A note on Back To Dine No3
Every time we lift a pencil and write a menu even before we cook we fulfil a brief, we are servants of that brief and indeed that’s in large part what chefs do and on any given restaurant Saturday night it’s called service. We serve.
How much of ourselves do we put into that brief and how much thought do we put into the enjoyment of others.
Apart from the byline bringing fine dining to your home by whoever, what are we actually trying to do , inflict our art on customer? Or bring a little joy to light the gloom? The latter is our mission.
There is a bond of trust when you go into a chef owned restaurant and the chef who is actually cooking in their restaurant. One enters into an expectation, the food is an expression of the cook and therefore the person, that person is Anna Haugh and Myrtle restaurant . Her food appears simple but is in fact complex, very carefully thought out and executed, this is her slight of hand in Myrtle.
If I had to pick 2 things that sum up Anna in the menu it’d be the Gubbeen chorizo and hot cross bun bread & butter pudding.
Gubbeen chorizo is a stellar example of ‘let it alone’ let it be what it is. This treatment is risky if the produce isn’t up to the scrutiny of exposure, so a critical eye picking those ingredients are vital.
Anna is also a Michelin star pastry chef , her pudding for 2 sharing is clearly not a a post modern head scratching ensemble not there’s anything wrong with that vibe but a comforting, seasonally on point pudding in an old fashioned almost maternal way. It’s a wrap around hug in bleak times.
Anna is a Dub and so she draws upon that heritage as indeed any cook who is moulded by their upbringing and background. Gur cake is by tradition a Dublin bake made up of all the leftovers of a day in a bakery and we’re doing the same. Trimmings from hot cross buns tea brack, batch loaf and cake lollipops all go into the mix with more currants and spices. There is a certain inaccuracy in the recipe which goes against the grain of a chef but to a great cook it’s kinda normal, where cooking changes from grams and weighing scales to instinctive and reflex or even muscle memory of honed taste buds.
How far Ireland has come , finding its own food voice and identity in the one of the great centres of the food world. Anna brings her unique vision with charm and a disguised grit and determination to that world.
It is a privilege to collaborate with Anna and bring a true taste of her debut restaurant Myrtle to life .
The name itself is homage to the culinary legend Myrtle Allen who played a crucial roll in Anna’s culinary view . Inherent beauty and apparent simplicity of execution.
There’s no hiding in a box , no waiters, no hand thrown plates with copper glazes, no subtle subterfuge , no dry ice, no slight of hand. What you get either stands or falls entirely on its own merits.
A note on Back To Dine No2
JP and I wrote our menu taking inspiration from his latest book ‘The Irish cookbook’ whilst keeping faithfully to the spirit and its mission statement. We did draw heavily from the the book however it is not entirely a replica thou many dishes and recipes are taken directly. This can never really be the case when two chefs sit down and collaborate. Each cook bringing their own unique view and experience to the table, a mutual meetings of minds has to occur. With that said I felt it my task to curate this wonderful collection of recipes and bring an order or a sequence to a menu format. To gently shepherd the diner through the pages of recipes and bring the food to life on your table.
The menu first and foremost is about the simple pleasure of eating great tasting food and be taken for exactly that. It is also a celebration of our cultural heritage and history of this island.
It could be a commentary of people working in the fields to the commercial classes and landed gentry. Potatoes, buttermilk & ham hocks to forced rhubarb grown under cloches in a country estate. Plentiful snared rabbits to venison hunted by lords and ladies in deer parks for sport. The professional classes ability to indulge in imported seville oranges to make marmalade opposed to picking wild blackberries for free.
The modern world has homogenised food for many reasons among them greater yeilds and disease resistance which is not such a bad thing but in doing so we can loose our roots, our sense of place and what food means to us beyond the superficial.
Many of us growing up in the countryside have wonderful memories such as digging potatoes as a children and of course not realizing the earthly connections being made between you, the land, the spud and Ireland. All form to blend a unique food and cultural experience of Irish food and Ireland only unraveled as a cook in later years.
Our modern wealth means we can have the luxury of food anytime, anything and anywhere rather than the way it has always been which was whats available at that time of year and in season. Our menu strongly respects this, we use blackcurrants that were made into jam when picked and to be enjoyed in winter months. Mushrooms made into a ketchup is another method of preservation using vinegar , sugar and mace. Gooseberries brined to preserve and transform into something akin to a caper. We’ve taken the classic french dish Coquille st Jacques and created an Hibernian terroir version. We’ve included some non natives such as Jerusalem artichokes that were commonly grown in walled vegetable gardens as much as a decorative plant as for food.
A rillette made from the humble rabbit elevated as a smart french preparation coupled with seafood, a modern fine dining construct finding parallels with langoustines and rack of rabbit.
Gubbeen cheese is one of our Irish greats and in our scramble to find the next bright shining thing we can overlook such gems.
It is my real pleasure to take these dishes off the pages and bring them to life. I very much hope you enjoy it,
Please note we have limited supply so order asap to avoid disappointment, don’t leave it til the last minute 🙂
Location for Click and Collect
San Lorenzo’s on South Great Georges Street and Bresson, Monkstown.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for delivery details before ordering your box.
Our new menu is now online – click the MENU tab. We are now accepting orders for the following dates:
Friday April 16th, Saturday April 17th.
Friday April 23rd, Saturday April 24th.
Saturday May 1st, Bank Holiday Sunday May 2nd.
Friday May 7th, Saturday May 8th.
Friday May 14th, Saturday May 15th.