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There is only one supplier that we use for our meats – the one and only Bradys Butchers in Athenry!

There is no shortage of meat suppliers in the West, but a problem that we face as a restaurant is sourcing meat that is consistently high quality.

A butcher shop with its own abattoir can be seen as one that cares for its produce and ensures that it is well looked after from field to fork.(although the cooking is up to you)

Many butchers no longer slaughter animals, but merely buy in their produce. This is fine so long as the meat is well prepared, but it means that the butcher has lost out on a very important process in ensuring that the meat is ethical, and well cared for. The connection between the animal and the meat is one that is very important to Bradys butchers.

Meat that is prepared from the slaughter house to the butcher counter gets a little extra loving – and that’s what Kai is all about.

28 day dry aged steaks from Bradys are hung for longer to produce a more tender cut of beef. Bradys steaks are served regularly on the dinner menu, and we continually get glowing reports on the quality of the meat. Most of our diners even ask for their leftovers to be packed up to take home – it really is that good!!

Bradys say “Our Beef and Lamb produce is carefully selected from our quality approved local farmers and expertly matured to ensure exceptional quality and tenderness”, and we
♥ that!

You will probably be familiar with Bradys Lamb Koftas which we regularly make with Bradys lamb for the lunch menu.

Next time your in the restaurant and you see Bradys on the menu – make sure to order it – you will not be disappointed!!

Find out more about Bradys Meats at www.bradysbutchers.com

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One of the few farm suppliers here at Kai is Loughboora Farm, you may be familiar with the Loughboora farm plate that features often on our menus.

The produce from Loughboora farm is mature, distinctive and robust. Certified organic since 1997 the lads are well seasoned and know exactly what works, and how to supply a consistent high quality product. This is particularly important when working in the food industry.

The farm is mostly grassland, and in addition to yummy vegetables the land is currently stocked with forty suckler cows and roughly one hundred breeding ewes.

About fifteen acres, and seven large polytunnels are devoted to vegetable production, growing over forty different species of vegetables all year round.

It is from these acres that we get most of our organic vegetables. The farm also run one of the biggest box delivery schemes in the country with the ability to provide for two hundred households.

We can say almost everything comes from Loughboora from blood oranges to the in-season and incredibly health beneficial Kale, not forgetting their amazing purple sprouting.

The only non-organic vegetables we are using are the amazing Heirloom carrots which we get from Niall Burke, and due to a very bad season our potatoes are not organic either. As soon as the new potatoes come in Loughoora will be supplying us with their wonderful organic variety.

We are one of the few restaurants lucky to benefit from Loughboora’s wonderful produce.

If your looking to find the produce out of Kai you will find it at the farms market stalls in Tullamore, Thurles and the University of Limerick. Other stall-holders supplement their own produce with their produce at farmer markets from Galway to Killaloe and many places in between. They also supply the Organic Store, Birr, The Grainey, Scariff, and Sheridan’s Cheese Mongers.

For more information on the farm contact Tony Garahy 057-9345005

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  • February 21, 2012

Last Wednesday saw the first night of the Kai Cookbook club kick off, much to the delight of all in attendance.

A 6 course meal of gastronomic delight awaited 12 hungry diners from Nose to Tail, one of the classic cookbook staples from Fergus Henderson.

The banquet style meal was served in the upstairs dining room where a group of people entered as strangers, but left as friends.

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Musicians, poets, and teachers gazed across the table at foodies, voyeurs, and would be experimentalists.

The first course was a typical French onion soup with bone marrow on toast. The soup came in a cup packing a real punch – a full on warm onion flavour, probably even an improvement on the French staple.

Next up were two salads served in long bowls, one of which guests found most frightening, Pigs head salad, and a more welcomed anchovy and baby gem salad.

The idea was that the anchovy salad would be eaten first and would cut the fat of the following dish.

“Where’s the pigs head”, “Is that it?” exclaimed the diners. The curiosity over the pig meat settled with sounds of pleasure coming from those who had began to eat the slow cooked pork.

The head had been soaked in whiskey for 6 days before being slow cooked, and its meat then tossed in a fresh salad with complimenting mustard vinaigrette.

PIGS HEAD IN WHISKEY

The start of the meal was filled with talk about the pigs head, how it would be served, what it would look like, and how horrid the whole concept of eating an animal head was.

