Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée

Our final Paris World 50 Best Restaurant was Alain Ducasse. Upon entering the dining room it is incredibly elegant and grand. Chandeliers everywhere and little dividers to make the tables more intimate. This is what we were expecting when going to the Paris World 50 Best Restaurants.

We’re welcomed to our table and the staff speak English and French. Evian water to begin. Our first snack is a toasted cereal biscuit which none of us were a fan of. This is followed by toasted bread with honey and pollen which is delicious. And a vegetable drink with ginger.

Our menus come out and they stand up by themselves which I really like, no more taking up the table and eating space. They’re in French however we’re told they will come back to explain it. One interesting thing we noticed at the Paris restaurants was that only one menu had pricing on it, this was usually given to mum.

We have the standard champagne to start and I notice the glasses are beautiful however have no brand mark on them, turns out they’re custom made! The first time we’ve seen that! We’re given individual little salt containers and the pepper is cracked on its way to the table.

The bread is an olive bread and a grains bread and we have our own individual butter, score! The grain bread is alright but the olive bread is out of this world spectacular. If this is the only bread I ever have again I’ll be happy.

To continue our snacks we have a monkfish liver which is delectable. Cheesy meat with clams and fresh flowers which is nice. We’re also offered another selection of bread with baguettes and a rye bread. Great bread and snack game here!

Our final snack is a warm oyster with honey and pollen, matching the flavours of the toast we had earlier. It’s served on the honeycomb which is so clever and the flavour combos are very interesting. This is served with a chickpea mouse with scallops. Like an aerated hummus, the texture from the whole soft chickpeas at the bottom works well with the freshness from the scallops.

The service is swift and efficient without being stuffy. The ladies uniforms look a little like an air hostesses outfit, however, I really can’t mark them down for that. There is soft classical music playing in the background and the spacing between courses is masterful.

Quinoa grown in Anjou, smoked sardine, young leeks, wild mushrooms. Incredible.

Young carrots from châteaude Versailles, roasted cédrat lemon, pine buds. It’s warm and cold and doesn’t really do it for me.

San Remo wild gamberoni, white cocoa beans, caramelized shallots. Fantastic, the flavours in this just work so well. We’re off to a wonderful start.

We have the pairing wines and are of course given a different one to go with each course. The napkin is immediately folded by a waiter in gloves when one of us goes to the bathroom. Beautiful bathrooms alas no hand lotion. There’s also this incredible flow within the team all working together.

They can tell I absolutely love the olive bread so more is brought out to the table. This makes me very happy.

Cotentin blue lobster, shellfish eggs green pepper emulsion, early turnips. Yum.

Atlantic sea bass, zucchini, coastal fishing wakame. Nicely cooked, not amazing.

Aber-Wrac’h turbot, crab of creel, butternut squash. This is served on the bone, it’s an OK dish, I liked the crunch.

We get new napkins for dessert and it is explained to us in English of course. Interesting that they have an English menu online however it wasn’t available in the restaurant. We, of course, have new napkins to go with our dessert.

Our paired wines are port, Madeira and a sweet white wine from one of the vineyards we sampled earlier. We have gold silverware which is very elegant.

Apples from Moissac orchard, tamal Grand Roux, spiced caramel. There is corn with the apples which is going just that little bit too far in my book.

Chocolate from our Factory, toasted cereals, cocoa-single malt sherbet. It’s a very cocoay rich dessert.

Williams pear from Lizac, jellified sake, green shiso crushed and iced. This is yum, soft and sweet.

We’re given a Rum Baba dessert which makes fiancee very happy. It’s very rummy! This is followed by a kitchen tour, it’s all very nice, shiny, clean and custom made.

We end our afternoon with grapes and chocolates from their factory. On our way out were given a gift of some of their salt to take away, plus personalised copies of the menus we ate.

Overall I really like what they’re doing at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, the service and setting is the standout and what I expected from a Paris World 50 Best Restaurant. While the food wasn’t all to my liking I suspect part of that was due to the experience at Arpege the day before. I’d happily go back and experience this world-class service again.

Latest ranking:

  1. Blue Hill at Stone Barns
  2. Eleven Madison Park
  3. Tim Raue
  4. D.O.M
  5. Piazza Duomo and Reale
  6. Central
  7. Quintonil
  8. Asador Etxebarri
  9. Maido
  10. Le Calandre
  11. The Ledbury
  12. Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen
  13. Tegui
  14. Septime
  15. Mugaritz
  16. The Clove Club
  17. Saison
  18. Borago
  19. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée
  20. Arzak
  21. Azurmendi
  22. Mirazur
  23. Lyle’s
  24. Le Bernardin
  25. Alinea
  26. Dinner by Heston
  27. Astrid y Gaston
  28. Cosme
  29. Pujol
  30. Arpege
  31. Restaurant Steirereck

Leave a Reply