Slane Castle opens new bar and restaurant to the public
Food File: Móinéir afternoon tea at Druids Glen, Freddy Buttons in China, artists at Chapter One and Kai
The Gandon Room Restaurant at Slane Castle, where the head chef is Catherine James Budriene
Slane Castle, in Co Meath, has taken on an additional role, with the official opening of Browne’s Bar and the Gandon Room Restaurant. The two new additions at the castle, which is best known as a concert venue and wedding location, as well as as home to Lord Henry and Lady Iona Mountcharles, are open to the public and are run by Fitzers Catering.
The bar, in the part of the castle that was formerly home to its housekeeper Mary Browne, features rock’n’roll memorabilia relating to the many artists who have performed at Slane. It will be open all week, opening at 10.30am each day and closing at 8.30pm from Sunday to Wednesday and at 11.30pm from Thursday to Saturday.
The restaurant is dedicated to James Gandon, one of the castle’s three lead architects, and the head chef is the Boyne Valley native Catherine James Budriene. It will open for dinner Thursday to Saturday, and for Sunday lunch.
Móinéir strawberry wine afternoon tea at Druids Glen
There are 150 Irish strawberries in every bottle of Móinéir Irish strawberry wine, made by Pamela Walsh and Brett Stephenson in Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow. Anthony Duggan, executive chef at the neighbouring Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort, has created an afternoon tea based on the fruit and designed to be accompanied by a glass of the wine.
As well as savouries and scones, the summer afternoon tea, served in the hotel’s conservatory, includes strawberry and lemon torte, coconut panna cotta with strawberry salsa, strawberry and almond financier, and summer-berry tart. It is served every day between 2pm and 5pm and costs €38 a person; reservations must be made in advance by telephoning 01-2870847.
Freddy Buttons in China
The journalist and writer Fiona Dillon’s Freddy Buttons brand, a food education tool for children that encompasses a series of books, a website and a YouTube channel, has broken into the Chinese market.
A bilingual digital version of the books, intended for the multimedia print reader (or talking pen) market, will be launched, and there is talk of the brand being expanded into a themed restaurant.
The FBI (Freddy Buttons Investigates) characters in the books have already proved popular with children in Ireland. Work is also starting on creating an animated TV series, according to Elaine Grant of Dillon’s Tumbledown Media. The books, suitable for children up to about eight years old, are available from freddybuttons.com.
Artists at Chapter One and Kai
Chapter One has a new piece of art on its menu covers and its walls, and Kai in Galway has an artist-in-residence. Scattering Light, by Jane Rainey, is the latest addition to the Dublin restaurant’s Project Art collection, initiated in 2011, which commissions new work twice yearly .
“For me it’s a way to showcase the creative connectivity between art, food and the restaurant’s customers,” says its chef-proprietor, Ross Lewis. “The parallels between food and art are many. Both require creative thinking and delivery of something that is visually appealing and engaging.”
In Galway the artist-in-residence is the illustrator Ciara Coogan, whose first collaboration was to design a tea towel, featuring Kai’s recipe for apple tart, made with fruit from neighbouring shopkeeper Ernie Deacy, who also features on the linen cloth (€10, from the restaurant or by telephoning 091-526003).
“We launched the tea towel collective and already there have been sales to Australia, Canada and England,” says Kai’s chef-proprietor, Jess Murphy.