Important note. Chef Philippe Legendre quit in April 2008, and many of his team moved to Caprice in Hong Kong. Hence the review below should be treated with due caution (the restaurant lost its third star on Legendre's departure but had two Michelin stars in 2011 under chef Eric Briffard).
A magnificent, opulent dining room in the recently refurbished George V hotel, all marble pillars and spectacular flower displays. An amuse-bouche of diced tomatoes in olive oil was most impressive, the fine taste belying its simplicity, while the selection of breads were each superb e.g. a crusty baguette, a light, airy olive bread or a tangy sourdough roll. I started with langoustine and peas served with truffled vinaigrette, which featured the most perfect langoustines I have ever tasted. A savoury tart of artichokes and Perigord truffle has meltingly delicate pastry and artichokes of great flavour, perfectly enhanced by the black truffle (20/20).
Lobster smoked in its shell and then roasted was extremely tender, served with superb creamy morel mushrooms in a buttery yet light sauce. Turbot with baby vegetables was also very fine. Cheese was in superb condition, a wide selection that went beyond the classics into interesting (though of course only French) regional territory. A pre-dessert of sugar tart had delicate pastry, while dessert of chocolate fondant featured a perfect liquid centre and rich coating. Coffee was excellent, accompanied by a chariot bearing various chocolates, nougat and other offerings. Service was faultless. The artichoke tart and the langoustine dishes were two of the finest things I have eaten for years. I would unhesitatingly recommend this.
On my prior visit: I had another fine meal. Breads were baguette, excellent crusty country bread, and superb slices of bacon bread. An amuse-bouche was remarkable: parfait of artichokes with aged Comte, served with a few salad leaves; this sounds bizarre yet was silky smooth with a fascinating blend of tastes (20/20). Starter of fricassee of langoustines featured perfect langousines in a shellfish broth and surrounding a little puree of root vegetable (20/20).
Venison was extremely tender, served with superb Madeira jus and wonderful mash with walnuts, another original idea (20/20). A green salad on the side had perfect leaves and dressing (20/20). Cheese was from Bernard Anthony, in perfect condition (20/20).
Apple tart had delicate pastry but the apple was merely very good (18/20). A menu of coffees included Jamaican Blue Mountain and even Rwandan coffee (20/20). As well as chocolates there were perfect jellies coated with sugar, and assorted temptations. Service was superb. This was, dessert apart, almost flawless.
I was disappointed to see that it lost its 3rd Michelin star in the 2007 France Guide. There have been rumours of management problems causing a slip in standards, which is a great shame if that is the case. Phillipe Legendre is a gifted chef.