The Restaurant returns with a great line-up of 6 celebrities putting on the Head Chef uniform and taking on the challenge to create a menu that will please the diners and earn a five star rating from Resident Critics, Marco Pierre White and Rachel Allen.
Jenny Greene has been a fixture on the Irish dance music scene for longer than she cares to remember! Her first radio gig was at the age of fifteen (having been DJing since the age of 12). Jenny’s performance star has risen in recent years through an ongoing collaboration with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra which has seen her play to stuffed halls and packed fields on the festival circuit since 2016.
Jenny’s menu calls on memories of her childhood, her momentous wedding day and her work life on radio.
To starter, Jenny served a family favourite cooked by her mother. Seared Scallops, Kelly’s Black Pudding with Red Onion Relish. The Critics were left stumped by the amount of relish on the plate, Rachel Allen commenting “there’s a lot of onion relish, and it’s quite strong”. The second starter, Crispy Pork Belly with Asian Slaw was inspired by the starter option from Jenny’s Wedding to Kelly Keogh in 2016.
Main courses; Fillet Steak with Skinny Fries, Béarnaise Sauce & Tobacco Onions. The second main course; Grilled Monkfish with Stir-Fried Greens & Asian Dressing continued the Asian theme running through Jenny’s menu. But the lack of a carbohydrate on this dish left many in the dining room feeling short changed.
A playful clue on desserts gave rise to the diners guessing who might be in the Kitchen. Valrhon Chocolate Disco Glitter Ball with a Mint Parfit, hidden inside the chocolate sphere. Resident Critic Rachel Allen correctly pieced the clues together, guessing a radio DJ and Greene was the clue behind the mint parfit. The second dessert, Espresso Martini Dessert, brought out the playful side of Marco Pierre White who loved the dessert served in a cocktail glass but was stumpted on how best to eat or drink the very glamorous looking dessert.
Will Jenny’s food have the Critics dancing in the aisles?
The Guest Critic who joined Resident Critics, Marco Pierre White and Rachel Allen to rate Hugh’s menu out of 5 stars was JP McMahon.
Commenting on the meal, JP McMahon said both his high point and low point was on desserts. He loved the Espresso Martini dessert but the Chocolate Disco Glitter Ball “lacked the honesty of the Espresso Martini”.
JP McMahon is a Michelin starred chef, columnist and author whose restaurant, Aniar, draws guests from all over the world to Galway City to sample Irish food with a Nordic twist. He is also the proprietor of Cava Bodega in Galway.
JP is a champion for Irish food and in that capacity has set up Food On The Edge (FOTE) an annual two-day international symposium held in Galway. He is also a passionate advocate for food education and believes that every pupil should leave school with the ability to cook.
JP travels the world spreading the good word about Irish ingredients and he’s taken time out from his frantic schedule to bring his expertise and insight to the Critics’ Table in the Restaurant.
Seared Scallops, Kelly’s Black Pudding with Red Onion Relish
3 knobs of butter
vegetable oil, for frying
18 scallops, cleaned
juice of ½ lemon
18 slices Kelly’s of Newport black pudding
For the red onion relish:
15g red wine vinegar
100g red onion, finely diced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
micro herbs, to serve (optional)
1 To make the red onion relish, place the sugar, water and vinegar in a pan and heat to dissolve the sugar. Add the red onion and bring to a brisk simmer, then cook until the liquid has reduced almost to nothing.
2 Heat two frying pans and add a little vegetable oil to both. Season the scallops and add to one of the heated frying pans. Fry the scallops until golden, then turn over and add in the lemon juice and rest of the butter. Baste with the frothing butter for 20 seconds and remove to a plate lined with kitchen paper.
3 Meanwhile, add the black pudding to the other heated frying pan. Cook until crisp and then turn over and allow to crisp on the other side. Again drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper.
4 To serve, put three pieces of the black pudding on each plate and top with a scallop, then add a small spoonful of red onion relish on top to serve. Garnish with mirco herbs, if liked.
Crispy Pork Belly with Asian Slaw
For the pork:
110ml dry sherry
75ml dark soy sauce
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp Chinese five spice
2 tbsp honey
600g pork belly
For the Asian slaw:
1/4 red cabbage
1 green apple
10g fresh mint leaves
7g fresh coriander leaves
1 mild red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
3 tbsp sesame oil
4 tbsp fish sauce
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
50g toasted peanuts
50g toasted crispy fried shallots
1 Preheat the oven to 160C. To prepare the pork, put the sherry in a bowl with the soy, vinegar, five spice and honey and combine well set aside.
