1 Michelin Star Chefs: Keelan Higgs, chef owner, Variety Jones

The  Staff Canteen

Keelan Higgs is the chef and owner of one Michelin-starred Variety Jones in Dublin.

Variety Jones

 

78 Thomas St, The Liberties, Dublin, D08 F2RN, Ireland

Telephone: +353 1 516 2470

Website and reservations: varietyjones.ie

Opening hours:

Tuesday-Saturday: 5:30–10pm

Sunday-Monday: Closed

Twitter: @Variety_Jones

@KeelanHiggs

Instagram: @variety_jones

@keelanhiggs

Keelan's first foray into the world of food came earlier than most, as his father managed seafood restaurants and he remembers visiting fish markets with him as a young child. 

Career path

After studying culinary arts at the Dublin Institute of Technology, the chef was offered a job at two Michelin-starred Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud.

He has since worked at Arnolfo Restaurant - which also has two Michelin stars - in Tuscany, Locks Brasserie(with chefs Conor O’Dowd and Paul McNamara), followed by a stint at the now-defunct Luna, where he met Variety Jones' head sommelier, Vanda Ivancic.

He was a sous-chef at The Greenhouse in Dublin when he decided to spread his wings and open his own place.

Confessing to being an impulsive cook (and dresser), Keelan's philosophy flies in the face of classicism and favours a spontaneous approach to food.

Variety Jones 

Set in a former tattoo parlour, Variety Jones is located on Dublin's Thomas Street. It is barely visible from the outside as it has no sign above the door and the inside is long and narrow.

The restaurant was named after a man who helped run a dark net drugs operation called the Silk Road, for whom front of house manager Aaron Higgs (the chef's brother) worked, at one of his bars in Thailand. 

What the guides say

Michelin

 

 

 

The small, minimally-decorated restaurant boasts a cosy atmosphere and its open kitchen offering guests a view onto the preparation of the food, much of which is roasted over burning hearth embers.

Though his food is described as 'modern Irish', the chef draws influences from all over the world - Vietnam,  France, Italy, Lebanon, Jamaica, to name a few.

His inspiration and drive come from sharing food around a table in line with the Irish tradition of bringing people together. 

The à la carte menu is divided into the following categories: Snacks, Cold, Warm, Pasta, family-style sharing plates and After (a single dessert and a cheese plate).

The guide singles out the three following courses: lobster with grilled baby gem and brown butter; duck with charred broccoli hearts, hearts and confit leg; rhubarb and almond cake with poached rhubarb and cultured cream. 

Both the food menu and the wine list are updated regularly. The latter is largely comprised of natural, organic wines created with minimal intervention.

Irish Times critic Catherine Clearly called Variety Jones "a small restaurant with big ambitions," and while Irish Independent critic Katy McGuinness was lightly critical of the layout and the lack of coat hangers, she called Higgs' cooking "unashamedly focused on flavour" and "outstanding."

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 18th January 2021

1 Michelin Star Chefs: Keelan Higgs, chef owner, Variety Jones