Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Restaurant Forty One. The Magic of Graham Neville. The Taste Magazine May edition 2105

Restaurant Forty One “ The Magic of Chef Graham Neville “ by Robert Jacob

There are many things to like about Graham Neville cooking; Not only does he serve some exquisitely refined cooking but he also remains true to the provenance of the produce he uses going to the extent of cultivating some of the vegetables and herbs he serves in his restaurant. It represents what a talented and ambitious young Chef with a serious Culinary pedigree, as he previously worked with the Michelin Star Chef Kevin Thornton, think what Irish Cuisine should be about nowadays and let’s not forget the address as it couldn’t get any better.


Occupying the first floor of what must be one of Dublin’s finest town houses, an ivy clad Georgian building, overlooking St Stephen’s Green is Restaurant Forty One.

With wood panelling, over sized gilt mirrors and heavy damask, the decor is opulent yet very very elegant and exudes old world charm. We were immediately at ease in the cosy dining room. Tables are well spaced out and seating very comfortable. The staff are poised and flawlessly professional.

We started with an Amuse bouche of Chicken Ravioli & Porcini Mushroom. A single ravioli sat in a pool of fragrant mushroom cream. It was magnificent with great depth of flavours.

My starter of Annagassan Smoked Salmon with Clogherhead crab was elegantly presented, topped with a lattice of fine match sticks of Granny Smith Apple, a flavour constellation of finely chopped capers, red onion, egg yolk, egg white and salmon roe. The Crabmeat was sweet and perfectly seasoned while the wafer thin Smoked Salmon was delicate with just a hint of smokiness. This was no conjuring game, as both produce sang the authenticity of their provenance.

Our  mains of  John Dory stuffed with a Prawn Mousse, Wild garlic, Artichoke, Noilly Prat Sauce was exactingly executed and delivered. Again, perfectly seasoned and cooked fish with the ethereal texture of the prawn mousse and slivers of Wild garlic as a garnish. It was pure bliss. What intrigued about this dish is that  it managed to be  light but delivered a full punch of comfort food pleasure. How, I so wished I had taken a second helping of bread from the starter now, to mop up all that Noilly Prat vermouth sauce.


For dessert, a Millefeuille, Praline. Butternut squash and roast lemon puree, While it tasted very good, it lacked a bit of finesse in presentation.

However across was a sweet smelling Warm Irish Orchard Apple Tarte Tatin, Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream, it was classic in its approach but my god it tasted divine, with perfect pastry, fruits with still a bite and delicious caramel, With the ice cream , it delivered a perfect mouthful in textures, temperature and flavours.

There is no doubt in my mind that Graham Neville is on the starting block as one of the next great Irish Chefs and if you haven’t visited Restaurant Forty One yet, then you are missing out on something very special.

Restaurant Forty One
Residence Club
41, St Stephen’s Green
Dublin 2
T: 01-6620000
E: info@restaurantfortyone.ie


©2012-2015;Robert Jacob;jacob'scrackers;jacobscrackers9; All rights reserved 

Monday, 4 May 2015

Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey. The Taste Magazine May edition 2015

When Irish eyes are smiling “ Rediscover the Original Irish Whiskey “ by Robert Jacob

Midleton Dair Ghaelach pic 1-1

There was a time when Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey was the World’s favourite. For over a century, it defined the very essence of Irish Whiskey, it’s complexity, full of flavour and lingering taste flowing from Dublin to New York via London.

History was unkind and Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey all but disappeared from view, however while new fashions and trends came, nestled in the deep wilderness of Southern Ireland,it enjoyed an illicit romanticism and a group of devoted distillers in Midleton kept the flame alive and thanks to them, you can now rediscover the Original Irish Whiskey for yourself.

Midleton Distillery is unique in many ways, not least because it is where the tradition of Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey has been protected, nurtured and enhanced for almost 200 years.
All Pot Still Whiskeys at Midleton are triple distilled known as the holy trinity in lustrous cathedral sized copper pot stills in individual batches. As in any premium product, it is a slow, expensive and time consuming process. It is a carefully crafted Irish spirit, made from un malted barley and aged in oak casks.

It is said that it is socially acceptable to hide your Single Pot Still Whiskey from unappreciative guests, I couldn’t agree more for Single Pot Still is so good, it breaks and mends your heart at the same time.

Here are a few for you to try :

Yellow Spot 

irish_yel1Sophisticated & complex. Creamy from the unmalted barley with pot still spices from the Malaga casks with notes of red apples & toasted oak.

Redbreast 12 year old 

Redbreast 12 Year Old USFull flavoured with a harmonious balance of spicy Xmas stewed fruits leaving a comforting finish at the back of your throat.

