First stirrings from the Dungarvan HQ of the 2016 West Waterford Festival (April 15-17) always herald the start of a new season once more on The Oul’ Sod and this year the theme is The Changing Kitchen celebrating some of the new faces and trends in food, with a great programme of events for all the family, culminating in the giant open-air market in the town square.
When it comes to the nosebag, Dublin-born chef Robin Gill (Paradise Garage, The Dairy, The Manor), one of the stars of the British restaurant world cooks a pop-up dinner in The Tannery (April 16) while three of Ireland’s very finest, Mickael Viljanen (The Greenhouse), Graham Neville (Restaurant 41) and Kieran Glennon (Patrick Guilbaud’s) host an unmissable Sunday lunch (April 17).
The Menu, as usual, will be up to his oxters in all sorts of mastication-related merriment, including cooking, alongside his great comrade Waterford chef Michael Quinn and food writer Dee Laffan, a multi-course Gourmet Garbage Dinner (April 16) in Nude Restaurant to highlight the problem of food waste. www.westwaterfordfestivaloffood.com
The Menu looks forward once more to the Cork French Film Festival (March 6-13), long a fixture in his cultural calendar, and greatly welcomes the evolving epicurean emphasis in the programme, in particular the arrival in Cork of chef Loic Malfait, head chef of the legendary Cordon Bleu organisation for a series of talks, tastings and demos, a magnificent Farmgate supper in the English Market inspired by Babette’s Feast, followed by a screening of same, and then off to Ballymaloe for a delicious candlelit dinner followed by a screening of The Hundred Foot Journey, starring Helen Mirren. ( www.corkfrenchfilmfestival.com ).
The newly-christened Munster Wine & Dine Circle recently kicked off proceedings under Its new guise with a fine night in Jacques Restaurant and its next evening takes place in the august surroundings of the Crawford Art Gallery, beginning with a 7pm drinks reception in the sculpture gallery followed by dinner in the Crawford Gallery Café, an opportunity not to be sniffed at for not only is the Gallery Café usually only open by day, furthermore, it now operates under the watchful eye of the talented chef Sinead Doran. (Non-members welcome, email email@example.com )
Dear Old Sainted Mother Menu is readying the skip once more the better to deal with the annual chocolate-themed ambush delivered each year by her crowning achievement and Most Beloved Son on Mother’s Day (March 6).
Naturally, a visit to the Chocolate Shop ( www.chocolate.ie ) in the English Market. So too, a trip to The Malton, in Killarney ( www.themalton.com ) or Hayfield Manor ( www.hayfieldmanor.ie ).
My Goodness farmer’s market stall is an ever-evolving laboratory and a recent visit to Mahon Farmer’s Market yielded a fresh troika of goodies which The Menu put to immediate and very good use to supplement his evening’s repast: Ferment to be salsa, was added to Glenilen creme fraiche and served with warmed smoked mackerel; sprouted beans, once fried up in oil, garlic and spices, evolved into crunchy little flavour bombs with a serving of couscous and the sweet-sour umami of activated seeds brought the summer party to a simple salad of winter greens. www.facebook.com/mygoodnessfood
Deveneys Dundrum, Donnybrook Fair, Jus de Vine Portmarnock, Carry Out Tyrrellstown, Redmonds Ranelagh
Founded by a group of old school friends in north Co Dublin last September, Hope is currently contract brewing (such as with Trouble Brewing), but expects to have a Howth facility producing beer by early summer (and to have nationwide distribution very soon).
This fine Saison won a bronze medal at the recent Alltech Fair and is brewed with cascade and sorachi hops, plus an infusion of juniper, lemongrass and bergamot.
Fragrant citrus and lemon-balm aromas, bright, refreshing, and a palate full of character, with lingering spice and citrus on the finish. Kudos also for the excellent bottle designs.