2 Score the skin of the pork with a sharp knife in a crisscross pattern and dry with paper towel and salt heavily.
3 Rub the spice mix on the under side of the belly place in a pan and put in oven for 2 hours and cover with tin foil. Once tender, leave to cool, then trim down and cut into 6 even-sized portions. When ready to serve, reheat gently in a pan in the juices, turning each piece regularly. Keep warm.
4 To make the Asian slaw, finely slice cabbage, apple, chilli and place in a bowl. Mix together sesame oil fish sauce, lemon juice, olive oil and mix well you can honey for a little sweetness. Drizzle over salad, tossing to coat.
5 Arrange on the Asian slaw on plates and top each portion with a piece of the crispy pork belly and garnish with peanuts and shallots.
Fillet Steak with Skinny Fries, Béarnaise Sauce & Tobacco Onions
For the Béarnaise sauce:
4 shallots finely chopped
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 pinch dried tarragon
1 pinch fresh tarragon
90ml dry white wine
90ml white wine vinegar
6 egg yolks
juice of ½ lemon
For the steaks:
4 x 225g fillet steaks (dry-aged)
8 garlic cloves, bashed
15g fresh thyme sprigs
2 tbsp olive oil
100g butter, diced
For the tobacco onions:
2 large Spanish onions
½ tsp fine salt
plain white flour, for dredging
sunflower oil, for deep-frying
good pinch of paprika
good pinch of cayenne pepper
For the skinny fries:
4 large Rooster potatoes
sunflower oil, for deep-frying
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 First make the béarnaise sauce, melt 200g of the butter in a stainless steel pan. In another stainless steel pan fry the shallots in the remaining butter. Add the cracked pepper and dried tarragon and mix together. Add the wine and vinegar and reduce the lot to a syrup. Strain everything through a sieve squeezing well to release all the juices. Place this in a stainless steel or Pyrex bowl and add the egg yolks. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and start to whisk. After 2-3 minutes start to drizzle the melted butter onto the egg yolks amalgamating as you go along. When all the butter is in add the fresh tarragon, salt, pepper and lemon juice and keep in a warm place.
2 Preheat the oven to 200C. To cook the steaks, cut an ovenproof griddle pan on a high heat. Season the steak on both sides, then rub all over with the garlic cloves, thyme and olive oil. Put the steak into the hot pan and char the underside for 2 minutes until griddle lines appear. Turn the steak over to brown the other side, rub the top with thyme again, then lay the thyme and garlic on top of the meat.
3 Once evenly browned all over with griddle lines. Arrange on a large baking sheet and put the thyme, garlic and a generous knob of the butter on top. lace the steaks in the oven to finish cooking for 2-4 minutes or until the meat reaches 62-65C on a probe thermometer (or until cooked to your liking) – the exact time will depend on the thickness of the steaks.
4 Rest the steaks for 10 minutes, while you finish the chips. Reheat the oil to 190C. With a slotted spoon, lower the par-cooked chips gently into the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
5 To make the Tobacco onions, cut the onions in half on the length, then cut into thin slices against the grain. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. With your hands, toss the onions, separating the pieces as you go. Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes. Toss in the flour, pressing the flour into them to form a good crust.
6 Heat the sunflower oil to 180C and deep-fry the onions until golden brown. Season with the paprika and cayenne to taste. Keep warm.
7 To make the chips, heat the sunflower oil to 190C. Peel the potatoes and cut them into long, thin strips. Place in a large bowl and set aside for 3-5 minutes until the starch begins to leak from the potatoes and the mixture starts to look sticky. Deep-fry the potatoes for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Drain on plenty of kitchen paper and season with salt.
8 Arrange the rested steaks on warmed plates with a small dish of the Béarnaise sauce. Add the Tobacco onions and skinny fries and serve immediately.
Grilled Monkfish with Stir-Fried Asian Greens & Asian Dressing
For the monkfish marinade:
1 tsp Thai green curry paste 1 tbsp natural yoghurt 1 tbsp freshly chopped coriander juice of 1/2 a lime
For the monkfish:
700g monkfish fillets, boneless and well trimmed
2 tbsp light olive oil For the Asian dressing: 4 tbsp rapeseed oil 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar 1 tbsp dark soy sauce 1 tbsp finely minced fresh ginger 1 tsp toasted sesame oil sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
For the stir-fried greens: 2 tsp vegetable oil
450g mixed Asian greens, chopped, such as spinach, chard and pak choi
1 To make the marinade for the monkfish, mix all of the ingredients together and place in a shallow non-metallic dish. Add the monkfish and turn to coat. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow the flavours to combine.
