The Menu: The Roughtie Foodie

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With just ten sleeps remaining until the Big Day, The Menu is lashing into the eggnog and watching old Jane Fonda exercise videos at fierce rate – for what purpose, says you, Dear Reader? Well, with so much going on over Christmas, The Menu is fine tuning his already legendary stamina, the better to cover a multitude of festive food-related items in one fell swoop.

Those up for a spot of carol-singing can gather round the old ‘joanna’ at Ballyvolane House ( each Saturday night until Christmas for a post-dinner sing-song including song sheets for all or perhaps might consider popping into Dublin’s Café en Seine ( for complimentary mince pies and mulled wine while listening to the Bray Gospel Choir singing for Simon (Dec 16/23, 4.15-6pm).

But if Dublin’s too far for a complimentary minced pie, try The Roughtie Foodie stall in the English Market (Sat, Dec 15/22) offering little festive titbits as you browse their range of fine local Irish food gifts for epicurean stocking fillers. I and if the thought of lugging offspring along with myriad bags around Cork proves too stressful, one could always deposit them (ages 5-13) at the newly opened Cookery Cottage Cookery School ( in Douglas for a couple of hours of cookery lessons and lunch, including homemade pizza, cupcakes and lemonade.

If, strolling around the wonderful Christmas Market on Cork’s Grand Parade, do keep an eye open for The Menu’s summer festival haunt, the Theatre of Food ( which is hosting wonderful food demos from some of The Menu’s favourite people including Firehouse Bread baking supremo Patrick Ryan.

Should The Menu feel the rumblings while out and about, there are plenty of excellent Xmas menus available with an old favourite on Cork’s Phoenix St, Jacques ( serving up a very attractive sounding roast pheasant wrapped in Jack McCarthy’s Pancetta with Confit Pheasant and& Cranberry Cake & High Bank Organic Syrup washed down with copious Christmas Bellinis.

The Menu is going to make a point of popping into the refurbished Riverlane Café in Ballineen, West Cork, for some of their traditional panforte – well, traditional in Italy but if their other baked goods are anything to go by, it should become traditional Chez Menu as well. The Menu is a great man for the Christmas Party, especially fond of those serving splendid and imaginative canapés made by Jason Colbert of Bitesize ( in Midleton. Speaking of, The Menu will be very keen to grab a pew at Sage Restaurant, in Midleton, ( for chef Kevin Aherne’s 7-course menu on New Year’s Eve with music provided by the Sam Barker Trio. Phew!

Today’s Special

The Menu is most thankful not to labour under any food-related allergy, condition or impediment other than perhaps the merest hint of outrageous gluttony but if he were coeliac or gluten-intolerant, he’d be very thankful for the Foods of Athenry’s Very Delicious Gluten-Free Christmas Pudding which does an uncanny and most tasty impersonation of the real deal.


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