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My year in France - Paris part 2 (Ledoyen, Le Cinq, Pierre Gagnaire, L'Arpege)


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My year in France - Paris part 2 (Ledoyen, Le Cinq, Pierre Gagnaire, L'Arpege)

ggow_12 | Jul 18, 2012 03:42 PM

Ledoyen 9/10
This was initially to be my one and only splurge (although see below…). I had researched thoroughly and deemed this to be my type of place. It was an excellent, almost perfect meal. I chose four dishes a la carte and each of these were outstanding. The only thing that prevented this from being ‘the’ elusive perfect meal were the amuse bouche and mignardises served before and after my main a la carte dishes. For me, these were unremarkable, and in fact there were a few that I didn't like.

It is worth going into a little detail plate by plate here. If one is going to serve two pieces of asparagus and charge a significant amount of money for it, they better be the best asparagus I’ve ever tasted. They were. Served with a hollandaise sauce and a wonderful ‘bubble’ of creamy black truffle sauce. This was an outstanding, simple dish that made me smile, but not as much as the next two dishes…

Biting into the langoustine from my second course was what I imagine it would be like to eat a cloud, in terms of texture. They had a slight natural sweetness brought out perfectly by the citrusy mousse that accompanied them. As with the asparagus dish above, this is ingredient sourcing of the highest quality and, rightly, the chef let the ingredients shine without adding any unecessary complications.

Enough has been said about the infamous spaghetti box, which formed my main plat. This one dish was the principal reason I chose Ledoyen for my splurge meal, and it exceeded my expectations. It was one of the best, if not the best thing I have ever eaten.

The 36 month compté was simply the best hard cheese I have ever tasted.

Desserts did not quite live up to the preceding savoury courses, but were still of a high standard. I went for the tasting of desserts as there wasn’t one on the menu that really stood out for me. I’m not a big fan of grapefruit, but the grapefruit 'millefeuille' was probably the most refreshing dessert I have ever eaten. Again, there are online bloggers who have described this dessert in detail better than I could.

The restaurant has a faded grandeur interior and rather stiff service, but I was made to feel very welcome despite dining alone. Exceptional.

[seeded brioche and olive bread; amuse bouche: ginger ‘bubble’, mushroom and parmesan puff, foie gras with raspberry, marinated vegetable spring roll, assorted crackers; razor clams with butter, ginger and coriander; asparagus spears with ‘egg’ (cream of black truffle sauce encased within egg white ‘bubble’) and hollandaise sauce; butterflied langoustine tail, ball of langoustine tail encased within light, crispy strings of pastry, mousse of lemon, coriander and olive oil; spaghetti ‘box’ with chunks of ham, creamy mushroom sauce, parmesan, morels, and black truffle; compte aged for 36 months, livarot, fig and raison bread and nut bread; yeast ice cream on sugarless marshmallow of whipped egg white covered in shavings of coconut, shards of white chocolate; grapefruit ‘millefeuille’: layer of candied grapefruit, raw marinated grapefruit, grapefruit sorbet, shard of sugared grapefruit, grapefruit zest and lime; mini strawberries with coriander sorbet, crème anglaise with vanilla, milk cream and strawberry meringue; soft meringue on soup of coffee and vanilla, crushed nuts; fingers of rich Valrhona chocolate and caramel, crushed chocolate and cream; petit fours: mini strawberry tart, basil truffle, caramel rice, dehydrated mango with raspberry jam and lime; fudge, chocolates and pastries]

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