Ambrosia in Paris

Saturday, August 01st , 2015

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Oslo Court is a London institution, delivering a vast menu of dishes that were fashionable in the 1970s (“steak Diane, anyone?”) with not even a hint of update or irony. The dining room is gloriously pink, the tables crammed together but the service utterly charming. There is, of course, still a dessert cart, and the whole experience reminds me of the Frasier episode the “Innkeepers” where the Crane Brothers buy an ageing restaurant (called Orsini) and reminisce about dining there as children. The difference here is that Oslo Court is far from struggling – it is in the pink in every way, with a completely full dining room on a midweek night. The strange thing is that the bill is actually quite high for what is, to be honest, pretty ordinary food. Yet not one diner seemed perturbed and everyone was clearly happy, carried away by the charm and the comfort; long way it continue.

Chutney Mary recently relocated from Chelsea to St James Street. The décor is very smart indeed and the posh Anglo-Indian menu formula spruced up slightly but mostly unchanged. I have had erratic experiences at Chutney Mary over the years, and this meal was also rather up and down. A quail dish was excellent but tandoori turbot was sadly overcooked. The place itself looks lovely and was busy, so hopefully the kitchen can become more consistent over time.

Ambroisie is the most traditional of the Paris three Michelin star restaurants: no tasting menu, no foraged weeds, just classical French cooking using the ultimate luxury ingredients. A langoustine dish with sesame tuile was one of the most perfect things I have ever tasted, the chocolate dessert ethereally light. This comes at a high price, as ever in Paris, and the wine list doesn’t help by refusing to list anything with just two digits in the price. However as pure indulgence it is hard to beat Ambroisie. A restaurant whose name means "food of the gods" had better be good, but in this case it pretty much lives up to its billing. 

Christian Bau just celebrated ten years of having three Michelin stars at Schloss Berg, and I attended a weekend at the property to celebrate this. As this was an invitation event where I was a guest I don’t feel comfortable reviewing the dinner, but it was of a similar standard to the three meals that I have reviewed there previously. There was also an event on the Sunday involving ten chefs, including Harald Wolfhart of Schwarzwaldstube and Sven Elderfeld of Aqua, each cooking a dish at a well-attended open air event at the back of Schloss Berg. Congratulations to Mr Bau (who has three Michelin stars tattooed on his right arm) and his team on ten years at the top of the tree.