“Just Ask!” Restaurant of the Month for November - Dooks Fine Foods, Fethard, Co. Tipperary

Modern, fiercely local food is the hallmark of chef Richard Gleeson’s smartly understated restaurant and deli on the edge of Fethard.

When he returned to his home town to open Dooks Fine Foods last year, Richard brought experience with masters of flavour like Yotam Ottolenghi and Skye Gyngell (formerly at Petersham Nurseries, now in central London at Spring, Somerset House), so he had food lovers licking their lips in anticipation of the simple, colourful food and bold flavours that promised.

And it was well worth the wait. Open all day from early morning, Dooks is a quality destination for everything from an aromatic coffee and a more-ish home bake (note the array laid out enticingly just inside the door) to a deliciously tasty and reviving lunch served from the open kitchen - and fans travel great distances for the pleasure of dinner, which is a Tasting Menu and offered only on Saturday nights.

Richard Gleeson uses his menus to introduce the sourcing philosophy at Dooks: “Everything is prepared on site from predominantly locally sourced, indigenous, seasonal produce”, he explains. “We are committed to maximising the flavour potential of Irish seasonal ingredients”.

A hymn to the good things produced in Ireland, especially Tipperary and the neighbouring counties, menus abound with great producers both famous - such as Cashel Farmhouse Cheeses produced nearby (“I love using Cashel Blue and their Shepherds Store Cheese”) - and less well known, but equally delicious, local treats such as David O’Meara’s wonderful Slievnamon honey, and the Irish Hedgerow drinks from Drangan, Co. Tipperary.

Tipperary is famous for the exceptional quality of its meats and the excellent O'Dwyer's Butchers of Killenaule play a starring role at Dooks, supplying all the beef (from O’Dwyer’s farm), chicken and lamb. Other meats proudly credited include Crowe’s Farm award winning pork from Dundrum and black and white pudding from ‘The Butcher’s Daughter’ range of Cashel, while fresh fish and seafood is supplied by both Seatrade in Dunmore East, Co Waterford and Daly’s of Co Kerry.

Interestingly - reflecting both the exceptional growing conditions in Tipperary and renewed recognition of the value of plant-based cooking - there’s an unusually wide range of local growers listed, including the Gleesons’ own family home gardens (“no nasties”), Annie's Farm at Cashel (for organics) and many more - there’s even a dedicated spinach grower, Trehy's of Lisronagh.

“There’s such a long list of amazing food producers that we love working with…” says Richard. “They include Emly Eggs in Oola, Co. Limerick and Magner’s Farm in Fethard for free and pasture range eggs; Gubbeen Smokehouse, Killenure Dexter and Irish Piedmontese charcuterie products; Kilbeggan Organic Oats; Ballyhoura Mushrooms' wonderful array of cooking products; our Le Caveau Wines (Kilkenny); our Coffee Culture ‘Kibele’ coffee, roasted in Birdhill; all of the Traas Apple Farms wonderful offering; Kells Wholemeal Flours in Bennetsbridge and so many others”.

And it’s not all about the restaurant - the deli is super too. Featuring a wide range of in-house goodies and a carefully chosen collection of other interesting artisan must-haves (many of which feature on menus), the only problem is how to stop scooping irresistible treats off the shelves...

A perfect complement to the town's famously traditional McCarthy's Pub, just up the road, Dooks is not only a boon to locals but also well worth a scenic detour off the Dublin-Cork motorway - a must-visit destination in this county of abundance.

For additional information on Just Ask and previous Just Ask winners, or to find out how to get involved, visit www.bordbia.ie.

[NB – This is a simplified version of the menu. On the main menu symbols are included to indicate suitability of dishes for special diets (vegetarian, vegan and gluten free) and potential allergens are also listed (Gluten, Crustaceans, Egg, Fish, Peanuts, Soya Beans, Milk, Nuts, Celery (incl. celeriac & celery salt), Mustard, Sesame, Sulphur Dioxide, Lupin, Molluscs)]

BREAKFAST (7.30am - 12pm)
Dooks brown bread/ white yeast bread portion with butter & Dooks jam / Seville orange marmalade 1: Scone with Dooks jam: fruit oatmeal / brown / plain* / sticky orange** 3/2.5 */3.2 **weekend only
Dooks granola, honeyed yoghurt & blackcurrant compote 5.5
Porridge with poached nectarine & yoghurt 4.8
Scrambled eggs, organic mixed leaves, Dooks brown bread / Dooks white yeast toast 6
add roasted tomato & wilted spinach €7.5 / Crowe's bacon €3 Dooks orange & fennel sausage €3
Rosemary, orange & fennel sausage, oven roasted tomatoes, fried eggs & Dooks white yeast toast 12
BREAKFAST OFFER I Hot drink & a scone before 11am (Tuesday - Friday)

