The Menu has finally given up his relentless badgering of the UN for some class of international intervention on behalf of the wonderful Deise County to negotiate a return to the stove for his excellent friend Mighty Michael Quinn, formerly award-winning head chef of Waterford Castle for nigh on 20 years.
For those, like The Menu, struggling to cope without Quinn’s fine fare, the man himself will be manning the BBQ at T-Bay Surf Club, Tramore (July 23) cooking up local fish, O’Flynn’s beef burgers and offbeat salads as part of an early fundraiser for a cycling trek he’ll be making in August from Mizen to Malin on behalf of Waterford’s Solas cancer support centre. Speaking of ‘offbeat salads’, the inestimable Quinn, these days, up to his oxters in the teaching game at WIT, is giving some splendid one-off courses at The Tannery cookery school including a vegetarian course (Aug 9) with a big emphasis on healthy salads, pulses and seasonal veg and a Dairy/Wheat-free course (Aug 23), cooking with super foods, fruits, gluten-free flour, seeds, nuts, coconut and healthy protein. ( www.tannery.ie/cookery-school ) The Menu is now off to dig out his wet suit and the 4lbs butter that will be required to slide him into it — after all, he wants to look the part amongst all the surfers at the barbie!
For a spell there, The Menu appeared to be writing an excess of heartbreaking obituaries for some fine Irish restaurants, victims of the recession, but is now glad to report some new arrivals for a change. He is especially taken with Canteen at Blackrock Market. Established over a year ago, it is not quite the newest kid on the block but chef James Sheridan (formerly of Thornton’s and Restaurant 41) and partner Soizic Humbert determined to eschew any class of bank bailout and do it all under their own steam in a tiny little 20-seater premises by the South Dublin market. ( www.facebook/canteenatthemarket ). Fans of fine Cork chef Brendan Cashman, proprietor of the late, lamented Augustine’s, will be delighted at news of a Lazarus-style resurrection with the opening of his new restaurant in Cork city centre, Huguenot. And, finally, check out Coqbull and their take on chicken and burgers ( www.coqbull.com ) and Heather, in the Gap of Dunloe, whose menu is liberally — and commendably! — studded with fine local fare ( www.moriartys.ie ).
While still unconvinced by the ‘flavoured’ oils in the Donegal Rapeseed Oil Company’s new cold-pressed Gold range, The Menu’s innate reservations about plain rapeseed oil — he being a slavish devotee of fine olive oil — were further eroded on tasting the Gold original. Admittedly, such a boisterously nutty hit is going to rule out any participation where a more delicate class of salad dressing is required but The Menu is currently using it to finish off some steamed new Ballycotton potato wedges in the frying pan for an exquisitely golden crisp edge that suggests he may yet use same oil to create the finest roast potatoes known to mankind. www.donegalrapeseedoilco.com
BEER OF THE WEEK
Eight Degrees Amber-Ella, 5.8% ABV, 330ml — €2.70-2.99
Stockists: Bradleys, Galvins, Carry Out, McHughs, Baggot St. Wines, Drinkstore.ie
This American Amber Ale (think extra hops) won a bronze medal at the World Beer Cup earlier this year in Denver against strong competition (Odells won the category), a first for an Irish brewer.
Think of Amber-Ella as Eight Degrees’ Sunburnt Red Ale on steroids with more of everything. There is lots to admire here from the gorgeous amber colour to the citrus and toffee aromas with touches of peach and the fine bitter tang on the finish. This definitely needs a little chill to show its best in my view.
— Leslie Williams
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