Thursday, January 17, 2013

Le Meurice (Paris) 01/2013

                                                                The restaurant at this grand hotel on the Rue Rivoli, opposite the Tuilleries is renowned for the magnificence of it’s dining room as well as the food presented by Chef Yannick Alleno. We had decided that the set price New Years eve menu was too expensive to bare at about A$1700 / head before drinks but decided to have lunch a few days later. There were two set menus A$150 or A$320/head and an a la carte menu with dishes ranging from about A$80 upwards for entrees and up to about A$300 for mains. The menu in the evening is very little different, most of the degustation being the same, and about A$30 dearer. This is very much the upper end of top class Paris hotels, a room for one night is about A$1400.
When we were seated and remarked on the splendour of the room                                                                 the waiter assured us that the food would match it and the service would be exemplary and it was indeed faultless.
Show plates  are cut out in the centre and remain on the table for dishes to be served in them.
An amuse bouche before the meal was a pretty presentation of squash three ways, as a biscuit, as a lokum with date and as a mousse. It was sweet and flavoursome with a slightly pumpkin like taste.
                                                                The first course was raw shellfish, oyster, scallop, clam, calamari and sea urchin coral served with a sweet red cabbage jelly with Juniper berries and a touch of ponzu. This was decorated with edible foraged flowers and tiny enoki mushrooms. Very simple but simply delicious for crustacean lover. The meld of flavours were the work of  a master(10/10).
Translucent shredded cod with olive oil had a garlic which had been deep fried and filled with petal shaped potato with vinegar and water cress.  A simple set of ingredients that blended perfectly to make a delicate dish. The cod quite wonderful, So simple, so good.
                                                         Poached duck foie gras in consommé, melting daikon radish. We were beginning to feel the genius of Yannick Alleno’s cooking. The dish was again marked by the same characteristics of simplicity of ingredients combined gently, without being over fussy to produce exquisite combinations.
                                                                   Wild sea bass came next with fricassee of potatoes and black truffle in a jus. This is an exceptionally fine fish at any time but could not have been better than this.
.                                                                   As with all the dishes a waitress brings them on a large tray from which two waiters take them and bring them to the table in unison. If they are covered the waiters the raise the covers simultaneously revealing the food. If one leaves the table before finishing a dish a waiter quickly appears, provides a fresh napkin and covers the dish again until you return!
                                                               Fillet of milk fed lamb with fresh herbs, cutlet with sweet peppers and black pudding.  Cooked as requested the lamb was what can only be obtained from the best butchers. Another distinguishing feature of all these dishes has been the jus. In every case it has been light and flavour some and formed part of the dish rather than dominating it as happens very often even in very good restaurants at times. Mashed potato, creamy and smooth came separately.

 Thin tartlet of  Parmiggiano Reggiano, riquette salad mixed with taggiasche black olives. Comments would be superfluous. I do not usually care for the taste of olives but here, again, nothing was dominant and the parts were greater than the whole.
                                                           Several desserts followed, including sponge cxake with lemon, cristal leaves with tequila sorbet.
                                                             Roasted heart of pear with caramel, stuffed cocoa biscuits with chocolate, which was magnificent and sundry other sweet delights.

We drank a splendid 2009 St Joseph Domaine Pierre Gaillard and a very good Volnay - Pitures 2005 made by Jean -Marc Boillot wine by the glass at quite moderate prices.
Truly the best lunch either of us has ever had.
Score:19.5 /20


John Salisbury said...

Was that the $320 set menu?

John Salisbury said...

so so wonderful of you both to share this with us...

Was that your best meal... EVER?

Best regards John

Elliot and Sandra said...

Hi John
That was indeed the $325 set menu which is the one they serve at night too.
I think it probably was the best meal Sandra or I have ever had although the meal we had at Alinea a few years ago, was outstanding but in a different style. This meal was very much a French meal showing it's heritage and reminding us of the history of French cuisine from Careme and Escoffier rather than the modern movement expressed by Feran Adria and others.

John Salisbury said...

Great comment.

Elliot and Sandra said...

Hi John
You're very flattering, what can I say!

Amanda said...
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