They may be slippery but sprinkle some Aussie authenticity and you’ve got a mighty fine catch
By Eleanor McGillie
THEY’RE slippery little fellas but they taste damn good which is why Northern Ireland is buzzing over our PGI protected Lough Neagh Eels this week.
This is a product which is awarded for its heritage, is superior in quality and is authentic. It’s being put back on the menu thanks to a host of chefs across the region who have the skills and creativity to showcase our eels which are the best quality eels in Europe.
This is Eel-Eat Week and we are smack, bang in the throes of eel fishing season – a perfect time to celebrate this delicacy.
It’s not a product you would normally see on the menu but things are changing, and, the River To Lough Festival, currently taking place at Antrim Castle Gardens, is certainly putting eels back on our plates.
Dean Coppard, the Executive Chef at the popular Australian neighbourhood restaurant in Armagh, Uluru Bar & Grill, is one of the region’s chefs who has been experimenting different cooking styles with eel over the past few months.
The Aussie chef stands out from the crowd, because, like all of his other dishes, his eel dish, ‘Lough and Apples’ is cooked with an authentic Australian twist.
On Saturday, Dean will be showcasing ‘Lough and Apples’ – an award winning dish jointly created with Sous Chef Adam Ogle.
This dish was used as the starter as part of Adam’s menu for IFEX 2016 Salon de Culinaire for which he received a bronze medal and placed third in Ireland for Senior Chef of the Year.
Its creation came from the desire to showcase that, at Uluru Bar & Grill, the team of chefs firmly believe that Northern Ireland’s great local producers make their jobs so much easier.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s demonstration, Dean Coppard said: “With our recent ability to be able to source Lough Neagh Eel we have developed this dish for the use on our Spring / Summer menu.
“It is already taking pride of place on our starter menu and our front of house all love to be able to share its story.
“We have always worked with Greg McNeice from Mac Ivors Cider Co so the idea of creating a dish which married the Eel and the flavour of the PGI protected Bramley Apple was a great way of shouting about two of our favourite products.
“We showcased this dish as this year’s NI Countrysports Fair and it went down an absolute treat with the thousands of people who attended the fair during the course of the weekend. I hope it will be as equally popular at this dedicated River To Lough Festival which ends this Saturday (July 2).
“We have also included two local products from Northern Ireland. We feel this dish was created with these flavours, and, without them, the whole balance of flavour wouldn’t be correct. These ingredients are the Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil and the Abernethy smoked butter.
“I am really looking forward to attending on Saturday and showcasing how cooking with Australian authenticity can really compliment such a delicacy as the Lough Neagh Eel. All the food I’ll be cooking on Saturday is available on our menus at Uluru Bar & Grill. If people do not get a chance to taste it, or if you want to taste some more, book a table at Uluru Bar & Grill and help us celebrate this superior product which tastes so good.”
Eel Eat Week at Uluru Bar & Grill
25th June – 2nd July 2016
Every day we’ll have a selection of the best dishes from our award winning chefs, we hope you’ll enjoy our amazing Lough Neagh Eel creations.
As a way of getting you to experience the Lough Neagh Eel, we’re creating an eel pate which we’re adding to our bread platters for you to try. We think you’ll love it.
Available 4pm until late
As a way of showcasing the fabulous Lough Neagh Eel product which is available on our doorstep, our chefs are going to create special dishes combining local products and Lough Neagh Eel for your delight. We’ve also got matching craft beer and cider suggestions which we think will pair beautifully with the flavour of our Eel dishes.
Participating restaurants include:
CO ANTRIM: Deanes Love Fish, Belfast; The Londonderry Arms, Carnlough; The White River House Hotel, Toomebridge; Safari Grill, Junction One, Antrim; Daniel’s at Tweedies, Antrim; La Scala at the Stormont Hotel, Belfast; The Causerie at the Europa Hotel, Belfast; The Garden Restaurant, Ballygally Castle, Larne; Truffles Restaurant, Randalstown; Slemish Market Supper Club, Glenariff; River to Lough Festival Eel Eatery, Antrim; Paula McIntyre Cookery School, Antrim
CO ARMAGH: Uluru Bar & Grill, Armagh – The Moody Boar, Armagh;
CO DOWN: The Downshire Arms Hotel, Banbridge; The Percy French at the SlieveDonard Resort, Newcastle; The Cultra Inn at the Culloden Estate and Spa, Holywood
CO LONDONDERRY: Whoosh, Coleraine; The Grill at the Everglades Hotel, Derry~Londonderry; Lime Tree Restaurant, Limavady
CO TYRONE: The Cellar Restaurant at Glenavon House Hotel, Cookstown