However diners then recalled having trotters for dinner as children, and by the time the bottom of the pigs head bowl was scraped clean, images from the butcher boy had been dispelled, and a rather satisfied look decorated faces around the table.

It was curious how the attitudes of people changed as the exploration into the pigs head went from squeamish to pleasure, and a want for more. This I think immediately made the evening a success.

The idea of the club is to get people talking, create a talking point, to debate, deconstruct and leave satisfied. Half way through the meal this had most definitely been achieved.

Next up were two more meat dishes with accompanying roasties. The meat however was so impressive the veggies pretty much remained in their resting place.

First up was a free range ham cooked in hay. And naturally we all had a lot to question about the hay. The ham was the most succulent and tasty ham I have ever had the privilege of eating, with such a rich pork flavour, and a banging parsley sauce on the side. Christmas hams will never be the same again!

HAM IN HAY

A boiled chicken was served at the same time, just big enough for the table, passed up and down so everyone could tear a sample of meat from the carcass – medieval style.

The finale was a blackberry fool with rabbit shortbread biscuits, a most appropriate desert to clean the pallet and to send the diners home with a want for more.

Washed down with a fine red and white wine Jess took time to talk about the dishes and how they were cooked outlining that it took her up to 6 days to prepare some of the dishes.

All guests were given copies of the menu and recipes to take home, which no doubt will be tried at some stage to unsuspecting guests at the dinner parties. Pork butchers across the city will be getting pig orders in the coming weeks for sure!

If you want to get in to next months cookbook club dinner I would advise you to book early, every person present last week said they would most definitely return next month, and I will certainly be in attendance!

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Over the last 8 months we have made many new friends, created beautiful new dishes, and explored the amazing produce we have here in the West of Ireland.

Kai has not yet made its way through all 4 seasons, but so far we have had a menu bursting with incredible forage, and the freshest farm grown vegetables, meat, fish, and fruit. It goes to show that even in winter there is no need for us to stick solely to meat and spuds, not that there is anything wrong with that!

Morning, and afternoon coffee time at Kai always warms our hearts, with the fire raging and friendly faces having their regular coffee we are humbled by the space we provide to mothers and children, doctors and lawyers, students and teachers.

They say one happy customer will put a smile on the face of 10, who will all with time return. This year we seem to have pleased many of the reviewers and critics, and have received much media attention and award nominations.

The café and restaurant has created a buzz – but that is not about the food. It is true we pride ourselves on our food, but the reaction of our customers is what attracts the reviewers and critics. Without you guys coming in everyday and enjoying our food, none of the reviewers would know about us.

We would like to thank all of you for your custom, and for telling the critics to come, thanks also the critics for telling others to come.

Taking a chance in a recession to start a new business is an incredibly frightening place to be, but our customers have shown us that we were right, and we will continue in the same vein.

The team at Kai hope to put on a number of exciting foodie events over the coming months, and we hope you will all join us.

If any of you ever have any feedback for us please drop us a line.

May 2012 be abundant and prosperous for everyone.

- The team at Kai

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We only work with the best producers and we are delighted that Bridgestone has recognised Castlemine Farm as the Farmer of the Year in the 2012 Bridgestone Top 100.

Castlemine produce the finest free range, grass fed animals with beautiful lamb, beef, and pork coming from their Roscommon Farm. The benefit of rearing animals this way ensures better quality meat, and healthier animals.

Brendan and Derek Allen are third generation farmers using traditional farming methods, producing some of the finest meat we have seen through our kitchen.

We love to use Castlemine meat as the quality is impeccable, and its full flavored taste is a reflection of the respect and attention the Allen brothers give their animals.

Their 250 acres at Castlemine is the home to specialty breeds like the Black Angus and Hereford beef, a variety of lamb breeds, and free-range pig breeds like Saddleback, Gloucestershire Old Spots and Tamworths. These pigs are always outdoors and their meat develops intense flavor, plus a good covering of fat which makes it moist, tender and truly tasty during cooking

How Free range are the Castlemine pigs? Have a look for yourself

If you were lucky enough to purchase one of the boys bronze turkeys at Christmas you will know the benefits of traditional farming methods – if not, make sure you get your name down early for next year.

The guys at Castlemine are up to speed with modern living, so rather than telling you where you can buy their produce, you can log on to their website and buy all of their meats online.

If you cannot get down to Kai for lunch or dinner, get Castlemine meats through your front door at www.castleminefarm.ie

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