The Menu: Intimate celebrations and old favourites make a welcome return

The Menu: Intimate celebrations and old favourites make a welcome return

A dish from Galway's vegetarian/vegan Lighthouse Cafe, which has just opened a second outlet in the city

Today’s special

One of the nicest breakfasts The Menu has put away in many a long year was consumed outside his tent overlooking the beach on a recent beautiful day in West Cork. 

Greatly revived after an early dip in the ocean, atoning for all manner of nocturnal campfire shenanigans, he consumed a nicely poached egg, followed by exquisite Golden Bean coffee and a stunning almond croissant baked by Dave Matues, a most talented baker now ensconced in the Pavilion Garden Centre, in Ballygarvan, turning out a superb range of sourdough breads, including rustic, wholemeal and rye and tomato, basil and a giant ciabatta as well as a slew of delicious pastries, including the aforementioned confection with which The Menu broke his fast, a tangy, chewy, buttery pastry that itself was the definitive argument for permanent eradication of those par-baked monstrosities on the supermarket shelves. Add flaked almonds and a sweet, fudgey almond paste and The Menu was truly brought back from the dead.

Return of old favourite

The return of a venerable old favourite, Ballymaloe House, in East Cork, is further enhanced by news of head chef Dervilla O’Flynn’s wonderful new a la carte menu, Dervilla having done much to revive the spirit of late great founder Myrtle Allen on the plate. It is currently open for dinner, Thursday to Sunday, with lunch also offered on Saturdays and Sundays. Pre-booking is essential ( 

Bespoke celebrations

Dublin’s historic Shelbourne Hotel is offering itself up for bespoke, intimate celebrations in particular, small weddings, birthdays and other family occasions utilising its luxurious suites as venues with silver service private dining options including three-course lunch, five-course dinner, or the Executive chef Garry Hughes’ signature tasting menu showcasing Irish whiskey. Menus will be matched with excellent wines selected by sommelier Nisea Doddy and party sizes can range from eight guests to 80, beginning with private drinks reception.

Private dining options at Dublin's historic Shelbourne Hotel for bespoke celebrations and parties
Private dining options at Dublin's historic Shelbourne Hotel for bespoke celebrations and parties

To the Manor born

Adare Manor reopens on July 30 offering a two- or three-night experience for the summer and autumn season, including sumptuous breakfast each morning and some of chef Mike Tweedie’s excellent cooking which has only improved the more he has come to know the palette of Irish produce, and the Michelin star awarded to his Oak Room Restaurant last autumn came as little surprise. 

If selecting the three night option, then dinner for two can also be enjoyed in The Carriage House restaurant on one other evening, also offering terrace dining. Accommodation also includes private manor lodges for up to eight people and as well as picnics for dining on the grounds, alternative dining packages include an extensive takeaway menu for lunch and dinner of casual cuisine and cocktails. There’s also ample opportunity to work off any pounds piled on during your stay with outdoor yoga and fitness classes, golf on the Ryder Cup 2026 course, fishing, falconry, archery, clay pigeon shooting, walking and cycling trails, horse and carriage tours, wildlife watching, gun dog training, picnics, and visiting the enchanting fairy garden in the woods — The Menu needs a lie down after just typing that list! ( 

Something new

It is hard enough to reopen an already established restaurant in the current climate of anxiety and unease around Covid-19 but to have found your plans to launch a brand new restaurant coinciding with the global pandemic must be truly alarming so The Menu is delighted to salute those doing so. 

David and Petra Hayes, proprietors of the newly opened Cafe Logr, in Adare, Co Limerick
David and Petra Hayes, proprietors of the newly opened Cafe Logr, in Adare, Co Limerick

Cafe Lógr (Czech slang for leftover coffee grounds) is a new hospitality enterprise in Adare, Co Limerick, from husband and wife team, David and Petra Hayes, who took on the lease for this 24-seater just two weeks before lockdown and are now offering casual bistro-style fare based on good, local seasonal ingredients, and offering breakfast and lunch and will soon add services on Friday and Saturday night in the coming weeks. 

New Lighthouse Cafe

Galway’s vegetarian Lighthouse Cafe is expanding with a second outlet opening in Terryland, serving non-fried vegan and vegetarian food with savoury and hot dishes produced in the new outlet while the Abbeygate Street mothership will look after all in-house baking, deliveries between the two being carried out on the Lighthouse electric bike for a greener transport solution. Highlights include vegan Banh Mi with lentil peanut pate, slaw, tamarind aubergine, pickled Daikon, vegan mayo and coriander all served on crusty bread or hotpot Chipotle chilli with sweet potato, black beans and kale all served with salad and brown rice. There is also a selection of in-house baked fruit scones, polenta cakes, vegan chocolate brownies, traditional ccake and coffees, teas and in house cold-pressed juices. 

Lift your spirits

While many of us have had to make do during lockdown with opening bottles of just about the finest whiskey in the world, the Irish Whiskey industry is reopening distillery visitor experiences all across the land with the IrishWhiskey360° campaign designed to bring domestic tourists back to local Irish distilleries to experience bespoke whiskey and food tastings, intimate cocktail-making classes and collaborations with local restaurants. And neither are these offerings solely for the dyed-in-the-wool whiskey connoisseurs as they also offer cultural and historical attractions as well as some fine fare for consumption. 

The Clonakilty Distilllery offer small tours as well as meals in the neighbouring Whale’s Tail. Kilbeggan Distillery includes a ‘Bottle Your Own’ option. Roe and Co Distillery, in Dublin, offer a cocktail making workshop for six people and Tullamore Dew, Co Offaly, offer tours and whiskey and food pairings.

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