Shanagarry shoots for the stars

René Redzepi and Yotam Ottolenghi have been booked for Ballymaloe LitFest 2014.

Irish foodie news doesn’t get bigger than this — Redzepi is head chef at Noma in Copenhagen, three times voted the World’s Best Restaurant; Ottolenghi the iconic Israeli chef whose delis, books and restaurants have taken the world by storm. The pair are set to headline a programme of 50 events running from May 16-18 next, confirming LitFest as one of Europe’s top foodie festivals… just six short months after its debut. The bookings are a credit to the dynamism and vision of Darina Allen (not to mention her little black book of contacts), and an indication of the esteem in which she’s held overseas. If you’re looking for an early stocking filler, gift vouchers are available (starting at €50). Tel: 021 464-5777; litfest.ie.

Eat for a fiver

Good food doesn’t have to cost the earth. David Meredith started Dublin blog eatforafiver.com just two years ago, becoming inspired on a short trip to Berlin. Meredith found he could eat cheaply in a huge variety of cafes, stalls and tiny restaurants there, and wondered whether that was possible in the Irish capital. To-date, he has discovered 55 falafel places, oriental buffets, pie shops and more that satisfy his rules: 1) dishes have to be more than just soup and a sandwich; 2) diners must be able to sit “or at least perch” in the premises.

Eat for £182,000

After reading David Meredith’s blog (above), The Menu required a tonic. And it found one in the shape of the most ostentatious gourmet getaway it has ever seen. Holidays Please is a UK tour operator specialising in luxury trips, and it has served up a six-month tour of every restaurant on earth with three Michelin Stars (107, at the last count). The £182,000/€216,600 price tag includes meals, wine, top-end hotels and business-class flights. Just don’t mention the recession. Holidaysplease.co.uk.

Kelly’s Heroes

Kelly’s Resort Hotel & Spa is one of Ireland’s most successful hotels, and for decades it’s been content to focus on the core, family-run business. That’s why The Menu is excited to see Bill Kelly taking his first steps beyond Rosslare with a concept café in the new Meadows & Byrne Store in Drinagh, Co Wexford. Head Chef Stephane Rochard will be focusing on casual food and local, seasonal ingredients, we’re told (there’s a nifty flatbread pizza oven, too). Tel: 091-68800.

Christmas Dinner ... with a difference

Is it too early to talk about Christmas? Of course it is. But this whizz idea from Galway’s Twelve Hotel is too good to keep. Place an order between Dec 1 and 21, and the Pins Bakery promises to prepare and cook your entire Christmas dinner — turkey, ham and all the trimmings — for you to collect on Christmas Eve. Perfect for the undomesticated Gods and Goddesses among us who can’t, won’t (or shouldn’t) cook on the big day. Dinner for four costs €68. Thetwelvehotel.ie

Contact themenu@examiner.ie

BEER OF THE WEEK

Kona Firerock Pale Ale, 6% ABV; 355ml — €2.99

Stockists: Bradleys, Abbots Ale House, Redmonds, McHughs, Hollands Bray Kona Brewing Company was founded in the mid-1990s on Hawaii’s Big Island. They brew over ten different styles of beer and all are worth trying. Fire Rock Pale Ale is a typical American pale ale with lots of hops and rich malted flavours. Golden in colour with a rich fruity aroma, sweet citrus and malt flavours and a nice bitter-sweet kick on the finish. It’s a little late for barbecues, but this beer would work well with Asian food, spare ribs or slow roasted pork belly.

— Leslie Williams


Lifestyle

Vincent Thurkettle, author of The Wood Fire Handbook, talks to Luke Rix-Standing about one of our best-loved simple pleasures – the log fire.Burning love: Why are roaring wood fires so endlessly appealing?

More From The Irish Examiner