One of the things we know we absolutely have to do while in Paris is to dine in a 3-Michelin star restaurant. We tossed idea around and after some deliberation, decided to go for Pavillon Ledoyen.
Reservation was easy enough, clickety click through La Fourchette. I'm pretty sure you can call them and reserve a table too; but after a gazilion calls to Frenchie and finally not being able to make it, I'll stick to online booking whenever I can.
Our strategy was to have lunch instead of dinner at upscale Michelin restaurants and go for a more relaxed bistro for night - this is because the price disparity between lunch and dinner could sometimes double!
We arrived bright and early for our 12pm lunch. We made a mistake of having one of those delicious baked cheese and ham baguette for breakfast and was trying to walk it off in the cool morning without much success. We should have been raging in hunger for this epic meal!
About 5 people greeted us at the door and perhaps 7-8 more when we were ushered into the restaurant upstairs. Wow. Vinnie idly commented that each "Bonjour" costs $10, hehe.
A small, fussy stool was whisked to my side for my handbag to lounge upon and an elegant chair pulled back while I lowered my big fat ass. You know how it is when you sit in a fancy restaurant, the kind that puts you on your best behaviour - second guessing cutleries to use, cringing everytime my fork clanked loudly against the plate - but really, it's all in the head.
Just as we were seated, the chef came over and shook hands with us! It was Chef Yannick Alleno himself - I don't know about you but it's pretty surreal to meet someone after you'd know abou them!
We were handed the menus and a few times, our waiter came to us to check if we needed any help or explanation. It's pretty straightforward for fixed menus (which we'd come for) and you decide between a 4-course meal or a 7-course meal.
A fixed 4-course meal is €135 and a 7-course meal at €295, with wine pairing is close to €100 extra, I think. If it had been for dinner, a 7-course meal damage would have been €700 or so!
Our lunch started with a delightful amuse bouche, placed on a bright green sponge. Bite-sized pieces of pumpkin puree, a kind of onion cream filling with hibiscus leaves (?) and a third one which I can't remember now!
The waiter gave us specific instructions how to eat them "Start with the pumpkin, followed by the middle and finish with the last, The spinach sponge is not for eating", Hehe.
(1) Iberico Ham Jelly
Fermented rye bread mousse and Kalamata olives
Iberico pork is one of the nicest type of pork I've tasted. Bred and fed with acorns, the marbling of the meat is similar to that of wagyu beef. Here served as jamon, dried, along with a jelly, mousse and a sprinkle of olives :) The serving may be small but the flavours are rich and luxurious.
(2) Plain Poached Langoustine
Bitter almond mousse
Tomato and parsley oil broth
The langoustines (or Norwegian lobster, or small lobster) were perfectly cooked, the dark green parsley broth has a most curious taste - in a good way. The almond mousse only barely tinged the tastebuds, they were subtle but beautifully executed.
(3) Zucchinis Melted in Pepper Oil and Rolled with Burrata
Folded flowers, celery jelly with fresh almonds
The ensemble looks so very pretty! Burrata, which is semi soft Italian cheese from mozzarella and cream (can you tell that I googled it? Hehe) went really well with the zucchini, flowers and crunchy almond. It's only in France that I've first tried fresh almonds and I love them. They're not as hard as roasted almond that we usually get back home so the bite is just right. And of course, celery jelly. At this point, we speculated that Chef Yannick must be a jelly expert because every other dish includes some form of jelly.
(4)Poached White Turbot
Orange blossom warm jelly
Celery purée and sweet onions
Probably my least favourite of them all was unsurprisingly the fish. It came in a rich sauce (with orange blossom jelly, heh). We were told to take a bit of fish, and then to take some of the sweet onions puree - served in a different bowl. The fish was a bit meh for me, but I do like the onion puree though, they were fragrant, creamy and rich.
(5)Wagyu Beef "Gunma" Grade "4"
Potatoes from Noirmoutier with fried milk
Overall every serving has been very rich meals and by the time they served the mouth-watering steak, I was pretty stuffed. But it is. The. Best. Steak. Ever. Cooked medium, the crust was perfectly seared, the wagyu sooooo tender and juicy, the marbled fat just bursting in mouth..... I am in gastronomy heaven. Even the humble potatoes were deliciously crispy. Absolutely wowed.
It may also be worthy to note that they do not serve tap water (cos it's for the common people, eww who would want tap water?!) and each 1L bottle costs €10 :) Dollar-to-dollar it's still a much better deal than an Italian restaurant we dined in KL - their bottled water, supposedly from dragon's tears, costs RM30, those bloodsuckers.
After the last main, we were served with a palate cleanser. No, scratch that. 3-Michelin starred restaurants don't serve a sorbet for palate cleanser, they serve THREE different types of them.
A tea-infused jelly (hehe), another type of soft gel item and of course, a sorbet.
The next exciting chapter starts - desserts!
(6) Black Sesame Meringue with Strawberries
This one was acutally served for Vinnie, but because his black sesame ice-cream had a funky face to it, I wanted that one for the photo. This one is a winner - black sesame, meringue, berries, all my favourites.
And after almost 3 hours at the table, our 7th course arrives in style.
(7) Sea Salt Sablé with Creamy Dark Chocolate
Tahitian vanilla ice cream
There are gold leaves on my dessert, for crying out loud! Needless to say, everything was divine, gold leaves inclusive (and no, they don't quite have flavour to them).
Overall, it was a bloody expensive meal, but I'm glad we did it at least once in this lifetime. The amount of effort put into each dish is mind-blowing. We were even given some sweet pastry in a box for takeaway after we'd told them that we are filled to our throats (and my god, those pastries are superbly delicious!). The service, the level of attention to detail is spectacular. There's a waitress who ONLY offers bread; when I rose to go to the ladies', I was actually escorted by a staff all the way; each time any of us leaves the table, our napkins are discarded and they gave us new ones when we came back! It was a truly regal meal but it was hard to sit through another 3.5 hour meal like that again.
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