2 weeks ago

Wining (In) and Dining (Out) Ideas

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If you are keen to explore new cuisines this autumn, Montys of Kathmandu in Dublin’s Temple Bar is one of the best for discovering Nepalese food. Its new menu of 31 small plates, called Nepas, have vegetarian and seafood options, in addition to meat, and are priced from €3.50. This makes it easy to graze some of the regional specialities, while sharing plates start from €16.50, and include a selection of Montys’ legendary steamed “Momo” dumplings. Open for lunch and dinner, Monday to Saturday, and from 5.30pm on Sundays, there’s an introductory offer too – order three Nepas or more per says: “Pop in for a couple of small plates or linger, as you try a succession of dishes, it’s a unique experience. And if you’re treating yourself, our wine selection is second to none!” www.montys.ie

The team at Pichet, 14 – 15 Trinity Street, Dublin 2, has just welcomed a new head chef, Harry Quinn, whose CV is very impressive. Having worked in France, at the Michelin-starred Le Mas Candille in Cannes, he has also served under Jason Atherton in his flagship London restaurant, Pollen Street Social, as well as honing his skill at Galvin at the Windows at the prestigious Hilton on Park Lane. Moving back to Dublin, Quinn has worked in Ross Lewis’ Chapter One before joining Visham Sumputh and the team at Luna. Prior to joining Pichet, Quinn settled for a role in the Dublin 8 eatery Clanbrassil House alongside head chef Grainne O’Keefe, whose reputation for creating delicious menus, using different cooking styles and techniques are what has made it a neighbourhood favourite. Visitors can get a real taste of Quinn’s cooking with Pichet’s new Tuesday tasting menu. Enjoy five courses for €45 per person, or pop in for their “Wellie Wednesdays” – an indulgent feast of beef Wellington for two, accompanied by smoked potato pomme purée and truffle jus; www.pichet.ie.

Searching for an authentic Neapolitan pizza, then look no further than Cirillo’s on Dublin’s Baggot Street, where the pizza oven was imported from Naples and burns a blend of Irish oak and ash. The pizza dough is slow-proved for 30 hours using a recipe from the head Pizzaiolo Daniele Accardo. Such attention to detail has not gone unnoticed as Cirillo’s has been ranked at No 16 (out of 50) in the ranking of Best European Pizzerias. The results are based on a survey followed by an anonymous judging visit and were announced online in Milan this week. The judges commented: “The establishment, which is also a restaurant, was opened in 2016 by James Cirillo. He is of Italian origin; his mother is Irish, and his father is from Caserta. The atmosphere is more like that of a Pub than a Pizzeria, but there is no doubt about the product. The pizza is remarkably like the traditional Neapolitan pizza, well risen and, more importantly, well baked. There is an obsessive research into Italian products, from tomatoes to the extra virgin olive oil. A real surprise was finding some excellent friarielli! The service is very attentive, the Italian spirit is all in the food and not flaunted in a folkloristic way. Obviously, a good selection of beers. The best in Dublin.” I don’t think there is much else to add other than hie thee hither. Cirillo’s serves lunch and dinner and in addition to its pizza, pasta and ice cream are also made fresh in house daily; www.cirillos.ie.

If you are missing visits to wine bars and tasting sessions then consider The Nude Wine Company, owned by trained sommelier, Michelle Lawlor. Specialising in organic, vegan and natural wines, Lawlor is offering virtual wine courses, as well as hosted virtual wine tastings. Having launched “Wine & Craic” earlier this year, these tastings have been very popular. Says Lawlor, who worked in the wine industry for over 18 years and is based in Kildare, “Clients love the easy-going nature of it and there is a fun twist at the end of the wine tasting!” Also on offer are gift vouchers, wine box or hampers – ideal for corporate gifts and dare I say, Christmas! To book a virtual wine tasting, DIY wine courses or purchase a gift voucher or wine visit: www.thenudewineco.ie 

Like all businesses in the hospitality sector, the Abbey Tavern, 28 Abbey Street, Howth has been affected by the global pandemic. The traditional Irish pub and restaurant, defined by its original stonewalls, turf fires and warm welcome, has been in the Tobin family for three generations. Current proprietor Richard Tobin admits that it has been a case of “adapt or die” since reopening after lockdown. The snug called Minnie’s Bar within the Tavern has been adapted to create a popular delicatessen and wine shop. Baked and served daily, customers can buy Abbey Tavern’s own bread, croissants and scones, or a coffee from JJ Darboven Eighty9 as well as cakes from Le Pâtissier – all the elements, in fact, for a picnic or stroll along the Howth peninsula. As a one-stop shop, the new deli also stocks a great selection of wines and craft beers – some produced within a six kilometre radius. Lunch and dinner is also served, where the emphasis is on warmth of service and customer experience; www.abbeytavern.ie.

