Le Gavroche

Michel Roux Jr.'s Le Gavroche is kind of a big deal. The first UK restaurant to be awarded one, two and three Michelin stars - it currently has two - a reservation is needed to be made months in advance, and an original Picasso hangs on the wall. It's something else.

I was very lucky to be there last Friday night for my anniversary dinner. Olly booked it as a surprise MONTHS ago, but then accidentally let it slip we were going there with only two days left to keep the secret... Doh!

There had been a slight mix-up with our reservation and the time we were supposed to have our table, but Emmanuel, the General Manager, is an absolute star and sorted everything out for us with finesse and poise. ApƩritifs of gin and tonics ordered, it was time to take a look at what amazing dishes we would be feasting on.

[Just as side note, drink prices are perfectly reasonable at Le Gavroche. I'll compare it to The Ritz, which is still an "experience" but one which boasts no Michelin stars... At Le Gavroche, a G & T is £7, The Ritz is triple that.]

One thing about Le Gavroche is that it is old-fashioned. Ladies, your menu will have no prices, unlike the menus for the gentlemen. After some mouth-watering perusing, we finally decided upon the Menu Exceptional - the eight course tasting menu, followed by coffee and petit fours - and chose to have it with the matching wines.

I definitely recommend you pick matching wines if they are ever available at any restaurant you go to because they enhance the food like you wouldn't believe. The sommelier knows his/her stuff, believe me, and those matching wines are picked for a reason - heaven!

With an amuse-bouche and a nod and a smile from Michel Roux Jr. who was doing the rounds - he was there all night, most of the time in the kitchen but often popping out to talk to the patrons - it was time to enjoy ourselves and settle down for an evening of divine taste. To start with, a cheese souffle cooked on double cream, which I surprisingly liked even though I hate cheese (the cheese trolley was completely ignored by me later on), which went down lovely with a Dry Amontillado, “Los Arcos” - a sherry! I know!

Marinated var salmon with lemon and vodka jelly swiftly followed, and then stone bass and pastilla, scented with Arabian spices, with fennel, red rice and meat jus. Both matching wines enhanced the food beautifully, with the Chateau Roubine "Terre de Croix" Semillon 2009 adding to the spices in the stone bass and giving extra warmth to the flavours. 

The famous Coquilles St. Jacques followed (grilled scallops with a clam minestrone) - heavenly - and then something which surprised me... Black pudding. Or, should I say, black pudding, crumbed egg, crackling, asparagus salad and spicy tomato chutney. My first thought was no because it was black pudding, which just went to show me as this was my favourite course of the evening. Michel Roux Jr. can cook me it any time.

Grilled fillet of Scottish beef was served up for course six, and then the previously-mentioned cheese trolley, before a dessert of crispy layers of pastry, raspberries and praline flavoured chocolate, accompanied by a glass of Maury Vintage 2006. By the time the tea, coffee and petit fours were brought out, we were deliciously stuffed (and also somewhat tipsy with the eight glasses of wine).

What more can I say? The food was divine, the service impeccable, and it was great to see Michel there. (Typically, he came over to our table and spoke to Olly whilst I was in the loo.) It was certainly a magical, unrushed four and a half hours we spent there celebrating. 

If you want to go to Le Gavroche - who wouldn't! - be aware that you will need to book your table months in advance. The Menu Exceptional costs £110 per person; if you choose to have it with the matching wines that is an extra £68. Believe me though, it's worth every penny, and I will be dropping enough hints to ensure that Olly books Le Gavroche again! x

No comments