Aimsir is the restaurant on everyone's lips right now and it's easy to see why.
The restaurant, which is located at Cliff at Lyons in Celbridge, was opened by husband-and-wife team Jordan Bailey and Majken Bech Bailey in May this year. Ever since, the restaurant has been impressing critics and diners alike, with the team and restaurant winning a slew of awards at the 2019 FOOD AND WINE Awards in association with Rémy Martin earlier this year.
This is Irish food like you've never seen it before, with Jordan's kitchen team producing dishes that highlight the very best of our seasons and produce. Out on the floor, Majken makes sure that every guest feels perfectly at home as they settle in for the multi-course experience. A trip to Aimsir isn't just dinner, it's a unique exploration of Ireland.
Jordan won three Michelin stars for Maaemo in Norway during his time there, which was also where Majken began her journey of creating unique non-alcoholic juices. Since coming to Ireland, the pair have travelled the country to find the very best produce and to further understand the seasons. The result is a 24-seat restaurant where provenance is king, wowing guests who are lucky enough to be able to snag a table.
With the 2020 Michelin announcement looming (keep an eye on FOOD AND WINE next week for exclusive Michelin content from editor Dee Laffan, who will be travelling to London for the announcement on Monday, October 7th), Aimsir recently revealed some of their Autumn offerings and we were lucky enough to be treated to a sneak peek earlier this week.
The menu, which consists of five snacks, 10 courses and three petit fours, is wholly dependant on the seasons and what is native to Ireland. With Autumn starting to creep in, several of the summer ingredients have been replaced by new and exciting flavours.
Thankfully, one of our favourite dishes, the violetta Ballymakenny potato with Boyne Valley Bán, Drummond House black garlic and leek ash, is still available as a snack because, as one of our fellow diners commented, there could be mass mutiny from guests if this delicious morsel was scrapped. Its burst of intense, perfectly balanced flavours sets the meal up so well, leaving you wanting more.
The provenance on the menu is, as always, second to none, with some of the best producers around the country namechecked, including Flaggy Shore Oysters, Young Buck, Achill Sea Salt and Gubbeen. The Autumn menu seems a little more detailed than previous iterations, with more information about where each ingredient is from, who made it and more available for perusal.
Some of the new dishes include carrots with a slow-cooked quail egg yolk, megrim with acidic green strawberries and wild wood pigeon with beetroot and cherry. It's impossible to pick a favourite dish from the menu because each of the 18 courses offers something so special and unique that they're nearly incomparable.
If pushed to decide, the megrim caught by Captain Sean Og Ward of the Elaine Marie in County Donegal gently steamed in a fig leaf with slices of acidic green strawberry, brown butter sauce, salted green elderberries and herbs from the garden would come in as our favourite dish of the evening. The delicate fish was so well-handled, so perfectly cooked and so full of flavour, without overpowering the fish, that it was a disappointment when the last morsel had been eaten from our plate.
Since our last visit to Aimsir, it's clear that the team has settled into the restaurant. The floor staff are more comfortable around each other, with Majken and sommelier Cathryn Steunenberg working together in near-perfect synchronisation, while the kitchen team has become more confident when interacting with guests.
In terms of the food offerings, there is a quiet, methodical confidence to Jordan's offerings. Each dish is uniquely Irish, but the methods and flavour combinations are so perfectly balanced and so exciting that everything tastes fresh and enticing. Eating a carrot at Aimsir is like eating for the first time; the simple root vegetable has been teased and gently handled so that its flavours sing and its colours brighten.
If you haven't been to Aimsir yet, get yourself on the waiting list right now and make sure you're by your computer when the next booking window opens; this is an experience you don't want to miss.