Tuesday, August 22, 2006

One well-fed urchin

Last week, I went to my first Michelin-endorsed restaurant, two-starred Le Gavroche. Darling, it was heavenly. Of course, as I am an impoverished young hack, I didn't pay - my very generous (and very rich) colleague picked up the tab. Just as well, because they gave me a 'woman's menu' - without prices. I didn't think this happened in this day and age, and I would have complained in the strongest terms... were it not for the fact that they were quite right, I wasn't paying, and it was probably just as well I didn't know the cost of all that truffle and foie gras.

So what did I have? Well, some very racy amuse bouches - lobster in mayonnaise on a pastry basket, and something topped with black truffle - followed by yet more truffle in the shape of Artichoke 'Coeur Lucullus'. I never found out who this Lucullus chap was, but I can say he knew what to do with an artichoke, which I had previously regarded as a rather over-hyped vegetable. The heart was filled with foie gras, and the outside was studded with black truffles. God, it was good. I had a bit of Rich Colleague's cheese-laden Souffle Suisesse, and can report that was equally good, in an oh-god-I-used-to-have-arteries-now-I-just-have-arteriosclerosis way.

Mains were lamb for him, and sweetbreads of veal for me (yes, it's the choice of meats known on this blog as the "No Ethics Special"). Words cannot express how much I love sweetbreads, with all their nutty, squishy wonder. They are definitely my favourite gland. Yep, hands down. My pudding was billed as 'praline and bitter chocolate indulgence' and it wasn't kidding. It came on a huuuuge glass plate, accompanied by a sort of miniature glass canoe of extras, such as lychees and mini meringues.

I dread to think what the bill was - I had planned to be 'restrained' and have the £50-a-head set lunch, but that went out of the window. I know we had a £60 bottle of wine because I was craning my head to look at the wine list. Still, I can definitely say we got our money's worth in terms of service - there were positively hordes, phalanxes even, of waiters. They even managed to do that thing of removing the silver warming domes simultaenously, with a flourish - which you hardly see outside Tom & Jerry cartoons. The maitre d' circles the room like an immaculately-suited bird of prey, occasionally deigning to ask you how your meal is going. You simply make squealing noises of appreciation.

There is only one drawback - the restaurant's trademark "Gavroche", or ragamuffin, looks uncannily like Sharon Osbourne. And she's on all the plates. I don't know about you, but I find having a picture which reminds me of someone who's had a stomach stapling on a plate covered in chocolate/foie gras/cheese distinctly off-putting.

The trouble is, it was so good I now have The Hunger, specifically the hunger for more incredibly expensive French food. I am trying to justify it to myself with the thought that I didn't eat another meal for 24 hours.... Cue usual justification for over-spending: But it was an investment...

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In the style of the Guardian's Comment is Free, some other things I did whilst failing to blog last week: watched half of Superman Returns, before realising that I had absolutely no interest in what happened and that Brendan Routh has the charisma of a glove puppet (also, the local paper had 'Meteor and Rock Exhibition Opens' as a page lead - like, yeah, right); thought up a series of increasingly nauseating pet names for my boyfriend to embarrass him in front of his housemates (here's a tip - take a horrible twee word like 'Snuggle', 'Poopie' or 'Whiffle', then add any of the following suffixes: -wump, -buggle, -arama, -licious, -hugger, -dibble, -baby); started reading a biography of Lord Rochester but was forced to give up because it had too many typos and if they couldn't be bothered to run it through a spellchecker, what else had they not bothered to do?

5 Comments:

Anonymous hm said...

Eagle in a suit. That I'd pay to see.

You know - for the spectacle of the thing.

...

I like the '-arama' ones, sounds like a 50s cinema technique.

8/22/2006 9:50 pm  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Personally I prefer Italian when I'm going crazy-expensive London dining, and Sharon Osbourne's head on a plate hasn't done much to dissuade me. Oh, hold on, there's an idea...

Does sound like some nice grub you had there, though. And don't you just love that no-prices-for-the-ladies thing?! Yep, they still do it.

8/23/2006 1:38 pm  
Blogger Tamburlaine said...

Ooh, sounds *lovely*. Le Gavroche, if not the gavroche's resemblance to Mrs O. Mind you, I know almost nothing about her, so the fact that she'd once had her stomach stapled wouldn't have put me off, no sirree!

I was rather put off Superman Returns by all those photos of Brandon Routh in his tights: he just looked like a younger Christopher Reeve, and thus, a bit wooden. I'd have liked to see Kevin Smith direct, though. Kryptonite condoms...

8/24/2006 12:44 pm  
Anonymous tin407 said...

I love lobster. Don't you just find them mouth watering. Of course, they should be cooked first. When they turn beet red, definitely yummy! I could hear my stomach grumbling right now. Maybe I should try that new seafood restaurant near my office later.

8/25/2006 2:55 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Poopie-hugger" could go a bit wrong....

8/28/2006 1:00 pm  

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