Aimsir Restaurant To Open At Cliff At Lyons This Autumn

By Dave Simpson
Aimsir Restaurant To Open At Cliff At Lyons This Autumn
Aimsir, a restaurant inspired by the idea of weather – how it controls what grows and is harvested and how that discovery influences our mood and our plate – opens at Cliff at Lyons this autumn. Aimsir – the weather – is the heart of what happens at Aimsir, the restaurant. Celebrating what can be sown and harvested, fished and foraged on the island of Ireland, Aimsir will be a passionate advocate for an authentic range of ingredients used in a sophisticated and inventive way.

Led by talented young Cornwall-born chef Jordan Bailey, former head chef at 3-star Michelin Maaemo in Oslo, and his Danish front of house manager and wife Majken Bech Christensen, the young couple moved to Ireland in January and have been busy exploring the food producers and ingredients of their newly adopted home. Jordan was also a key member of 2-star Michelin Restaurant Sat Bains, while Majken honed her skills at 2-star Michelin Henne Kirkeby Kro.

These two young newly-weds – in their twenties, one from Denmark, one from Cornwall, now making a home together in Ireland – are celebrating a larder that is new to both of them, and indulging in the excitement and adventure of discovering this bounty together.

Is there another race on the face of the earth that talks about the weather more than we do? If you don’t like the weather here, they say, just wait ten minutes. With four seasons in an average day, the preoccupation makes sense – the weather drives our conversation and our economy, it rules our farmers and fishermen, it has this island in its control. So as much as possible, everything served in Aimsir will be grown or produced on the island of Ireland.

That level of discipline involves precision and control, but is also very much dependent on real connections and relationships. That is reflected on the plate at Aimsir. An all-island restaurant, the best producers and growers from all over Ireland have been invited to be part of this new celebration of the most powerful, significant and influential force this country has ever seen – the weather.

“Exploring what Ireland has to offer has been a fantastic experience,” says Aimsir head chef Jordan Bailey. “Atlantic seaweed, razor clams, sea snails, Boyne Valley’s white goat cheese and raw goat milk, Killahora Orchards ice wine, wild boar from Ballinwillin, asparagus and heritage garlic from Drummond House, Ballymakenny Farm heritage potatoes – the list is seemingly endless. Our larder is full of exceptional ingredients and great produce.

I’m really looking forward to only using ingredients picked and sourced from the island’s larder. That ‘limitation’ is welcome because that is what’s going to provoke new thoughts and ideas, and will help push us to be more innovative when creating new dishes at Aimsir.

The carefully selected farmers and growers have done most of the hard work for us at Aimsir, by producing ingredients that are full of flavour and naturally beautiful. New techniques will be applied, not to manipulate the raw product, but to enhance its natural flavour profile and let its beauty show through on the plate.

We’ll be looking back at how this island supplied and provided for her people, the forgotten cooking methods, heritage ingredients and recipes, using those to shape the food at Aimsir. Our restaurant will not be re-inventing old recipes but using them as a source of knowledge and a rich vein of inspiration.”

"I've been lucky enough to work in some places where I found the service inspiring - comfortable, welcoming and professional but still personal,” says Majken Bech Christensen, front of house manager at Aimsir. “I'm excited to develop the Aimsir style of welcome when we open this autumn.”

Aimsir at Cliff at Lyons will open from Wednesday through to Saturday, evenings only, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Serving a tasting menu with an optional drinks pairing that will embrace and draw inspiration from other cultures – a diverse alcoholic beverage pairing which will include beer, cider, sake, spirits and natural wines – there will also be an interesting and open-minded wine list from small producers as well as classic vintages.

Aimsir is set in beautiful gardens close to the estate’s own walled gardens and polytunnels where herbs, vegetables, and fruit are grown for the menus.

“Our on-site gardens will give Aimsir sommeliers the opportunity to offer a non-alcoholic beverage pairing too,” says Majken Bech Christensen, “working closely with the gardener and chefs to utilise our gorgeous garden and their techniques for fruit presses, vibrant juices and fresh herb infusions for aromatic teas, all tailored to compliment the flavours of the food.”

With a separate bar that has its own unique menu of drinks and snacks, the main room in Aimsir features an open kitchen at the heart of the space. Designed in partnership with renowned London consultancy BusbyWebb to be relaxed and comfortable, Aimsir uses rich, tactile materials throughout – wood, marble, brass, brushed concrete, herringbone parquet – incorporating textural changes with matte and reflective surfaces.

A handsome, contemporary space set into an original cut-stone cottage on the grounds of Cliff at Lyons, the sophisticated décor features colours reflecting the sky above, from cool blues, greys and silvers to the delicate pinks and mauves of a summer sunrise. Table settings use pieces by Irish potters, wood-turners and knife-makers from Dublin, Kerry, Cork, Galway and Northern Ireland, and the main restaurant space has a feature ceiling paying tribute to the so familiar isobars on a weather map.

The vagaries of Irish weather – the brooding clouds and changing light, the bright sunshine, grey days and deep shadows, the changing seasons and their bounty – are as clearly reflected on the plate at Aimsir as the blue sky in a bright lake.

“Gathering only the best Irish organic and biodynamic raw ingredients, our philosophy at Aimsir is one of inventive discovery and celebration,” says Aimsir head chef Jordan Bailey, “driven by nature, the cycle of seasons on land, changing temperatures in the oceans and the geography from which it’s all being sourced – Ireland.”

© 2018 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.