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20th Dec 2016

Chameleon’s Early Bird Rijst Tafel Is A Cracker – But Doesn’t Pack The Same Punch As The Main Event


1. Paired with a full-sized rijst tafel, it’s the perfect meal for two.

As I mentioned in the first half of this Chameleon review, one full-sized rijst tafel is definitely designed for one person. However, if you want a slightly less decadent meal for your party of two, one early bird and one standard rijst tafel, with their combined 9-12 dishes, is alright– and it’ll shave €10-20 off the price.

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2. The ‘Land’ menu’s pork spring roll is a treat.

This dish looks more like a health-food lunch wrap than it does a standard takeout spring roll, and it tastes awesome. The pastry is flaky but not too quick to snap and fall apart. The pork gives the roll an unexpected heartiness, and the red onion and chilli jam make it sweet. Like most of Chameleon’s dishes, it has a totally unique flavour profile, but it’s worth the first few seconds of confusion.

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3. Be prepared for a menu pared way, way down.

Unlike normal early bird menus that simply limit the options you can choose from, the rijst tafel early bird selections cut your meal in half. You won’t starve, but you’ll get far less food than you do on the standard menu.

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4. Embrace vegetables.

In addition to cutting the number of dishes from 6-8 to 3-4, the early bird rijst tafels also replace many of the meatier dishes with veggie-based sides. These vegetable options are made with just as much love as the meat dishes, though. Give them a fair shot.

5. The ‘Land’ menu: pretty normal Asian food done really well.

At a restaurant where most things on the menu are total innovations, the Land early bird rijst tafel is a familiar, safe choice: a chicken curry, a spring roll, sesame fried vegetables, and rice. This isn’t your average chicken curry and spring roll, though – they’re served with interesting twists (coconut and lemongrass curry, anyone?).

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6. That said…branch out from ‘Land’.

I enjoyed my Land rijst tafel, but the other two options, Sea and Vegetarian, look like the far better options in hindsight. Even though the other dishes are delicious, Land’s offering of just two meat dishes feels like a bit of a ripoff compared to the standard menu options. The Sea rijst tafel gives you a full range of seafood plus a vegetable dish, and each of the four dishes from the Vegetarian set seems hearty and delicious. Land is a safe bet, but you’ll leave with a fuller stomach if you go for the more inventive options.

  • Chameleon
  • Lower Frownes St, Temple Bar, Dublin 2