Taillevent has been around forever, serving Michelin star calibre food. In our Michelin 3 Star tours in the 80s (hey, it was the 80s!) we never quite made it to Taillevent and wanted to remedy that this trip.
It’s sophisticated, beautifully appointed and offers excellent service
It also has star grade prices (something we’re trying to avoid as is evident from our restaurant choices to date) but they’ve introduced an incredibly good value lunch offering: 4 courses for 80E/95E with a flight of wine (and water and coffee). We had to try it.
Liz put on her dress and pearls and Dickie looked elegant with his suit coat handing out of the bottom of his parka. The staff pretended not to notice.
We chose the wine option mentioned above, which turned out to be exceptional value.
While selecting our meals, cheese gougeres were offered (really excellent cheese puffs) and a bathtub of scotch to scare the palate
The amuse gueule was a lobster reduction with foam. Intense flavour boded well for the rest of lunch
Dickie opened with Foie Gras Ravioli, on a chicken reduction. A dish too good to be true. Pop in mouth. Bite. Foie flavour explodes. Could have gorged on a bucketful. So good we’re showing them in extreme close up (and yes we both threw manners to the wind and mopped up the broth with the excellent bread)
For her starter Liz chose scrambled eggs with lobster and fine herbs. It was delicious, but Dickie did share a ravioli with her and she kept eyeing them for the rest of that course
Note: each of us received a generous glass of excellent wine paired to the individual dishes. Not being intense oenophiles we did not note the vineyards. Suffice to say they were considerably upscale from the Beeby’s usual Chilean screwcap.
Dickie then moved on to 3 fish fillets in an anise/vegetable broth. The fish is of course perfectly cooked, but it’s the intensity of the vegetable broth that is defining. A truckload of legumes must be distilled down to fill a cup. And we again mopped up with bread…all pretence to sophistication long disappeared
Liz chose a loin of veal with caramelized winter vegetables. A technically perfect preparation of a perfect piece of meat….but not as interesting as it could be
Two more interesting wines with the previous courses, then a wonderfully creative course. A combination of the salad and cheese courses. A layer of Ossau Iraty cheese (ewe’s milk), a layer of black cherry preserve, a parmesan tuile, capped off with some perfect, tiny arugula. Sounds strange….tasted wonderful.
We don’t usually eat dessert – except when it’s really good as in this case.
A caramel cheesecake with pear fondante and “palet au chocolat” – a layer of chocolate mousse, a delicate pane of caramel, topped off with a cube of mysterious wonderfulness and some gold foil
Plus – since today is Epiphany – we each received a piece of King’s Cake (Galette des Rois) which traditionally has a prize baked in the cake, which only one person will get. Liz found the prize in hers…..we sensed a plot
When the Maitre D’ realized Liz had the prize – he pronounced her Queen, and hence Richard was King (Liz here – does that sound right? I asked to be King but it went nowhere. Richard was, however, instructed to kiss me so it all worked out).
Here is a pic of the “prize” with Richard’s ring for scale (note – couldn’t do this in the US – too many potential lawsuits) – it’s a champagne flute with macaroons
Lastly, petit fours with tea and coffee
A wonderful meal. Even more wonderful value. They change the menu every week – we’ve got three more chances.
Where does this leave us in our quest for flavour hits? Certainly the cleverness of some of the above dishes more than compensates and when the traditional French flavours are intensified (as they were in the ravioli for example) we are more than satisfied.
The solution to our dilemma seems to be to continue to eat our way through France. A tough job, but someone has to do it.
15 Rue Lamennais
75008 Paris, France
01 44 95 15 01
Public transit: Charles de Gaulle – Étoile
Lunch – 4 courses with wine flight – 95E