L'Ecrivain: chic French cuisine with a hint of Irish modernism
It has been 28 years since Derry and Sallyanne Clarke opened L'Ecrivain in the heart of Dublin city. Since then, the D2 restaurant has established itself as one of the best in Dublin, grabbing a Michelin star along the way.
While it had been on our bucket list for a long time, an incredible offer on The Taste convinced us to take the plunge - a 3-course dinner for 2 for 75 euros instead of 150, it would just be rude not to. Before I begin my review I think it is important to state that during our time in L'Ecrivain, we didn't perceive any sort of condescendence because we were there with a voucher. On every aspect, we weren't denied any of the trappings of a fine dining experience.
Upon arrival, we were escorted to our table that was located in a small room near the kitchen on the first floor, which allowed us to be greeted by the chef and to see that he was there to check every plate that was sent to the tables - 28 years later, he is still at the helm of the ship.
Our meal started with a bread basket, a tasty mise en bouche and a bottle of Vacqueras, nicely suggested by the sommelier to fit our choice of food. Unfortunately, my boyfriend and I went for the exact same menu, which we usually avoid as it allows us to try more dishes. But resisting to the lobster, tournedos Rossini and chocolate tart was simply too hard.
We started off with Poached lobster, with grapes, chervil, peach, cucumber and almond. This fresh entree combined some of the best flavours of the summer, with the daintiness of the lobster complimented with the sweetness of the fruits and the crunchiness of the cucumber and fresh almonds. While we appreciated the elegance of the dish, we just felt it was lacking an element to bring it all together, maybe a dressing or a sauce like the foamy hollandaise we had in Forest and Marcy a few weeks ago.
After a light entree and an appropriate shot of frozen tonic water, the main felt like a decadence of richness, in the best way. Tournedos Rossini is a classic French dish that you don't find very frequently on the menu in France anymore, unfortunately, as it is one of my favourites. The Dexter beef and generous slice of fresh foie gras were served with girolles, a truffled jus and a side of mashed potato, and it was pure perfection. In spite of the generous portion, we both agreed after licking down the last drop of sauce that a second serving wouldn't have gone amiss.
The dessert didn't fail to impress us either. The fresh Irish cherries lightened the rich chocolate ganache and chocolate sorbet, while some crushed biscuit gave a bit more texture to the dessert. We ordered an espresso and were lucky to try more sweet delicacies, a fruit paste, a mini macaron and a chocolate mini ball. All along the meal, we could appreciate how the chef mastered the classics of French cuisine while giving them a relevant hint of modernity, using the best of Irish produces.
This seasonal dinner menu, including coffee and petits fours, was an impressive showcase of what this restaurant has to offer. The service was flawless, elegant yet friendly - especially with my fellow Frenchmen and women - and we will be happy to pay full price on our next visit to try the chef tasting menu.