finish. Available from specialist beer outlets such as Abbots on Devonshire St, Cork. — Leslie Williams