Food Court: the case for and against grapefruit

Patrick Hanlon and Russell Alford love a slice of the citrus fruit in a gin and tonic and make cakes with them. Paul Flynn can’t stand them

Patrick Hanlon/Russell Alford: We absolutely love grapefruit, and feel it is misrepresented and under-loved. Segments cut into a salad give impressive lift and bite. With a gin and tonic, a slice of fresh grapefruit, or even just a sliver of its peel, adds a fresh bite and welcome sharpness. It's regularly our garnish of choice for any one of the incredible Irish gins on the market at the moment, with a premium tonic water as its support act.

We love grapefruit so much we've even baked it whole into a cake. Recently, we developed a recipe for a gluten-free grapefruit loaf cake, rich and moist, with ground almonds, with a central flavour of grapefruit. The bulbous pink grapefruit is boiled until soft, broken down in the processor and then added to the batter (seeds and all) before baking. Balanced by lots of honey in the recipe, what emerges from the oven is an almost tropical yet sharp cake, with an incredibly indulgent flavour. It shouldn't work, but it works so well.

Paul Flynn: I'm old enough to remember when most hotel menus would have certain stalwarts as starters on their stagnant menus. A glass of orange juice – yes, honestly! Liver pâté garnished with a slice of cucumber, a quartered tomato nestling on an embarrassed leaf of butterhead lettuce and sprig of curly parsley (this inspired garnish would be repeated on numerous other starters so the chef could concentrate on pouring the orange juice ).

A vol-au-vent might appear if you were lucky, then a half grapefruit garnished with a glacé cherry, straight out of Fawlty Towers.


I remembered trying it on one of our rare family Sunday lunches out and the memory has never left me. Turmoil and panic grabbed me as I rubbed my tongue with a rapidly decomposing (red) paper napkin. It ruined my day and left an indelible mark on my memory.

Sure, it’s supposed to go with crab and a few other unfortunate partners, but to be honest, I’m not interested.

If Scarlett Johansson was toying lustfully with her grapefruit at my breakfast table while looking into my admittedly dreamy eyes, I’d tell her, on your bike love. That’s how much I hate it.

Patrick Hanlon and Russell Alford are based between Dublin and London and blog about food at Paul Flynn is chef proprietor of The Tannery Restaurant and Cookery School in Dungarvan.