18/19 Parnell Square
Situated on Parnell Square North in Dublin City.
Ross Lewis had been delighting diners with superb food at his iconic Michelin starred Chapter One restaurant on Parnell Square for thirty years. Always innovative, Lewis has never been one to sit on his laurels, always striving with his team for further perfection, but the relaunch in 2021 as Chapter One by Mickael Viljanen took Dubliners totally by surprise and has been a marriage not only of convenience but a marriage made in heaven.
Lewis had decided to step back from the kitchen passing that baton to Mickael Viljanen, who had 2 Michelin stars at The Greenhouse had long desired to move forward to having his own name over the door.
There wasn’t any ‘beef or salmon’ on the first night when I was there, but there was a palpable air of delightful excitement amongst the team. During the long lockdown closure Lewis and Viljanen had conceived of a sleek new elegant restaurant that has reached stratospheric heights on all fronts – right now there is nothing else to top it in Ireland. However, what I also love about Chapter One is that there’s a sense of friendly formality, it is not in any way intimidating, and you cannot put a price on the value of the Dublin sense of humour as one of the waiters, moving the drinks trolley past us, quipped “duty free”?
But to the serious stuff, and that is the food. Plate after plate of the 8-course Tasting displayed a series of intense flavour and artistry each by its own composition of textures, colour, circles, rectangles, squares, foam, mousse, silky, cold, hot, one better than the other.
Kicking off with a trio of stunning canapes kicked off including a Burren oyster tartlet with micro flowers, iced sweet tomato on a spoon, and the most extraordinary recreation of edible bog oak that melded in on the bog oak sculpture on which it was presented.
Next for me was smooth as silk superb Maison la Fitte foie gras topped with Thornhill duck neck jelly, with elements of Pineau de Charentes, citrus, coffee, and smoked eel, with Guinness brioche.
A brilliant cool clear circular fan of hand dived sliced scallops, on finely diced cucumber, sat in a vibrant green elderflower and jalapeno bouillon, topped with a large quenelle of Oscietra caviar, gold leaf, tweaked with micro leaves. Moving on to rich reds, brown and yellow, a Donegal lobster tail with its shining bright Breton style glaze of cacao pod concentrate & Kari Gosse, carrot, pomello, red currants, nasturtium leaves, was offset with a rich aromatic circle of lobster sauce topped with a paler foam circle.
And so to desserts, a pretty summery strawberry circle, that crunched and melted in the mouth, with crystalised fennel, honey, vinegar and vanilla cream, on the side, and a strawberry tart on a croissant base, and Amedei chocolate, coffee, miso caramel, salted milk sorbet.
Of course there were also amazing petit fours and coffee, and the option of a very beautiful selection of magnificently displayed cheeses.
You haven't lived until you've dined at Chapter One.