Farewell Fenn’s Quay
Amongst regular tributes often paid to capable domestic cooks on foot of fine dinner party fare is the suggestion they should open a restaurant, but only the truly foolish imagine that to be a genuine option for there are few tougher gigs than that of chef-restaurateur (note, I don’t just say chef, for there is far more to running a restaurant than simply turning out a decent plate of scran). It is exceptionally difficult to earn a good living from a dining establishment, most especially, on those quieter weekday nights, a condition especially familiar to many non-Dublin restaurants, with patrons restricting their social outings to the weekend. And, so, it is with this in mind that The Menu pays tribute to Kate Lawlor, chef-patron of the long-running Fenn’s Quay, who has finally decided to call it a day on what had become a local Leeside institution. That she managed to keep Fenn’s Quay not only open but operating to such a high standard, even in the tooth of a recession that swallowed up dining establishments like a game of culinary Pacman, is deserving of high praise indeed. But Kate is still a young and highly capable woman, so, rather than weeping and wailing, I look forward with keen interest to news of her next great venture.
The hospitality business is a ruthless trade but one door closes, another opens, and so The Menu is happy to give a shout out to an old classmate, chef Stephen Lee, who along with business partner and fellow chef, Pat Ferriter, has taken over Raymond’s, in Midleton, now trading as Ferrit & Lee. I look forward to a trek eastwards in order to put on the old nosebag. (www.facebook.com/Ferrit&Lee)
God be with the days when all the sustenance The Menu required at a music festival was contained in a flagon of cider — these days, the eating near takes precedence over most tuneful offerings and the good people behind The Beatyard (August 5-6) in Dun Laoghaire appear to be of a similar bent, The Just Eat Yard will house a wealth of edible treasures and guest chefs include Menu favourite Takashi Miyazaki who will be judging the inaugural Irish Street Food Awards along with Danni Barry (of Michelin-starred Eipic, in Belfast). (www.the-beatyard.com) The Enniscorthy Rockin’ Food Festival (August 4-6) is another to combine music for belly and soul. Events include a Mexican Supper with Lilly Ramirez-Foran, Tale of the Ales with sisters Judith and Susan Boyle and much, much more. (enniscorthyfoodietown.ie)
Boyne Valley series
The Boyne Valley Food series continues with the Slane Cocktail & Food Pairing Festival at the new Slane Distillery, combining Slane Whiskey cocktails, BBQ and tunes. (www.slaneirishwhiskey.com). Latest courses worth checking out from the very excellent Dingle Cookery School include Traditional Irish Cooking (every Thursday, until October), Catch & Cook (August 9 & 21), which sees pupils take to the high seas to land their primary ingredients. Chowder Monday (August 7) and Seafood Sensation (August 19), followed by a Feast of Fish pop-up restaurant (www.dinglecookeryschool.com)
As The Menu leaves for his summer vacationing season, one of the gravest concerns for No 2 Son is the fate of his domestic chilli farm for his addiction to the “burn” continues apace, the same addiction that led him and The Menu to Firewalker Salsa Rasta, an extremely fine and fiery Hot Caribbean Ketchup, the burn, in this case, courtesy of four different homegrown chillies.
But unlike so many similar condiments, content to unleash a mulish kick and little else, equal consideration has been given to the other fruits within, tomatoes, onions, mango and banana, the latter leaping to the fore with astonishing vigour when The Menu applied a ‘dab’ to his breakfast of Cáis na Tíre sheep’s cheese and oat cakes. firstname.lastname@example.org
Beer of the week
Stockists: Baggot Street Wines, Jus de Vin, Celtic Whiskey Shop and on draught in selected pubs (eg, The Duke)
Five Lamps were founded in 2012 and are based in the Liberties in Dublin alongside a clutch of new distilleries and one older brewer that you may know (the area once had dozens of brewers). Head brewer is Cork-born William Harvey and I’ve always liked his unshowy and balanced beers.
This is a traditional English pale ale with a gold-red colour, light citrus and malt aromas, sweet nutty malt to the fore with some decent bitter touches from noble hops coming through on the middle palate and a pleasing dry finish.