I went to the soft opening last night of Dublin’s hottest new destination restaurant, The Green House. And here’s some pix to prove it.
Finnish chef Mickael Viljanen is the star player in restaurateur Eamonn O’Reilly’s latest venture, but they have gathered an impressive front of house team to play supporting roles. The lovely Magui Chamson has returned to her former employer (she used to work with Eamonn at One Pico) after her recent stint at Camden Kitchen, but she is joined by a fresh face to the Dublin restaurant scene, sommelier Lorraine Harmon, a Dublin girl who has returned from down under where she worked at a Surrey Hills hotspot famed for its award-winning wine list, The Bentley.
Lorraine’s assured, relaxed wine service style is the perfect foil to Mickael’s food, which looks whimsical, almost flighty, in its aesthetic but is painstakingly meticulous in its construction, reassuringly earthy in its base flavours and gorgeously delicate in its sum impression. At Gregan’s Castle, where Mickael has cooked for the last four years, the stark beauty of the surrounding Burren landscape which swept all the way from the dining room windows down to Galway Bay seemed to have an anchoring effect on the giddier effects of Mickael’s style. In The Green House, the plush upholstery and shimmering gauze curtains, eclectic ceramics and Schott glassware, even the suave foreign accents of many of the front of house personnel all combine to intensify the rarefied experience of eating such refined food.
So it was a clever stroke to bring in someone with Lorraine’s natural charm to bring things back down to earth. She’s one of those rare sommeliers who needs no airs or graces to gracefully go about her business, and who can talk seriously about wine without sounding in the slightest bit pretentious.
And the food? Well, that’s probably another day’s posting, but suffice to say that as someone who quite happily would and did travel to The Burren to eat Mickael’s cooking, I’m delighted he choose to travel to Dublin instead. (Although I do look forward to eating new head chef Michael Hurley’s cooking down in Gregan’s Castle, which remains such a special spot in one of Ireland’s most magical corners.)
You can read a sample tasting menu on the website, from which we sampled various dishes last night. We kicked off with Mickael’s signature canapé of a sweet and savoury macaroon, in this case green apple and cream cheese with herring roe and powdered bacon fat. The next pre-starter, also pictured above in the egg cup, was a Parmesan custard with cep sauce and some buried bursts of pear. And the third shot is of poached rhubarb with celery granita, white chocolate and rose.
More anon on the food once the guys get properly up and running. They open Tuesday. We’re all in for quite the treat.