|The Art of Cooking with Vegetables & In the Kitchen with Alain Passard - both are great reads!|
Being married to a vegetarian has changed me in many ways, not least making me more appreciative of the humble vegetable. I am practically a vegetarian at home now, having ditched steaks for roast vegetables. But unfortunately, vegetables are often overlooked and underutilised in restaurants.
|The dining room|
|The menu displayed outside the restaurant|
L'Arpége is probably the most expensive restaurant in Paris, where dinner could set you back 380 euros! This was obviously a bit outside my budget (maybe another day!), so my wife and I decided to dine at L'Arpége during the lunch service. We had the gardeners lunch menu, which was an 8 course menu that showcased the best of Passard's in-season vegetables. The lunch menu was priced at 135 euros, whilst not cheap by any means but a relative bargain if you consider the price of the dinner menu.
Not long after we were seated, who else but the man himself, Alain Passard, emerged at our table to welcome us to his restaurant and to have a brief chat with us. This is a man that knows how to work a crowd; he was full of energy, charisma and enthusiasm as he dropped by each table during his 'rounds'. He even practically sat on the lap of a lady that was celebrating her birthday to pose for a photo. What a lucky lady LOL!
One thing that I loved about my meal at L'Arpége was that I knew I would actually be eating Alain Passard's food. Unlike other famous chefs such as Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay, Passard has just one restaurant, so he spends most of his time in the kitchen.
|Well hello there, delicious little tomatoes!|
|Gaspacho de tomates au naturel, creme glacee au celeri et moutarde d'Orleans|
|Le pain et beurre|
|Sushi à la betterave & raifort frais, parfum de géranium|
|Mesclun de Sylvain au pralin d'amandes fumees ; mizuna, mibuna, choho, moutarde hakarachi|
|Fines ravioles potagères, consommé végétal|
|Gratin d'oignon red baron au parmigiano reggiano, oseille large de Belleville|
|Robes des champs |
|Ecailles ou plumes, reflet de la gourmandise|
But having said this, the fish was one of the best I've ever had (yet again). Hiding underneath discs of finely shaved cep mushrooms, was a long strip of perfectly cooked sole. The sole was so moist and delicate and prefectly complimented by a warm, buttery yellow wine sauce that was just incredible. Sharing the plate with the fish were smoked potato, cabbage, chives and some beautifully sauteed cep mushrooms.
|My wife's last savoury course|
My wife's final vegetarian savoury course was essentially my dish with the sole removed and the quantity of vegetables upsized. She seemed to have enjoyed her dish just as much.
|Fromage de chevre frais, acidule au geranium|
|Tarte aux pommes Bouquet de roses®|
|House blend tea|
|Chef Passard signs my book - something that I will treasure for the rest of my life|
By the time Alain Passard emerged from the kitchen, at least half the guests had already left. Even after a busy lunch service, Passard was still full of energy. He was a gracious host as I used every single superlative I could think of to describe the meal. After he asked us where we were from, he responded “Ah Sydney, I have never been”. After I suggested that he needed to visit the beautiful city that I call home, he inquired whether I could cook for him, to which I could only laugh awkwardly. I would love to, but be careful with what you wish for, Mr Passard!
|The fold-away knife we used was given to us as a souvenir after the meal|
Highlight: Vegetables at their finest. I never knew vegetables could taste this good!
Lowlight: L'Arpége is one of the most expensive restaurants in Paris, the price you pay for dining at the restaurant of a true genius.
Overall: L'Arpége is the pinnacle of fine dining experiences anywhere in the world, a true 3-Michelin star experience. Given that I have used the word 'best' to describe so many things about this meal, only one score would do this meal justice. 10/10 (The best!)
Contact no: +33 1 47 05 09 06
For more posts about my food adventures during my trip through Europe, click on the following link: http://foodmab.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/food-highlights-from-my-euro-trip.html