Eating in grand style at the Private Supper Club

These balmy halcyon days are bequeathing the mother of all itches to The Menu’s size nines, consumed as he is with seeing the glorious Oul’ Sod basking in the summer sun.

A trip to beautiful Ballinskelligs sounds just the ticket, most especially, when topped with the splendid prospect of an evening at the Private Supper Club at Cill Rialaig Arts Centre.

Operating at weekends for the months of July and August, it is under the aegis of the very talented chef Johan van der Merwe, whose impressive CV is capped by a spell at Café Paradiso, no doubt a contributing influence in his penchant for foraged and locally sourced produce.

The bould Johan also operates as a food stylist, and his lovely- looking work is well worth a gander ( www.foodstyle.ie ). For the moment, The Menu is after substance, with style on the side, and is very much looking forward to three delightful courses with tea or coffee all for €35 and apparently, some very nice wines on the list, to boot. www.cillrialaigartscentre.org 

The Green Door is open for all good food lovers

Further good tidings for Dublin-based shoppers arrives in the shape of the newly-opened Green Door Market in Newmarket, just off Cork St, in the heart of the city. Kicking off with a splendid array of produce including Bean & Goose, from Co Wexford with their single origin chocolate bars and fresh seasonal truffles; organic veg and fruit from Christy Stapleton and also from Nurney Organic farm; Coolaknowle organic meat; fish from fishmonger John Fitzsimons; organic sourdough from Tartine; stunning cheesy treats from Le Petit Camion; and wonderful deli treats from Lilliput Artisans and from the Real Olive Company. Any prospective stallholders wishing to join this august company should contact Oonagh at info@thegreendoor.ie ( www.thegreendoor.ie )

A chance to go wild with what you eat

And, finally, The Menu, not content with subsisting solely on the fine local seasonal food from wonderful Irish growers and producers, is very much looking forward to attending one of the Wild Foods Masterclasses at The Brooklodge Hotel at Macreddin Village, Co Wicklow, the better to learn more about availing of the wild bounty to be foraged all over this island. Participants learn how to gather, cook and preserve wild, foraged foods using traditional methods and there is an opportunity to avail of some of the excellent food and hospitality at Brooklodge; www.brooklodge.com

Oonagh Poynton Jam lifts bread to new dimension

When the cutty cake has been entirely consumed, when the very last biscuit is gone from the tin, when the tart has been trounced, when the puddings and pies are all put away, The Menu returns to simplicity itself, a plain slice of bread, some lovely Irish butter and a good jam. And he has spent the last week doing just that with Oonagh Poynton’s fine Raspberry Jam, a berry-sweet and deliciously runny affair, all the hallmarks of a good homemade confiture that, allied to some of The Menu’s molasses rich, dark brown bread, would give any of the more elevated baked confections a serious run for their money. www.rhincrewcooking.com 

O’Sheas Traditional Irish Ale, 4.3%, 500ml — €1.89

Stockist: Aldi

A classic red ale produced for Aldi by a well-known craft brewery (hint: they are in Carlow).

There is also a crisp pale ale and a decent stout in the range and all at a very fair price given the relative quality.

Golden red colour and with a light creamy head this has a fruity aroma with an earthy undertone. Best served not too cold (around 8-10C) to bring out the fruit driven malty and slightly spicy flavours. On the finish there is a lingering, slightly bitter hop dryness to aid in thirst quenching.

— Leslie Williams


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