The Menu: Food news with Joe McNamee

The addition of three new restaurants to the Irish Michelin portfolio elevated interest in the international food guide’s prestigious accolade.

The Menu: Food news with Joe McNamee

Aimsir a sunny prospect

The addition of three new restaurants to the Irish Michelin portfolio elevated interest in the international food guide’s prestigious accolade. Many people on the Irish food scene are expecting something similar for Aimsir. The restaurant will open at Cliff at Lyons in March, 2019. It was scheduled to open in November, but for those unable to wait until then, chef Jordan Bailey and his team will serve up a taster with a short residency, Elements of Aimsir, for a select group of just ten diners each night, over six nights (November 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21). Email

Bord Bia organic winners

The Menu would like to acknowledge the recipients of the Bord Bia National Organic Awards, six winners culled from over 200 entries. Wexford-based Irish Country Meats received the Overall Award and the Retail Award, for its Good Herdsmen organic half leg of lamb, while Riversfield Organic Farm, in Callen, Co. Kilkenny, won Chef’s Choice Award for their cherry tomatoes. The Menu’s old pals, Highbank Organic Orchards and Distillery, also from Kilkenny, won Direct Selling Award for their fortified apple wine, Sack No. 3 Pommeau vintage 2016, and the Export Award went to a partnership of Dungarvan-based Little Milk Co and Cashel Blue Cheese, for Cashel Blue organic cheese. Beechlawn Organic Farm, Ballinasloe, Co Galway, won New and Innovative Product for their ‘biobag’, a fully biodegradable solution, to package their organic curly kale product, and Slí Eile Housing Community Organic Farm, Mallow, Co Cork, won Business in the Community Award, for helping people working the farm to recover and rebuild their lives after experiencing mental health challenges.

Halloween fun

For those parents who are all about the treat this mid-term break, then one smart trick to play will be Galway’s Renvyle House Hotel’s Halloween family B&B packages, with supervised Kids’ Club, traditional games, fancy dress parties, evening entertainment, along with some fine cooking from chef Tim O’Sullivan;

Traditional brack

Recently spinning yarns of Halloween’s past to his younger progeny, The Menu was recalling the long-departed, traditional Barmbrack, which contained the following items: a ring, a pea, a stick, a coin and piece of cloth; each item a predictor of impending fortune and fate. And then, lo, he hears tell that Bewley’s are reviving the aforementioned tradition with their own take on the bairín breac, or speckled loaf, available from their Grafton Street outlet.

This version is a proper, rich fruit loaf, with all fruit soaked overnight in Bewley’s Gold Tea.


Such has been the native embrace of the ‘way of the bean’ that 22,000 single-use coffee cups are thrown away each day in Ireland, adding up to a staggering 200m each year, which is why The Menu was so chuffed to accept delivery of his new, re-usable Stojo cup. It’s not the only reusable cup on the market, but it is, as far as The Menu is aware, the only collapsible cup.

The Menu very much fancies the notion of retaining some semblance of a planet earth to be equally enjoyed by his children and grandchildren (should they occur), so is, naturally, an avid fan of re-usable cups, but the Bould Neidín’s saddlebags are already packed to the brim. The Stojo, however, is made from recyclable materials and, after each use, can be collapsed down to just two inches in height, easily fitting into a saddlebag, handbag, or even pocket.

It also comes with a heatproof grip, for whenever The Menu happens upon his next coffee port and wishes to unleash his Stojo once more, to celebrate with a fine cup of Joe!


Chinnery Gin 43% ABV; 70cl - €54.95

Stockists: O’Briens, Celtic Whiskey Shop, James Fox, Mitchells, Deveneys, Molloys, Blackrock Cellar, The Wine Centre, McHughs, McCambridges.

Chinnery Gin was created by spirits writer, David Havelin, and spirits entrepreneur, Marie Byrne. It is distilled by West Cork Distillers and is named for the painter George Chinnery who lived in Dublin and later moved to China. The gorgeous bottle incorporates touches of Georgian Dublin and the 18th century fashion for Chinoiserie. The gin is also gorgeous and uses some unusual botanicals including osmanthus flowers which give a distinct perfumed floral aroma. Oolong tea is used (and distilled separately) as is cassia bark, juniper and liquorice root. It is floral and fragrant with a supple creamy texture, herbal tea touches and lingering freshness. Try with Poachers Wild Tonic or make a Hanky Panky.

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