Hi all, here is a summary of my most recent long weekend in Paris in early December, with an overall verdict that Virtus is totally over hyped, but Verjus and L’Arcane were stunning and should not be missed.
We had lunch at Blueberry because we were in the mood for sushi. The rice pancake tuna tartare with truffle sauce was the perfect bite. Then we had a rolL with smoky mozzarella, bonito and teriyaki sauce, which was a bit sweet but very tasty. We also got the Miss Yuzu, it was lovely and the perfect amount of sour. Then we had the Tuna and shrimp tempura roll, it was ok, not amazing. And finally the Green Yakuza roll, which was excellent. The one big flaw of the place is that it has a very limited selection of sakes, none of which were to our liking (all very light and uninteresting).
We then had dinner at Virtus- it was one of the worst tasting menus I have ever had. First, they sat us in a corner and it was impossible to get proper service, with us needing to call and wave for several minutes at a time to get any attention. We took a sake pairing with the meal and were so ignored that they missed the pairing for two of our courses. On to the food, the starter of an oyster was nice and clean with pineapple, but not exceptional. Then we had this delicious buttery, sweet pastry, that would be great for breakfast but made no sense in the progression of the meal. Then came a crab dish that was bitter and not elegant at all, then scallops on a Jerusalem artichoke puree which was good but quite bitter. But then a piece of overcooked fish which was tasteless besides being bitter. Then pork which was very nicely cooked, but in a bitter orange sauce. This was the one dish where I thought the bitterness worked. Overall, each dish focused on a bitter note, that ended up being the one thing that united the dishes, but was not particularly interesting in terms of overall flavour. Then for desert a coconut mousse with kiwi which was yummy in a comfort food sort of way.
The next day it was Les Tablettes de Jean Louis Nomicos for lunch. Lovely space, good service, and a solid Michelin-starred meal. We started with a bowl of chestnut soup that was full of lovely fall flavours. Then a sea urchin foam- if you got the right bite it was interesting and nice breathe of sea, but if you got too much of the foam, it was a bit unpleasant. Then Sole with truffles- it was nice but I struggled to get the right bite and the fish could have been better prepared. The a delicious veal dish with outstanding gnocchi and a lovely little spinach ravioli. The cheese plate very disappointing considering we were in Paris, but I appreciate that I am exceedingly picky when it comes to cheese. Then the first dessert was an ice of bergamot and rose- stunning and fragrant. Then a chocolate dessert that was fantastic, each element was perfect and unique. Lovely service, lovely room, good clientele if a bit corporate over lunch. A very strong wine pairing
Then Verjus for dinner and WOW, was it an incredible meal. The starters were amazing, a great fondue, a parsnip mousse that was delicious, and a steak tartar that was perfectly flavoured. Then scallops with radishes and nuts, which was amazing and the wine pairing was wonderful. Then squash and mussels with lobster sauce, which was delicious, just needed a few more mussels to get the right bite each time. The wine pairing made sense. Then the highlight of the meal, a big piece of seared foie gras with lentils, which was out of this world. It came with a nice refreshing salad, but then also a sort of rosti pancake which was was not necessary at all. The palate cleanser was ok, and then the Ice cream dessert with a nut mousse was stunning, perfect, hot and cold, soft and crunchy, wonderful. Best meal of our trip.
The next night we went to Pierre Sang on Gambay. It’s a cool place, and I liked the concept of no information on your dish until after you have eaten it, so you really concentrate on the different flavours. It started out very strong, with a blini with fish eggs, dill, and lemon cream, which was a lovely first bite. Then a delicious chestnut soup. Then a simple, perfectly cooked white fish with pickles and dried apples, which was lovely in its simplicity. Then a chicken dish that was good, but with too much chicken, and did not do justice fo the earlier part of the meal. The cheese course was one big lump of a nice creamy cheese, perhaps two or three small pieces would be nice. Finally dessert was a deconstructed apple pie which was ok, but tasted burnt and unexciting. Overall it was a strange meal, the first half was stunning, and the second half was very unimpressive.
For lunch the last day we went to L’Arcane, which was very, very good. We started with a piece of sashimi and a dashi broth gelee- which had a lovely balance of citrus, fish, and light heat. Then fish with curry that had a stunning consistency and an amazing hint of fennel, and crispy rice balls for texture. Then came scallops with caviar- the dish was nice, creamy, a tad rich and I think the weakest of the meal. Then came the knockout dish, langoustine cooked so beautifully with a wasabi kick. Then dumplings with duck which were good but not as stunning. Then the meat course- pork several ways, absolutely stunning and with an amazing potato purée on the side. The palate cleanser was a very interesting mango dish with different consistencies. And then a two part dessert of clementines and almonds which was absolutely delicious.