Is there no end to the fabulous places to eat in the wonderful medieval town of Annecy in the heart of the Haute Savoie? - that's a rhetorical question... it would seem not! some of these culinary treasures are so well hidden, you need a local to give you the 'heads up' and the owner of one of my favourite Annecy restaurants Le Bilboquet told me about this one. My latest find is Restaurant L'Esquisse in Annecy owned by Stéphane and Magali Dattrino. Situated on the Rue Royale in the centre of Annecy, this little gem and it is a small restaurant takes only 18 covers for each sitting in the calm and tastefully decorated restaurant.
Stéphane was the second chef to Laurent Petit for 7 years at Clos de Sens in Annecy le Vieux before opening L'Esquisse in 2011. And it was in 2016 that he earned his first Michelin star! It's easy to feel the passion in his food creations, the marrying of great flavour combinations, beautiful plating and delicious tasting food! Magali is front of house to greet diners gives such a warm welcome. I loved her friendly chat whilst discussing the menu and serving Stéphane's delightful creations, you could feel her pride in presenting the 'fait maison' and beautifully presented dishes.
L'Esquisse offers four menu options - at weekday lunchtimes the L'Instant du Midi which is a three-course lunch for €36. The Expression Gourmande can be chosen from an entrée, fish course and main dish - 2 dishes, cheese, dessert for €62 or 3 dishes, cheese, dessert at €72. Then there is L'Inspiration menu which I really enjoyed, all of the decision making is taken away! Stéphane will propose a gourmand surprise discovery of either a 4 or 5-course lunch or dinner - including cheese and dessert. If the whole table chooses to indulge in the art of surprise try the Menu Sensation for a real gourmet experience, a seven-course tasting menu for €82.
Polenta Strips served with Amuse Bouche
Butter flavoured with Absinthe
Above: Iced Fennel Soup and Tomme cheese with fennel from Le Farto in Thônes Right: A semoule of cauliflower,mango chutney and roasted prawns
The attention to detail and distinctive serving dishes and cutlery just add to the whole dining experience. The polenta strips were an inspired idea and the flavoured butter such an interesting addition. I so enjoyed the intimate dining experience that this restaurant has and the idea of the inspiration menu creates a culinary discovery with the element of surprise! I've visited three times at lunchtimes and loved it. A fine dining experience in between what is always a wonderful day wandering the shopping streets of Annecy.
From L'Instant du Midi Menu Left: Le Poisson du moment grilled. Above: Roasted Quail fillets. Both were served on a bed of Girolle mushrooms, young spinach leaves and a butter bouillon at Restaurant L'Esquisse, Annecy
The Opinel Knife
The Opinel Knife was invented in the Savoie by Joseph Opinel in the 1890s. Pictured above is the iconic design of this knife. Joseph originally designed 12 knives of varying sizes. The knife has a wooden handle and a distinctive virobloc twistlok invented by Joseph's son Marcel, which was added to the classic design in 1955. By this time the factory had grown and moved to Chambery. The Opinel museum is located in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne on the original site of the founders workshop. To this day it is run by family members and in the old town of Annecy, the first dedicated Opinel boutique was opened in July 2017.
Dessert and cheese at L'Esquisse, Annecy
Have you been to L'Esquisse? what did you think? Where else in Annecy have you eaten? I'd love to hear your comments.
You will find Restaurant L'Esquisse at 21 Rue Royale in Annecy. they are open every day apart from Wednesday and Sunday from 12h15 to 13h15 for lunch and for dinner from 19h30 à 21h. I would highly recommend booking in advance by telephoning +33 450 44 80 59. Click here to visit their website . I visited L'Esquisse restaurant at my own expense and these are my views on my dining experiences.
all photos are copyright ©Caro Blackwell