2 To make the Asian dressing, place the rapeseed, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil in bowl. Blitz together in a mini food processor and then transfer to a bowl and stir in the toasted seeds.
3 Preheat the grill to medium. Drizzle the monkfish with the oil and arrange on the grill rack. Cook for 3 minutes on each side, turning occasionally until just tender and cooked through. Remove to a warmed plate and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.
4 To prepare the stir-fried greens, heat a wok until smoking hot and then add the vegetable oil, swirling it up the sides. Tip in the Asian greens and stir-fry for 1-3 minutes, depending on the combination of vegetables you are using, until wilted and tender. Place on a warm dish and drizzle over just enough of the dressing to lightly coat. Keep warm.
5 Carve the rested monkfish into slices and arrange on plates with the stir-fried greens and drizzle over the remaining dressing to serve.
Expresso Martini Dessert
For the crème brûlée filling:
2 egg yolks (pasteurized)
25g caster sugar
150ml double cream
1 vanilla pod
For the stock syrup:
200ml cold water
100ml caster sugar
1/2 vanilla pod, split in half with seeds scraped out
For the espresso jelly:
300ml hot espresso
125 stock syrup (see recipe above)
50ml Grey goose Vodka
75ml Kahula liqueur
4 gelatine leaves (enough to set 600ml of liquid)
250ml double cream
2 tbsp icing sugar
60 chocolate coffee beans
12 tuile biscuits scrolls
1 To make the crème brulee filling, whisk the egg yolks in a bowl with the sugar together until pale in colour.
2 Cut the vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrap out the seeds with the back of a knife. Put the vanilla pod and seeds into a saucepan then pour in the cream. Heat over a medium temperature until the cream is just hot but not boiling. Then pour over the egg mixture and whisk. Allow to infuse for 30 minutes then strain.
3 Place the silicone moulds into the baking tray. Divide the mixture between 6 medium sphere silicon moulds. Bake at 100C for 30-45 minutes until just set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely, then place into the freezer for a few hours.
4 To make the stock syrup, place all the ingredients in a pan. Bring to the boil and allow to boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
5 To make the espresso jelly, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes and allow to soften. Squeeze off the excess water and stir the gelatine into the espresso until completely dissolved.
6 Add in the stock syrup, vodka and Kahula. Allow the mixture to cool. Divide half of the mixture between 6 martini glasses. Allow the jelly to set in the fridge. Once set, unfold the vanilla brûlée and place it on top of the jelly. Then pour the remaining jelly over dividing it between the martinis glasses. Now return to the fridge for 4-6 hours. This will allow the jelly to set completely and the brûlée to completely defrost.
8 To serve, arrange eight coffee beans on top of each espresso jelly. Place the cream and icing sugar into a bowl and semi whipped, then place a few spoonfuls of cream into each glass. Then decorate with another two chocolate coffee beans and the tuile biscuit scroll on the side.
Valrhona Chocolate Disco Glitter Ball with Mint Parfit
For the mint syrup:
50g glucose syrup
4 handfuls of fresh mint leaves
For the mint parfait:
6 egg yolks (pasteurized)
100g caster sugar
100ml crème de menthe
4 tbsp mint syrup (see recipe above)
300ml double cream
12 chocolate sphere dome shells
12 After Eights
edible Silver spray
1 To make the mint syrup, put the sugar into a pan with the glucose syrup and water. Bring to the boil. Then remove from the heat.
2 Blanch the mint for 10 seconds in a small pan of boiling water and refresh the mint leaves. Squeeze excess water. Then add to the stock syrup and blitz in a thermo mix. Place in an airtight container in the fridge and any leftover syrup can be frozen.
3 To make the mint parfait, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Then set over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the ensure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Keeping whisking until they are become pale and thickened.
4 Transfer the mix to stand alone mixer and whisk until the mixture is completely cold. Add in the Crème de menthe and mint syrup.
5 Semi whip the cream and fold into the egg mixture.
6 To assemble, fill 6 chocolate spheres with the parfait mixture and leave in the freezer for at least 4 hours or overnight is best.
7 To serve, chop up the After Eights and sprinkle on top of the mint parfait. Quickly place the remaining chocolate sphere dome shells on at a time on a hot tray for a few seconds and place on top of each mint parfait creating a ball shape. Return to the freezer for a few minutes to all the chocolate to harden.
6 Spray each chocolate ball with silver spray and shake some glitter on top and serve immediately.