In Yer Ma’s Kitchen, guests pick their own dishes for a home-style dinner courtesy of Dora Keogh. We chose some of the Emerald Isle’s more traditional plates—and a couple rounds of Guinness, natch.
1. Soda bread
The buttermilk soda bread is baked on-site. Owner John Maxwell says in Ireland, where the starch is generally called brown bread, it’s eaten with every meal.
2. Creamy leek and potato soup
Steamed potatoes and sautéed leeks have the shite pureéd out of them before being mixed with cream and topped with snipped chives and crisp, smoky bacon.
3. Roast leg of Ontario pork
A whole leg of pork is skinned and scored so it bastes in its own juices. It’s then given an olive-oil massage with sea salt, black pepper, and rosemary. After a good roasting, the pork is served with crackling and an applesauce made of tart, roasted Granny Smith apples boozed up with Strongbow cider.
Similar to its cousin colcannon, champ refers to potatoes mashed with green onions and, of course, cream and butter. There’s even a traditional song about this tater dish: “Oh, wasn’t it the happy days when troubles, we had not, and our mothers made colcannon in the little skillet pot.”
5. Cauliflower and cheese sauce
Steamed cauliflower florets are covered in a sauce made from butter, cream, chicken stock, mustard, and cheese (of the cheddar, not Whiz, variety). Maxwell says this common Irish side is usually just known as “cauliflower cheese.”
6. Scalloped potatoes
Yukon gold potatoes are sliced and baked with cheese and (what else?) cream and butter. “All of Irish cooking is designed to provide insulation—not within the walls of the cottage, but the walls of the arterial network,” says Maxwell.
7. Mashed carrot with turnip
When it comes to Irish roughage, potatoes and cabbage get all the credit, but carrots (sometimes referred to as “underground honey”) and turnips are staples, as well. In Maxwell’s kitchen, the two veggies are roasted separately, then pureéd and mashed with butter.
8. Bread-and-butter pudding
When asked about Irish sweets, Maxwell replies: “More custard! More sugar! More egg! More cream!” This classic dessert is made by removing the bread’s crust (at Dora’s, they use a brioche), slicing the rest into chunks, and baking it with sugar, milk, and eggs. The pudding can be served with a cinnamon-sugar custard generously spooned over top.
$40 per person for groups of eight to 14 (with one week’s notice). 141 Danforth Ave., 416-778-1804.