Mr. FFID loves his Irish bacon as much as I love my French macarons. Even though Ireland and France aren’t that far from each other, we can still feel the cultural differences through our daily life and we either laugh or argue about them.
Anyhow, despite my annoying high-maintenance French personality and his irritating Irish laid-backness, we’re a happy couple that complete each other and treat ourselves to the best things in life quite often.
So last week was our 8 year anniversary. I woke up to some lovely presents, of course some of which were foodie gifts. That evening, we celebrated in style with some fine dining in one of Dublin’s best known Michelin-starred restaurants: Chapter One.
I’ve always wanted to go there but each time we tried to book for a special occasion the place was fully booked. If you want to eat at Chapter One, you have to book a few months ahead (5-6 months ahead).
The restaurant is located in the basement of the Dublin Writers museum on the North side of Dublin city centre.We had to press the buzzer to get in and were greeted by the lady who took care of our coats and brought us to the lounge. The first thing we noticed was the number of staff, there were lots of them. We were given the menu while sitting in the lounge.
They have a tasting menu for €80 each (full table only) or a four course dinner menu for €65 each. They also do a three course pre theatre menu for €40.
We ordered two glassed of wine and nibbled some complimentary olives while soaking up the atmosphere and then we were brought to the dining room.Black chairs, white table clothes, a few paintings on the wall, the decoration is simple but elegant.
I started with the roasted organic beetroot with feta cheese mousse marinated onion and capers puree with orange oil. First thing that struck me was the choice of a dark plate. I was expecting the dish to be colourful with the beetroot colour standing out but it wasn’t, the plate made it almost difficult to see the dish. It was good but not sensational.
Mr. FFID was delighted with his warm truffle and mushroom jelly with artichoke cream and camelina oil. The dish had delicious flavours of beautiful truffle, we both thought it was very good.
Then, I had the smoked Irish venison with shaved foie gras, duck jelly, ice verjus and onion bread crisp. I liked the smoked venison and the foie gras but everything together might have been too rich for me, especially the duck jelly which I couldn’t finish. Visually, It was the prettiest dish so far.
Mr FFID was adventurous and chose the pigs tail stuffed with Fingal Ferguson smoked bacon and lobster, basil puree, citrus mustard fruit and watercress. I tasted it and liked it but he didn’t so much. Probably because Mr. FFID think’s he’s allergic to seafood, but he ate lobster in his pig tail, would you believe it? I think he wasn’t used to the texture.
The staff were excellent, very attentive, pleasant but not over the top like you expect in fancy restaurants. Also, we liked that we weren’t rushed but also didn’t feel forgotten.
The mains were the highlights of the dinner. I had the salt marsh duck breast with confit leg, black pudding and walnut crust, Jerusalem artichoke morteau sausage, burnt onions and sage. I loved the artichoke morteau sausage that was tasty and the black pudding and walnut crust had an interesting kind of crispy texture. Duck breast is one of my favourite dishes and this one was excellent: juicy, tender and pink as it should be.
He had the aged rib of Hereford Irish beef with creamed onion and horseradish, spinach puree and mushroom bordelaise. The beef was incredibly scrumptious. The meat was so tender and melted in the mouth and everything on this plate was delicious.
We ended the meal with what we thought the lightest desserts on the menu. I had the lemon and honey hiboust with white chocolate ganache, bergamot cream and a okitsu mandarin sorbet. I have to admit that I expected an extraordinary presentation for the deserts. I enjoyed the flavours expecially the bergamot cream but I wasn’t astonished by the look of it.
Mr. FFID had the Toonsbridge buffalo ricotta cheesecake with crusted oat biscuits, passion fruit curd, dehydrated lemonade and passion fruit and thyme sorbet. We both love passion fruit and thought the sorbet was excellent.
I always heard excellent reports and I was expecting to be wowed. I certainly enjoyed the experience: the setting and the service were faultless. However even if the food was good, I don’t think it met my high expectations especially for a meal that cost €174 for 2 people (2 four course meal plus 2 pre-meal drinks excl. tipping). I was expecting art on a plate but I didn’t think the dishes looked as spectacular as I imagined. As we say in French “Chacun ses gouts” (Everyone has its own tastes). I loved that they gave us delicious petits fours at the end some of which were macarons that were absolutely perfect.
I had the best company in the world, my beloved Mr. FFID who made this anniversary memorable and “Eating at Chapter One” is now ticked off my bucket list. “Non je ne regrette rien” even the bill.
19 Parnell Square N,
Dublin 1, Co. Dublin
(01) 873 2266