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The Greenhouse effect

A LITTLE bravery and confidence in our talents is what is needed in the country right now.

And, perhaps with this in mind, Eamon O'Reilly (of One Pico and the Boxtree) has teamed up with the highly creative Mickael Viljanen, formerly of Gregans Castle, and opened The Greenhouse in the old Bleu premises on Dawson Street.

Viljanen blends classical French techniques with touches of molecular gastronomy but also allows his Finnish roots to shine through.

Simple ingredients such as mackerel, pollack, rhubarb and apples are given symphonic treatment with multiple flavours including wild herbs, flowers, potions and essences.

The interior of The Greenhouse is comfortable and welcoming with a strong emphasis on simplicity, elegance and appropriate lighting.

The Greenhouse has headhunted some of the best front-of-house staff around and found a talented sommelier. The wine list is diverse but with food this complicated, I felt it was best to trust the professionals and opt for a glass of wine to match each course.

All of these pairings were flawless. I ate at Greenhouse twice, first when they opened and again a number of days later. My first meal of seven courses left me stuffed and a little overwhelmed - so for my second I brought a cool-headed scientist friend and chose the shorter menu.


Our first amuse bouche was a light sweet-savoury apple macaroon with herring roe and desiccated bacon fat and our second a Parmesan cream with pear served in an egg and topped with a rich cep sauce. Two perfect mouth-pleasing flavours.

Foie gras parfait with apple sorbet was topped with powdered frozen foie gras snow and offset with apple sorbet, wafer-thin apple slices and walnuts. This was paired with an "ice" cider made from frozen apples which perfectly picked out the flavours.

Roasted mackerel with veal tongue and eel cannelloni was a more surprising blend of flavours, with the rich mackerel offset by the savoury veal and eel, along with creamed avocado and citrus jus.

Celeriac baked in rye with duck hearts came with hazelnut crumbs and a sticky hazelnut sauce to add some sweetness and richness to the earthy celeriac, with further accents provided by wild sorrel leaves and truffle sauce.

Roast pollack with salty brown shrimp and wild garlic was served with Stonier Pinot Noir from Australia and 36hr veal shoulder, sweetbread and carrots was served with the highly obscure Maturano Tinto grape from Rioja.


Sea Buckthorn berries with passion-fruit, coconut and coffee caramel was the only dish I felt hit some wrong notes - the intense citrus flavours mixed with the strong coffee flavours just seemed a little too punchy and blunt.

By contrast the rhubarb with celery granita, white chocolate and milk topped off with a fragrant rose water sauce was sheer heaven.

The petit fours were a perfect finish and included blood orange pastille, potato and white chocolate fudge topped with fennel pollen.

This is not just food - this is music for the mouth.