Drain the brain for Down Syndrome Ireland Foodie quiz

The Menu is taking his brain out of the vaults once more for its annual airing at The Great Irish Foodie Quiz 2014 (Oct 7@7.30pm). 

Drain the brain for Down Syndrome Ireland Foodie quiz

It’s in aid of Down Syndrome Ireland, and takes place in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, in Dublin, for teams of four at €100 per table, to be pre-booked and pre-paid advance. The Menu is off to the tattoo parlour with his copy of culinary encyclopedia Larousse Gastronomique to have it etched in fine print all over his abundant person as he is determined to bag one of the superb prizes, including: two nights B&B at the Cliff House Hotel, in Ardmore; a €150 voucher for Chapter One; two nights in a suite in Galway’s The Twelve Hotel, plus a wine masterclass from one of Ireland’s finest sommeliers, Fergus O’Halloran; two nights B&B plus a tasting menu dinner at The Menu’s much-favoured Knockranny House Hotel, in Westport; a cookery demo and lunch at Ballymaloe Cookery School; and two VIP Tickets to the sold-out Jools Holland show at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre including pre-show dinner in the Circle Club. To book:


West Cork’s finest cooking up a storm

The Menu is delighted to see signs of life emanating once more from the West Cork Slow Food convivium, where it all began for the Irish Slow Food movement. ‘4-Midable’ Female Chefs (October 14 @ 7:30 pm) presents four of West Cork’s finest chefs cooking a slow, wild and seasonal four-course dinner in the Riverside Café in Skibbereen. Carmel Somers (Good Things Café), Caitlin Ruth (Deasy’s), Tessa Perry (Glebe House) and Karen Austin (Lettercollum Kitchen Project) will be joined by Darina Allen, Slow Food Ireland’s president, giving a pre-dinner talk and there’s also a showing of Sean Monaghan’s film, 12 Mile, on the local food philosophy behind chef Kevin Aherne’s Sage Midleton restaurant. Tickets in advance, €40 non members, €35 members, from The Riverside Café Tel: 028 40090.

Green shoots as some new culinary delights emerge

Indication of some relief is on the horizon for restaurateurs. El Vino at the Elysian, in Cork city, is opening again on Monday nights and has teamed up with sister restaurant, El Vino Douglas, offering a glass of free ‘vino’ (naturally) in one venue when you dine in the other, and new restaurants crossing The Menu’s radar include, The Steak House, in Kinsale, and Asian Street food emporium, Aroi, in Carey’s Lane, in Cork city. An especially warm welcome to another arrival, The Square Table, in Blarney, The Menu having recently enjoyed a splendid dinner at sisters Martina and Tricia Cronin’s bijou venue. And why wouldn’t he, as chef Martina’s time was well spent under former employers, Graham Neville of Dublin’s superb Restaurant 41, Chapter One’s Ross Lewis and The Menu’s own estimable culinary mentor, Ciaran Scully, of Ballycotton’s Bayview Hotel & Restaurant.


The Menu enjoys a regular chinwag with Dave Barry and son, Alan, of Ballintubber Farm, afore departing with some of their fine locally grown vegetables, most recently acquiring some gorgeous little green gem squash – exquisite when roasted, carmelised, puréed and whipped into a delicious mousse with some creamy goat’s cheese from fellow Mahon Farmer’s Market stallholder Joseph Desmond, of Orchard Dairy Organic Goat Farm. “Where would you be going?” says you. “To Mahon for more squash and more of that goat’s cheese,”replies The Menu.

Beer of the week by Leslie Williams

Riasc Gold, Beoir Chorcha Dhuibhne, 500ml, 5.5% ABV - €3.29

Stockists: Bradleys, Baggot Street Wines, Redmonds Ranelagh and good Independent Off Licences.

This summer ale was launched in July by the West Kerry Brewery and is similar to their Béal Bán but with the addition of rose-hips and Cascade hops. The brewery is a joint project between Tigh Uí Catháin and Tig Bhric in Ballyferritar on the Dingle Peninsula. The brewery installed new equipment so availability should increase, which is great news as their beers always had limited distribution. Riasc Gold is up to the usual high standards with a fruity aroma and a fine complex hop fuelled palate with a distinct citrus tang.

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