Food news: Grow your own way
Anyone who thinks that GIY is about old fellas in allotments needs to pay a visit to Grow HQ. Located on the outskirts of Waterford city, it opened last year and is now really hitting its stride. The GIY mission - Grow, Cook, Eat - is geared towards food rather than gardening, and founder Michael Kelly says that his target demographic is the people in the household who make the decisions about what the children eat, usually the mothers.
For starters, there's the Grow HQ Café, where Frenchman-gone- native JB Dubois heads up a kitchen geared towards putting vegetables centre stage. Much of what is used in the kitchen is grown organically, either in situ or by local growers including Vincent Grace in Callan, Co Kilkenny. And while there is a very definite focus on vegetables, the café is by no means vegetarian. All the meat and poultry is locally sourced and free-range; the fish is landed locally, and the dairy is organic, with the yoghurt made on the premises. Sourdough bread comes from Sarah Richards' Seagull Bakery down the road in Tramore.
On a recent lunchtime visit, dishes on offer included a GIY salad featuring free-range pulled chicken with corn and date couscous, ras el hanout vinaigrette and organic leaves for €9.50, and the HQ blaa: a curried celeriac burger dressed with a cayenne- spiced yoghurt, served with excellent homemade chips and salad, for €11. Desserts included a beetroot brownie that was pretty damn good.
The café is open all day, serving breakfast from 9am to noon. You won't find smashed avocado on toast, as it's not local, but there are three HQ Hotties (€9.50), which could feature a fried free-range duck egg, Inch House black pudding, potato rosti and Jane Russell sausages, with beetroot ketchup and sourdough toast. After which you might need a nice lie-down. All the food in the café is available in child-sized portions for under-12s. The café has recently installed an outdoor wood-burning pizza oven and has a wine licence, so it is bound to be a popular spot for the long evenings ahead.
Also on site is a model garden, which shows how much can be achieved in terms of self-sufficiency in an average suburban garden, plus the beginnings of an orchard. There's also a small shop and teaching facilities, with a slew of growing and cooking courses on offer. Kelly says that everyone wants to learn to grow herbs and salads to start off with and, once they taste success, there's no stopping them.
Hit the roof
All-day restaurant 56 Central, at 5 Shop Street in Galway city centre, has just opened its rooftop Buddha zen garden, in time for the sunny days ahead. The menu focuses on burgers, salads and light dishes including sweet potato fries and flatbread pizzas. Chill central. See 56central.com
Cuppa for Cancer Care
After six operations, 30 radiotherapy sessions and six months of chemo, cancer survivor Katie Joyce (above), 19, is hosting an all-day fundraising tea party for Cancer Care West on April 28 at Stradbally North in Clarinbridge, Co Galway. See idonate.ie/fundraiser/11362752_mary-and-katie-s-tea-party.html
Out with old and in with the new, as Brown Thomas unveils a brand-new café on the Dublin store's refurbished Level 2. Green & Bean Café Bar is a fresh and healthy on-trend offering with artisan coffee, fresh cold-pressed juices, nutritious shakes and power salads. See brownthomas.com