Sunday, August 5, 2012

Le Meurice - (Paris, France)

Michelin 3 Stars

  Le Meurice, thanks to Chef Yannick Alleno and his team has probably become known as one of the must do fine dining destinations when traveling past France and Paris.  Overall reviews about here have been on the higher end of the scale,  with lunch being very good value for money, while dinner is even classier and grand but it will break the bank a bit.   This meal is from my last trip past Paris but somehow I haven’t posted about it as yet.  But it does make for good comparison between other restaurants with similar status in the world..   The meal wasn’t perfect however,  despite 2 dishes being the best I have ever eaten.  Yet as I repeatedly need to emphasize again and again, Haute Cuisine especially ordering Tasting Menus is only as good as your last meal there.  There are often things being overlooked…  But on the other hand of course, a perfect Michelin 3 Stars grade restaurant especially in France should be able to make each and every meal memorable from start to finish right?  That’s the ultimate million dollar question.



Magnificent Dining Hall -
Tall ceiling and looking so grand indeed.  This is the type of restaurant I don’t mind arriving in full tuxedo gear,  but still,  the food had better be good too! 
Very European.


Lassaigne Blanc de Blanc Champagne NV,  Montgueux – Euro €24 per Glass
& Alfred Gratien Rose Champagne France NV – €38 per Glass
In hindsight,  these were quite expensive starter Champagnes by the glass when served as an aperitif.   Some Spanish 3 Star Restaurants didn’t even charge me anything for the welcome Cavas,  or they were like 1/4th of the price !  But this is France..  Surprised smile


St Jacques scallops with Carrot Puree -
These were trimmed to be neat and spherical looking.  Served raw but lollipop like on the skewer.  Not the most amazing amuse bouche in the world,  but at least they attempted to give you some regardless of whether you order Tasting Menu or as A La Carte,  unlike at  Caprice’s Dinner Tasting menu.     ~  7/10

Rabbit Terrine with toasted Baguette -
A 2nd amuse bouche,  subtly infused with herbs.  This was lovely and slightly gamey,  with a gritty textural experience and adorned with bling bling gold foil (I have nothing against this but I can’t taste anything either).  This is just so typical Paris.  Appearance and class does matter in the end.  Taste was great.   ~   10/10

Pascal Beillevaire's Beurre Cru de Baratte à la Fleur de Sel de Nourmoutier -
This butter was utterly good.  Bordier is perhaps smoother and more like a creamy butter,  but this butter was about concentrated cow’s buttery flavours and a very long lasting finish.  One of the best butters I have tasted and super addictive.  Have never had butter of this quality in HK so far  ~   12/10


Pain au Sarrasin et Pain aux Céréales -
The bread is as expected, expertly made for Paris and Europe standards.  Although the likes of Amber, Mandarin Grill, Caprice, Robuchon in HK all make pretty good breads,  the usual bread served in Parisian restaurants are harder on the crust usually,  and deep in taste and aroma.   Breads in Hong Kong are usually softer,  bar the super crusty baguettes and epi breads served at HK’s Robuchon L’Atelier.  The Macau and Tokyo Robuchons are much better and French somehow.  At Le Meurice meanwhile,  these were textbook perfect but nothing extraordinary.  ~ 9/10


A Cepes Mushroom Filled Pasta with Veloute and White Truffle -
A hearty hot starter.  Part of the Menu Degustation.  The White Truffle wasn’t printed on the menu but this bit was very apparent  ~  7.5/10

Civet de Tetes de Cepes aux Petits Condiments -
Strangely, this dish on the menu didn’t really translate into English properly for me, but this was what the menu said exactly.
   It just seemed like roasted potatoes with croutons and Parmesan Cheese with chopped chives.  The cepes porcini bit came served as the above dish separately.  Lost in translation and I have noticed other Japanese bloggers who ate the same dishes during the same period to be totally clueless about this as well...     ~  6/10

IMG_3468-1Agnolotti of Artichokes and Parmesan Cheese, with Chantilly of Roquette -
France also has pasta down South, but the pasta shape and inclusion of artichokes and parmesan cheese made me think this was kinda Italian.  And Parmesan has already made for a consecutive 2nd appearance this night, but it won’t be the last either..! The Roquette Chantilly cream was nicely refreshing and combined well with the cheesy agnolotti which came adorned with a milky foam itself,  but still I didn’t quite expect this dish in this 3 Star establishment being such an institution    ~ 7/10



2006 Gevrey-Chambertin Les Evocelles -  €22
As suggested by my friend.  I am no Napolean King,  but this is somehow quite predictably balanced with a masculine body.  A crowd pleaser,  or may be well balanced enough?   Loved it but it won’t please the most hardcore Burgundy fans for sure. 

