SLEMISH MARKET SUPPER CLUB
Chef Rob Curley has more than 20 years’ experience in the restaurant trade having worked previously in L’Ecrivain (1 Michelin star restaurant) and Shanahans on the Green in Dublin.
He runs Slemish Market Supper Club, a fun, creative and innovative pop up dining experience using produce from Slemish Market Garden in Ballymena and the Glens of Antrim in Northern Ireland. This is a six course surprise menu comprising of a drink, wee bite (snack), starter, fish course, meat course and dessert. The supper club is held in different venues around Ballymena, the Glens of Antrim and Northern Ireland.
The bespoke menu changes each time according to what is seasonal. An example of a previous dish served at the supper club is Lough Neagh Eel with smoked barley groats, garlic scapes and pickled cherries served with fried eel bone.
The menu tells a story of the area, the people and the place. At the beginning of each meal, Chef Rob and Frank McCooke (the gardener from the Slemish Market Garden) provide a short talk explaining how the food was grown and cooked. The gardener explains each aspect of the growing and harvesting process of the produce used for the menu and the chef explains how the food was prepared.
Chef Rob has sourced plates which have been made from ash wood from Ballymena and Glenariffe, County Antrim. These plates were made using trees which had to be cut down due to the ashback disease. So he has given them a new purpose and function and they are used regularly at the supper club. Slemish Market Garden provide the table decorations for each meal using their own plants, shrubs, vegetables, fruit and herbs in an artistic and creative way.
It won Best Emerging Irish Cuisine for County Antrim at the Irish Restaurant Awards in 2019 and 2018 and Ulster Local Food Hero in 2016. It was nominated for Best Local Food Story at the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards in 2017 and Best Private and Club Dining at the Irish Restaurant Awards in 2017. Chef Rob also represented Ireland at the World Tapas Championship in Valladolid Spain 2018.