Sunday, 30 August 2009
PIERRE GAGNAIRE, 6, rue Balzac 75008 Paris
Event: Dinner on Friday November 14th 2008 19:00
Everytime I go to France, it's always the same pattern for me: I make sure to book a table at Pierre Gagnaire in Paris, Anne-Sophie Pic in Valence.. and at my recently discovered Hélène Darroze in Paris as well.
To me, he is the pope of high end cuisine. As simple as that. Why? Because he can turn very simple things into unbelievable chef d'oeuvres! You certainly tell me that lots of grand chefs do just that. I will respond that he does it better than all of them!
This was not my 1st visit at PG in Paris. But it is the latest one, and I will share couple of menu Items I had there (some of the latest diner, others from past diners at PG) with you. As usual, the idea is not just to review the food (food are always either savourish or not, bland or flavorful, warm or cold..lol), but to also point out the culinary philosophy and effective bottom line results of it's kitchen.
So, the FOOD..lol! ->
Salmon's heart roasted in honey:
As delicious as it's original. I do not recall having eaten any salmon/honey mix anywhere else BUT this is actually a brillant and savoury mix -> of course, it is not your average kind of honey..lol..it's more of the luxurious lite and subtly flavored type. The salmon's heart was an intense small delicacy: intensely flavoured, will memorable mouthfeel. It was accompanied by a delicious barbot concoction with a welcoming flavorful turmeric touch. This dish could have been on paper, just one good dish among others. But to my taste buds, it is one of the best dishes I ever had on any of the grand tables I had already tried (Noma, El Bulli, FD and so on). It surpassed them all by it's perfectly well balanced flavors and savors. The idea is not just to mix up food because on paper this mixed with that is supposed to work. Nah! The idea here is to turn the food in a heavenly treat. And PG does just that!
Tartare of red Tuna:
It is the tartare to end all tartares! Litteraly. Throughout the years, I've had my load of tartares and do order them only if the restaurant doesn't have much to offer. On a luxurious table, I do generally avoid ordering tartares, preferring food items I may never find anywhere else. But knowing that this genius of them all had tartare to offer, I could not stop myself from trying it out. I had to see what PG would do with this so common fare. At first, the tartare had stunned me by it's fresh texture. But I have seen other fresh tartares that didn't live up to my expectations. So I closed my eyes and had a 1st bite: the taste was simply supreme (as if the cook had done a worlwide taste buds survey to enquire about the perfect tartare taste and he proceeded with conceiving it! rfaol!). Superb.
Royale Rossini & Oysters:
One of the very few dishes I was not that enthusiastic about, but I am writing about it to portray the idea of the well thought complex tastes that's pushed behind this dish. Basically, it's cooked oyster with liver. Sounds off-the-usual-lanes and tasted just ok (I can't stand cooked oysters to start with, albeith his were savourish + I like liver alone, mixed with nothing else) but you need to see the dish on your table to understand the interesting tastes at play. Really interesting.
I am a bit lazy and wont go through each meal. I will conclude with the desserts. PG is one of those grand chefs that I find so well balanced and of which I can't find any forte Vs weak spot. BUT his desserts are the best I had on any of the worldwide's high end luxurious tables I ate at -> he offers multiple desserts (8 during that dinner there), all being top classic France's pastries/cakes/desserts (in well thought portions btw: they can't be huge since you have 8 of those. They are not ridiculously tiny neither) conceived in their most delicious and luxurious versions (Monsieur Pierre adds it's personal unique touch which make them so great!). Given that France is the mecca of desserts, just picture the rest!
I really like the spot where his restaurant is located: it is a fun busy classy area with lots of things to visit like Le Grand Palais or Place de la Concorde. The dinner was at 7pm, so both Jannice and I had walked a lot throughout the "8e arrondissement" (the area where the restaurant is located) and was pleased by the very wealthy feel of it all. It is also a touristic spot as well with lots of hotels, bars, terraces, restaurants. If you visit Paris, I'd suggest you put this spot on your places to visit's list.
PG is simply my #1 favourite dining experience of all the top world's tables I sat at (Ducasse, El Bulli, Noma, Alinea, Joel Robuchon and so on). He is the proof that with organic food alone and lots of passion, talent and imagination...there's a lot to achieve way before hitting the molecular table. I'm stunned to see how PG manages to put up an harmonious symphony of complexed juxtaposed flavors and tastes that works better than at any other genius table...all of this by sticking to the naturals! Blissful!!!!!!!
-From the series "GRAND tables of the moment":
My dinner at Alinea, Chicago, Illinois Sat March 7th 2009 18:30pm
My dinner at NOMA, Copenaghen, Danemark February 21st 2009 ->
My diners at El Bulli's, Roses, Spain (2000,2001) ->
My dinner at the Fat Duck, Bray, UK Febr 7th 2009 7:30PM ->
Araxi, British Columbia, 2007 ->
-From the series "Arome's favourite world best tables":
Jean Louis Nichel, Barcelona, Spain ->
Anne-Sophie Pic, Valence, France ->
-From the series "Best tables of NY":
Café Boulud ->