Food news: Happenings on the food front at the Merrion
While the famous Prêt-à-Portea afternoon tea at The Merrion Hotel will be on every fashionista's Christmas wish list elsewhere at The Merrion it's all go with preparations for the re-opening of Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud - Ireland's only two-star Michelin restaurant - this week after its refurbishment.
Ireland's very own oligarchs have not known what to do with themselves while RPG has been out of commission, and they will sure to be flocking back in their droves to see what subtle changes have been made to their commissary. Among the private events booked in to the restaurant over the coming weeks is an Ireland Funds' Women's Lunch being chaired by Emer Gilvarry, Louise Kennedy, and Caroline Kennedy to honour the work of inspirational women and support the work of The Ireland Funds.
Also on The Merrion's agenda is the opening of the hotel's new restaurant next Easter, in time to coincide with the hotel's 20th anniversary. The downstairs space now occupied by The Cellar Restaurant will be incorporated into a much larger spa and gym, and the hotel's restaurant will move upstairs to a new room that opens out onto the hotel's Jim Reynolds'-designed gardens. The Merrion is the only five-star hotel in Dublin's city centre with a garden, and it's an amenity that has been enjoyed by the hotel's many well-known guests, including Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen.
The Merrion's executive chef, Ed Cooney (pictured), recently returned from cooking with Good Food Ireland at The Breeder's Cup in Kentucky, is looking forward to the move, and to showcasing his ingredient-led modern Irish cuisine in a new, light-filled space. Dorothy McCann, The Merrion's brand director and wife of the hotel's manager, Peter McCann, is overseeing the project, with Alice Roden in charge of interior design. A sneak peek at the designer's mood-boards indicates that guests are in for a visual treat, with a stylish ambience a given.
Oscar-nominated costume designer Consolata Boyle is in charge of the uniforms, and some special pieces from The Merrion's art collection have already been earmarked for the walls.
The new restaurant will have 110 seats and offer all-day dining, with tables on the terrace to facilitate eating out of doors when the weather permits.
Just landed at Aldi are the supermarket's great-looking Tri-Ply Copper pans, which are priced from €24.99 upwards, with large pans and roasters (perfect for that turkey) costing €44.99. The pans are mirror-polished on the outside, and satin-finished on the inside. Lovely.
Ballynahinch Castle (below) has a special game dinner break running on November 16 and 17. Rates for the two-night package - including bed and breakfast, shoot lunch, and game dinner by Ballynahinch's talented chef, Ultan Cooke - are from €385pps. Bookings: 095 31006.
Raise a glass
On November 24, in partnership with Wines from Spain, The Twelve in Barna is hosting a dinner at which sherry expert Elizabeth Fox will pair different sherries with chef Martin O'Donnell's menu. Places at the dinner are limited to 40 and cost €49pp. Bookings: 091 597000.