It's a great day for Irish restaurants!
The Michelin stars for 2022 have been revealed and Irish restaurants have come up trumps this year as four restaurants received new accolades.
In an incredible feat, Chapter One by Mickael Viljanen has gone straight into the Michelin Guide with two stars. Mickael Viljanen, who previously won two stars for The Greenhouse on Dawson Street, took over the reins at the beloved Parnell Square restaurant last summer as Ross Lewis, who won last year's Michelin Chef Mentor award, stepped back from the stove. In its new iteration, Chapter One by Mickael Viljanen has been wowing customers since it opened with reservations filling up almost as soon as the bookings open.
Viljanen, who won Chef of the Year at the 2021 Food&Wine Restaurant Awards, is known for his attention to detail and intricate dishes that highlight French techniques, Scandi style and Irish ingredients - his foie royale dish is a beloved signature, while his hand-dived scallop with elderflower and jalapeño is a technically perfect favourite.
Speaking about the Michelin stars, Viljanen said he was delighted to have received the accolade after opening so recently.
“After the various pandemic-related closures, we only finally reopened properly on July 27th this year,” Mickael Viljanen told us. “It has been an intense time of change and development for all of us involved and I couldn’t be prouder of the team and how they have pulled together to bring this very special place into its exciting next chapter. Less than seven months in and two stars — that’s a great return, and I’m really delighted for everyone who has worked so hard to make this happen. We are very humbled and grateful.”
Ross Lewis also extended his congratulations to the team at Chapter One by Mickael Viljanen, noting how proud he is of all the restaurant has achieved over the years.
“My very best congratulations to Mickael, Danny and all the team at Chapter One by Mickael Viljanen,” Lewis said. “And my appreciation and respect for the incredibly valuable contribution from all the staff, front and back of house. I am so proud of this exceptional accolade for the continuing story of Chapter One.”
Liath in Blackrock, owned by famed chef Damien Grey, was promoted to two stars this year. Grey, who released the RTÉ documentary Chasing Stars about his desire to achieve another star for his restaurant, has made the seaside town of Blackrock in south Dublin a culinary destination thanks to his exceptional cooking.
Liath, which was formerly one-starred Heron & Grey, was reopened by Grey as a solo venture in 2019 with an impressive new look before being awarded one Michelin star. The restaurant strikes the perfect balance between comfort and luxury, with an open kitchen that overlooks the intimate dining room.
The seasonal tasting menu changes regularly but Grey is perhaps best known for his Parmesan cone which is filled with smoked eel and fennel. The inventive dish has been a staple on the Liath menu since the restaurant opened, alongside the well-loved dessert of chocolate and raspberries.
Grey, who spent the pandemic widening his portfolio to include The Chef Supper Club and Bhonn Space streetfood in Blackrock Market, stated on Twitter that he has been blown away by the award.
In the one star category, Portobello restaurant Bastible has entered the Guide for the first time this year. Owned by chef Barry Fitzgerald and Claire-Marie Thomas, this restaurant has been a neighbourhood staple since it opened seven years ago. However, since reopening after lockdown last year, there has been a significant shift in the dishes, showcasing refined flavours and a deft touch from Fitzgerald.
The restaurant offers a seasonal set menu that regularly changes, featuring the well-loved Bastible sourdough and cultured butter and a range of clever dishes that highlight the lesser-used cuts of meat - last year's lamb neck dish was a standout - as well as delicious seafood.
Speaking about the award, Fitzgerald told us that he was delighted to receive the accolade after being open for seven years.
"We knew last week, but had to keep it from the staff which was very difficult," Fitzgerald said. "But we're feeling absolutely delighted and its such a great achievement for the restaurant and the team. Everyone has contributed nuggets of knowledge to this so it's really great to be recognised by Michelin. My wife and I have been running the restaurant for seven years now and to get this award after that time is amazing."
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Also joining the ranks of Ireland's restaurants with Michelin stars is Glovers Alley. The restaurant, which overlooks St Stephen's Green, is fabulously decorated inside, with plush pink chairs and gold finishes. Helmed by Andy McFadden, Glovers Alley opened in 2018 to great acclaim. Speaking about the win, McFadden said he was overjoyed about the accolade.
"It is a very proud day for the restaurant and for all the team," McFadden told us. "The tireless work by both the front of house and kitchen team has been an honour to be part of. As this exciting new chapter begins, I am looking forward to nurturing the young talent in our team and continuing to challenge and push ourselves. We are all over the moon.”
Three Irish restaurants were also awarded Michelin Bib Gourmands last week - to find out more, click here.