Alain Ducasse is a titan of the food world and his restaurants always provide unforgettable experiences. I can remember each and every time I have eaten his food, from a taste of superior hot chocolate at the Coal Drops Yard boutique to a memorable meal at Louis XV in Monaco for my first wedding anniversary.
When I heard that the three Michelin star restaurant at The Dorchester had undergone an extensive renovation I felt the need to check it out for myself.
Firstly, I must mention the restaurant is currently only open for dinner, it is dark and atmospheric and consequently my shadowy photos do not do justice of the beautiful food I tasted.
“International design duo Jouin Manku originally designed the interiors for Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester in 2007; this year they have returned to update their vision for the restaurant.” The design is elegant, emphasising elements of nature and texture, without distracting the diners attention away from the food.
Once we were seated and greeted (by several charming waiters), our tasting menu for the evening was decided, factoring in any dietary preferences. The new Head Sommelier Vincenzo Arnese popped over to say hello, an absolutely lovely man we came to know (and love) throughout our meal thanks to the regular wine pairings and interesting drink anecdotes.
Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester offers a 7 course tasting menu (priced at £210 per person), this carefully curated menu offers a taste of Executive chef Jean-Philippe Blondet’s innovative dishes always incorporating seasonal produce.
Our meal started with several extra amuse bouche treats, fried ravioli bites and delectable adorned crackers, bread and butter. Everything was immaculately presented, and arranged at our table discreetly.
The menu for the evening featured a range of indulgent and luxurious ingredients – Lobster medallion, chicken quenelles, Périgord truffle and homemade semolina pasta was one of the most special dishes – buttery soft lobster paired with an assortment of complementing textures and tastes, adding flair and interest without detracting from the beautiful and subtle shellfish.
The Farmhouse veal fillet, aubergine, oyster and buckwheat was one of my favourite courses. It is such a treat to have veal, as it’s still rarely on menus in England and is difficult to find in supermarkets. The pale pink meat was cooked to perfection, sitting alongside smokey aubergine and earthy buckwheat flavours, and finally topped with oyster and a wonderfully rich jus.
Amazingly, despite the French style of cooking, none of the food felt too heavy or rich, butter and cream is kept to a minimum, and lean cuts of meat are used. Vegetables are given a leading role and always stand out on the plate proudly rather than acting as a mere condiment or decoration.
We were lucky to try a few desserts between us, my Strawberries with Lemonade Sorbet and Olive Oil was a palate-cleansing delight with the freshest last season strawberries. In comparison my dad’s chocolate dessert felt more Autumnal, a surprisingly light mousse was accompanied by an intense chocolate water, an indication of Alain’s fascination and love of cocoa.
Often I find tasting menus tiring and stressful (I can never resist the bread and then find myself struggling to the finish line)… but this experience at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester was perfectly balanced, immaculately executed and wonderfully refined. From our first step inside to our parting petit fours, I couldn’t fault the team, and would highly recommend a meal here if you have something extra special to celebrate.
I was a guest of Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester. More information and book a table here.