Chapter One is a one star Michelin restaurant located below street level where you enter into the good sized bar. Low lighting, stone walls, interesting art and the hum of the crowd are the backdrop for the well spaced large tables spread throughout several dining rooms. A geometric pattern in the plaster work is quite distinctive. This chef owned restaurant has been in the capable hands of Chef Ross Lewis for 26 years. They offer a tasting menus of 8 courses, the last being tea/coffee and petit fours or a 4 course dinner menu with multiple choices for each course and they also have a chef’s table option. They offer wine pairings. Service had nice, slower pacing and general manager Danny Desmond was helpful and friendly. We chose the full tasting menu with our own bottles of wine.
The meal starts with an Irish brown bread and a brioche sour dough that were both nice. They offered very different textures, the brown being dense and the sour dough quite light.
Japanese tapioca, St. Tola (goat cheese), Ballyhoura mushroom and leeks was a risotto like dish. The tops of the shiitake mushrooms were mixed with baby leeks and set on the fun texture of the Japanese tapiocas. The smell and flavor of the dish was enticing. A really good one.
Jerusalem artichokes, Coolea cheese, guanciale and hazelnuts made up the second course. The artichoke was served with and without the skin and the hazelnuts were powdered. The roasted artichoke with its skin was creamy and full of flavor and the one without was nutty. The guanciale was a wonderful accent to the other flavors on the plate as were the bits of fried artichoke. Everything on the plate was good on its own but also combined perfectly with the other ingredients. Another flavorful, excellent plate.
Haddock, smoked eel, tartare of sea bream, Castletownbere shrimp and yuzu formed the next course. A vinaigrette and some crispy seaweed (long brown strips) added to the mix. The clean seafood taste was lovely in this one.
Terrine of goose, shiitake mushrooms, leek vinaigrette and parsley accented with lightly smoked bacon was next. The pressed terrine was topped with a parsley jelly and some foie gras parfait. Pickled shiitake were mixed with cep mushrooms but it didn’t have the liveliness of the previous courses. For this one you needed to mix the ingredients to bring some intensity to the flavor. Good not great, it was still a pretty plate.
Grilled lasagne of scallop and Atlantic crab was topped with pickled seaweed butter and red dulce. The sheets of pasta were filled with scallops and crab and kind of melted into one another with a browned scallop on the side. Another more mildly flavored dish, the scallops were nice but the crab was lost in the mix. Even though it wasn’t my favorite course it was still fine and plenty good.
Sika venison, which are smaller deer, had been aged hanging for 18 days. It was served with crown prince pumpkin purée, black pudding, pickled walnuts and chocolate. The venison had a light sauce of red wine and venison stock. The pumpkin was seasoned with grape seed oil and the black pudding was steamed. Some lightly smoked mashed potatoes were served alongside. Delicious meat and buttery mashed potatoes are usually a winning combination and this didn’t disappoint. The pudding was also quite good and the pickled walnuts an interesting and fun addition.
Dessert was Flavours and textures of Irish milk and honey. This came in the form of buttermilk ice cream with Japanese citrus and crumbs. It was very nice and refreshing.
The second variation was milk in different textures. Dehydrated milk crumbs, milk and honey ice cream and milk crisps were some of the variations. It did offer a lot of different textures and a good amount of sweetness. Crisp, creamy and yummy – a good sweet fix.
We ended with maple syrup biscuits topped with chocolate. One crispy and thin the other filled with luscious goodness. I liked both a lot.