The French are famous for many things… Mona Lisa, Champagne, making pencil Moustaches look good… but maybe most importantly…. Their Food.
Now, I am not suggesting that no other nation can compete, non non monsieur… Merely that when it comes to all things rich and luxurious, France has the patent on the majority.
Knowing how to make the very best of these ingredients is a skill in itself and one that is essentially born into Michele Roux Jr and his restaurant, Le Gavroche.
There are few places on my “Special List”… This list is reserved for occasions. Birthdays/Wedding Gifts et al, and Le Gavroche is one of them. Why? I am glad you asked. This place has received every accolade known to the culinary world and continues to be at the forefront of inspirational restaurants. Whats more impressive is that it has done this despite remaining loyal to traditional, classic dishes since 1967.
You would struggle to find an award that they hadn’t won and I would contest none of them.
I am forever a loyal fan of Pork Cheeks and theirs served with Crispy belly ravioli were as soft and tender as they were exceptional. Plural Pig dishes will never fail to get my order.
Other starters on the table were the Coquilles St. Jacques Grillées et Minestrone de Palourdes (Grilled Scallops with a Clam Minestrone). This flavour is so meaty despite being entirely made up of seafood as the scallops are huge and really feel like a bold dish.
On going back again, I would be torn between the Pigs Cheeks and the Spice Crusted Foie (I would hope that a dining companion would order this).
For the main, I had the Côte de Veau aux Morilles et Pommes Mousseline (Cumbrian Rose Veal, Creamed Morel Mushroom Sauce and Mashed Potatoes). This was the rich and decadent flavour I had been craving and being ever the red meat fan, this was excellent.
Other mains that have grabbed serious praise are the the Duck Confit and the Lobster and Roquefort Gratin. Lobster is incredibly popular in London currently, but cooking it perfectly with a sauce that doesn’t either completely overpower it or underwhelm it is a pretty tall order.
Finally, a note about Alain Chapel’s Venison Pies. Anyone that professes to dislike pies, pastry or venison is just someone I will never get along with.
Their centre pieces – Now I love an intricate centre piece. For me, the more lavish the better as after all, you’ll be looking at it for most of your meal. These ones…. These ones are dominating the centre piece game in my eyes and are painstakingly made as individual animal pieces, out of cutlery.
They look incredible on the table and are (I am thrilled to report) available to purchase for your very own home. Now, I should add that to buy one of these treats may mean that you need to sell your home, but hey, you’ll always dine in style with these.
The main restaurant area is low lit and traditional in design. When you are here, it feels as if you are very much at the centre of sophistication and traditional romanticism.
For me, (and for Michelin) it really is the idiosyncrasies, the extra touches, the above and beyond that separates the Michelin calibre and it is sommelier sommelier more evident here.
The extravagant table pieces, the attentiveness to whether you are left or right handed. The fact that the sommelier knows each wine as if it was a sibling and then pours it holding the bottle over a flame to properly aerate it and raise the temperature. Finally, the fact that merely overhearing someone on my table mention my birthday was enough to alert them into bringing over a birthday cake and platter – complete with candles.This is somewhere to dine on an occasion. In fact, if you ever needed proof of this, while I was there celebrating mine, there were 3 other birthdays stealing my spotlight.