Duck & Roll
Let’s start with lunch at Chapter One because I am still thinking about the duck main course I had, which was perfectly pink salt marsh duck with a toasted sesame crispy coating. But I digress this was not about the duck but in fact about cake. It was a Barry’s Tea & Taste of Dublin lunch showcasing their collaboration ‘Cakes of Exceptional Character’. These extraordinary Victoria sponges featured flavours like Dingle gin, poached rhubarb and what was declared to be the best carrot cake ever by someone at my table. Each cake was inspired by chefs tales with lots of tattoo style print featuring. These pictures do not do them justice. Find them at Taste of Dublin 16th – 19th June. Sponge cakes has never been so rock & roll.
Udon even know me
If you do know me you will know one thing I love even more than food puns is ramen. And so I am overwhelmingly happy that the aptly named Ramen Bar has opened in Dublin. It’s hidden down the back of Kokoro on South William Street. And they are doing it so right. Ramen is all about the broth. Real, deeply flavoured broth. And while much fuss has been made recently of bone broth, it’s healing qualities etc blah blah… Real ramen broth or tonkotsu is all of these things and more because it will also contain the most divine, slippery, just biting noodles. And these noodles! They make their own fresh beautiful noodles on site with an impressive looking machine they brought over from Japan. I love it. Go, please, and order the Tonkotsu pork or the Spicy Salmon with extra garlic and get stuck in with your chop sticks and slurp your way to the bottom. (Forget your manners with ramen, slurping is OK!). Deal or noodle.
Lit-erally the best weekend
Ballymaloe Lit Fest deserves it’s very own huge piece but luckily for me both Marie claire Digby & Erica Bracken have already given brilliant round ups and they seem to have gotten around to a lot more than me. It’s simply an incredible, magical weekend for anyone who is really into food. The highlight for me was without doubt Saturday night dinner at the Cookery School with Mews Restaurant, Baltimore in residence. The menu was genius in it’s simplicity, sharing plates at sharing tables and they were tables you wanted to share with. Ottolenghi, Elisabeth Luard, Pat Whelan, Skye Gyngell, Prannie Rhatigan, Darina & Tim Allen were all dining – no pressure in the kitchen then. Stand out dishes? All of them really. Irish asparagus from Cape Clear Island, the freshest clams, delectably cooked turbot on sea weed, Manganlitza pork served pink and melting, the best smelling salad I’ve ever encountered straight from the cookery school gardens. The matching drinks by Mews sommelier Rani Parish, were surprising & inventive featuring English ‘champagne’, cider, White Gypsy beer and a Bertha’s Revenge gin martini. A refreshing change from the regular wine flights. Even the legendary Hugh Johnson agreed on this as we split a cab with him back to the Big Shed. What a night.