It’s been a rollercoaster year for ground-breaking Irish restaurant Aimsir, located in the beautiful estate of Cliff at Lyons, Co. Kildare.
After only four months of opening the restaurant, husband and wife team Jordan and Majken Bech-Bailey were awarded two Michelin stars, becoming only the third establishment in the country to hold the accolade.
However, just as the Bech-Baileys should have been enjoying international recognition, the coronavirus crisis forced them, like all other restaurants, to close.
No sooner had the restaurant opened its doors than the county of Kildare was hit with a localised lockdown due to a spike in coronavirus cases in the local area. Now Amisir has reopened for business, welcoming local guests to their dining room, but they’ll reach an even wider range of customers with their new fast-casual concept onsite.
Aimsir will operate a pop-up, serving kebabs from a trailer. The venture, called Every Cloud (silver linings, etc.), will accept payments by card only, and open between 1pm and 6pm, or until it runs out of food. On the menu will be lobster rolls, lamb kebabs and purple-potato fries with cheese foam.
“In total, Aimsir was closed for almost 4 months,” says head chef Jordan Bailey. “It was of course a very unsettling period for us and everyone in our industry but we had great confidence we would pull through to the other side.”
Like many others in hospitality, they put their time to good use and looked to help out in any way they could. For Aimsir, it involved feeding the frontline healthcare workers battling the virus.
“My sous chef and I helped out our local hospital by cooking 200 meals, 3 times a week,” says Bailey. “We wanted to do our bit so we thought, what better way to keep the doctors and nurses going than with tasty wholesome food. We also spent a couple of days a week in our gardens on the property to make sure we had produce to come back to and develop a menu around when we were given the all-clear.”
Aimsir, in Irish, means ‘weather’, and in Ireland, they have plenty of that. But as Irish weather is changeable, so are the uncertain times we live in. Just when it seems the rain will never stop and the sky is grey and impenetrable, the clouds part, the sun comes out and the green is verdant and splendorous.
Spicy horseradish root milk sorbet
lemon balm meringue, corn flowers and freshly pressed broad bean juice
Fragrant lamb broth
poured over garden herbs and spring onion oil
Dry aged pollock caught by Sean Og Ward of the Elaine Marie, Co. Donegal, gently steamed in garlic scapes and then finished with a cream of fermented celeriac
Young Buck cheese
green figs from our orchard cooked in fermented honey from our native black bee’s with a crisp fig leaf
Behind restaurant won its first Michelin star after just 20 days of serving eat-in diners. We spoke to chef Andy Benyon about his extraordinary feat, and the fastest Michelin star in the east (London).