Tables to be available as former L’Ecrivain restaurant premises reopens

Landmark property to serve as city HQ and office furniture showroom for MJ Flood

Had you asked for a table in 109A Lower Baggot Street at around this time last year, there's a good chance you were looking for one last long lunch or a to-die-for dinner at the Michelin-starred L'Ecrivain before it closed its doors for the final time after 31 years in business.

But while the renowned Dublin restaurant’s owner-operators, Derry and Sallyanne Clarke, have since moved on to pastures new, you’ll soon be able to get another kind of table, and all manner of other furniture for that matter, at their former premises in the city’s Georgian district.

An examination of the planning permission secured by the property's new owners, office supplies specialist, MJ Flood, shows that L'Ecrivain is set to be converted from its long-standing use as a "restaurant and cookery school/food boutique" into "five [office furniture] showrooms".

With much of the publicity surrounding last April’s sale of the former restaurant property for €2 million focussing on the Clarkes’ plans to open a new boutique hotel called Eliza’s in Temple Bar, the question of who the buyer of 109A Lower Baggot Street might be, had gone unanswered.


Indeed, in its statement confirming the sale of the landmark premises, North’s Property, said at the time that they believed that “the property will not continue as a restaurant as it has been purchased by a well-established Irish firm as its city centre HQ”.

While North’s didn’t provide any further information in relation to the identity of the purchaser then, its reference in the same statement to the property’s strength as a restaurant location for L’Ecrivain, would, with the benefit of hindsight, appear to be even more appropriate to its new owners.

Perfect pitch

Leaving aside the existing presence of numerous hotels, government departments and professional service providers there, the fact that some 100,000sq m (1,076,391 sq ft) of new office space for the likes of US tech giants, Slack and LinkedIn is being developed in the area makes it a perfect pitch for MJ Flood's new headquarters. Efforts by The Irish Times to contact MJ Flood's principals, John Power and Michael Power jnr for comment on their own plans to locate on Lower Baggot Street proved unsuccessful.

Established in 1935, MJ Flood is, according to its website, “the largest indigenous supplier of copiers, digital technology, office furniture and interiors for the modern office environment”. Privately owned, the company, which is currently headquartered in Baldonnel Business Park, employs more than 300 people and has an annual turnover of in excess of €120 million.

Derry and Sallyanne Clarke meanwhile told The Irish Times earlier this year that they hope to have their new venture in Temple Bar open for business by late summer. The boutique hotel will have a full bar and restaurant, and Mr Clarke has two partners in the venture.

“We’re out of L’Ecrivain after 31 years there,” he said at the time of his former premises’ sale. “It was strange locking the door there, but that’s it. We had good times there, good customers, good suppliers, good teams, so good memories of the place.”

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan is Property Editor of The Irish Times