Menu was far from the only hungry soul on Leeside to mourn the passing of Ali Honour’s Ali’s Kitchen, a charming little cafe on Rory Gallagher Plaza which had many devoted fans, not least for its fine brunches and baked sweets oven.
And so, it’s a great joy for The Menu to announce Ali’s return to the local hotel scene in a new guise, as Executive Chef of the very splendid Imperial Hotel, on Cork’s South Mall, as the glisteningly beautiful establishment seeks to carve out a niche for itself as a fine dining destination in its own right under the able leadership of Bastian Peyraud.
Coinciding with the first anniversary of the hotel’s brand new cocktail bar, Sketch, Ali will unveil a very special brunch menu which, like all good brunches, is loaded with sinful sweet delights to accompany delicious savory and comforting offerings.
And, if you want to go straight to heaven, there’s even a Stretch at Sketch that includes a yoga class, health plan, three-course brunch, and an energy ball to take home.
The menu has recently benefited from another wonderful visit to Kenmare so the prospect of a return always has great appeal and as the nights approach and the prospect of a roaring fire becomes more and more appealing, the notion of an entire month celebrating fire-themed events and experiences in the Brennan Brothers’ troika of hotel establishments, Park Hotel Kenmare, The Lansdowne Kenmare and The Boat House Bistro at Dromquinna Manor, is particularly appealing.
Throughout the month, all three will be offering a special program of fire-themed activities and menus, which will see the day begin with fitness classes, such as HITT it Hot, Abs on Fire and Belly Burn, followed by pampering of well-being based on heat in the thermal baths of Samas.
Chefs James Coffey, Mark Johnston and Paul Walsh present Food on Fire demos for cooking with wood and charcoal, while the legendary John Moriarty, from the Park, offers peat whiskey tastings and the very excellent mixologist of cocktails, Lansdowne bar manager Bryan O’Connor runs Some Like it Hot Cocktail demos.
Other daily activities in the locality include Off the Beaten Track, a trip to the Black Valley with breathtaking views and stories and a little drink to warm up the body.
And, of course, don’t forget the open fires and beautiful fire-themed evening menus and there’s a special three-night package with a fourth free at the park, or two nights with a third free at the Lansdowne.
The Burren pine (which is genetically similar to Scots pine) in the beautiful Burren, County Clare, was thought to have been extinct for 1,500 years, until a small stand of the same was discovered in one corner retreated from the Burren four years, the same tree that once covered the entire area.
The Burren Pine Project, run by the Burrenbeo Trust, is dedicated to its revival and Gregan’s Castle Hotel is donating land to the project and inviting guests, past, present and future, to sponsor the planting of a Burren Pine and for each planted, three additional native companion trees will also be planted.
You don’t even have to visit one of The Menu’s most popular hotels to participate, although The Menu will always advise any discerning diner who also needs a splendid bed to never pass up such an opportunity. .
Finally, belated congratulations to the Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year 2022 winner, the young man from Donegal Calum Falls from Aimsir, Celbridge, Co Kildare, who prevailed with original dishes using a brief Irish lamb Blackface and offal with grains and spices and an original Irish raspberry dessert.
Be sure and remember Calum’s name is one to watch in the future as the accolade is indicative of true talent, past winners such as Neven Maguire, Gráinne Mullins and Mark Moriarty, who went on to represent Ireland and won the San Pellegrino World Young Chef title. the year.
The Menu recently consumed the last fresh strawberries he is likely to eat this season, a far cry from their seasonal premium, so he instead macerated them in vanilla sugar and ate them with Gloun Cross Chantilly cream for a beautiful and last farewell party to summer.
But a day or two after the strawberries disappeared, a diktat was issued to The Menu from The Daughter Menu for a
a light sponge cake with whipped cream and strawberry jam and he had to agree that the diktat sounded like a most splendid proposition.
So he went into the pantry looking for an unopened jar of jam and came across an old favourite, Wexford Home Preserves, a really great organic strawberry jam.
Made with organic strawberries, Irish Bramley apples and sugar, it’s bursting with juicy sweet strawberry flavor, but the Bramley Pie stops any descent into overdone excess saccharin and it was quite delicious in the sponge – mind you, it’s delicious! It was just as good, slathered in hot, buttery toast the next morning, washed down with a latte mocha.
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