On Friday July 5th The Culinary Food Group visited Meatopia at the iconic St. James Gate Brewery. Guinness X Meatopia is in it’s third year of running. The Culinary Food Group has attended each year and have seen how it has only improved and become more popular year on year with 2019 being by far the biggest yet! With 7 chefs, each with a bespoke brewed beer or stout to accompany the dish it is quite the feat yet still pales in comparison size wise to the UK Meatopia in London’s Tobacco Dock in late August that has upwards of 25 chefs swapping out each day over the weekend, an event we will also be attending!
The chefs and dishes being showcased on the Friday were…..
First up was Malcolm Lee from Singapore who did a beautiful simple dish of pork shoulder kebab with coconut rice, what set it apart however was using a nut called Buak Keluak that is poisonous to humans unless it has been fermented for forty days, it had a fantastic earthy, spiced flavour that was easily our dish of the day!
Up next was Will Bowlby (owner/Chef of Kricket, which, was a restaurant we visited on our Indian food safari of London). His dish of slow cooked duck leg, duck breast with crispy skin, sesame, peanut, tamarind, pickled cucumber and borage was a lesson in subtle contrast and textures, something he exemplifies in from having visited his restaurant previously.
Next was Dublin’s own Seán Hunter who created a very on trend dish of Spiced Spatchcock Chicken with Kimchi made with Guinness Extra Stout, simple clean flavours beautifully offset by the fermented flavours of the kimchi.
David K. Thomas from Baltimore US who is known for his take on modern Soul Food created a Flame Grilled Leg of Lamb with Roasted Epis and Maque Choux, which is very similar to a succotash, indicative of the chefs roots in soul food. The richness of the lamb and corn was offset by a wonderfully fresh soft herb sauce.
James Cochran of Great British Menu grilled a whole goat over open flame dusted in Korean spices served with smacked cucumbers, mint, tugarashi and crispy onions, again an excellent display of contrast with Asian inspired flavours, Korean in particular, a nation whose cuisine has long been predicted to be the next big thing.
Another of our favourites was a chef who cooks Nigerian fare with a modern twist, Kwame Onwuachi prepared a very simple dish of Short Rib Suya with Calabrian chilli honey, beef short rib cooked slowly in vinegar, finished over flame and just licked with spicy sweet honey, a dish that exemplifies modern trends of simplicity, contrasts and the new Sweet & Heat.
Last but not least was Donegal’s Tony Davidson, who amazingly has only been cooking for three years but already runs the newly awarded “best fish restaurant in Donegal” his simple dish was Ireland personified; Mulroy Bay mussels, Bacon & Dulse Irish Butter with Citra IPA, beautifully sweet mussels with depth from the seaweed and a smoky, salty counterpoint from the bacon. What made this dish particularly interesting was its pairing of Maritime Stout whereby they created their drink using whole oysters in the brewing process to add salinity, a very clever food & drink pairing indeed.
All in all another excellent showing from the team behind Guinness X Meatopia and one can already look forward to bigger and better things in 2020!