Stuffed Olive Cafe reopens and launches book

The Menu has enjoyed wonderfully uplifting repasts in The Stuffed Olive Café, in Bantry, so was saddened when it closed last year.

Thankfully, Trish Messom and her daughters, Sarah and Grace O’Shea, have found new premises on Bridge St and Trish has penned the delightful The Stuffed Olive Cookbook (€9.95), which features many of their regular dishes, including an array of inventive salads, all designed to salve The Menu’s conscience prior to altercations with their wonderful cakes and confections. A donation from each copy sold goes to the Irish Haemochromatosis Association — Sarah and Grace’s dad, Timmy O’Shea, died three years ago from this genetically inherited condition. Purchase in-store or email:

A swift jaunt through newish venues

Following a swift jaunt through Deep South, on Cork’s Grand Parade, a bar with a huge emphasis on food, The Menu was mightily impressed by Stephen McGlynn’s and Victor Coughlan’s House Café, at the Cork Opera House. Entrepreneurial vintner, Benny McCabe, and Eddie Kay, DJ, have opened 6ix, a cocktail-friendly bar on Bridge St that sports an intriguing South American-style food menu. Finally, The Menu was delighted to see new life in the Riverside Restaurant, one of the nicest locations in Skibbereen, re-opened under Cliona McCarthy, formerly head chef at Liss Ard estate.

Apply now for Great Irish Bake Off

The Menu greatly enjoyed the first series of The Great Irish Bake Off, last year. TV3 are now looking for competitors for the second series, with filming due to begin in April (applicants must be available throughout that month). Closing date for applications is Friday, Jan 17; see

An evening of Burgundy and fine food

While The Menu enjoys a nice Bordeaux, it is rare he can spring for anything decent — perhaps why he falls firmly on the Burgundy side in the debate about the rival merits of these two magnificent French wine regions, so a trip to the truly gorgeous Restaurant FortyOne, in Dublin, for an evening (Jan 16) of fine food, washed down with blissful Burgundy wine, is heaven with chocolate on top.

The Menu enjoys being cheesy sometimes

The Menu is a sucker for an Irish farmhouse cheese, so Great Aunt Menu was out with the smelling salts to revive her nephew upon his receipt of three new cheeses, the fruits of a collaboration between the Knockdrinna Farm, in Kilkenny, and the Waterford-based co-operative of organic milk farmers, The Little Milk Co. He was taken with Brewer’s Gold, a semi-soft rind, beer-washed cow’s milk cheese, not unlike one of his all-time favourites, Gubbeen. It has a creamy interior with a contrasting, gritty rind and The Menu found the nutty Caerphilly-style hard cheese perfect for his legendary Welsh rarebit.

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Joe Elliot’s Louder Bangin’ Strong Ale, 11%ABV, 330ml — €3.49

Stockists: Bradleys Cork, Deveneys Dundrum, McHughs Porterhouse.

Barley wines are traditionally strong ales with an alcoholic strength similar to that of their grape-based cousins — typically 8%-12% ABV. The Porterhouse has teamed with Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott to create a dark, richly malted, and strongly hopped US-style barley wine. Louder has rich complex sweet-sour caramel and malt flavours with a nice bitter kick and would make a good dessert beer or match strong cheeses. Also available on cask in the Porterhouse and elsewhere. — Leslie Williams


Halloween has really upped the ante in recent years here, hasn’t it?We have moved on considerably since the days of a bin liner fashioned with holes for arms and necks

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Why did the Neanderthals go extinct?, asks Richard CollinsDid ear and chest infections wipe out our neanderthal ancestors?

Corkbeg Island near the mouth of Cork Harbour is today an industrial location with Ireland’s only oil refinery whose silver cylinders dominate the low-lying island like giant mugs, writes Dan McCarthy. Islands of Ireland: 'Tanks' for the memories Corkbeg

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