When I started my blog, I knew a huge part of it would be about the city that I consider my second home, a city that I adore, Paris. Having been to Paris many times, I think about 8 times so far, I can confidently say that I am pretty well informed on the citys’ restaurant scene. A city that is not only known for it’s quintessentially Parisian bistros some dating back to the 19th century but also, their Michelin fine dining restaurants and no one does it better than the French, they create culinary magic. So when I found out that Taillevent Paris was opening a branch in London, I knew that it would be on my bucket list of restaurants to visit especially as it was quite a bit cheaper than their Parisian cousin. London branch is Les 110 de Taillevent.
Les 110 de Taillevent London is located round the corner from where I used to work at Total Marc Rich Oil in Cavendish Square so I knew exactly where it was. It’s a striking looking restaurant inside and out. Classy gold lettering is set against a creamy taupe façade, it’s a very elegant theme that is carried throughout the interior of the restaurant. With it’s plush bright olive velvet sofas that are so comfy, rich golden brown herringbone “texture like Sun” (as the Strangler’s song goes) wooden floors and the same burnished wood on the walls adorned with floor to ceiling black curtains. It’s very sleek and sexy with the dimmed lighting setting an elegantly romantic ambience. At the end of the restaurant, a stunning bar beautiful glossy black pendant lights and the largest wine rack/cabinet ever! Showing off their pride and joy, the wines,1110 to be exact, hence the name “110” Taillevent – 110 wines by the glass. You come to this restaurant not just for it’s amazing food but to sample their extensive wine collection paired expertly by their sommeliers at your disposal throughout each course. I was so excited to be eating here for my birthday.
We were greeted with the menu’s and a complimentary glass of champagne which was so unexpected but nonetheless welcome however when Taillevent’s sommelier said that our wine pairings would equate to a bottle of wine each, I was beginning to falter at the thought! Having glanced at the menu on line, I knew my husband and I would be choosing the 6 course tasting menu with such delicacies as our favourite foie gras and lobster risotto, it would be hard to say no to 6 stunning dishes. The wine pairings come in a choice of two, normal and prestige, I think we would be ok with a normal pairing, I mean, we are no wine connoisseurs. What I loved most is when the sommelier said that no one at the restaurant gets the same wine when choosing a menu with wine pairings, how exciting is that! He said he bases his choices on how the food looks when it comes to the pass as well as his mood, my husband jovially said that he really hoped he was in a good mood – always replied our handsome 22 year old French sommelier, he’s Taillevent’s head Sommelier, Christopher Lecoufle and he definitely knows a thing or two about wines! Taillevent have won “Best of Award of Excellence” by Wine Spectator and awarded 3 stars by the World of Fine Wines. You can see the passion when he talks about wine and what I love most is that when each glass arrives in beautiful sparkly glasses, at the base is a little card that sits so comfortably round the stem of the glass which details each wine and where it’s from. There were definitely some favourites in there which I would really like to look up, for example, our champagne was Champagne Brut Grand Cru N.V. Petit & Bajan which I’ve never heard of but that’s what’s so great about coming to a restaurant with such an extensive selection of wines.
Sipping our champagne and taking the atmosphere in, I was so happy to be here, it’s quite rare to feel so comfortable in a restaurant so quickly, we had fantastic seats which I would ask for again, my husband felt equally as excited to be here, there is no one I want more to celebrate a birthday with than him. The first course arrived which was a White Bean Veloute with chorizo, chives, hazelnuts and croutons, the plates arrived on specially commissioned planes with the restaurant’s elegant gold 110 Taillevent logo with the veloute in small jugs which our waiter delicately poured over the rest of the ingredients. I’m not a lover of white beans whereas my husband is but that did not deter me from savouring each mouthful, it was rich and creamy, the addition of the chorizo really elevated this simple dish, it was perfect to begin the six course tasting menu. This dish was paired with a delicious white from the Loire, Cheverny La Houte Pinglerie – I may have got these wines in the wrong order so forgive me!
The second dish to arrive was the foie gras, being an absolute favourite of ours, we eagerly anticipated this one, it was rich and unctuous and so naughty but who cares, I defy anyone not to like foie gras, look beyond how it’s made and just savour this sublime melt in the mouth delicacy. Our foie gras is duck mi-cuit which means semi cooked in French and it was served with a pear chutney and jelly with a light crispy pistachio brioche. I could write a whole chapter on foie gras and the various ways to serve it, I will get round to writing about this French delicacy on my blog soon but in essence, foie gras needs to be served with a sweet jelly or chutney to cut through the richness and always served with bread or crackers. I mustn’t forget to say that Taillevent serves bread at the beginning of a menu and it was a really wholesome rustic type of stone baked bread which we finished with the foie gras. This dish was complemented with a delicious crisp Alsace wine, I’m not going to pretend I know why our sommelier made his choices, in all honesty, I can’t remember but all I know, we left everything in his trusty hands, each wine was perfect.
