Vegan Degustation Menu a Pop-Up Delight

Vegan Degustation Menu a Pop-Up Delight
Clockwise from top left
1st course, 2nd, 3rd, 4th.
Dee's Wholefoods sponsored last week’s National Vegetarian Week, and Dee herself, whose motto is “Goodness is Tasty”, hosted a pop-up vegan dining club dinner in Cork last Thursday.

The advance notice read: “It will take place at a secret location in the City Centre where a minimum 10 course tasting menu will be served in a relaxed and comfortable environment. Guests can enjoy refined plant-based cuisine based on seasonal local ingredients. If you would you like your taste buds tantalised by an innovative culinary experience then come and join us!”

Well, I joined her and it sure was a very enjoyable experience. It was held in the Barden Supper Club in Leitrim Street and every single course of the ten was a treat. And we had good company as well. You can see the menu below.  

Vegan Degustation
Mushroom tempura maki roll sushi, cherry daikon nigiri

Deep fried chilli mozzarella, guacamole & pepper mayo

Cashew cheese, spinach & artichoke mille-feuille, beetroot oil

Asparagus & olive risotto smoked tomato coulis

Bloody mary sorbet

Maple glazed sweet potato with pickled rhubarb

Pan-fried miso’d tofu & kim chee

Cucumber sunomono on Japanese style kale

Wasabi & peanut grilled stuffed aubergine on butternut squash puree,
granny smith salsa

Chocolate coconut & strawberry mousse

Clockwise from top left
5th course, 6th, 7th, 8th
At the end of the meal, we had a chat and Dee asked what was the highlight. Naturally enough, the courses just eaten came up first but gradually we worked our way back through the menu and, in some cases, certainly in mine, every single course had something to enjoy.

Got “ambushed” with the first when I inadvertently picked up a hidden piece of wasabi. That certainly woke up the taste buds. The next two courses were thoroughly enjoyed. Perhaps the Asparagus and Olive Risotto was the highlight of the first half, a really lovely combination of flavors and textures.

Mark Cronin is the expert chef here and has problems getting Irish asparagus and indeed, his is the third kitchen I’ve heard say the same thing over the past week, though the other two were on Twitter. I know Lisheen Organics in West Cork grow some great asparagus but surely there must be other Irish growers.

After an excellent Bloody Mary Sorbet, with its own celery stick, we started on part two and here highlight followed highlight. The pickled rhubarb was an unusual treat as was the warmed Kimchee (a Korean dish). I loved the texture and taste of the kale and then that stuffed aubergine was a delight, enhanced by the Granny Smith salsa.

And then we had that sweet ending. The chocolate and strawberries combined well, as they usually do, and the dusting of coconut was a nice touch. Indeed, the whole event was excellent and demonstrated as Dee said at the outset that you don't have to be a vegan to enjoy this delicious menu.

This is a BYO venue and there is no corkage charge. We brought along the 2012 Little Beauty Sauvignon Blanc, a crisp tropical white that seemed made for the occasion. Importer Maurice O’Mahony of Wine Alliance told me that is “drinking well right now” and he was spot-on. With all the conversation going on, I neglected to take notes on the night but this New Zealand gem is Very Highly Recommended. Wine Alliance stockists
9th course (left) and dessert.

Mark Cronin is adding to his reputation with these vegan menus but he does quite a few styles and his skill is well recognized as parties of restaurant staff are among his clients. Find out more about this interesting club here.  Barden Supper Club, 20 Leitrim Street, Cork.

By coincidence Síle ní Donaile, a member of a Food Club of 8 members, was in touch that very evening. Basically about once a month one of the group hosts an evening, whereby they invite someone to cook and demonstrate what they are cooking to the group. The group then sits down to eat the food, generally a starter of some sort, main and dessert.  The chef demonstrating brings and cooks the food and the hostess provides wine, table set etc.

“So far we have been paying from €35 to 45 pp.  The Chef normally leaves as the mains are dished up so it’s not a late night for him. It’s very casual”. Interested? Then contact Síle at

And I have previously posted about another Cork Supper Club, this run by Ruth Stockdale & Banu Balaji. Read all about the social and local South Indian Supper Club here.