ALAIN DUCASSE AT THE DORCHESTER - PAR MAGARET KEMP

Alain Ducasse, France's national culinary treasure is unveiled at Musée Grevin in March, watch also for the launch of Café Grevin by the years' end. With a little luck maybe one day Grevin will lend his wax image, sculpted by Eric de Saint Chaffray, to Madame Tussaud's, London, just a short walk from Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester.

Opened in November 2007 with horrible press AD at The Dorchester just won its' second Michelin star. "And we're tipped as a rising star for a third", notes Executive chef Jocelyn Herland, from the pass of his magnificent steel and glass kitchens. In London, to celebrate with his team, Alain Ducasse is overjoyed, "to receive such recognition from Michelin is a great honour. It's a brilliant achievement for the whole team, they ignored the drubbing, went on to show they can create something outstanding".

"Of course you can't deny the credit crunch", admits restaurant director Christian Laval ex-Spoon. "So we created "The Lunch Hour", served in one hour if you want. And Head Sommelier Hugues Lepin matches it with glasses of excellent wine. Many of the world wines are visible, behind floor to ceiling glass, in the cool Patrick Jouin decorated space overlooking Hyde Park. Last week you could have enjoyed the 2007 Provence Chateau Mourgues de Gres, full of sunshine, fruit and notes of white flowers. Or the red 2007 Vinas Viejas from Bodegas Solar de Urbezo, Spain. Discuss with Hugues, but don't expect to leave in an hour if you do! There's an elegant gentleman, sipping burgundy, lunching alone. Surely not from Fortress Michelin already? Who knows.
Choose "Lunch Hour" and you get the choice of three starters, three mains and four desserts. Being Ducasse, it's value for money, you could make do with the freebie starters, a pyramid of warm gougeres. Then the breads, at least six different, taste them all, it's worth it. Where else do they put Fountainebleau, that amazing creamy cheese/butter made from fresh cream, on the table? There's salty butter too, but you won't need it.

Begin with Crayfish in a caesar salad. Butternut squash velouté with royale of foie gras or have what Matt the Chef had: Ravioli of Langoustine in spicy ginger-lemon grass broth.(see photo).
Somehow a middle course of seared diver scallops appears, a touch of white and green Swiss chard, a sprinkling of black truffles. Perfection.
Continue with pasta, shellfish, coco/curry sauce. Braised roasted rib of veal, with light bright amandine potatoes for Matt the Chef (see photo) Fillet of Meagre, plump white Mediterranean fish similar to sea bass is seared "Grenobloise" style, cauliflower purée and tiny vegetables cooked in a cocotte (see photo). "There's fine attention to detail both in the kitchen and the salle", says Matt the Chef.
Finish with an Exotic Treat of fresh fruits, or rum raisin sultana cup, Contemporary Vacherin and the best dessert in the world, worth paying a supplement for: Baba Au rhum like in Monte Carlo.
We'll return to taste the A La Carte Menu, to mix and match chef Herland's dishes with those of Alain Ducasse, and taste that Baba again. Arguably created by Nicholas Stohrer in 1725 to celebrate the marriage of Maria Leszczyriska to Louis XV. Hey, now we know why Ducasse dubbed his Monte Carlo marvel - Louis XV!
Photos : ChristianTrampenau
Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester,
Park Lane, London W.1K 1 QA
T: +44 (0) 207 629 8866
Open Tues-Fri 12pm-2pm - 6.30-10pm
"Lunch Hour" 2 courses £39.50 3 courses £45 includes, 2 glasses of wine, mineral water, coffee and petits fours
A La Carte about £75 and Tasting Menu £115.

Voir le site de Matt the Chef.

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