The gorgeously crunchy bread.
I can’t tell you how much buzz there was around the next dish, we had several waiters telling us the next course was the “one” and they were all so proud and beaming with utter joy when talking about it, we wondered what all the fuss was about this lobster risotto. My, did we find out why! We were just completely blown away by it, words fail me and I cannot do it justice by trying to explain how utterly stunning it was but I will try. This is a spelt risotto, spelt is a grain not rice which is used in a lot of healthy recipes and bread but you would never guess, it isn’t just a bowl of risotto, it comes bathed in the most delicious lobster bisque, so rich and indulgent, a bright orange colour, perfect for autumn, the bisque is so intense in flavour, it is simply heaven on a plate. For us, it was the stand out dish of the evening and it’s not hard to understand why it won best dish at this years Taste of London. People have been asking to see this dish become part of Taillevent’s menu, not just as a seasonal special and the restaurant obliged, it has now become their signature dish, it was paired with a red Sancerre by Vincent Pinard, to be honest, I didn’t care what type of wine it came with, I was enjoying every single mouthful, the noises my husband was making was quite comical, I think he had complimented every single waiter on this extraordinary dish.
We were given a good amount of time between each course which is sadly missing in a lot of restaurants, you’re in and out in the space of 90 minutes, we were on our fourth course at the 90 minute mark, I was a bit worried we would miss the last train home but we would take a cab and it would definitely be worth the expense, this is a dining experience you really don’t want to rush. The next dish to arrive was Welsh Beef Fillet roasted and smoked with delicate puffed potatoes, aubergine and tomatoes. It arrived in a glass closhe filled with a cloud of lemon and thyme smoke, the aroma was so intense, you could definitely taste it in the beef, it was butter soft, the knife glided through each slice effortlessly. The puffy potato discs were as light as clouds, I could have done with more of those, they were so moorish. This dish was paired with a robust merlot which was our favourite wine of the evening, I am not a lover of red wine but this was delicious, spicy and deep and though dry, there was a hint of sweetness to it, it was a 2009 Pomerol Fugue de Nenin, this is one I really want to search out and buy.
By now we were feeling quite full but so welcome for each break between all the courses, I wanted to enjoy every single one fully. The last two were desserts and the first was a really fresh and vibrant lemon dessert, Calamansi Lemon (a variety of lemon) with passion fruit, meringue and shortbread served with a really refreshing mouth tingling tequila and lime sorbet. It was so pretty to look at, bright yellow in colour, this was my favourite out of the two desserts. It was paired with a very easy to drink Moscato d’Asti dessert wine from Italy which had a pleasant light bubbly fizz. Could there really be another dessert to follow? We knew it would be a chocolate one as when we arrived, the table next to ours were on their last course or so we guessed and we were right. Chocolate being his favourite, Andy loved this dessert most out of the two, it was visually spectacular, a chocolate sphere with a cocoa sorbet, a caramelia Chantilly centre and a hot chocolate sauce which melted in such a sexy way when the waiter poured it over the sphere, it was hard to capture the magic in the photographs. It was as if we really had died and gone to heaven such was the pleasure of this dessert which was paired with the most delicious fortified wine – Rasteau Vin Doux Naturel 2015, we were savouring every single drop and it was a fitting end to the most delicious meal.
To summarise, what can I say other than it was the most special and magical of evenings and I couldn’t think of a better place to celebrate my birthday. We are usually away for my birthday but since my husband turns 50 in November and we are away for his big one, we decided to stay home for mine and boy was it worth it just to dine at 110 Taillevent. Please, if you love good food, you would be an utter fool not to make 110Taillevent your destination, it is by far, the most incredible dining experience we’ve had in a long, long time, Head Chef, Raphael Grima deserves a massive mention as well as many awards for this ingenious menu and Lobster Risotto creation – thank you Raphael for inventing pure heaven on a plate. I can’t wait for our next visit and I know what we’ll be eating! It will be the Spelt Lobster Risotto for starters, main and dessert!
Our tasting menu was £57 each followed by wine pairings at £45 per head.
16 Cavendish Square
020 3141 6016
Photos (a couple of photos are donated) and opinions are my own.