Once again Ranelagh finds itself with another excellent new restaurant serving imaginative cooking in a stylish setting. La Reserve may be small but there’s no limit to the capabilities of Burgundian chef-proprietor Jerome Fernandes, who champions the best of Gallic cooking.
Leather banquettes run along both walls where exposed brick, bare wood tables, French prints and pendulum lights create an intimate and cosy setting, while two outdoor tables make prime spots for some lunchtime people-watching.
You’ll be greeted warmly by French staff and served carafes of water alongside delicious bread with balsamic vinegar and fruity olive oil for dipping as you peruse the tempting menu. All the favourites, from French onion soup to coq au vin, Breton buckwheat galettes to moules mariniere feature, and there’s plenty of modern innovation on display.
Additional specials are written up on a blackboard each day, and each dish is cleverly considered and beautifully presented.
A whole sea bass is a real treat, perfectly cooked and served on the bone with smoked garlic and artichoke alongside a little jug of seafood coulis. Perfectly pink duck fillet might come with a sticky kumquat and orange sauce, little carrots and perfectly cooked pearl potatoes. Side orders include a thoughtful pairing of wild mushrooms sautéed with apple, which is both original and moreish.
This Dublin restaurants desserts include textbook crepes, perhaps with banana and 72% chocolate, or a rich and unusual signature chocolate tart with a dense base. There’s plenty of wine available by the glass from the predominantly French list and staff are happy to help with recommendations.
Coffee is top notch and diners can expect chef to pop out of the kitchen when service ends to enquire if everything is in order.
Lunchtime specials offer superb value and while La Reserve may be pricier than some of its neighbours at dinner, the quality of the cooking is undeniable. Service is great and booking is highly recommended at this special Gallic gem.