Sunday, January 25, 2009

Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester

It's twelve hours since we finished our meal and I'm still not remotely hungry. We took the tasting menu last night at Alain Ducasse's restaurant at the Dorchester on Park Lane. It had all the Michelin touches - large tables, comfortable seats, gorgeous fittings, the champagne trolley, a selection of breads offered at regular intervals, two types of butter to enjoy them with, all the extra mini-courses and a little box (this time two small breakfast cakes) to take home. I'm glad I didn't eat much during the day, but I still think I probably ate three days worth of food in one sitting.

All those little extra courses were the highlights really. Especially the cheese puffs to start, the olive bread, the bacon fougasse, the macarons, the chocolates (see below, served on a bar of actual chocolate) and the final palette cleanser of mango marinated in passionfruit topped with a quenelle of white cheese sorbet. It seemed strange to serve the maracons and chocolates as a pre-dessert and then offer the palette cleanser after an already rather palette cleansing dessert of pink grapefruit souffle and sorbet.

The main dessert (pink grapefruit souffle with pink grapefruit sorbet):

Following our request for the bill a trolley of petit fours was wheeled to the table and proffered to us. After eating those divine cheese puffs, a flavoursome amuse bouche, an abundant variety of bread rolls with butter, the first dish of langoustines - bizarrely combined with gem lettuce, skinned tomato, bread crisps, a few green beans and sharp parmesan, this course did nothing for me -, then a seared scallop with apple and quince (again a strange balance of flavours and too sweet), gilt head bream with parsley jelly and parsley sauce and some well-cooked vegetables (I added salt and pepper to this dish which I never do), halibut with an excellent white wine sauce, prawns and greens (this was my favourite of the savoury courses and the only one I would go back to eat again), a plate of four cheeses with accompaniments ( a delicate goat cheese, a dull camembert, an excellent comte and an incredibly salty roquefort almost balanced by its accompaniment of pear chunks macerated in syrup), then all those sweet courses I have already mentioned, you can see why I wanted to turn down the tray of gorgeous minature cakes. Our waitress kindly made us a little bag of the caramels and nougats which I have hidden in my handbag because I can't bear to face yet. Overall the dinner was a great experience. If I was more flush I would consider going back for just the three course menu if it meant I got the lovely extras again. Top Table have 20% off the whole bill at the moment. It helps, but it's still a lot!

The Chocolates before the dessert (these were wonderful, a milk praline and a plain dark ganache made with excellent chocolate):

I have to write a real review now, for tibits on Heddon St, our meal on Friday night (and the best bircher muesli I've ever tried).

1 comment:

Douglas Blyde said...

Thanks for this. At least you enjoyed the chocolate, though.