If our first two visits weren’t special enough then what we experienced today went above and beyond those. On our previous occasions we had enjoyed the pleasure and honour of dining in the Armagnac Room and at Chefs Table but today it was a delight to be seated in the dining room. Here we could experience for the first time the team in full flow and believe me they did not disappoint.
We arrived at the hotel and were given a delightful welcome from the porter’s before making our way inside to the restaurant reception. Here the warm welcome continued as we were escorted to our table with members of staff showing their delight in seeing us again. Our table was to be in the corner which gave you a fantastic view of the entire dining room. The room is absolutely stunning and I have to say that the pictures I’ve seen don’t do it justice. Although it’s quite a large room they’ve set out the tables in booth type settings giving the majority of tables a nice private feeling.
Our lunch was to be full of special moments which started with complimentary glasses of champagne poured by Pierre our sommelier for the day. Then it was time to meet our good friend and restaurant manager Mirko who personally welcomed us back with open arms. Then after a nice little catch up it was time to see the menu. This would be a seven course tasting menu with the option of a smaller five course available as well. We opted to choose the seven with an additional cheese course.
We started with a nice consommé to refresh our palate before moving on to a selection of three amazing snacks. These were a Glazed Datterino Tomato with tapioca cracker & vanilla , Burrata & gazpacho tartelette and a ‘Pan con tomate’. We enjoyed these along with some bread and the infamous orange & lemon coloured butter.
Now it was time time to put Pierre to the test and for him to recommend a wine pairing for the menu. This I have to say he passed with flying colours as he came up with an absolute beauty. His choice was a David & Nadia 2015 Elpidos which was nice and light yet full of fruity flavours that complimented each dish perfectly.
Now it was time for our first course which was the Crab and if I just say it’s the best crab dish I’ve ever tasted you will understand how good it was. The brown & spider crabs , pomelo , lampong pepper & txangurro was simply stunning. This was accompanied by a nice surprise of the amazing Caviar with scottish langoustine , ‘piel de sapo’ , melon , samphire & ponzu. This was followed by the fabulous Coco Bean with smoked eel , timut pepper & clams consommé.
We were then in for another absolutely stunning dish and I’ve personally never enjoyed a Foie Gras dish more. It came with apple , celeriac , sancho pepper , koji rice , sake that just blew me away. Now you may wonder how can you follow that. Well it proved to not difficult at all as next to arrive was the fantastic XXL Scallop with tandoori spices , carrot , citrus , coriander.
Now it was time for the main course and where we would be in for another treat. Firstly was the Turbot with fresh hazelnut , piquillo pepper , calamari pil pil which was amazing enough. But this was to be alongside the Wagyu Beef with corn on the cob , cep , sage , fermented pepper that was absolutely heaven on a plate.
It was now time for a rest before moving onto the Cheese Course and where we would now be in for another amazing treat as Mirko took us for a guided tour of the wine cellar and to see the sommeliers table. We could have stayed down there for ages but had to get back and continue our fabulous lunch. We retook our seats before moving on to the cheese accompanied by figs , honey , fruit bread , breadsticks and two tasters of very special wines from the cellar.
So yes we’ve now reached dessert time which started with the Fig with greek yoghurt , fennel , ginger that was a very interesting combination yet the flavours worked wonderfully well together. This led us to the main dessert of Chocolate with cumin , lemon and if we thought that was it we were wrong as together with this came a Signature Baba with raspberries , pepper & chantilly cream. We were now literally waving the white flag but in a good and light hearted way because everything had been truly amazing.
We finished with coffee and petit fours to bring to an end a most memorable lunch which I can only describe as Hospitality at it’s Best. The food and wine was absolutely stunning which was matched by service of the highest order. So I think you can guess what I’m going to say now and yes I would highly recommend a visit to Helene Darroze as it will be an unforgettable experience.
A massive thank you to Mirko , Claudia , Pierre , Matteo , Paulina , Lorenzo for a truly amazing dining experience and look forward to seeing you all again soon.