Food favourites back on the menu in Belfast, Cork and Dublin

Food File: Restaurant Week returns to Belfast, and an oyster and seafood festival hits Cork

Gavin Carroll, general manager of the Merchant Hotel, Belfast, and bartender Mario De Santis toast the return of the third annual Festival of Prosecco to Belfast’s Merchant Hotel

Gavin Carroll, general manager of the Merchant Hotel, Belfast, and bartender Mario De Santis toast the return of the third annual Festival of Prosecco to Belfast’s Merchant Hotel

 

Belfast’s food and drink scene is buzzing. The city’s Restaurant Week returns on September 23rd-29th, and a month-long Festival of Prosecco is well underway at the Merchant Hotel.

Set lunches for £10 (Monday to Friday) and two- or three-course dinners for £15 (Monday to Thursday) are a big part of the Restaurant Week offering, and you can check out the 40-plus participating restaurants at belfastrestaurantweek.org. Menus are being added as they are finalised.

There will also be a Taste the City event at Writer’s Square in the Cathedral Quarter, on Saturday and Sunday, September 28th and 29th, with some of the city’s top chefs doing cookery demonstrations, and a producers’ market running alongside.

At the Merchant Hotel, the bubbles have been flowing since the start of the month, with two different wine flights – each consisting of three distinctly different styles of prosecco in 100ml serves – on offer on the Great Room restaurant and the cocktail bar. The standard flight is £15 and you can upgrade to premium proseccos for an additional £3.

On Thursday, September 19th, the Italian sparkler goes up against Champagne in a tutored masterclass at the hotel hosted by Noel McMahon and Kevin McKee of Febvre Wines. The three-hour Battle of the Bubbles (7pm-10pm) will also include tasting cava and crémant. The following Thursday, also 7pm-10pm, McMahon will be back with five distinct styles of prosecco to be tasted and evaluated on the hotel’s roof garden. Both events cost £39.50 per ticket, to include Italian-style snacks.

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Taste of Yemen

A coffee farmer harvesting coffee beans in Taizz, Yemen. Photograph: iStock
A coffee farmer harvesting coffee beans in Taizz, Yemen. Photograph: iStock

Imbibe Coffee Roasters in Dublin 8 is working with Qima Coffee in Yemen in the first of a planned series of projects that will support coffee producers and growers. Imbibe already donates 1 per cent of turnover from coffee sales to Women’s Aid, and a further 1 per cent will fund these new initiatives.

Gary Grant of Imbibe says: “Yemen is a region rooted in the history of coffee, with a strong case to be the origin of coffee as we know it today. Historically, Yemeni coffee is among the most prized and sought after in the world and it continues to be grown despite the conflict and devastation in the country.”

Imbibe is roasting, packing and supplying Yemeni coffee to a small number of coffee shops and cafes it works with, and all of the money raised from sales will go towards funding the work of Médecins Sans Frontières Ireland in Yemen.

There is a suggested minimum contribution of €20 per bag, and you’ll find the coffee at the following Dublin outlets: Clement & Pekoe, South William Street; Lotts & Co, South Lotts Road; Mister Magpie, Leeson Street Lower; Storyboard, Islandbridge; The Fumbally, Clanbrassil Street; and These Hands, at the Well on St Stephen’s Green.

Shucking in Cork

The Murphy’s Cork Oyster and Seafood Festival (September 20th-22nd) features an All-Ireland oyster-shucking competition, with Irish and international competitors taking part. It takes place at the Metropole Hotel on MacCurtain Street at 2pm on Sunday, September 22nd, and is a family-friendly event, with music and entertainment as well as oyster-opening action. The festival’s full programme of events is at corkoysterfestival.com.

Eyes on supplies

Lidl Ireland has selected 43 Irish food and drink producers to participate in its third annual Kick Start supplier development programme. A total of 65 products made by the successful applicants have gone on sale in all 200 shops across Ireland. Look out for gin and tonic and prosecco and mojito ice-creams from Half Cut in Co Cork; Chip Shop Curry sausages from Barry Johns Gourmet Sausages in Co Cavan; Gookies gluten-free cookie dough made in Co Cork; and Ginger Hot Pepper Jelly made in Co Kerry, among the new selection of products on shelves now, while stocks last.

Culture Night stirs once more

Visit the Fumbally Stables during Culture Night
Visit the Fumbally Stables during Culture Night

Culture Night takes place across the country on Friday, September 20th, and with food as one of the genres, there are lots of talks, events and open-door access opportunities. In Dublin the Bretzel Bakery is welcoming guests and offering sourdough starter to take away (5.30pm-9.30pm), and the Fumbally Stables will be open to visitors keen to learn about its workshops, events and classes (6pm-9pm). In Sligo there is an event at Global Kitchen (5pm-8pm), while in Limerick you can join a Cook’s Tour of the Hunt Museum (5pm-10pm). The full programme of events is at culturenight.ie.

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