The Menu: Food news with Joe McNamee

Food news with Joe McNamee

The Menu: Food news with Joe McNamee

Setting out their stall

Ambling through the English Market, The Menu couldn’t but notice the gorgeous new home for one of the market’s old stagers, On The Pig’s Back, in their 27th year trading but now from a splendidly refurbished stall at the epicentre of Cork food. And enlightened readers can check it out should they visit for a pop-up Friday night supper (April 12) in the nearby Farmgate Cafe, featuring the delicious cooking of Carmel Somers, formerly of Good Things Cafe, offering four courses of finest local fare in her own inimitable style.

(Booking: Tel. 021-4278134.)

Speaking of pop-ups, The Menu will soon be bringing news of one of the most exciting pop-up dinners to hit the country in many a long moon, a very special, ‘stellar’ dinner taking in place in Cork city in the coming weeks, all in aid of two very splendid charities — more to follow.

Fine wine

Having recently enjoyed a very splendid luncheon in Monk’s Lane, in Timoleague, The Menu has high hopes for a wine and sharing plates evening (April 10), featuring the wines of Sylvie Courselle, who along with sister Marie, produces classic Bordeaux wines along with a some funkier new additions. Paired with a selection of west Cork’s finest fare, including Gubbeen, Ummera, Durrus, Macroom Buffalo and other produce from local butchers and growers, the evening promises to be one for the ages.


Menu refined

Change is also afoot at Sage Midleton, another of Cork’s culinary jewels, where the 12-mile menu (dishes created entirely from produce sourced within 12 miles of the restaurant) has been refined and is now offered as both a lunch (five courses, €36) and dinner (six courses, €56) option alongside the usual a la carte menu, and while chef-proprietor Kevin Aherne is emphatic that these are not ‘tasting menus’, The Menu reckons it is an ideal way to get a real ‘flavour’ of one of Ireland’s finer restaurants.


Food awards

In its 12th year, Blas na hÉireann, Ireland’s largest food awards, covering produce from all 32 counties, is now accepting entries in all categories of food and drink, with an ‘early bird’ discounted rate for entries running until April 30 with the closing date for all entries being June 15. (

Portable cutlery

The Menu continues to seek out sustainable food solutions and his most recent treasure is a portable ‘cutlery’ kit, available from My Goodness Food, including fork, spoon and chopsticks, made of hardwood and enclosed in a pretty fabric case, and designed to be carried around to use instead of plastic cutlery. (

Today’s special

The Menu feels for those forced by health issues to review their consumption of wheat and gluten products. For many, this might include the spurning of brown bread and though The Menu tends to put ‘brown bread’ into the ‘cake’ category, relying as it does on an extremely rapid rising reaction courtesy of bicarbonate of soda, and therefore eats it as he eats cake — in other words, more often than he should — he is nonetheless partial to the occasional slice of same.

West Cork solicitor Liz Murphy created her Linseed & Almond Bread (baked by Denise’s Delicious Gluten-free Bakery) as an answer to her personal dietary requirements, specifically for less carbohydrates. It is a soft-textured, entirely wheat and gluten-free loaf with a nuttiness and a high protein content thanks to the nuts and seeds. It is also dairy-free and the use of stevia as a natural sweetener means it is ‘diabetic-friendly’ (depending on individual tolerance).

More in this section


The best food, health, entertainment and lifestyle content from the Irish Examiner, direct to your inbox.

Sign up