The Shelbourne has dedicated the month of September to showcase one of the country’s finest natural products – oysters. Served in No. 27 Bar & Lounge daily from 12.30pm, there is a new daily menu featuring six seafood dishes. Highlights include Rockefeller oysters with garlic butter, parsley parmesan and breadcrumbs, Guinness oysters with a warm Guinness sabayon and smoked oysters with creamed and truffled Lusk leeks. The Shelbourne oysters, served in a half shell with Liscannor crab, Dublin Bay prawn and Thermidor sauce, is a real treat. Fresh oysters are also served as part of The Shelbourne’s impressive tiered seafood platter with Dublin Bay prawns, whiskey cured salmon, Liscannor crab and Guinness bread; www.theshelbourne.com.

Another venue affected by lockdown was the long-established family-run Indian restaurant, Monsoon Dublin. Based in Stillorgan, adjacent to the shopping centre, the restaurant is managed by chef Alok Kumar and manager Arun Jaryal, both committed to serving simple, authentic and fresh Indian food. During lockdown Monsoon kept busy and served the community by delivering free food to frontline staff and the elderly. Now that they have re-opened for bookings, they look forward to welcoming new and loyal customers alike. Chef Alok, who has worked as head chef at Jaipur Dalkey and Chakra Greystones, before partnering with Arun, are passionate about provenance. “We cook all ingredients from scratch daily; we don’t use additives, preservatives, MSG, artificial colourings or off-the-shelf-concoctions in the kitchen and carcinogenic food colours are strictly forbidden so customers can be assured of a top dining experience. All tandoori dishes are cooked in a blend of olive pomace oil to maintain a healthy heart.” Some of the most popular dishes include a Calcutta bhajee starter of crispy aubergine fritters with caramelised peppers and melange of Indian chutneys, and for main, the vegan vegetable korma, made of creamy coconut and fresh seasonal vegetables, is light, healthy and dairy-free; www.monsoon.ie.

If looking for an affordable bottle for this weekend, do try Faustino wine, which has just launched its Art Collection range in Ireland. The Art Collection reimagines the iconic Faustino label, as Colombian artist Willy Ramos has given the artwork a colourful new redesign in a bid to attract a new audience. Speaking about the concept, Ramos says he wanted to create something “full of colour, full of life, full of emotion, like Faustino’s wines.” The rosé stands up well, as does the Crianza – according to Faustino, it is best enjoyed with meat dishes and heavy cheeses. And better yet, they’ll certainly look like an attractive hostess gift if you are invited to a small get together over the coming weeks! Available at Supervalu and Dunnes Stores nationwide.

Can’t make it to Galway for a culinary weekend? Try Aniar At Home which brings the food of Michelin-star chef JP McMahon to your home with an added element of the Aniar Cookery School. Aniar At Home can be designed for up to six adults and includes a cookery demonstration of up to five dishes and tasting of all dishes. To add a further element to the evening, Aniar At Home can also add the expertise of its sommelier to advise on the accompanying wines. The experience comes with all the food and produce, and wines if adding that element, plus serving plates and bowls for a truly unique experience. Examples of dishes include oysters with trout roe and sea lettuce; poached lobster with butter and cider sauce; turbot with fennel and seaweed; lamb fillets with samphire and cockles; sirloin steak, yellow chanterelles in duck fat and thyme; wild garlic and hazelnut pesto; and bread and butter pudding, elderflower custard with hazelnut crumble. The Aniar At Home experience is available nationwide with an additional cost for travel and staff outside a 10km radius of Galway city. Within Galway city, the cost is €595 which includes approximately 2.5 hours of Aniar At Home experience with JP McMahon, all food, staff and serving dishes. Enquiries to [email protected]

One to put in the diary … Cider tastings, orchard tours and grand farm-to-fork treats are all in store during a special culinary weekend from September 24 – 27. Famed the world over for its Bramley apples, top class cider and its local quality cuisine, Armagh’s Food & Cider weekend will include more than 20 pre-bookable events, led by some of the area’s best local chefs, including Ireland’s Hotel Head Chef of the Year, John Whyte, from Armagh City Hotel, and Gareth Reid from 4 Vicars Catering, Simon Dougan, Yellow Door Deli, Joyce Brownless, Blackwell House and Fiona and Rory Chapman from On the Hoof.  Weekend highlights include tours of Armagh’s apple orchards accompanied by exclusive tastings and talks with global cider expert and author Gabe Cook and a scrumptious five-course feast curated by Gareth Reid from 4 Vicars’ Catering at the Crannagael House; www.visitarmagh.com/foodandcider.

 

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