Archive for novembre 2008

Helene Darroze at the Connaught

novembre 19, 2008

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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