Variety Jones, the new restaurant from chef Keelan Higgs opens at 6pm tonight on Thomas Street in Dublin 8. He describes the food as 'Modern Irish', and the opening menu features comté ravioli, hearth grilled sole and chicken liver parfait with sweet and sour onions and potato bread.
Higgs, formerly head chef at Locks and Luna, was looking for a site for two and a half years, but says nothing felt right until he found the one on Thomas Street. He wanted Variety Jones to be in the inner city, where he felt he could be more dynamic with the menu, and have more freedom to keep things interesting.
The menu doesn't take the typical starter, main, dessert format - most dishes are designed to be shared, and Higgs said this was important to him as it's how he likes to eat. "The restaurant is based around the Irish principles of sharing, warmth and togetherness. Sharing food breaks down barriers." There's also has an open hearth where certain foods will be cooked straight over burning ash.
Keelan's brother Aaron is front of house, and sommelier Vanda Ivančić has put together a wine list focusing on minimal intervention wines from small producers. Food and wine pairings will be a feature on the menu, and they want the wines to inspire dishes, and vice versa.
Higgs isn't worried about the number of restaurants opening in the city right now, and the impending doom being forecast by many due to Brexit and the upcoming VAT increase - "It's a dog eat dog world. If we can keep the food interesting to us I think we'll keep it interesting for the customers too, and hopefully they'll want to keep coming back."
Variety Jones opens tonight at 6pm, and will be open until Sunday before taking a break for Christmas. They may be back in between Christmas and New Year - keep an eye on their social media feeds for updates. Bookings can be made through their website, and their opening night menu is below.
78 Thomas Street, Dublin 8