The Menu: Annascaul Beerfes

Wild about Harry’s

Back when The Menu was a self-important young turk wielding a large skillet and an even larger culinary ego, he was dragged along one evening to Michael Clifford’s long-since departed restaurant on Cork’s Mardyke. At the time, still in thrall to the burgeoning global fusion movement that was to engulf Irish cooking for a fair spell, he was rather underwhelmed at what was in prospect but tasting was another matter entirely — a chastened but supremely satiated Menu received an early and very important lesson in what could be achieved using magnificent Irish produce albeit cooked by a Michelin-starred master. Though, sadly, Clifford is no longer with us, his young son Peter has taken up the mantle and this apple hasn’t fallen too far from the paternal tree as he is fast developing a reputation worthy of his father’s. Having just been installed as head chef in Harry’s of Dawson Street, Dublin, expect that old staple to receive a serious makeover and rapidly develop a rep akin to the one Clifford’s sported back in its heyday.

Deise delights

Were The Menu to confine his dining to the beautiful county of Waterford ere after, he would complain not one jot for it plays host to some of the finest producers, chefs and restaurants in the land, (Anna Levecque’s Triskel Cheese alone guaranteed to soften any heart). To get some idea of what’s afoot, check out the Waterford Good Food Alliance, a class of online community organisation promoting the very best edible offerings in the county and the best places to source same. The initiative comes courtesy of two excellent chefs, Michael Quinn and Daithi Larkin, and is an example to the rest of the country of what can be achieved when stakeholders decide to look beyond the confines of their own little fiefdoms and work together for the greater good.

True brew

Some very interesting atin’ and drinkin’ afoot once more in West Kerry as the Annascaul Beerfest (Aug 2-5) entirely in aid of charity hosts a splendid craft beer and food pairing (Aug 2) in the South Pole Inn Marquee as fine Irish brews meet some excellent Irish produce with The Menu especially taken with a blackcurrant sorbet from Dingle’s Murphy’s Ice Cream running into Trouble Brewing’s Dark Arts porter.

Today’s special

More than a few moons ago, when The Menu was fast approaching lunar status himself, he resolved for ever after when eating pizza at home to only consume that of his own making, dough and all. Since then, both his beloved pizza and corporeal being are much the better for it but for those believing they have better things to do than knead and prove their own dough, Pizza Da Piero pizza bases from The Artisan Pizza Company offer one of the finest substitutes for freshly-made that The Menu has encountered in many a long spell. A slow fermentation of strictly natural ingredients yields a sometimes crispy, sometimes chewy and generally very pleasing base for all manner of creative pizza invention thereafter.


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