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Alain Ducasse

53 Park Lane, London, England, W1A 2HJ, United Kingdom

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Here are notes from my previous meal, in March 2010.

Bread was made from scratch, the best of the initial selection was very good olive bread, but a sourdough roll and a fougasse (a Provencal bread) with bacon were less good in texture (overall 17/20). A basket of goujeres with paprika and black pepper were even in shape and had pleasant texture, but lacked in cheese flavour (17/20). Barbajuan is a Monagasque nibble, a deep fried pastry case containing Swiss chard and spinach, and here was properly seasoned though not of the same quality as the version served at Louis XV (17/20).

The amuse-bouche was a pair of langoustine tails with discs of potato and truffled Parmentier jus. The Scottish langoustines themselves were of high quality and cooked just right (though a fraction less than hot by the time they arrived at the table), and the potatoes and leeks provided an earthy foil to their taste, while the rich truffle jus lifted the dish (18/20). Marinated scallops were interleaved with celeriac discs, with colour provided by lamb’s lettuce and good quality tomatoes; a black truffle sauce was of very high quality, again lifting the dish to a higher level (18/20). 

Lobster was roasted, served with macaroni gratin and more black truffles. This dish was the only one of the evening with some problems: the conception was very good, but the lobster meat in itself was cooked a little too long and had a hint of chewiness; moreover the macaroni was undercooked, and hard on the outside; the dish was rescued by another excellent sauce (16/20). Braised halibut had excellent taste and was very nicely cooked, served with Swiss chard and aubergine condiment, while acidity was provided by a cold ponzu sauce poured at the table. The overall effect was very enjoyable, being well balanced (18/20).

Roast fillet of venison was served with endive, quince and chestnut, with a Grand Veneur (made from game trimmings) sauce. The venison was cooked medium rare, the quince an important element to provide acidic balance, the sauce dark, rich and skilfully made (18/20). Cheese was a selection of four Bernard Antony cheeses, including three year old Comte and Roquefort, themselves in quite good condition and served with excellent hazelnut bread (18/20). 

For dessert, a hazelnut soufflé was superb, very light and with intense hazelnut flavour and with a superb pear granita (borderline 20/20). Rum baba is a deceptively simple dish which is in fact very hard to get right (as I know from hard experience cooking at home), since it is very difficult to keep sufficiently moist. The version here was of the same level as that at Louis XV in Monaco, where it has long been a staple of the dessert menu (20/20). Macaroons (chocolate, pistachio and orange) were very good indeed, as were a few chocolates, including a milk chocolate that resembled a light version of the famous croustillant dessert at Louis XV. Double espresso was of high quality (19/20). 

Service was extremely slick tonight, with topping up hard to fault. Overall, it was remarkable how much better this experience was than my previous two visits (admittedly one of them on opening night). Certainly the price is high (over £200 a head with wine pairing) but this is now accomplished cooking. The desserts are top drawer, as is the saucing. 

 

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Further reviews: 16th Feb 2019 | 25th Nov 2016 | 11th Feb 2014 | 08th Jun 2012 | 01st Feb 2009 | 01st Nov 2007

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