Review of White Rabbit Smoked Butter by Joe MacNamee, Irish Examiner 18/9/21
The Menu is forever being told that him and butter should get a room, such is his wild and unbridled passion for one of this country’s finest food products, a truly superlative expression of Irish terroir and an absolutely essential ingredient in The Menu’s larder.
The Menu is also very partial to the smokey flavours of BBQ and when you ally the pair, as Stephen Vaughan of Cork’s White Rabbit Bar & BBQ restaurant has done with his White Rabbit Smoked Butter (oak-smoked Bandon Co-Op butter), it results in a quite magnificent product.
A first sampling of the ‘raw’ product sees the excellent Bandon butter’s taste profile now sporting an elegant and restrained, clean smokiness, that really comes into its own once the butter begins to melt.
There are myriad applications in the kitchen, beginning with various butter-based sauces; a hollandaise on poached egg possibly echoing a piece of crisped smoked bacon; while a beurre noisette finished with White Rabbit smoked butter takes this nutty sauce to entirely new levels, turning a side of blanched winter vegetables into a main course.
It does equally well in compound butters, adding adult-rated umami to herbed butters, but The Menu especially relished the grace note it gifts a piece of whiting cooked en papillote, wrapped in a greaseproof paper parcel, baked in the oven, daubed in White Rabbit butter, with lemon, salt, and capers.