However, it was my mum and dad’s birthday (no, they’re not twins, but born within a month of each other.) I figured they’d be unimpressed with a Mexican sarnie as their 74th birthday treat. 148 years between them, really quite old, deserves a celebration.
So I splurged and took them here:
The above is a sticker on a doggy bag containing chocolates and macaroons that I couldn’t stuff into my mouth during the course of the meal. Yes, it was that full on. And no, I have no problem asking for a doggy bag in a restaurant that is so posh that when you ask for mint tea, they wheel you over a small private herb garden on a silver trolley. But that comes at the end. I guess I should start at the beginning:
So, The Dorchester – ridiculous place really. I worked there as a temp, for 5 days, 18 years ago and got more material about rich people’s bad behaviour than I got from years of watching Dynasty and Dallas combined.
Alain Ducasse is one of several restaurants at the hotel and when you walk into the restaurant, you really feel the money in the room. Partly it’s the decor and table settings (beautiful, in a very OTT, shimmering, French, super feminine way)
(Regardez the salt dish with mother of pearl spoon, aussi.)
And partly it’s the clientele (it feels like you’re at Terminal 5 Heathrow, with all those luxury goods on display.)
Set lunch is £55. Expensive. But you get a lot of exceptional, high quality, beautifully executed food for your money. Plus 2 glasses of your choice of 4 very good posh wines (white burgundy, Lalande-de-Pomerol, etc.) And coffee and mineral water. So yes, you get what you pay for, and if it’s a very special occasion, I’d say it’s ‘good value’. I’ve paid more for less at a lot of mid-range restaurants in this City.
Ok, so everything we ate was totally delicious, without fault. Here’s the run down:
Freebie 1 – goujeres – which my mum (who is an ace and adventurous cook) used to make us all the time in the 80s.
Problematic – they’re so light and perfect, you can eat 5 each without registering that you’ve just eaten 5 mini choux buns.
Then bread and butter – not quite as great as the bacon and caramelised onion brioche at the Ledbury, but not far off. And along with excellently sculpted butter
they give you this beautiful fresh cheese and cream spread in a fancy silver bowl:
Then freebie 2 – a broccoli soup with hidden treats in the bottom, served in a funny little space age china egg dish:
With the crispiest, thinnest, most delicate croutons you could imagine on top:
Then first course – asparagus gnocchi with quail’s eggs
My dad had this crazy crayfish salad:
which bizarrely puts me in mind of one of the David Hockney paintings I saw at The Royal Academy this week. (If you haven’t been already, go, go, go – it’s so cheery and beautiful.)
For mains I had turbot with courgette and peas. Sounds boring but it just so wasn’t:
Then more freebies. An orange, a rose, and a coconut macaroon. Passion fruit salted caramel, perfect milk and dark chocolates
And even more perfect super crunchy chocolate coated almonds
And then on to the home stretch. I had some wondrous bitter chocolate, coffee granita, with toasted brioche:
My dad had something called a Margarita. Which ain’t nothing like a Margarita I’ve ever had. God knows what they’d do with a burrito here… Still, it was killer.
Then on to coffee, served in these fab cups:
And then on to The Southbank, for a Festival of Chocolate, which I’d normally embrace wholeheartedly. But given I’d drank a lot of
and eaten rather too much, when faced with chocolate chip cookies the size of my head
I found myself annoyingly unable to eat.
Anyway, back to Alain Ducasse – I highly recommend. Now I’m off to watch Alain DuSugar on iplayer – Happy Easter, one and all x