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Amuse Bouche

A post by Billy Lyons at RESTAURANTS AND FOOD

..there, just outside the door, he preserved traditional delicacies – brisket, liver sausage and whale blubber, supplied by a local shopkeeper – in a small bucket of sour whey. Erlendur topped up the bucket on a regular basis. He often got into arguments about eating habits with Gardar, who was a big fan of American fast food. To Erlendur, all Gardar’s impassioned talk of pizzas and hamburgers was gibberish.

from Reykjavik Nights by Arnaldur Indridason.  Continue reading »

Sunday mass

A post by The Beer Nut at The Beer Nut

Go to the Inn on any Friday nightAnd listen to them while they’re getting tightAt the expense of him who stands them drinks,The Mass-Observer with the Hillman Minx.– John Betjeman, The Dear Old Village (1954)
I don’t have a Hillman Minx, or money to buy pints for the locals. Just a notepad and a set of instructions from this month’s Session taskmasters Boak and Bailey.  Continue reading »

Samphire by Ballycotton Bay
Of Tropics and Turnips

Tropics for two

Let’s start at the end. Because the end of the superb meal in Samphire, the new restaurant in Garryvoe Hotel, was rather spectacular.

That sweet ending was called Tropics for Two. We shared: Pineapple with white chocolate mousse, coconut, lime and coriander jelly, and passionfruit (16.00 for two).  Continue reading »

Beaujolais Encore.
Hail the classy crus.

Beaujolais has a borderline continental climate, tempered by the presence of the Massif Central to the west and the Alps to the east. This provides a relatively warm growing season. See Wine-Searcher’s summary (weather and more) of the region here.

So they have ideal weather? Not bad, but it’s not plain sailing.  Every farmer keeps an eye on the sky, watching what is coming over them there hills.  Continue reading »

Taste this

A post by The Beer Nut at The Beer Nut

I mentioned in Monday’s post how microbreweries don’t seem to take their own stands at Taste of Dublin any more. It is, I’m sure, a very expensive event to attend, and while you’re likely to reach a crowd of punters who are probably not already familiar with your product, I would question how much repeat trade you’re likely to get out of them once the tents are folded and the Iveagh Gardens returned to the citizenry.  Continue reading »

Beaujolais Wines. 
De première classe

Many of us were introduced to Beaujolais through the much marketed Nouveau. Decades ago now, I remember seeing one half of the local Roches Stores (now Debenhams) front window absolutely packed with colourful bottles in November. And the hype was inescapable with all kinds of contrived races set up to be first with the Nouveau in Cork or Ireland.

And that Nouveau is is still going strong all around the world.  Continue reading »

Get Fired Up At ‘The Big Grill’ International BBQ Festival
Herbert Park from the 11-14 August

Chefs John Relihan (left) from Holy Smoke Cork 
and Mark O’ Brien from Barbecoa do some meaty pit work

Celebrate the age-old art of cooking with smoke and fire at the country’s biggest International BBQ event, ‘The Big Grill Festival’, which has its 3rd outing this summer in Herbert Park, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, from the 11-14 August 2016.  Continue reading »

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Taste of the Week

Silver Darlings Pickled Balsamic Herring

O we left the homegrounds in the month of June
And to Canny Shiels we soon were bearing
With a hundred cran of silver darlings
That we’d taken from the shoals of herring*

It comes in a small jar but our Taste of the Week packs quite a punch! Bought a jar recently of the Balsamic and enjoyed it very much indeed.  Continue reading »

Over the last few years, Aldi Ireland have established themselves as a regular attendee at Taste of Dublin, which they cleverly use to showcase their range of Irish ingredients. Two years ago I dined on a steak feast inside a wooden hut, while last year’s meal was enjoyed in a space decorated by Peter Kelly, better known as Weddings by Franc.

This year, the theme was Irish seafood, hence the moniker Hooked by Aldi, and the venue was a fun beach-style hut in bright blue and white.  Continue reading »

Party at Artie’s

A post by The Beer Nut at The Beer Nut

It’s noteworthy, though hardly surprising, that the Taste of Dublin food festival seems to have become largely a preserve of the big bucks brewers. The last time I went, which admittedly was some years ago now, there were at least a handful of micros present in their own right but this year Arthurstown Brewery was the only independent on the list, and I’m sure they’re not short of a bob or two.  Continue reading »

Gallery Café in Gort & Coole Park
Halfway Haven


If you’re heading from the south to the west or north-west, to the Burren, to Galway, Mayo (Knock for instance), Sligo, or Connemara, or indeed coming in the other direction, then Gort is a good place to stop and refuel and nearby Coole Park a lovely place to stretch those legs.
And speaking of re-fueling, why not try the colourful Galley Café in the Square in Gort. You might just get a parking spot outside the door.  Continue reading »

The trick to perfect meatballs is to roast them in the oven before adding the meatballs to the sauce. This is not only a way to render off the fat you sometimes find in the cheaper cuts of meat, but the browning process in the oven adds extra flavour. It’s easy to see why this meal is a hit with my family.  Continue reading »

Amuse Bouche


Amuse Bouche
Thanh is in the kitchen preparing our food…. Today’s meal will feature a gelatinous rice-powder ball with burger meat inside. We’ll flavour it with odoriferous fish sauce from a bottle….

It wouldn’t be possible to narrate all that happened to this man in the jagged space between 1975 and 1990, but this would be some of it: they broke his eye-lid, his jaw. They shackled him at the ankle and put him into a box about the size of a man’s coffin..  Continue reading »

Granary Foodstore Celebrates 20 Years!Popular Cafe in centre of Midleton town

“It was nice to mark the 20th anniversary”, said Jack O’Sullivan of Midleton’s Granary when I met him in the restaurant earlier this week. “The Kids Bake-off was a highlight but there was more.  Continue reading »

Putting the boot in

A post by The Beer Nut at The Beer Nut

One can measure the progress of the Irish beer sector by the commemorative beers it produces for sporting events. For previous football tournaments it’s only been one or two: Eight Degrees’s Trapattoni Potation for Euro 2012 and JW Sweetman’s Brazil 2014 beer Maracanã. Maybe it’s the presence of the Republic of Ireland team at Euro 2016, but there are three beers out to mark the occasion: one can, one bottle and one cask.  Continue reading »

What does an award-winning chef do when faced with the challenge of developing a new restaurant bang in the middle of Dublin city centre? If you’re Oliver Dunne, former holder of a Michelin star at Bon Appetit, you launch a very time-limited pop-up while thinking about the more permanent presence.  Continue reading »

Go East For A Classy Pair

Diwald Grüner Veltliner, Grossriedenthaler Löss (Wagram, Austria) 2014, 12.5%, €16.00 Mary Pawle
“We don’t like Coca Cola wines or Glass House tomatoes,” declares this organic pioneer from Austria, their way of saying they prefer to make their wines in the vineyard. Organic it is and it also looks and tastes very much like a well-made classic Gru-Vee.

It is light gold in colour, bright and clean.  Continue reading »

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Feel the passion

A post by The Beer Nut at The Beer Nut

An addendum to Monday’s post on the 2016 Killarney Beer Festival. Once the winners were all finalised in the competition, the leftover bottles were farmed out to the judges by able chief steward Kellie. From among them I got a bottle of Castaway, Yellow Belly’s collaboration with Dublin’s Hope Brewing and sour beer aficionado Shane Smith, for it is a sour beer we’re dealing with.  Continue reading »