L’ecrivain (Dublin)

L’ecrivain is one of the fine dining restaurants that has been on my list for a long while, and just recently I got to dine in this husband-and-wife run resto with the newly launched €25 three-course set lunch.

We arrived at nearly 1pm and then called out our booking to a sweet lady, she then led us up a flight of stairs to the interior of the restaurant. Immediately, we were greeted with a large window of open kitchen where chefs were at work. I like it! Our seat was situated in a semi circular cushioned sofa with a round table (of  the perfect height for me), only a few steps away from the kitchen where I could peek at the chefs in action, and to my delight, without any noticeable noise from the kitchen.

Atmosphere was buzzing, and quite formal too, it seemed that the lunch crowd was mainly from the nearby offices. I appreciate the clean lined and classic wooden furniture in a warmly lit interior. Service was attentive yet not intrusive at all, cold water was constantly refilled by the observant waiters, making us feeling quite privileged.

Food wise, as you can expect from a French restaurant. Aesthetically pleasing and smallish portion. But,  not for the starters which were surprisingly hearty.

€25 Lunch Menu, changes daily.

My sister and I ordered everything off the lunch menu except beverages.

Butter & sea salt on a marble, as well as olive oil dipping for the bread.

A selection of  brown bread, white bread and fruit bread was offered. I had the latter two.

Sister C had the brown soda bread which I had a nibble, perfect with butter. The white and fruit ones were very decent, soft and fresh.

Mushroom Veloute – Pickled Mushrooms, Hazelnut Foam

The soup was thick and subtly scented, hazelnut foam complimented the mushroom flavour very well.

Chicken & Ham Hock Terrine – Celeriac Remoulade, Apple, Quail Egg

Tell you something, whenever I dine with my family in a-la-carte style, we have a bad habit. Not that we slurp, talk loudly and along those lines. But, we like to swap our dish halfway. Dining in a formal French restaurant as such did not deter us from rubbing into this habit still.

Everything on the plate was very well executed, except that I found the terrine had too much volume for a starter. Celeriac and the chicken dipper was a joy to savour and not sure where the apple was, doesn’t matter.

Grilled Skate – Shrimp Dressing, Tempura Dublin Bay Prawn, Fennel Puree

The fish was grilled to perfection, crispy outside and moist inside. Personally, I don’t know how to appreciate the unfamilliar and a tad overwhelming flavour all together. So, not going to describe more here.

Challans Duck – Butternut Squash, Gremolata, Sauerkraut

Did I tell you this is my maiden visit to a French restaurant? Hence, I have mentally prepared myself to try anything that throws at me including a rare duck (not pink).

Sister C ordered this dish, and personally she does not appreciate rare meat, so we requested for longer cooking time. The request was honoured and came back with pink meat. However, there was still pink juice coming out where C refused to eat but at the same time embarrassed to ask for 100% well done meat.

And that was how I ended up with the duck (no swapping midway this time), it was succulent though personally I didn’t like juice from pink meat as well. The surrounding little bits on the plate helped to mask the juice so I didn’t have to look while I consumed.

Summer Berries, Lemon Cake & Yoghurt Sorbet

Here is the closing of our meal. The desserts’ combination of flavour and texture presented as a clear cleansing palette.

Total damage was €56.25 including 12.5% optional gratuity for two three-course meal. Overall, it was a so-so experience, I will give it a pass.

Address: 109 a Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2
Date of Visit: 26 Aug 2009


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