The wait is over and finally, the doors of Café en Seine have reopened, bringing with them a new and exciting new venue. With Stephen Gibson acting as Executive Head Chef you can expect the food to be good and the cocktails are equally on par. The newly redesigned venue has a distinct grow up feel. The food is high-end casual dining; the menu is the same throughout the venue but with clearly defined dining areas – if you’re looking for a more formal meal you can enjoy this in the specially designated restaurant or, if you’re looking for a bite to eat and a cocktail after work, you can dine in Café en Seine’s main dining room.
On our waitresses recommendation I went for the Tea & Tonic. A sophisticated version of a classic G&T made with Tanqueray No Ten, White Port and Earl Grey Tonic. Visually this isn’t an exciting drink, and you’d be fooled into thinking it was just water on first glance, but taste-wise it’s a beautifully light and refreshing sip. My friend describes it as something that you could have at brunch following a night of partying! Easy to drink and keeps your taste buds awake.
My friend opted for the tequila laded Rita Fizz; Don Julio Blanco mixed with Ginseng Liqueur, Citrus, Grapefruit Fizz, and Plum Salt as well as honey adding a nice sweetness to the tipple. While she loved the balanced citrusy flavours of this cocktail, for a tequila novice like me, the spirit is too strong for my tastes.
Stephen himself describes the menu as a “real crowd pleaser featuring simple, fun dishes that are great to share”. Although we didn’t eat here on this visit, I had to have a little peek at the menu. Small plates such as mushroom bruschetta, beef croquettes and gambas a la plancha all sound delicious. This style of sharing dishes is right up my street, lots of dishes to pick at while enjoying a glass of vino or two.
By far, my favourite part of the refurbishment is the indoor-outdoor secret garden. This impressive space features a retractable glass roof that can be opened when the sun decides to shine. When the weather takes a turn, guests can still enjoy an al fresco style experience without the rain!
The garden transports you to a Parisian street, complete with faux shop windows of jazz bars, fashion boutiques and a coffee shop, which I am told will be up and running as a working café in a number of weeks.
Our final cocktails before we headed home were a nostalgic sounding Cream Soda and a Poppy Drop. The former isn’t like the fizzy lemonade so many of us drank as children. Instead, this grown-up drink is made with Roe & Co, Cream Soda Syrup and Tartaric Acid and Fizz. A fun and fizzy sip that is well balanced with notes of sweetness and spice.
My Poppy Drop was the winner here. A spicy approach to the classic vodka sour made with Ketel One Citroen. Light and fluffy egg whites sat on top of this well-mixed drink along with a sprinkling of kola nut and black pepper. A delicious sherbert style cocktail.
Expectations for this popular Dublin venue were high, and we waited with baited breathe to see the transformation, and first impressions did not disappoint. Opening night saw the venue teeming with people, eager to get a peek into the stylish spot.
Café en Seine has a distinctly grown-up vibe, but with a contemporary and modern feel and I expect it will once again be a destination for merry party goers and hungry diners coming up to the festive season and beyond.
T: +353 (01) 677 4567
REVIEW BY SINÉAD SMYTH