Yesterday I was having a discussion on a forum about what a review of a restaurant should be about. Personally, I like when I read a review and I feel immersed in the experience, even if I was never at that restaurant.
To describe our last week experience at L’Annexe, I would use a metaphor of a kid visiting for the first time a glassware shop. This was the enchant which accompanied, dish by dish, our menu.
A step back: L’Annexe is a historical venue located in the Old Town, few steps from the St. Esprit elevator, and has recently enrolled as Chef Giuseppe Molinaro, who won the Mediterranean Chef of the Year award with Gault & Millau in 2020. Pastry chef is Dorian Molina, who has in his experience the starred Mosconi. All the foresaid prospected at least an interesting evening.
We got to the restaurant at 7 pm and we chose to seat cote droite, in a more reserved area. The left side of the restaurant has a more vivid atmosphere, still with quite a distance between the tables. It was dark, but I suppose the view during the day should be another reason to visit the place.
The restaurant offers a selection of dishes “a la carte”, followed by set menus. A vegetarian one, a fish one, a meat one and a mixed one (meat and fish). Menu includes generally from seven to nine dishes and starts at 70 Euro to 95 Eur. They are a convenient deal compared to prices a la carte (starters around 25, main around 35 Eur).
We chose the fish menu which included a selection of mise en bouche, squid with “cime di rapa”, octopus’ salad, shrimps with coconut Thai soup, pasta buttons filled with tomato and langoustine and a sauce of smoked scamorza, BBQ lobster, pre dessert and dessert – the dessert included in the fish menu was the apple in several texture, I cheated and asked to have the meat menu dessert, which was a revisitation of the Black Forest, request they had no problem to accommodate.
The sequence of dishes, as said, left us enchanted: the combination of Mediterranean aromas with more exotic flavors, as well as the review of traditional dishes. Personally, everything was punchy, but I loved in particular the ball filled with carbonara and the truffle sponge in the amuse bouche.
Mr, who is usually extremely picky toward fine dining, said this was one of the first time he really enjoyed the amuse bouche assortments, as “you can perfectly taste and recognize everything which is included in every bite”.
Squid dish was mouthwatering and the buttons showstopping in their simplicity. The Black Forest dessert was then the cherry on the cake, in all the senses.
Pictures of our evening, followed by my final general impressions.
What I loved about L’Annexe:
- I loved the general effort to combine the tradition with the innovation, intended not only in flavors, but as well in shapes – the Willi Wonka tablets as amuse bouche, the iPhone as pre-dessert, next to very (theoretically) linear recipes, like the squid or the buttons, which resulted in simply taste amplified by the quality of the materials used.
- Service-wise our evening was lovely: we felt spoiled even if we were first time clients and I was almost feeling sorry it was time to leave.
- Price is definitely fair for the contest and the products: our total bill reads 290 Euro, which includes two fish menus, a bottle of Puligny-Montrachet (105 Eur), two bottles of water and two glasses of sweet wine with the dessert. Coffee was offered. Not a place to go when you don’t feel for cooking, still more convenient than several in the same category.
What I liked a bit less about L’Annexe:
- Our dinner was generally perfect, so nothing to complain on my side and really looking forward to coming back. If I must find something to point, probably it would be that some dishes were a bit too small and the quantity should be arranged differently in the contest of the menu. We definitely didn’t leave hungry, but it might be that a more solid main course would have had a different impact on the feeling.
In conclusion: L’Annexe was an amazing discovery. It is likely the restaurant for a special occasion, a date, a celebration, a business dinner, – a very unsophisticated chic atmosphere. You have very much the feeling to be in a Michelin star restaurant, without the price tag. Enjoyable ambiance, lovely service, great products make it for me a place to visit.