22 Dawson Street
Phone: 01 639 4889
Asian nuances meet meticulous and classic French cuisine in a Dublin city centre restaurant that could just as easily be in Paris. Inventive cooking, pretty to see, delicious to eat.
When Amuse opened (right beside The GreenHouse, one the country’s finest restaurants, conspicuously ignored by Michelin), it brought something new to Dublin. But is Dublin ready for it? I very much hope so.
Chef Conor Dempsey did a fine job in bringing a lot of modern flair to classic French cooking at Dax in Pembroke Street but he is now doing his own thing in this tiny restaurant in the heart of town. It’s fashionably grey outside, all very cool and modern and understated both inside and out.
His own thing is something you’re much more likely to see in Paris or Berlin than here. He brings Asian influences to bear on the kind of meticulous, fiddly cooking that (a) you would never try at home and (b) is supposed to float Michelin’s boat. It’s very much a first for the capital.
I returned recently to taste my way through a range of new dishes and all I can say is that the brilliance I enjoyed in September 2014 has risen now to absolutely stellar heights.
The style – light, delicate, low on carbs, flavour-driven, miniature pictures on plates – has intensified and the emphasis has switched to a more consistently Japanese accent in the cooking. This is reflected in elements like hamachi, the amberjack, a tuna-like fish from the Sea of Japan, served as sashimi, yuzu, the rare and expensive citrus fruit and special aged soya sauces, all imported directly by Amuse. To name but a few.
The attention to detail is like that of a watchmaker and many of the dishes have a jewel-like perfection of design, flavour and texture. Even the carrots are cooked, not in water, but in concentrated carrot juice. Yes, that level of obsessional brilliance.
Even the chocolate at dessert has a savoury umami intensity that’s like nothing else I’ve tasted in Ireland.
Is this the most exciting food in the capital right now? There’s no doubt about it. And the lunch menu is a ridiculously cheap €24 for two courses, €29 for three.
I’ll conclude with the same comment as I did in my original review:
“In a word? Brilliant.”