#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 10°C Thursday 24 September 2020
Advertisement

Steamed mussels and 'Beeramisu' - two recipes for you from Urban Brewing in Dublin

Dan Keane, head chef at Urban Brewing, shares his lockdown experience and a couple of tasty recipes.

Dan Keane

A LOT HAPPENED in March, as we all know but the cancellations from many of our customers – we host large groups travelling from abroad on incentive trips, networking events – had started coming from the end of January. 

Our fears of a lockdown increased as we followed the latest developments in continental Europe until mid-March when we closed.

Closing down is not a simple affair, with multiple staff meetings and updates, perishable stock donations, deep cleanings and so on.

The first couple of weeks were pretty surreal, we are not used to all being off at the same time for so long but then we started thinking of ideas to keep going. Turning a 300 seater restaurant and microbrewery with two bars into a takeaway was definitely not an easy task.

A new landscape

The idea was also rather daunting: our location, the Financial Centre became even more of a ghost town during the lockdown, as most of the buildings in the area are offices, empty since March.

With a very reduced team, we created a new menu and put a system in place to take orders, and in a few days, we had an online shop where guests could order food for collection, as well as a range of wine and beers, including our own Urban Brews.

Our click and collect service was born and it was a relief to see so many familiar faces after the initial hiatus, and some of them we kept seeing all throughout lockdown and afterwards, for which we are grateful beyond words. The service kept picking up after the initial restrictions were eased, and we have decided to keep it on a more permanent basis.

When the country started to reopen and as soon as the first guidelines were published, we started to work against the clock to ensure that we were absolutely ready to partially open by the deadline.

We are lucky that the majority of our current operating space is outdoors, fully covered and fully heated, and with a bit of nice weather, it’s a great sun trap. There was a lot of reading and learning, measuring, rearranging, training, ordering products and equipment, trial and error, constantly following the news, and of course, washing our hands a million times a day.

The re-opening was much smoother than we expected. Nervous as we were after such a long time closed, and with a completely new way of operating, everything went perfectly from day one.

Keeping focus

Usually, in this industry, after a while, you learn to pretty much work on autopilot mode, but now we are thinking before making any moves. We were overwhelmed by the support of our guests, many of whom are regulars but have also seen a lot of new faces, and our venue has been as full as social distancing allows.

We were determined to not only comply with Covid-19 safety guidelines but to go beyond. It was never really ticking the boxes, but sleeping well at night that we have done everything humanly possible and reasonable, for both our guests and our team at equal measure.

We have had a few unfortunate experiences with guests turning up very late, changing numbers unexpectedly, or not showing up at all, which is not okay in normal circumstances, but in the current situation, these actions have an amplified negative impact. While we understand plans can change, we simply want to be on the know so we can make more informed decisions.

Things are far from being easy and they may not get better any time soon. Our bills have not disappeared -in fact, some of our costs such as cleaning have increased-, but we can only operate at very reduced capacity and exclusively as a restaurant for the moment.

We can consider ourselves relatively lucky as we have at least been able to keep operating. The hospitality sector is undoubtedly one of the hardest hit by the pandemic and many other businesses will not be re-opening again.

We are aware that even more challenging times may lay ahead and there is a lot of uncertainty, but much prefer to stay on the bright side, dream on and hope for the best.

For now, we’re sharing a couple of tasty recipes with you, to brighten up your table at home, enjoy:

Recipes

Steamed Mussels

…with Falling Apple Cider Broth on Ciabatta

shutterstock_241880056 Source: Shutterstock/Magdanatka

Ingredients

Serves 4 

1500g Mussels  
100g unsalted butter 
2 cloves of garlic, minced
30g capers, finely chopped

2 large shallots, finely chopped 
1x 500ml bottle of Falling Apple cider
1/3 of a bunch of fresh parsley: finely chopped

1/2 Lemon
1 loaf of Ciabatta, cut in thick slices

Method

  1. Wash the mussels in plenty of cold water. 

  2. Check the mussels for damage; those with cracked shell should be discarded. Remove all the beards and barnacles. Discard any that are open and do not close.

  3. Use a large pot that is big enough to fit all the mussels.

  4. Sweat the chopped shallots, together with the garlic and capers.

  5. Add the mussels and about 1/2 the bottle of Falling Apple cider and set over a high heat.

  6. Make sure to turn the mussels over as soon as they start to open.

  7. Keep the lid on the pan in between turning them.

  8. When they have all opened, remove from the heat, add butter, parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice. Then allow to rest for about 30 seconds.

  9. Remove all the mussels with a large slotted spoon and divide between four large, deep plates.

  10. Pour almost all of the liquid from the pot over the mussels and garnish with chopped parsley.

  11. Serve with grilled ciabatta.

‘Beeramisu’

shutterstock_1576078159 Source: Shutterstock/zarzamora

Ingredients (For 10 portions)

Mascarpone Cream 120m1

O’Hara’s Red Ale 100g

Caster Sugar 125g

Egg Yolk 500g

Mascarpone Cheese

1 Sheet of Gelatine

200g Cream

92g Egg White

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

20m1 Water

Assembly

300g ladyfinger biscuits

300m1 O’Hara’s Red Ale

50g Cocoa Powder

Method

  • Soak the gelatine in water until it has softened (Bloomed)
  • Whip the cream and set aside
  • Whip the egg whites to soft peaks and set aside
  • Whip the egg yolk until light and creamy W
  • hile the egg yolk is whipping, add the Red Ale to a small pot with the sugar and bring to a gentle simmer.
  • Leave until all the sugar has melted
  • Once the sugar has melted, add the gelatine to the mix
  • Once the gelatine has dissolved fully, slowly pour the sugar and ale mixture to the whipping egg yolk and continue to whip until cool
  • When the egg mix has cooled slowly whip in the mascarpone
  • Once the mascarpone has been incorporated remove the mix from the food processor to a large bowl and gently fold in the whipped cream followed by the whipped egg white trying to keep as much air as possible

Assembly

  • In the bottom of your tin layer a line of ladyfinger biscuits soaking each one in the red ale for two seconds before putting it in place, continue to do this until the bottom of your tray is fully covered.
  • On top of you soaked biscuits spread a layer of your mascarpone mix to a depth of approximately 1.5cm, once this is spread and smooth, lightly dust with cocoa powder to an even, thin layer.
  • Repeat the first step for the next layer of biscuits, followed by the remainder of your mascarpone mix on top and smooth out the top with a hot palette knife until smooth dust with a generous layer of cocoa powder and leave in a fridge to set for a minimum of five hours.
  • Serving Cut your tray into even slices and serve We recommend serving it with fresh raspberries as it accentuates the flavour of the beer and helps cut through the cream.

Dan Keane is head chef at Urban Brewing. He has worked in restaurants in Ireland and overseas for several years. Find Urban Brewing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

voices logo

About the author:

Dan Keane

Read next:

COMMENTS (2)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel