Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

[Review] Amuse, Dawson Street, Dublin 2

Exciting food and fine dining are not often common bedfellows. Well, not as often as I'd like anyway. During our recent holiday on the Amalfi Coast in Italy, we dined in two separate one star Michelin restaurants, and came away feeling decidedly "bleh" after one and "meh" after the other. In fact, one of the meals was the singularly most sexist experience I've ever had. I never thought I'd describe a meal in a Michelin restaurant as "sexist", but there you go. You live, you learn.

Which is why I'm glad that a recent visit to Amuse restaurant on Dawson Street showed that the creativity of chef Conor Dempsey has abated not one jot. The awarding of Michelin stars in Ireland has long been a source of great puzzlement; indeed it took several years for the neighbouring Greenhouse restaurant to secure its star. Based on my experiences, I feel that the food at Amuse is at the required standard, but who knows if the Michelin judges agree with me.

Amuse is located at the southern end of Dawson Street and often flies unnoticed, not helped currently by the ongoing Luas works. The dining room is small, but the tables are set well apart. I personally love the lampshades, which match in style the plates and glasses used.  Conor's cooking is described as Franco-Asian, which is a hint as to the types of ingredients he likes to use.

We started with an aperitif of lovely sparkling rose, made with Pinot Noir grapes. Shortly, a selection of various seaweed and rice crisps, with puffed rice, goats cheese and a delicious mussel arrived. These were accompanied by a stunning little bowl of gently sweet coconut and pea soup, with salty pops of trout caviar lurking within. Our final amuse consisted of an intense basil puree with anchovy and warming horseradish.
Amuse bouche of various crisps and toppings
Anchovy, basil and horseradish
Fresh sweet crab meat paired with melon sorbet was a knock out dish, relying mainly on the naturally gentle sweet flavours of the ingredients. This was followed by two sublime pieces of darkly coloured yellowfin tuna sashimi, paired with avocdo and shiro miso. Conor's menus often feature cod, and this time it came with a light buttery sauce flavoured with dashi. Taken together, these three seafood dishes represented some of the best food I've enjoyed this year.
Crab with melon sorbet
Yellowfin tuna with avocado, shiro miso and puffed rice
Atlantic cod with sushi rice, yuzu and dashi butter
A piece of John Stone lamb rump then took our meal on a different path, with intense "black curry" and aubergine. Whereas as all the previous courses had been light and aromatic, this was earthy and rich. After this, a cheese plate felt like the natural conclusion to the meal, which did mean that we skipped over the advertised dessert of dark chocolate, coffee and bergamot. Queue a plate of five different cheeses and a generous portion of crackers, as well as a glass each of Crozes Hermitage and port (manager Yann Giovanelli being unable to decide which one would suit us best).
Rump of John Stone lamb, black curry, garlic and herbs
Selection of farmhouse cheeses
Salted chocolate caramel petits fours
Jellies and chocolates for petits fours
This five course Amuse menu costs €65 each plus €45 for matching wines.There is a lengthier Paris to Toyko menu available for €90, with matching wines for €70. But I'd recommend this only if you have cleared your calendar for the entire night. If you're in more of a hurry, the set menu offers two courses for €34 or three for €39. Cracking value in my opinion for some of the most creative, and well executed fine dining in Dublin.

Amuse, Dawon Street, Dublin 2
Tel: +353 (0)1 639 4889
Twitter: @ AmuseDublin

1 comment

Aodhnait said...

Amuse is one of my favourite restaurants in Dublin

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