Having never attended Meatopia in London, nor step foot in Ireland, I was rather pleased when Team Guinness threw an invite my way for a special Dublin edition of the carniverous, open flame food festival. Two days of sunshine, meat, beer, music, World Cup quarter finals and friendly Irish folk? If I must…
Guinness x Meatopia, now in its second year, is a much more intimate affair than the London iteration. For the 2018 edition, a handful of top chefs descended upon Guinness’ Open Gate Brewery for the weekend with a signature dish to be paired with one of Guinness’ creations, some of which were brewed especially for the event. And whilst hungry punters sampled the various food and drinks combos around the site, guest speakers from the world of beer plus the chefs themselves gave enlightening talks and demos before making way for high-octane music sets from the likes of Reverend Vince Anderson & The Love Choir and Brassroots.
Here’s a rundown of the chefs, their dishes and Guinness’ beer pairings:
Elizabeth Haigh – Singaporean chef Elizabeth, formerly of Michelin-starred Pidgin is set to open her own spot, Shibui, in London. She served up a delicious portions of roasted miso chicken, chicken fat mayo, chicken skin furikake and BBQ veg salad, paired with Open Gate Citra IPA.
Dan Doherty – Dan, formerly of Duck & Waffle, has recently taken over The Royal Oak in Marylebone and has exciting plans to open a restaurant in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards development in 2019. He served up Indian spiced grilled lamb chops with herbs, green chilli and lime, with burnt aubergine and smoked yoghurt, paired with Open Gate Summer Pale Ale.
Jonathon Sawyer – James Beard award-winning chef Jonathon runs several successful spots in Cleveland, Ohio, including his flagship spot The Greenhouse Tavern. He served up “Nonna’s Sunday Supper” – beef shank braciola with pork neck, bones and cheeks, ricotta cavaletti, tendon salsa verde, & suet scarpetta, paired with Foreign Extra Stout
Niall Davidson – Niall recently opened Nuala in London, a highly rated spot for Irish cuisine with a superior wine list and a great downstairs bar. This year he served up pork belly with meadowsweet honey and pickled apple, paired with Hop House 13 lager.
Esther Choi – Inspired by cooking Korean food with her grandmother when growing up, Esther now runs Mokbar & Ms.Yoo in New York. She served up Kalbi (Korean ribs) cooked over alder wood and served on SSAM (lettuce wrap, grilled rice cake, scallion salad and roasted garlic) with grilled whole head kimchi, paired with Open Gate’s tart Gooseberry Sour.
Killian Crowley – Killian won San Pellegrino Young Chef Ireland & UK in 2018 and is chef de partie at Michelin-starred Aniar in Galway. He rocked up with the only seafood dish of Guinness x Meatopia – Irish mussels, kelp and oysters cooked on the coals with pickled alaria and smoked Irish seaweed, paired with Open Gate Pilsner.
Chang-Wook Chung – Korean Chang-Wook, raised in Japan, is known for his French-Asian cuisine at Bistro Chaugi in Seoul. He served up ginger soy sauce marinated fillet steak barbecued Korean style over charcoal on flatbread with garlic mayo, paired with Meatopia exclusive Salt & Pepper Ale.
Pip Lacey – Pip, formerly of Angela Hartnett’s Murano, won Great British Menu in 2017 and is soon to open Hicce. She served up lamb belly ribs and fresh tomato salsa with rosemary and thyme, and scorched white onion & mojo verde, paired with Guinness Draught.
Liam Kirwan – Liam worked all over the world before returning to Ireland to work at Mikey Ryans in Cashel before moving to be head chef at The Montenotte Hotel in Cork. He served up whole roasted chicken in a smoked bacon & hazelnut butter served with cider apple slaw on pine focaccia, paired with Open Gate Citra IPA.
The dishes were outstanding across the board, though if you pushed me to pick a favourite I’d probably have to side with Elizabeth Haigh’s moreish miso roasted chicken or Chang-Wook Chung’s ridiculously tasty and messy bulgogi beef sandwich. The Open Gate brewery beers were smartly paired, none more so than the limited edition salt and pepper ale that perfectly complimented Chang-Wook’s punchy flavours. It was an extremely well run event, never over-crowded, with an electric atmosphere all weekend, especially when Reverend Vince took the stage on Saturday night a few hours after England’s quarter final win against Sweden.
The brief trip also gave me a chance to check out a few other spots around Dublin for food and drink. If you want to have a well poured Guinness in a classic pub in town, start off with Kehoe’s and Grogans. Keen to try some of the new wave of Irish craft beer? Check out L.Mulligan’s (also a great spot for food and whiskey), Underdog, 57 The Headline, or one of Galway Brewery’s spots (e.g. Against The Grain, Black Sheep). After coffee and brunch? Head to Meet Me In The Morning (attached to Reference Coffee next door), Network, 3FE, Legit Coffee Co, Two Boys Brew, The Fumbally and more. And if it’s a dram you desire, swing by The Dingle Whiskey Bar and take a tour of Teeling’s Whiskey Distillery. That should be enough to get you started. Slainté!