If there is one place in the world where you’d want to indulge in fine dining – Paris is it! Boasting well over 70 Michelin starred restaurants it’s a culinary hotbed of some of the world’s best restaurants celebrating fine French cuisine.
Once I’d organised the babysitter, I wasted no time in contacting one of the most opulent three Michelin star restaurants in Paris – Le Cinq at the Four Seasons George V Hotel.
Yes that’s right, the one which only last year was scathingly and controversially attacked by food critic Jay Rayner. Clearly not one to be put off, I pursued my dream of dining in the lavish dining room.
On arrival the gorgeous floral displays in the lobby certainly set the tone for the rest of the evening. In fact I loved all the fresh flowers arrangements scattered throughout the hotel – lavish and exquisite in equal measures. Guided through the hotel by the ever friendly staff to Le Cinq, my demeanour super cool but inside completely awe-struck at the interiors.
The sumptuous restaurant space radiates decadence at every turn. Thick carpets, mini palm trees, crystal chandeliers, lavish oil paintings and an abundance of gold.
You’ll find meticulous attention to detail, even the tablecloths, silverware and china are custom-made. Despite the magnificence and grandeur, the staff create a warm and inviting atmosphere.
Before I even had time to consider my handbag, up popped a small ottoman out of nowhere. The fact that even my handbag received a chair of its own – I was giddy with delight! I mean, of course my Alexander Mcqueen should be treated like royalty too!
With the oversized menu in hand, I couldn’t wait to see what head chef Christian Le Squer had in store for us.
Our culinary odyssey began with a trio of appetisers. They arrived in a hollowed out twig and all adhered to our specific dietary requirements. There were cute miniature carrots with liquid centres, a tasty breadstick and a silver bubble which burst and filled my mouth with a ginger campari and orange liquid.
Swiftly followed an amuse bouche of what seemed like an ordinary spoonful amount of peas, until you tasted them. Served on lemon foam, no explanation can probably do it justice but they were the best peas I’d ever tasted.
The starters continued in a similar flair. My plump green asparagus came with dark black truffle purée, grapefruit jelly, a thin layer of milk skin (odd, I know) and a Vin Jaune sabayon. The nuttiness of the asparagus complimented further by the earthiness of black truffle gave the whole dish a wonderfully rich finish. And you know what, as strange as it sounded and even looked the milk skin worked!
The gratinated onion dish Mr S ordered was akin to a deconstructed Parisian style French onion soup. Niche, much? Sitting on a bed of confit onion compote seasoned with parmesan, lay lightly charred onion spheres. They exploded in your mouth oozing a creamy onion sauce. Dotted with black truffle and thyme-rosemary purée, it didn’t underline the rich sweet onion flavours so much as embroider them in gold thread. A clever dish indeed.
I moved on to Christian Le Squer’s signature dish which usually comes with ham hock, but a special vegetarian version was served for moi – Spaghetti timbale with morels and black truffle. The spaghetti strand cuboid holds a creamy sauce filled with the juiciest mushrooms and truffle.
Mr S isn’t normally an eel fan, but having read about the signature dish was intrigued enough to give it a go. He was glad he did – the lightly smoked eel was a revelation. The almost jelly like pieces lay on black bread with a grape juice reduction.
After the main courses came the cheese. Oh the cheese! We’d both spied the huge cheese trolley trundling its way around the tables. There was no way we could refuse a plate in a country which takes its fromage very seriously.
And of course in true haute cuisine style there was a pre-dessert of wild strawberries and sorbet. Palate cleansed we awaited our dessert.
Instead arrived more mini delights in the form of panna cotta, chocolate and raspberry truffles. At which point we realised the strawberries and sorbet was in fact a pre-pre dessert. Side glances at each other and then at our bellies we wondered how on earth we would actually fit in the actual dessert!
Thankfully we were sharing the marinated wild strawberries, cheesecake meringue topped with tiny parsley leaves.
This gluttonous duo clearly had no problem in devouring the sweet treat. It was summer in a pud. A lovely crunchy meringue texture combined with the soft sweet cheesecake mixture and the sweetness of the strawberries – The perfect ending. Or was it?
Err no! Along came the most fantastic looking petit fours trolley containing a delightful selection of sweets and chocolates. Willy Wonka eat your heart out!
I couldn’t resist the pillowy and delicately flavoured absinthe marshmallow. Alice in wonderlandy with an Oscar Wilde twist.
Everything from start to finish was orchestrated in a convivial yet sleek way, to serve what seemed like at times a never-ending three course meal.
Of course eating divine food at a three Michelin star restaurant in one of Paris’s most opulent dining rooms comes with a hefty price tag. You need deep, deep pockets to dine here. I’d waited a long time to tick this off my bucket list. And as the saying goes all good things come to those who wait.
Which restaurant has completely blown you away? Let me know in the comments box below.
Le Cinq | Four Seasons George V Hotel | 31 Avenue George V | 75008 Paris | France
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