Restaurant `Epicure` at Le Hotel Bristol was our last meal of the Parisian weekend trip. I had always wanted to dine here as their ALC menu read so well but sadly was so crazily priced that I had chosen to eat elsewhere. My top dining buddy The Finediningexplorer organised the Paris weekender and so we decided to head to Le Bristol for Lunch.The head Chef here is Eric Frechon and has maintained the Michelin 3 star status for `Epicure` for the last 6 years. Chef is a bit of a legend here in Paris so now was the chance to sample the delights to see what Le Bristol was all about.
There`s three choices when dining at Restaurant Epicure . The cheapest option and the one that we chose was the `Menu de Saison` priced at €145 (£110 / $162) for 4 courses ( Starter , Main , Cheese and Dessert ). The Epicure `Tasting menu` offers 3 courses more at €320 (£244 / $357) for 7 courses. For a true taste of Frechons cuisine there really is only one option and that`s A la carte but then you`re talking seriously high prices…for example
Appetiser – Asparagus from Pertuis glazed with Walnut oil and powdered Egg yolk and white with Black Truffle – €120 (£91 / $134) .
Fish – Blue Lobster roasted in its shell with creamy Polenta , Asparagus and Truffle – €140 (£106 / $156)
Main – Bresse farm Hen poached in a bladder , vin jaune , Morels and Crayfish , truffled stock and potatoes – €290 (£221 / $323) as a main course for 2.
Todays Lunch – Menu de Saison €145 (£110 / $162)
To begin , a few nibbles – Foie Gras Royale with Sorrel Mousse , Tandoori Spiced Crayfish Lollipop , Mushroom filled Gougere.
Mushroom filled Gougere
Tandoori Spiced Crayfish Lollipop
A second appetiser was this delicate Haddock and Cauliflower mousse with a light Red Onion Jelly.
There`s not many Bread Baskets arrive at the table looking as good as this.
Two good basics , a test of a quality Baker.
Our appetiser arrived in true style. Duck Foie Gras with Spices cooked inside a Brioche. Red Beetroot condiment and Sherry Vinegar. The appetiser was presented `whole` at our table before being expertly carved and plated up as we watched. The star dish of the meal for me , Foie Gras is amazing whatever way it`s served.
Stuffed Macaroni with Black Truffle , Artichoke and Duck Foie Gras , Gratinated with Mature Parmesan Cheese. This was a house speciality signature dish priced at €95 (£72 / $106) as an appetiser. The restaurant manager recommended that we should experience this `dish of the house` .We decided to try two half portions as it sounded too good not to sample whilst we were here at Le Bristol. It was enjoyable with quite robust flavours but not a lot of Truffle came through and certainly no Foie Gras. It was a very expensive Macaroni Cheese `anti climax` dish which I wouldn`t order again.
`Rex Rabbit` , powdered with Tandoori spices and Sauteed. Grilled Octopus , Vegetable Broth , Capucine flowers. Not a dish for the lover of the `Fluffy Bunny` as this breed of Rabbit is mainly kept as a pet. Because of its lush Velvet coat it is also used as a Show Rabbit. But today i`ve chosen to eat it coated in Powdered Tandoori seasonings and paired alongside a grilled Octopus tentacle. I would never have expected to eat this combination in a top calibre Parisian fine dining restaurant but never say never. It takes a brave and confident Chef to send out a 3 star Michelin Tandoori Rabbit and Octopus combo but hey….it really did work well together. Big Spanish style flavours and Butter soft Octopus made this dish very different for me. I would never have picked it off an ALC menu but i`m glad that I tried and enjoyed it.
A side serving of Pureed Peas.
Fine seasonal Cheese selection. They don`t come much better than this.
Pre dessert – Diced Pineapple , with Caipirinha cocktail jelly and Coconut Sorbet.
Manjari Chocolate “like an Origami” , Coconut Milk ice cream , pulp grated with zest of Lime and hot Chocolate. Not a difficult dessert to make with some basic pastry skills. Certainly not a 3 Michelin starred dessert but fitting as part of their “set menu”. It`s such a shame Mr Michelin inspector doesn`t sit down and eat Chefs `set menu` during their visits to the grand restaurants. I`ve eaten desserts better than this in country pubs.
Doyenne of Comice Pear , Pear Sorbet , Light Cream of Bourbon Vanilla and Blackcurrant juice. Nice combination of flavours in this dessert but once again…… is this a Michelin 3 star dessert showcasing a World class Pastry Chefs skills ? No chance.
A Bubble of Iced Tea with Gold leaf.
Huge selection of Macarons and Chocolate delights and I have to admit that I have never tasted fresher and finer anywhere in the World……Macaron perfection.
All in all it was an enjoyable experience in a classic Parisian 3 Michelin starred restaurant. The prices are plain ridiculous when eating off the ALC menu but sadly , if you want a true taste of Chef Frechons cuisine then you`re going to have to pay big bucks to do so. The `set lunch` is still very good value considering where you`re dining at but unfortunately it doesn`t compare in the slightest to the high quality and technical ALC courses by a long mile.
Service was attentive from the start but tended to be very hurried. We both got the feeling they wanted a fast turnaround.
Please CLICK HERE if you wish to view more photos from our Lunch.