We were a little late for Arpege thanks to an Uber driver that thought it would be fun to drive around in circles. Regardless we got into the dining room easily and it was very quiet when we first arrived however started to fill up as the afternoon went on.
We start with Champagne which is served in Lehmann glasses. On each table is different vegetables and plates. As a snack to start we have crispy potato with a few different toppings, red cabbage, bell pepper and parsnip and carrots and onion. It’s a nice little starter and you can taste the veggie broth.
The wine list is overwhelmingly large! There are a couple of different options for menus however with the pricing we opt for the gardener’s lunch. We ask if there are meat courses on it and they say it’s up to the chef, they’re unable to tell us anything about what will be on the menu. It might have protein it might not.
We have bread and sea salt butter, the bread is cold.
Hot and cold egg, one of their famous dishes, it’s a fabulous combination of flavours and temperatures.
Veggie sushi with beetroot and black olive tapenade. It’s nice I like it, however, the table is not convinced. A very light dish.
Our table is rather small and despite moving on to a white wine our champagne glasses are still on the table and remain there for some time.
The bread is frequently topped up, even after we’ve said no. So much so that I ended up leaving a piece of bread on my plate so I wouldn’t get inundated with bread.
Veggie ravioli with a tomato celery and radish and broth. A nice easy dish.
When we first sat down they asked how long we had and we said we had all day however the courses are coming thick and fast, almost too fast to keep up with!
Gratin of onion with parmesan. It’s a nice idea and the onion is very finely grated however it feels like it’s missing something, salt perhaps?
Oyster, fennel, apple and mint. The apple adds a nice flavour however at the end of the day it’s just an oyster.
At this point we’re frustrated at how fast the dishes are coming so mum asks them to slow it down, we’ve been there 45 minutes and are past half way through the menu!
Chesnut and butternut squash with a smoked ham cream. Like a classic soup, you’d have at home, nice but didn’t have that special feel.
The bread is still coming and the champagne glasses still on the table. The bread also doesn’t fit on the plates anymore.
Caramelised onion stuffed with bell peppers, it’s good with a bit of depth, I’m starting to get full though and would really like a meat course.
Scallops and radish carpaccio, one of the better dishes, a great example of taking a simple ingredient and matching it with something a bit more expensive/exotic.
Beetroot tartare. Good interpretation of the dish, personally I would have preferred the beef.
Celery root and pear with thyme. Could do with some salt of which we were not provided. It’s good but not wow.
When we got up to go to the bathroom the napkins were not even folded or replaced. No hand lotion and only one small bathroom downstairs.
The attention to detail seems low. Until the chef enters the room and our champagne glasses are finally cleared. And they start tripping over themselves to provide service.
Rye bread and pork ravioli with an olive tapenade. I like the crispiness of the dumplings, the filling leaves something to be desired. It’s too little too late for the meat, unfortunately.
Profiterole with lavender ice cream and salted caramel. There could be a lot more salted caramel and flavour but it’s OK I guess.
We’re given a selection of desserts which are a mixture of good, bad and ugly.
Candied tomato with 12 secret flavours. It’s like WTF and not in a good way.
Overall Arpege felt like an absolute let down, both in pricing, flavour and value. It was cool to meet the chef and I’m all for vegetarian dishes as long as they pack the punch, this one didn’t. At the price we paid and the value of the ingredients used it felt like a real rip off. Sorry, I won’t be returning to this one.
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