Tuesday, April 01, 2008

La France re[cuisinée]

Although I have eaten in Alain Ducasse restaurants, I always thought he was one of those pompous chefs who think they are the best there is and ever will be. However, Susan once told me of the tremendous effort he makes in giving young chefs a boost or a start and on his website, he makes a point of saying that his vision is "best expressed in his endless endeavours to make ‘Haute Cuisine’ simple, approachable and understood by everyone".

He makes good on his vision here with the (badly publicised) La France re[cuisine] which runs for 2 months from March 1st to April 30th in 100 or so restaurants offering a set lunch menu for 28euros. Now while this might not seem like the best bargain in town, they are mostly restaurants which can and usually charge more. Of the restaurants participating in Paris, all three are Alain Ducasse's associated restaurants.

The boy and I, along with Umami and her husband, decided to try out the Rech on a weekday (offer only available Mondays to Friday) and I duly made the reservation. I was a little surprised as the lady taking the booking had no idea of what I meant by La France re[cuisine] but kindly went to check with the management and confirmed my reservation.

The boys had the starter of Daurade crue on salade a l'huile d'olive vierge de Ligurie", which was really nice, fresh and delicate. The boy loved it.

Our main was salmon en aiguillettes, aux oeufs de truite et perles de hareng. There was a moment during our ordering process when we all wondered whether salmon had wings (aiguillettes de poulet refers to chicken wings) but of course it was simply thinly sliced salmon steaks. The salmon was very well cooked. I prefer my salmon raw or only partly cooked as I find cooked salmon very dry. This wasn't dry in the least and was very nice, especially accompanied by the light yet flavorful sauce. It was very nice.

Although it was slightly curious that the boys' dishes arrived accompanied by spinach while Umami and my dish came with thin haricots, tiny carrots, half dried tomato slivers and a tender radish like root vegetable. We're not sure if the kitchen ran out of sides to plate all four plates or this is done randomly or they felt that the boys weren't getting enough greens.

The dessert. What can I say except I loved it? It was named Mister Rech and described as a succes noisette glace, sauce au chocolat chaud. It arrived as an innocuous puck of ice cream dredged and crusted with finely crushed hazelnuts. The waitress then poured on a thick, thick, warm dark chocolate sauce on it. Then all hell broke loose. As in, it all went in my mouth. Every single mouthful. Umami was much more gracious and seeing how much her husband enjoyed it, pushed over the majority of it to him to finish. I was not so gracious.

It was lovely for us to come together for a dinner and a nice break for the boys in the middle of the day. As for the food, I think it was very decent value for the price, however, I fail to see how the menu itself lived up to the "symbolic" dishes of France, which La France re[cuisine] was supposed to promote.

I do highly suggest going to at least one of them during the promotion. Act quick, it ends at the end of the month! Also, this is not just limited to Paris, it is across France so check the website for a full list.

32, rue Saint-MarcParis (75002)
Réservation+33 (0)

20, rue Saint MartinParis (75004)
Réservation+33 (0)

62 avenue des TernesParis (75017)
Réservation+33 (0)


Anonymous said...

Here's a list of more restaurants in Paris that may interest you:

Sui Mai said...

Thanks for this