Helene Darroze at the Connaught

After a long period of silence, here comes a new post. 

I have had a very nice lunch at Helene Darroze’s new restaurant today.

The room has been renovated completely and one sees that they did not spare any expense, which is always good to see.

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The meal started with very good amuse-bouches: Bigorre ham, a cake of some cheese and a rather forgettable crisp with tomato. 

Next up was bread, which was top quality, all of the 4 different types. 

The first proper amuse was a foie gras creme brulee with apple sorbet and some kind of foam. This was less intensive as the one which Jocelyn Herland does at Ducasse but still intersting.

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The first course was « Chipirons de ligne…cooked with chorizo and confit tomatoes, black and creamy 2006 vintage Carnaroli Acquerello rice, reggiano parmesan foam ». This was one of Helene’s signature dishes and is very good. The risotto has a lovely rich flavour and the ensemble fits together perfectly. Only slight remark one could make: The chipirons could have been a little more tender, but they were still very good.

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Second course was « Le Lievre…Raviolis of civet gratinated with Reggiano parmesan, Beet baby leaves »

They obviously don’t have an Italian check their titles but the raviolo was extremely good. The gratinated blette was a bit greasy, which could be the only reproach one could make. The jus was also very good.

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Main course was « La Palombe des chasses Landaises…spit-roasted and flambeed au capucin, slices of caramelized small pumpkin, salmis jus with champignons de Paris and lardons »

This palombe, wood pigeon in English, was perfectly cooked (rare) and thus remained all of its flavour, which is quite gamey. The very good pumpkin and salmis sauce complemented the palombe very well. Again, this was a rather classic, but very well executed dish.

 

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« La figue de Sollies…poached and warm,Bourbon vanilla parfait, pain d’epices, allspice jus »

The dessert was with the palombe the best part of the meal. The parfait was the best I’ve eaten in a restaurant so far and worked very well with the figs and the pain d’epices.

 

The petit-fours should be mentioned as they were oustanding.

 

Well what can one say about this meal? It was very good, one couldn’t find anything to criticise really, but as Francois Simon said about her Paris restaurant: There is nothing that changes your life. This is a problem I have had with all London restaurants so far. I haven’t come across a restaurant which is giving you such grandiose moments as do some Parisian or European places I have been to. The only exception being Aiden Byrne’s veal with langoustines, Ramsay’s scallops with gnocchi and maybe the dim-sum platter at Hakkasan.

This being said, I spent a very nice couple of hours and must say that this is certainly on the same level as Ramsay or Pied-a-terre, if not more interesting than Ramsay.

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7 Réponses to “Helene Darroze at the Connaught”

  1. Food Snob Says:

    La Palombe looked good indeed.
    What are the pumpkin wrapped in? and how does the capucin (hare, non?) come into it?

    Figues de Sollies? These are becoming quite trendy…

  2. felixhirsch Says:

    Yea it definitely was, even though it was a very small portion. The meat has a really intense flavour. Pumpkin was wrapped in bacon.
    I think capucin is a spirit, which they flamb it with before sending it.

    Yea the figues de Sollies (-Pont) are very good. I was there last year and must say, that if you just grab one and eat it right of the tree it must be one of then most amazing things you can have.

  3. Food Snob Says:

    Would you say portions are on the small side then, generally?

    Capucin…I tried googling it to no avail lol

    Hold your horses, Felix. Are you saying French figs are better than Turkish ones? :P
    But, I know the feeling. Every summer, every August morning, fresh figs. Délicieux!

  4. felixhirsch Says:

    NO not generally, but the palombe is a small bird, I would have served a whole one, instead of half of it.

    I think Turkish figs will be the best if you’re in Turkey, French when you’re in France and so on. It’s as with many other things to: The closer you are to it, the better the product will be. Given that you have good producers.

  5. Food Snob Says:

    You’re right, of course, but I was just teasing about the figs

  6. aiden byrne Says:

    glad you enjoyed it….

    • felixhirsch Says:

      I did, the raviolo was very good, as was the palombe. It wasn’t mind-blowing, but worth a return.

      It’s sad to see someone as you go away from London. I had one of the best dishes I have had in London at the Grill (the langoustines with rose veal and girolles).

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