Wednesday, March 24, 2010

London / Paris visit

(A Mime artist in front of Notre Dame)

All images are from Paris – it’s impossible for me to shoot photos at a business dinner.

My early visit's to London is like déjà vu: First business meetings and then dinner @ The Ledbury.

I'll spare you the details about the business meetings and although the dinners are also business related, I do get the chance to pay attention to food and wine as some of my guest's are also into the geeky side of wine.

But first I had a rather extensive lunch out at Canary Wharf - more specific at @ http://www.rokarestaurant.com/ . Japanese food goes very well with my Champagne disease, and I am a big fan of the purity and elegance this food offers. Even the more spicy side, always make me think of a mouth-watering German Spätlese. Our lunch menu offered everything from sashimi, Sushi, lamb cutlets, soft-shell Crabs and a big juicy mackerel (plus some other stuff I can't remember) - it was just what I needed. We had the NV Billecart-Salmon rosé with all the courses. This Champagne used to be one of my favourite rosé Champagnes, but I found it really simply and playing too much on strawberry notes. However it delivered good freshness.

(Life in the metro of Paris)

Dinner @ The Ledbury. They have obtained their second ** Michelin star since I last visited, but to me nothing has really changed. It's still a brilliant spot. Due to my good friend Anders, which is a regular there (he lives just around the corner to the restaurant) they prepared a special tasting menu for us. The food might not be so intellectual challenging, but it's very rich in flavours without being heavy. The ambience has a calm lounge feel and service is warm and professional.

We kicked of with 3 bottles of Champagne (we where 4 people). First up; the 2005 La Bolorée from Cedric Bouchard. Now I have been doing the moon walking dance of ecstasy with this cuvée, but this night it seemed a bit shyer and leaning in the direction of some citrus nuances. I am usually not in favor of "Falut 40" explanations when it comes to wine, but it made a significant difference that this wine was pulled directly from an ice bucket. The Champagne needs a serving temperature of 12-14 degrees in order to make the flavours shine and a white wine glass - not a flute glass (ours was the Spiegelau Authentis). The next Champagne could have faced the same dilemma, as it also was served rather chilled. Still in Cédric Bouchard territory - but now the 2006 Les Ursules. It's rocking this night - darker fruit patterns with perfumes of cherry dust (don't ask me what that is), with magnificent currant flow on the palate - brilliant.

The third Champagne was problematic to me. It was the 1996 Dom Perignon Rosé. When having drunk so pure Champagnes so far (and what I usually drink), it comes across as being incredible impure. I can live with notes, which are young and unresolved, but this was like sticking your nose into an old dusty sofa. Now, from what I have read about the pinky DP, it's made for the long run, according to chef de cave of DP; Richard Geoffroy. So we rested half of the bottle for the cheese plate and went on with the red wine. When returning later the wine had lost some of this impurity and starting to show salty red fruits, but it's still not particular friendly. If you are into this posh pinky beverage I suggest you cellar at least another 5-7 years - maybe more?

The red wine was from New Zealand: 2004 La Collina, Bilancia, Hawke's Bay. It's a wine far from what I usually drink and even if it's a bold syrah with notes of blackberries and wet animal fur, it's pleasing to the palate and not in any way heavy. Went really well with the food.

Will I be back @ The Ledbury in 2011? - I think so

(Our funky room)

After London - where other place to go than Paris, when the Eurostar train is just in the neighbourhood. Even if this blog is mainly about Champagne, wine and food (in that order), I would strongly recommend the small boutique Hotel we stayed at. I think the picture of our room says it all. Here is the web site http://www.hotelpetitmoulinparis.com/

I wanted to find a restaurant in Paris, which had lots of Parisian ambience and was moderate priced. After reading Trines review and getting final confirmation from my own personal Paris guide, I booked a table @ La Chateaubriand (129, avenue Parmentier,11th arrondissement,Tel: +33 1 43 57 45 95).

I simply loved it. The food was understated, subtle, and yet so expressive and had a really nice authentic touch to it. Ambience was just like I had hoped for - packed, noisy and with lots of vibe. We had two glasses of the NV Les Vignes de Monteguex fra Jacques Lassaigne, which did exactly what it was supposed to do; tickle the taste buds and provide appetizing simple freshness. For red I picked the 2007 Aloxe-Corton from Fanny Sabre, which was filled with red cherry notes, spices, rubber and lots of sweet harmonic fruit. Loved it.

(A corridor at the Louvre)

I can't help to notice, especially when in France, the poor choice of wine glasses you are offered. The same goes for La Chateaubriand. However - on such a night, just sitting an enjoying life, food, wine, and ambience with my wife, it's fine - even for the no. 1 glass geek.

It's great to travel - it's even better to have to a break for parents like my wife and I, as the daily life offers many challenges. But I tell you, there is nothing greater in life, than seeing your kids again.

Cheers.

6 comments:

felixhirsch said...

good to see you liked the Ledbury, for me it's the best restaurant in London. Without doubt, they have one of the most interesting wine lists too. With great stuff at good prices.

Anonymous said...

A friend also visited Ledbury. Here are his photos......

http://blindtasting.twoday.net/stories/6208873/


P.S. a bit NOMA like the presentation. The first dish looks like fish skin which I had last year at NOMA.

Martin from Berlin

Thomas said...

Felix,

The Ledbury sure is a nice Restaurant. I couldn’t say if it’s the best in London – but it’s the best I have tried. And yes – such fair priced both food and wine.

Martin,

The food is very different from Noma. But yes, the presentation with all the small herbs and flowers scattered around the plate is similar.

From the link you sent – we also had the: Flame Grilled Mackerel with Cured Mackerel, Avocado and Shiso / Risotto” of Squid with Pine Nuts, Sherry and cauliflower / Celeriac Baked in Ash with Hazelnuts and a Kromeski of Wild Boar (it’s awesome)

I have just visited Noma – have finished the report – just need to go there and shoot some images. It will be on my blog in 2-3 weeks time I think.

Take care,
Thomas

Dan Samsøe said...

Thomas, great pictures & report :-)

good food said...

So happy to see you liked Le Chateaubriand. The Ledbury seems like the place I need to try when I get a chance to go to London. Btw, one of the chefs at The Ledbury did a stage at noma one year ago (I met him there), so maybe that's why some of the dishes looked similar in style. :-)

Great photos, Thomas!

Best from
Trine

Thomas said...

Hi Trine,

Yes I loved La Chateaubriand - your review helped a lot - thank you.

You need to try the Ledbury - I think you will like it.

Best from,
Thomas