All reader reviews by Kim

Le Gavroche

Last Friday (3rd August 2007) my partner booked a table at Le Gavroche to celebrate our anniversary. We were both very much looking forward to the evening since we read some nice reviews about the restaurant and this restaurant has been on my list for a very long time. We are food lovers and we don’t like gimmicks or novelty food, so when we read in one of the reviews that the décor of the restaurant was a bit dated we perversely thought it was a good thing, assuming that Le Gavroche is a temple for food lovers and not a trendy place to be seen etc…not that we would mind if the décor was a bit more stylish. Our evening at Le Gavroche turned out to be a real disappointment. We chose the ‘Menu Exceptionnel’ with matching wine in order to sample dishes that reflect the chef’s skills and the restaurant’s reputation. We chose to have the menu with matching wine as we had several superb experiences at the Orrery, discovering nice wine that would match with the meal. (In fact, on a couple of occasions, we even bought some wine that we like to take home). When we saw that the first wine on the menu wasn’t actually a wine but Kriek Cherry beer, we thought that the wine menu looked promising as every wine was chosen carefully to match with each course and in this case the Cherry beer was chosen as a good match for the first course. Anyway, throughout the meal, we discovered that the wine selected were pretty ordinary apart from the desert wine. Not only that, the sommelier and the kitchen were not very co-ordinated: the wine often arrived 5-10 minutes after the food which is not very impressive for a restaurant of this standard. Furthermore, I found it very sexist the fact that the sommelier only addressed to my partner when he described the wine. As for the food, it was rather very ordinary (if not mediocre) comparing with tasting menus that we had at Petrus (Marcus Weiring obtained a very well deserved 2nd Michelin star this year), Orrery and Angela Hartnett at the Connaught which always reflected the chef’s skills and talent.

Here are my comments for each course:

1) Thon Mi-Cuit, Vinaigrette au Gingembre Pimenté: the use of sesame oil is very Asian and reminded us of some kind of fusion food.

2) Pointes d’Asperges Vertes, Parmesan, Jambon ‘Pata Negra’ et Vinaigrette de Truffes; this combination was a waste of very good ingredients. The Cured Iberian ham is the king of ham and is very good by itself but not with the overwhelming truffle dressing. ‘More is not always more’

3) ‘Petit Pave de Saumon Sauvage Roti et sa Peau Croustillante’, we thought the salmon was a bit overcooked (dry).

4) ‘Escalope de Foie Gras Chaud et Pastilla à la Cannelle’: the foie gras was OK but the crispy pancake of duck was far too salty & stodgy and the combination of flavours did not work at all.

5) Carré d’Agneau Roti, Jus a l’Echalote et Estragon: This dish was competently executed but ordinary comparing with meat dishes that we had in other tasting menus (i.e. Petrus, Orrery and Angela Harnett). The meat dish that we have in other tasting menus usually has three different cuts of meat cooked in three different ways so that the chef can show off his/her talent.

6) Le Plateau de Fromages Affinés: When I saw the cheese trolley from far I was excited to see the wide variety. However the cheese experience at Le Gavroche was also big disappointment. Due the layout of all the tables at the restaurant, the waiter couldn’t push the trolley close enough for us to see what cheese selection was available. The waiter only asked us two questions before serving the cheese: a) whether we like goat cheese, b) whether there is any cheese we don’t like. Then off he went to randomly cut 4 pieces of cheese for each of us. When he gave us the plate of cheese, he didn’t even tell us what cheeses were on the plate and in what order we should eat them (this is the normal practice in other restaurants we’ve been to). We eat a lot of French cheese at home and when we go to restaurants with a big selection of cheese, we are keen to taste something we haven’t had before. Unfortunately, because we didn’t get to see and choose the cheese, one of cheese that was given to us was something we usually eat at home.

7) Gâteau Opéra et son Sorbet Chocolat: The chocolate sorbet was very nice but Gâteau Opéra was rather ordinary (we’ve had better elsewhere).

8) Oeufs à la neige, Crème Vanille et Compote de Fraises: this French classic was very well executed and we like it very much.

To complete our experience at Le Gavroche, when the bill came we were overcharged (a bottle of wine at £144 was added by mistake to the bill), again not very impressive for a restaurant of this standard.

The 2 star Michelin for Le Gavroche is not justified comparing with other Michelin starred restaurants tha we've been to (namely Petrus, Orrery and Angela Hartnett at the Connaught)

Monday, August 06, 2007
Overall rating 2 stars
Food 1 | Service 3 | Atmosphere 2 | Value for money 1

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