Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Over Sauced and Under Seasoned at Chapter One

Sweet corn, smoked potato and buttermilk soup
When looking for places to eat in Dublin, Chapter One was a name that kept popping up, probably because of its Michelin Star status. When I checked out the website, I could see that they had a chef’s table and a tasting menu which looked interesting, so I asked the Visa Concierge to try to book it for Moo. Unfortunately, the chef’s table located in the kitchen is only available to groups of 6 people or more. So instead we opted for a table in the dining room, as our Visa Concierge had been assured that the tasting menu would be available to order regardless.

Wild duck sausage
Upon arriving, the door was locked and the staff had to let us in. Once seated, they handed us the pre-theatre menu, and asked if we were going to the theatre. Confused, we said no and asked if it was possible to get the tasting menu, but were told because we were dining before 7pm, only the pre-theatre menu was available. I wish they had clarified both on their website, as well as to our Visa Concierge that dining before 7pm meant that the tasting menu wasn’t available. If they had we would have made a reservation for later. The pre-theatre menu was a three course menu, allowing you to choose one of four items in each category.

Braised short rib of Irish feeb
The moment we were seated and began to look at the menu, a server came by for both our drink and food order. Considering we had just been seated, we asked for a few more minutes. Another person came along shortly for our food order, but left swiftly before we could order drinks, and I had to flag someone down to order a glass of champagne.

The wild duck sausage appetizer arrived swiftly, although being soft it lacked in flavor and the celeriac puree added nothing to the dish. The sweet corn, smoked potato and buttermilk soup was not thick or creamy like I had envisioned it, but was instead watery. It had a very mild flavor and the taste of the corn and potato were muddled together, both fighting to shine but winding up in a tangled mess. The whole chestnut mushrooms within felt like intruders in the dish, as they were left whole and were too large to eat in one bite, yet too small to be eaten daintily. The basil oil it was finished with floated on top like an oil slick in an ocean and refused to incorporate into the dish no matter how I stirred.

Breast of Guinea fowl
Too shortly after our appetizers, the entrée arrived, signaling to us that all the food had likely been prepared earlier and nothing was cooked to order. The breast of guinea fowl was unfortunately dry from sitting around and being reheated, the accompanying sauce was very salty and reminded me of the taste of hoisin sauce if it were reduced down to an even thicker concoction. The sweet corn puree was the best part of the dish, while the crispy corn fritter was undercooked and salty.

The female human ordered Irish feeb short rib, which she said was tender but not fork tender, and completely enrobed in sauce. The sauce itself was extremely sticky and sickly sweet, when she managed to scrape off enough sauce to taste the feeb unadultered, she remarked at it’s blandness. The smoked bubble and squeak that came with it was again bland and could have benefited at least from salt.
Warm chocolate mousse
Least to say we ate very little of our mains, and when we informed the server of our dissatisfaction, a manager was sent over to apologize. Although he did offer to make amends by having a small portion of another main prepared for us, he couldn’t help slide in a comment that he had never been told by guests before that they were dissatisfied with the food, and he had only received high praise.

Black figs
We ordered our desserts, which was the only part of our meal not to arrive swiftly and were again underwhelmed. The black figs were a very bipolar dish as the figs were not very sweet, the goats milk sorbet was excessively goaty tasting, and the buttermilk Chantilly had a very very strong citrus flavor to it, even though there was no citrus in the dish. The jelly had a hint of rosewater taste to it, completing the very disjointed dish. The warm chocolate mousse was made with very dark chocolate, verging on bitter. The ice cream on top was no longer ice cream when presented to us but rather a melted puddle. The praline mousse had an excessively strong citrus taste to it, overpowering the praline, and the orange confit annihilated what was left of my ability to taste the chocolate.

This was probably the only restaurant in Europe where we managed to have a three course meal, pay the bill and leave in under an hour. The whole time we felt rushed by the staff, and we weren’t exactly pleased with the manager, who should have just apologized that we weren't satisfied with our meal, instead of going on to tell us how we were the only ones to be dissatisfied and how much praise they receive for their food. We would recommend that the manager worry more about what the customer in front of them is saying about your food than what previous customers have said.

After finishing our meal at Chapter One, we called up The Pig’s Ear to order cheesecake to go to at least eat something that evening that we knew was tasty.

Skip the rushed service and poorly prepared food at Chapter One, it’s not worth the money or the lecture from the manager that we were an anomaly.

More photos at PhotoBucket!

Chapter One
19 Parnell Square North
Dublin, Ireland
011 353 1 873 2266
Twitter: @ChapterOneDub

Chapter One on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Nummy photos but pity that the food didn't live up to its reputation.


Note that all comments are moderated prior to posting.

Comments that are offensive and abusive in nature, contain profanity, or demean others will not be posted. You must provide a name in order to post a comment, anonymous comments will not be posted.

Comments that are controversial in nature or generate debate and dialog are welcome.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...