Former newspaper couple celebrate a year in the food business

Indian cafe celebrated its first birthday, Audrey McDonald hits the road again, seaweed snacks, special interest breaks at Kelly’s and a swanky afternoon tea

 

Happy birthday Kerala Kitchen

A south Indian cafe and takeaway on Baggot Street in Dublin run by former newspaper executives Lewis Cummings and Grainne Flynn, recently celebrated its first birthday.

It has been a momentous 12 months for the pair, who also take their food on the road to six lunchtime markets around the capital, as well as attending all the big music festivals around the country with their colourful trailer and catering tents.

Their first permanent premises, at 5 Upper Baggot Street, is soon to be joined by a second outlet on the northside, serving what they describe as “fresh, healthy Indian food”.

Fans include actor Mel Gibson, who ordered a takeaway, then came back for dinner twice while he and his girlfriend were here in November. Interestingly, he ate the same meal all three times – lamb pepper fry with a side dish of sag paneer.

Cummings took redundancy from his job as a production manager at the Daily Mail in London, and Flynn, whose background is in photography and design, worked with Associated Newspapers Ireland until their baby arrived in 2014.

Kerala Kitchen began as a street-food venture in Donegal, where they have a holiday cottage, and they then took it on the festival circuit before finding their first permanent site in 2016.

The Baggot Street cafe, designed by Flynn, has a clean, stripped back look “that respects the Georgian features”, she says. Yet it has a very definite Indian vibe too, informed by the year she spent living there, practising yoga with the oldest living master of ashtanga. On February 18th they host their first “yoga kitchen” with instructor Kitty Maguire in a space in the building’s third floor, followed by a vegan lunch. See keralakitchen.ie

Back on the road

Before she opened the Cookbook Café in Glasthule, Co Dublin, Audrey McDonald was a caterer to the stars, as well as a name you really wanted in your contacts book for big parties and celebrations.

Now that the cafe is up and running – its regular Vinyl Brunches run in association with her husband, Newstalk’s Tom Dunne are legendary – she has decided to go back on the road. A basement space at Cookbook Cafe has become her outside catering HQ, and she is available to cater casual events as well as formal occasions.

She has also decided, “after many requests from clients”, to resume teaching cookery classes – and the twist is she will come to the client’s kitchen and teach a three-course menu entirely of their choice.

“I arrive with all my bits and proceed to cook a few courses, with handouts of recipes and methods, while imparting lots of knowledge and cooking secrets throughout. I did this some years ago for a few different clients and it was a roaring success. Some chose to do six classes in the one house, others chose to go to a different house each time, others just chose to do the one class.”

Kelp yourself

Ria and Tom Jones of Sea of Vitality have designed a delicious new way to introduce the health benefits of nutritious seaweed to food. Their Super Seaweed Snack is an oat-based biscuit with cranberries, pecan nuts and flaked almonds that also contains ground kelp. It doesn’t taste in the least bit of the sea though – instead it is buttery and nutty and very moreish. You’ll find them in individual packs (€1.70) in selected SuperValu outlets and speciality food shops.

Fulvio for Kelly’s

 

Kelly’s Resort Hotel & Spa’s popular special interest breaks are back for 2017, with Catherine Fulvio signed up for the cookery demonstrations on February 26th to March 3rd. The Ballyknockan Cookery School tutor, TV presenter and author will be joined by the hotel’s executive chef Eugene Callaghan and pastry chef Stephane Rochard. Wine tasting, with Pierre Gaillard and Vincent Delcher, will feature wines from the Rhône and Languedoc, and Burgundy, on March 5th-10th. See kellys.ie

Anyone for afternoon tea?

Another week ... another swanky afternoon tea offering, this time from The Restaurant by Johnnie Cooke at Brown Thomas. The Perrier Jouët Spring-Garden tea (3pm-6pm, €45-€75) has florals as its theme, to chime with the Champagne house’s distinctive bottle. Truffled chicken gougères, love-apple Champagne jelly and a chocolate marzipan hat dessert are features of the luxurious treat. Each glass of Champagne served with the tea will be accompanied by a handmade origami flower in the shape of the Perrier Jouet Japanese anemone, some of which, when unwrapped, will give the recipient a chance to win a bottle to take home with them.

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