The Menu: Shane Ryan and FEED provide food for the soul

Whenever The Menu finds himself down in his cups, gloomily pondering the future of the planet, it is invariably an encounter with youth that restores his moral equilibrium and faith in humanity.

Young Limerick man, Shane Ryan, founder and head honcho of FEED, a Dublin-based healthy lunch delivery service, is such a youthful ambassador whose enterprising zeal and social conscience is precisely the class of winning combination to warm the cockles of even the stoniest of hearts. 

Not only do FEED provide healthy lunches using wholesome, natural, additive-free ingredients without becoming overly obsessed with any current dietary fads du jour, but for every meal sold, they also donate the cost of a meal for a child in the developing world through their charity partner, Mary’s Meals. 

There are five dishes on the menu (which changes with the seasons), one for each day of the week, and all a body with a hunger needs to do is order before 10am (via the free downloadable app or online) to have a fine repast delivered by bicycle in time for lunch.


Though a fiercely proud Gael, The Menu is nonetheless quite the Hispanophile with an inordinate fondness for the people, culture and food of Spain and so takes great pleasure in flagging the upcoming L’Atitude 51 CineCafe screening (Feb 17) of Jerez & El Misterio del Palo Cortado (Sherry and the Mystery of Palo Cortado), a documentary concerning another great passion of The Menu’s.

Naturally, there shall be sups of the aforementioned sherry to be had along with compatible nibbles, the whole schemozzle to be overseen by The Menu’s great comrade, Irish Examiner wine writer, Leslie Williams ( 

The Spanish theme continues as Cliff Townhouse Chef Sean Smith offers Spain on the Green (Feb 23), a wine dinner showcasing his personal Spanish culinary influences, derived from time living there and through his Galician wife. 

As much as The Menu loves Spanish cuisine, he is equally enamoured with Spanish wines and each of the five courses is paired with a different Spanish wine, courtesy of Wines of Spain. (


While The Menu is unsure whether any porcine patriots actually bore arms over the course of the 1916 uprising, it is safe enough to assume many of those rebels who did man the barricades did so on a bellyful of pigmeat for it was the most commonly eaten meat at the time and Limerick’s Strand Hotel Executive Chef Tom Flavin, on foot of some personal research, has unveiled Everything But The Grunt. 

Based on the Irish farmhouse cuisine philosophy of nose-to-tail eating, it is a pork-based menu of dishes popular at the time, back when Limerick’s bacon factories were the biggest producers of porky products in Ireland and Britain and, indeed, in some quarters, Pigtown, the old soubriquet for Limerick is still recognised to this day. (


Teeling’s Irish Whiskey Smoked Sea Salt is the culinary equivalent of a unicyclist balancing a pile of dinner plates atop a long pole, the other end of which is perched precariously on the tip of his put-upon proboscis—the concept alone is both terrifying and ridiculous and in reality it shouldn’t work at all yet somehow it does, three stonking great flavours, whiskey, smoke, salt, piled on top of each other and coming together in what can only be described as a very vigorous harmony.


Dougalls 942 Pale Ale, 4.2% ABV, 330ml - €2.75

The Menu: Shane Ryan and FEED provide food for the soul

Stockists: Dunnes Stores nationwide

The craft beer revolution is showing no signs of slowing down but what is rarely mentioned is that it is also happening in wine- focused countries such as Italy, France, and most notably Spain. 

Spain’s restaurant industry has embraced the movement, particularly in the Basque country which has dozens of Michelin-starred restaurants.

Dougalls is brewed near Santander and this fruity pale ale is named after the telephone code for the region. 

Maris Otter and Caragold malts combine with Cascade and Simcoe hops to give a fresh tasting balanced beer, floral-citrus aromas, refreshing palate and a warming bitterness on the finish. 

Also watch for their ESB: Leyenda.

— Leslie Williams


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