Chefs Mickael Viljanen of Chapter One in Dublin, Paul Carroll of Polly in Vladimir, Russia, and Ramael Scully of Scully St James's in London are just three of the heavyweights who have got behind Cluck Burger Club, and will be designing their own take on the humble, or not so humble, chicken burger, to go on sale at the Cluck Chicken Yard in Walkinstown, Dublin 12.
Cluck Chicken's Ian Ussher opened his bright yellow food truck in October 2020, having previously been group development chef for Artizan Catering. It became one of the culinary success stories of the pandemic, serving an imaginative range of Irish free range chicken burgers and tenders. Now Ussher has signed up an impressive list of collaborators who will each create a chicken (or plant-based substitute) burger for a monthly special.
Next Monday, January 17th, that project, the Cluck Burger Club, will launch, with a €20 annual membership fee giving subscribers one of each month's special burgers free of charge, and a second at a reduced price of €5. You can sign up on Instagram @cluckchicken_truck, and membership is being capped at 50 people.
The Cluck Burger Club will run every Wednesday and Thursday from February 2nd, from the Cluck Chicken yard in Walkinstown. The burgers will also be available to the general public on those days at full price, which will be €10-€12, with 10 per cent of all non-member sales each month being donated to a local charity.
The launch burger has been created by Jennifer Carroll, whose weight loss and healthy eating Instagram account @jens_journey_ie has 119,000 followers. Other collaborators include Irish chefs Jess Murphy and Mark Moriarty, TV and radio presenter Thomas Crosse (aka Crossy), and chicken farmer Sean Ring.
No sooner have the selection boxes been dispatched with than the first Creme Eggs of the year appear on shop shelves. This year is no exception, but if you’ve been looking forward to biting into one of the traditional Easter treats, it could pay to hold off on doing so.
There are cash prizes – five each of €2,500 and €1,000 and 20 of €100 – to be claimed by those who purchase one of 30 special Creme Eggs that have been half dipped in white chocolate, and which have been “hidden in major retailers across the country”, according to Cadbury Ireland. The twist is that the eggs must be intact to claim a prize, turning the confectioner’s “How do you eat yours?” slogan on its head.
If you find one of the special half-and-half eggs, instructions on how to claim the prize are printed on a ticket inside the foil wrapper. The promotion will run until April 17th.
The Purty Kitchen, in south Co Dublin, has been given a facelift, and a new lease of life, at the hands of co-owners Mark Heather and James Burgess. The restaurant, bar and events space, on Old Dunleary Road, reopened last autumn after refurbishment and a 50-seat weatherproofed outdoor dining space will be added in the coming months.
With head chef Graham Higgins in the kitchen, where a wood-fired oven has been installed, the menu includes pub food and bistro classics such as seafood chowder, fish and chips, moules frites, steaks and burgers and chicken wings, as well as a couple of salads and vegetarian and vegan options. In a nice initiative, the children's menu comes on a fun activity sheet to keep younger guests entertained, and two courses plus a drink will set parents back just a tenner.
Pandemic restrictions permitting, the event space will host food, wine and whiskey tastings. The owners say they are pitching the Purty Kitchen as a place that "bridges the gap between the gastropub and the Bib Gourmand restaurant experience" and aim "to provide excellent food, drink and service but with a warmth and conviviality that can only be achieved in an Irish pub". See purtykitchen.com.
Wine and dine
If you're looking for a winter treat, Ashford Castle's "Meet the Makers" wine weekend (February 4th-6th) combines an opportunity to meet with and learn from four influential French wine-makers, with a chance to experience the seasonal winter menus in the hotel's Connaught Room and also at Cullen's at the Cottage.
The package (from €950 per person) includes two nights’ bed and breakfast, a welcome reception and dinner at Cullen’s at the Cottage, a private tour of the hotel’s cellar with drinks and canapes, and a six-course dinner in the Connaught Room. There will also be a film screening and Q&A in the hotel’s private cinema, on the topics of biodynamic and organic wines, “specific to the wine-makers’ vineyards and their experience working towards this”, followed by lunch.
The wine-makers taking part are from Domaine Albert Mann in Alsace; Domaine Vincent Girardin in Burgundy; Château Pédesclaux, in Pauillac, and Domaine Bott, Rhône Valley. See ashfordcastle.com.