Menu: Roof garden pizzas at Tuckey Street and Union Quay hospitality

— Plus White Rabbit Smoked Butter adds adult-rated umami
Menu: Roof garden pizzas at Tuckey Street and Union Quay hospitality

Previous winners of the Kenwood Young Bakery competition, Caitlin Merrigan and Laoise Watters with judge chef Shane Smith

Union Quay hospitality

As The Menu hopped on the paddleboard to transport himself to his garden office just the other day, he was cognisant that bigger climactic challenges lie ahead for the new zealots of al fresco carousing. But that too is a challenge that can be overcome, as he has experienced elsewhere in Europe in much harsher climes — and a recent evening spent in Cork city illustrated just how much the local citizenry has embraced outdoor hospitality.

The Menu himself kicked off with a very civilised jorum where the Lee becomes the Loire, in L’Atitude 51’s riverside terrace on Union Quay. What was formerly the ‘Gaza Strip’ has emerged as a new hospitality destination shared by the aforementioned with pubs Charlies and El Fenix, and Union Grind coffee shop. This is likely to become even more popular once the promised and more permanent canopies and windbreaks similar to the wonderful Prince’s St setup are installed.

Rooftop gem Pineapple, offering fine pizzas and cocktails, is set to be the crowning glory of new Cork venue, Tuckey Street
Rooftop gem Pineapple, offering fine pizzas and cocktails, is set to be the crowning glory of new Cork venue, Tuckey Street

Visit a Pineapple on Tuckey Street

From there, he and a pair of The Progeny and two old comrades moved to a brand new and equally wonderful venue on Tuckey Street: pizza joint Pineapple. This is the first wing of a new multi-faceted hospitality venue to be known as Tuckey Street — handy for those geographically challenged types — and with sublime potential to become a true star of Leeside hospitality.

Pineapple is also perfectly geared up for al fresco dining with a wonderful roof garden that is perched high amid arboreal splendour, seemingly a continuum of the leaves of the trees of Bishop Lucy Park. And on the bad days? Well, they simply use the roof as was the case on the evening we visited, when dusk had brought with it a rather cool breeze.

West Corkman Ciarán O’Regan, whose Dublin pizza outlet in Ranelagh has been a smash hit in the big smoke is bringing the same model down to this funky new venue, with head chef and partner, Alessio Torre, turning out some very fine pizzas, a fine selection of natural wines that mark it out from most other similar venues in town, and a cocktail list that includes splendid mocktails for the still underage Progeny. An in-house DJ gradually cranks up some quite splendid tunes over the course of the evening so don’t be expecting to murmur sweet nothings into your beloved’s shell-like any time after 8.30pm — but if you want to bring the pizza to the party, then Pineapple’s your only man. 

  • Instagram: @TuckeyStreet

Chef Danni Barry (with owner Lisa Wilkinson) brings a touch of class to the table at The Wicklow Escape, forest getaway in Co Wicklow with fine food at the heart of the offering
Chef Danni Barry (with owner Lisa Wilkinson) brings a touch of class to the table at The Wicklow Escape, forest getaway in Co Wicklow with fine food at the heart of the offering

The Wicklow Escape

Another highly promising new hospitality enterprise sporting an arboreal angle is The Wicklow Escape, set in forest land, in Donea, in Co Wicklow, promising a combo of pampering hospitality where weekend breaks are the order of the day and with food at the heart of the offering. 

And while the press release may be egregiously littered with the squirm-inducing word, ‘foodie’, much loathed by The Menu, the promise of Danni Barry in the on-site Fiery restaurant kitchen (also open to non-residents) settles utterly any reservations The Menu might harbour: the woman who brought Belfast’s Eipic their first Michelin star is a truly splendid chef, ever uncovering the sublime in her take on rustic fare with fine Irish produce at the heart of every dish. 

Win a Kenwood stand mixer — plus appliances for your Home Economics class

Keen young bakers studying home economics at second-level, are still in with a chance to earn the title of Kenwood Young Baker 2021 (in association with the Association of Teachers of Home Economics). This includes the opportunity to win a full appliance kit-out for your Home Economics classroom plus your very own Kenwood stand mixer. 

Entrants are required to create a cake that will win over the judges: Master pastry chef Shane Smith; multi-award-winning pastry TV chef, Aoife Noonan; president of the Association of Teachers of Home Economics, Michelle McCabe; and Kenwood recipe development chef, Sophie Meechan. The closing date is Oct 18 with winners announced on Nov 22

Bright ideas from Shines Seafood

Shines Seafood, from Killybegs, in Donegal, is very generously donating 20% of all sales on their website to the Lost at Sea Tragedies (LAST), and is also offering customers 10% off orders (Code: LAST10). Sounds like a very tasty way to aid a most worthy charity, aiding bereaved communities, preserving our fishing heritage and promoting safety at sea for our fishing men and women.

TODAY’S SPECIAL

The Menu is forever being told that him and butter should get a room, such is his wild and unbridled passion for one of this country’s finest food products, a truly superlative expression of Irish terroir and an absolutely essential ingredient in The Menu’s larder.

The Menu is also very partial to the smokey flavours of BBQ and when you ally the pair, as Stephen Vaughan of Cork’s White Rabbit Bar & BBQ restaurant has done with his White Rabbit Smoked Butter (oak-smoked Bandon Co-Op butter), it results in a quite magnificent product.

A first sampling of the ‘raw’ product sees the excellent Bandon butter’s taste profile now sporting an elegant and restrained, clean smokiness, that really comes into its own once the butter begins to melt.

There are myriad applications in the kitchen, beginning with various butter-based sauces; a hollandaise on poached egg possibly echoing a piece of crisped smoked bacon; while a beurre noisette finished with White Rabbit smoked butter takes this nutty sauce to entirely new levels, turning a side of blanched winter vegetables into a main course.

It does equally well in compound butters, adding adult-rated umami to herbed butters, but The Menu especially relished the grace note it gifts a piece of whiting cooked en papillote, wrapped in a greaseproof paper parcel, baked in the oven, daubed in White Rabbit butter, with lemon, salt, and capers.

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