After reading a tip on Vorarlberg Online about this restaurant and having a nosey at their website, I thought I would give it a try and I am extremely glad that I did. Mr. French is the 3rd restaurant of Marcel Lerch and is located in the Marktplatz in Dornbirn.
With my interest in interior design I was keen to see what they had done after their recent renovation, and I was not disappointed. Housed in a historical tavern building they have turned this place into a modern, urban haven using subway tiles, aclectic light fittings, printed wallpaper and great furnishings. When you step inside you feel you could be in walking into a modern bar in the likes of Berlin or even New York.
As it was a lovely warm night though we decided to sit outside where you feel you could be tucked away on a side street of many a European city, but you still have the views of the beautiful marktplatz to look out at. Even the chairs outside are not your standard beer garden chairs but elegantly designed which are often better to look at than sit in. Luckily this was not the case and sitting comfortably we had a look through the menu.
The focus here is Belgium and a lot of their dishes are cooked with beer, for example beer foam soup, beer goulash and braised pork cheeks in a beer sauce. If cooking with beer is not your thing there is still a great selection of tempting dishes like starting with a salad with prawns and a mango dressing, or sharing some mussels in white wine, along with some great mains including salmon in honey and mustard sauce, fillet steak, two burger options and mushroom risotto. Their menu is available online but they also had a few specials on offer like a crepe with chicken, olives and cheese.
I went for the mushroom risotto in a creamy sauce with rocket and parmesan and Roger a Mr French burger with bacon and mustard mayonnaise and a side of fries. For all you Masterchef fans out there you know that risotto is the dish that they always struggle with. Not Mr French, mine was creamy and full of mushrooms and the fresh rocket ensured it was not too rich. With the addition of roasted capsicums (or peppers for English readers) it added up to be an extremely satisfying meal.
Roger’s burger was finished pretty quickly with good reviews and when I stole some of his fries, like any good girlfriend does, they were delicious. These were proper chips with some still having the potato skin on.
As other tables food came out I had an instant case of food envy, even though I was full from my meal, I knew I had to come back. The mussels looked and smelt great and the crepe from the specials menu looked fantastic.
Feeling satisfactorily full we had a browse over the desert menu but couldn’t fit it in. Although, the selection of crème brûlée, chocolate orange mousse, pear tart, and banana split was hard to say no to.
If you are not hungry, go to Mr French anyway for their fantastic drink selection. Whatever you drink you will not go thirsty here. You have your standard local beer selection, a good wine selection, good non alcoholic and fruit juice choices, nice choices of different whiskey’s, and ten choices of gin, along with every other liquor known to man. But their pièce de résistance is their craft beer selection.
Craft beer is slowly making its way into Vorarlberg, much to Roger’s delight, and Mr French is paving the way with a whole range of craft beers, ales and stouts to try from different countries. You can get a “Creativ” beer tasting board of four beers to try or just dive straight in with a bottle. Maybe try the Double Chocolate Stout from England, or a St. Benoir or Trappistes Rochefort Beer from Belgium. Accompany these with a few snacks from their small dish menu like deep fried prawns with dipping sauce, olives or garlic bread and your night is set.
All in all I think this place has a lot to offer, whether you’re looking for a relaxed, yet good quality dinner venue, a cool place for a date (which we saw happen a few tables over from us) or just somewhere to have a few drinks with mates.