LUNCH (12pm-4pm)
Roasted tomato and fennel soup w/ sour cream, toasted pumpkin seeds and Dooks brown bread 5.5
Focaccia, garlic & buttermilk marinated chicken, parsley mayonnaise, pickled shallots & leaves 9.5
Bruschetta with roasted courgette, aubergine, toasted sunflower seeds, goats cheese, rocket pesto 9
Pan-fried salmon, pickled shallots, rainbow chard, rooster potatoes & horseradish cream 14
Pan-fried hake, Gubbeen chorizo, green bean & potato, rocket pesto 14

1 Salad €4.5
1 Meat/Fish €6.5
2 Salads €8.5
Meat/Fish & 2 Salads €13.5
3 Salads €12.5
+ Dooks Brown Bread /White Yeast Bread €1.5

· Green bean, sweetcorn, potato, garlic, rocket, rocket pesto
· Carrot, apple, red cabbage, beetroot, parsley, dill
· Roasted aubergine, sunflower seed yoghurt, toasted sunflower & poppy seeds, pickled fennel, basil
· Roasted onion squash, honey mixed seeds, garlic & lemon yoghurt, rocket
Meats & Fish
Roasted salmon fillet, horseradish cream, pickled shallot
Lemon, garlic & buttermilk marinated chicken supreme with rocket pesto

LUNCH OFFER Cup of soup with chicken focaccia or bruschetta 10.5
Cup of soup with a portion of salad & Dooks brown bread 7

MENU Drinks & Desserts
Barry's loose leaf tea €2.2
Kardemumma teas: Camomile / Peppermint/ Russian Earl Grey / Roibos lemon / Sensha Makato Green 2.8
Coffee Culture Americano / Macchiato* €2.8
Coffee Culture Cappuccino / Latte* 3.2
Coffee Culture Flat White* 3
Coffee Culture Espresso / Double Espresso 2/2.5
Babyccino (steamed foamy milk)* 1
Chef's Signature Hot Chocolate 3.2
*Soy milk available
Mineral Water Still / Sparkling 1.95
Cahir Apple Farm Still Apple Juice / Sparkling Apple Juice / Lemonade / Pink Lemonade 250ml 2.5
Irish Hedgerow Sparkling Elderflower Refresher 750ml 5.2
House lemon iced tea 3
Sweet iced lemony Rooibos 3
Iced Russian Earl Grey 3
Iced Dooks coffee black / milked / sweetened 3/3.10/+10c
*Soy milk available

Flourless chocolate cake 4
Spiced carrot cake with hazelnuts & candied pumpkin seeds 3.5
Baked elderflower cheesecake with strawberries & brown scone base 3.5
Orange & almond cake with chocolate ganache & candied orange peel 3.5
Chocolate chip cookie 2
Lemon & rosemary bundt cake with lemon icing 3.2
Raspberry financier with fresh raspberries 3.5

Organic Vegetables Annie's Farm, Ardmayle, Cashel, Co. Tipperary
Seasonal Garden Produce (w/ no nasties) Brookhill Kitchen Garden, (chef's family home) Fethard; Tullamine Castle Gardens, Fethard; Long Meadow' Kitchen Garden, Cashel
Vegetables Moloney Brothers Fruit & Veg, Cashel
Spinach Trehy's, Lisronagh, Co. Tipperary

Pork Crowe's Farm, Gortussa, Dundrum, Co. Tipperary
Meat O'Dwyer's Butchers, Killenaule, Co. Tipperary
Seafood Seatrade, Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
Seafood The Fishman's Market, Co. Kilkenny
Chorizo Gubbeen Smokehouse, Schull, Co. Cork

Coffee Coffee Culture, Birdhill, Co. Tipperary
Herbal Teas Kardemumma, Co. Sligo
Soft Drinks & Juices & Cider Vinegar Con Traas Apple Farm, Cahir, Co. Tipperary
Soft Drinks Irish Hedgegrow, Drangan, Co. Tipperary
Wines Le Caveau, Kilkenny

Eggs Emly Free Range Eggs, Oola, Co. Limerick
Cheeses Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers, Beechmount Farm, Fethard
Cheeses Gubbeen Smokehouse, Schull, Co. Cork

Flour Kells Wholemeal, Bennettsbridge, Co. Kilkenny
Oats Kilbeggan Organic Oats, Co. Offaly
Honey David O'Meara, Fethard, Co. Tipperary
Cider Vinegar Oils & Vinegars Con Traas Apple Farm, Cahir, Co. Tipperary Lilliput Trading Co.


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