Powers Signature Release 


An unhurried journey through an impressive flavour spectrum. Succulently sweet with herbal undertones on the nose, leading into the warming flavours of charred oaks with hints of melon and pears.

Midleton Barry Crocket 

MidletonBarryCrockett-lightbox-seElegant aroma of Vanilla and old spice notes revealing its years spent in American’s oak casks.

Red Breast 21 year Old

Redbreast 21 Year Old Bottle pic 3Remarkable aroma spanning fresh tropical fruits, rich dried fruits with a creamy mouth feel from the barley where it all began.
A new member of the Single Pot Still family is soon to be launched by Midleton. The new Midleton Dair Ghaelach will be the first of its kind to be entirely finished in Virgin Irish Oak from Grinsell’s wood in Co. Kilkenny. This exciting new whiskey is the result of a six year exploration by Midleton into using native oak.

Go n-éirí an bóthar leat.

©2012-2015;Robert Jacob;jacob'scrackers;jacobscrackers9; All rights reserved 

Jamon Iberico. The most famous tapas in Spain. The Taste Magazine May edition 2015

The Most Famous Tapas in Spain – Jamon Iberico by Robert Jacob

Iberico Ham 1

Tapas has become very fashionable in the last few years, but what exactly is tapas and where does it come from? Some enlightenment came when I recently attended a tasting of Iberico Ham with Master Carver Mario Hiraldo, a leading authority on Iberico Ham in the World during a recent visit to Dublin. On the word of the Master himself, the word Tapa, the Spanish word for lid, specifically the lid created by slices of bread that innkeepers would thoughtfully place on top of customer’s wine glass to keep the flies and dust away. But when customers began taking bites from the bread, the Andalusians began placing a morsel of something on top, may it be slivers of Manchego cheese or Iberico Ham and hence a new Spanish institution was born and who knew that years later it would take the world by storm.

Iberico ham or “jamon iberico” is not just the most revered cured meat in Spain, it also has enormous cultural significance and dates back to pig breeding in pre-Roman times as well as meat-curing and both have remained largely unchanged over the centuries. It is said that whenever the King Of Spain travels, his Chefs bring along their own Iberico Ham.

Today, it has pride of place in Spanish gastronomy and is now being discovered worldwide.Produced from Black Iberian Pigs or cross bred pigs as long as they are at least 75% Iberico. These noble animals are primarily reared in Western and South Western regions of Spain. The methods used surpasses what most of us think about organic, the pigs are allowed to roam freely in nearly 1 hectare of pastures per head, to feed naturally on grass, herbs and above all acorns. This constant foraging means the pigs gets plenty of exercise and in turn this forms the fat in its muscles, giving the meat a signature succulence and buttery texture.

The curing process takes an astonishing two years and unlike Prosciutto or Parma ham, Iberico ham is not covered in lard during the curing process nor any other external ingredients that would affect its inherent flavour. Hand sliced, wafer thin and eaten immediately is the best way to enjoy the incomparable flavours. Each section of the leg will provide you with its own characteristic, textures and flavours.

pic 3-1

From the The Tasting Plate
–  At 12 O’clock, The Cana – top end nearer the hoof delivered a drier yet very sweet mouthfeel.

–  At 2 O’clock, The Maza – with lots of marbling was rather nutty in flavour

–  At 5 0’clock, The Contra – slightly lower on the leg, has more fat and delivered spicier notes and buttery mouthfeel. We were encourage to lay a piece on the back of our hand for a few seconds and then taste. It was pure heaven and melted like butter on our tongue.

– At 7 0’clock, The Babilla – rump end of the ham contains less fat and the meat is darker, leaner, salty but well structured.

– At 9 O’clock , The Punta – was very lean with rather mushroomy flavours.
All these morsels were washed down by the finest Sherry from JEREZ. The Fino was tangy while the Manzanilla with less of a bouquet was drier but my favourite was the Lollo Rosso which was dry and sweet.

pic 4

With summer fast approaching, a selection of these bite size gastronomic glories served with drinks before lunch or dinner will go hand in hand with friendship and good conversation. So tuck in, forget the cares of the day and linger, Spanish style with your favourite people.

Available from the Following Stockists:
Black Pig, Donnybrook. www.blackpig.ie, Fallon & Byrne, Suffolk street. www. fallonandbyrne.com, Sheridan Cheese Mongers, St Anne Street. www.sheridanscheesemongers.com and Supervalu,  www.supervalu.ie

©2012-2015;Robert Jacob;jacob'scrackers;jacobscrackers9; All rights reserved