*Foie Gras de Canard En Croute de Sucre Aux Baies de Genievre, 
Chutney de Coing, Gin Perle -
Ok dinner didn’t get off on the most brilliant of starts.  But this Duck Foie Gras en Croute may not be the typical pastry wrapped version,  yet it was definitely the best foie gras dish I have so far eaten in my entire life by a large margin, OMG!!!   Words cannot transcribe how this Duck Foie Gras had the melting silky texture of a Goose Foie Gras but the stronger gras flavour from the duck variety.  It was slightly sugary and juniper berries coated,  served with quince paste and a gin based sauce.  Absolutely amazing and also notice the generous portions.  I have been eating goose or duck foie gras for so many years but this was just absolutely at another heavenly level and quite frankly,  it makes all other foie gras seem kindergarten grade.  Sigh…    ~  15/10


Filet de Boeuf Larde et Marine a la Confiture D’Algues,
Polenta a la faisselle,  Compression de Legumes etuves -
Beef Fillet is wrapped in a crepinette of caul’s fat.  Super sinfully good.  The beans based etuves and the fried polenta ball,  with the seaweed confiture were traditional yet modern.   The flavours work very well together indeed,  despite the dish retaining the classic look.   ~  10/10


Dos de Chevreuil Roti aux Baies de Poivre,
Coqueline de Pommes de Terre Cremees, Mache a la vinaigrette truffee -
Wild venison with a pepper sauce,  with a potato stack.   Despite some really well done dishes above,  this dish was honestly terribly dry and quite unexpected.  Wild venison or deer meats are usually quite lean,  and requires either a wrapping of crepinette fat,  bacon slices or larding the meat.   But this here did none of the above and was simply tough to eat.  The side of potatoes was good but somehow a bit simple for a 3 Star restaurant?   ~   5/10

Side of Marche Salad with Truffled Vinaigrette -
It won’t save the dish.  ~  6/10



Confiture de Trompettes De La Mort -
Black Trumpets with Comte Fondue and Rapee de Noisette, covered with a pasta sheet.  This was the 3rd dish tonight with some sort of pasta and cheese. Sad smile Some poor planning by the kitchen writing up the menu?   I do like black trumpets a lot,  but some bites of this carried sand in it.   I think I have encountered both highs and lows by now…   ~  6/10


Some Traditional Petits Fours -
Was tempted to call these Mignardises,  but traditional Petits Fours are baked rather than the chocolaty goods handed out with your coffees or teas.  In this sense,  Le Meurice was definitely sticking to French traditions.   Petrus in HK is also one of the rare French restaurants to do a more formal Petits Fours to end the meal but even there they have changed recently..  ~  7/10

A Pre Dessert of Fruits and Milky Foam -
Good enough I guess.  But not amazing.


A 2nd Floating Island Pre-Dessert -
With bling bling Gold foil again. 
But refreshing with the fruity sauce surrounding the egg whites.   This is also quite traditional.  ~  8/10



*Niflette Parisienne, Suffisante pour Deux -
With a pâte feuilletée base and 2 types of citrusy agrumes,  a vanilla patisserie crème in between and a sugary brulee top.  This absolutely rescued the meal once again,  it was just so utterly good and one of the best pastries I have ever eaten.   Even the feuilletee pastry was utterly too good to be true and all flaky and buttery.   This remains to this day,  one of the most memorable desserts I have had to this day. Pity about some certain parts of the meal though.  ~   15/10


Carre Moelleux au Chocolat Tiede,
Glace a la Vanille Bourbon -
Pastry desserts here are really great here indeed.  This chocolate dessert had a crispy croustillant layer and a molten centre beneath.  Served with a very vanilla-y ice cream.  Expertly executed and once again of a quality not found anywhere else outside of France so far.  This is to die for stuff.  Although the above dessert was even more impressive.    ~  10/10


Baked Chocolate Cookies -
It’s rather funny that Le Meurice decided to give out these normal looking cookies right at the end of the evening.   They were not bad mind you,  but Mrs Fields in comparison aren’t too shabby either,  if not actually better .   I think this summarises my feeling towards this meal overall.   Some dishes were simply sublime and I have never had better.  But other dishes were quite ho-hum and one does wonder if the kitchen is working as a synchronized team.  Sad smile


Some Very Competent Dishes here indeed -
But overall this meal might have had some really noteworthy Highs,
but equally some forgettable dishes in the overall performance.   I still remember the sands I encountered in one of my black trumpet dish,  or that overly dried wild game venison which could surely do with some larding or bacon wrap to make it less disastrous.   The desserts were good however,  so was that absolutely gorgeous Duck Foie Gras en croute which was absolutely to die for.    May be next time,  I should so just order A La Carte here instead.  I would so come back here just for some of the above dishes.  But I could also do without some of the weaker ones too!





Price:   €280 Per Person
Ease of Access:  5/5  (Opposite Tuileries Station, right next door to La Maison Angelina)
Food:  ♕♕♕ 1/2 to ♕♕♕♕♕♕

Opening Hours -
Lunch 12:30pm – 14:00pm
Dinner 19:30pm – 22:00pm

Address: 228 Rue de Rivoli,  75001, Paris, France.
Ph: +33 1 44 58 10 10

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