Culinary Digest: Alain Ducasse at Plaza Athenee Paris

What the critics say

Alain Ducasse.

Pierre Rival, The Observer: It was Alain Ducasse who, following in the tradition of Escoffier, kickstarted the renaissance of great gastronomy in Paris’s grand hotels. You can’t miss the magnificent contemporary chandelier with its cloud of pendant glass drops, but the best reason for coming here is still the top-notch kitchen headed by Christophe Moret, formerly of Spoon. Think modern haute cuisine which puts the emphasis firmly on the quality of its ingredients.

Richard Hesse, Paris Update: ‘Truffles were scattered through the menu as if they were potatoes. They were in the guinea fowl pie and in the generous swathe of jus poured around it. The pie’s pastry was unlike any I have ever tasted – water-based like that used in English pork pies, but thin, crispy and with superb taste, complementing the filling of guinea fowl and a touch of foie gras (what else?). The other absolutely standout dishes, if we set aside the spring lamb served three ways with more truffles and artichokes, were the “vegetables and fruits,” an amazing concoction of the two, with a sauce that had us gasping with pleasure; and the lobster with pommes de mer. Those sauces again, with melting slices of a floury potato that had been given the time to soak up the flavors of the lobster sauce. Bewitching.’

Natasha Edwards, Paris Expert: “Well-spaced tables, the hushed concentration of grand occasion dining in a Rococo dining room given a sparkly fantastical touch, and a clientele of international gourmets and well-padded business magnates. Jacket and tie recommended.”

What the customers say:
Tripadvisor member Anticopalazzo: Granted this is an expensive experience, it is worth it. The food is outstanding, and thoughtfully prepared. The sommelier made excellent recommendations for every course of our meal, and we appreciated the fact that he recommended a half bottle of a particular wine he thought we should have. We were so stuffed by the end of the meal we had to beg them to stop bringing food! The service is impeccable, probably the best I’ve ever experienced.”

What the chef says:  “We have to get back to basics, start all over again, begin with real and original tastes. Allow them to fully express their vibrancy and subtlety. Give technique back its real role, its single purpose – revealing the flavours of nature. This is the simple, honest belief that I have been working so hard to promote since I started as a chef and this is the quintessence of Alain Ducasse at Plaza Athénée.”

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