Even after winning his third Michelin star, the dapper Yannick Alléno continues to innovate in the kitchen. Luxury Travel Advisor recently lunched in the gorgeous dining room at Le Meurice to test out the buzzed-about lunch menu. Alléno’s goal? To celebrate Paris and the surrounding Île de France by delving deep into the region's culinary history. While Lyon has long been famous for its food, Paris has been underappreciated, many recipes forgotten and local products disappearing. Even the mushroom called the champignon de Paris has been imported from Holland in recent years. Alléno wants to change that. Partnering with Le Monde food critic Jean Claude Ribaut, Alléno spent years researching recipes and visiting local farms, sniffing out the finest local products, to put together an authentic Parisian menu. He has developed close partnerships with small farmers (a mushroom grower in St Ouen L’Aumône, an asparagus farmer in Neuville-sur-Oise, a honey producer in Villebon sur Yvette,) to supply the seasonal products for his new Parisian recipes. Bref, a lunch at Le Meurice is a not-to-be-missed experience for your clients in Paris.
In Alléno's dining room, eating is elevated to an art form. Attentive wait staff don't miss a beat when attending to their clients' needs: a hand-bag holder materializes and is unfolded at your feet, plates are placed and removed in the blink of an eye, the sommelier discerns the perfect glass of wine to match a dish (and your mood). And the dishes are as aesthetically beautiful as they are palate-pleasing, served on the Alléno-designed tableware. In fact, insiders tell us that there are numerous guest requests for buying the celebrity chef's plates. Alas, not for sale. Another coveted item: The light, carbon trays Alléno created after estimating that each server carried one ton during a single service.
After a beautiful plate of amuse-bouches (each bite packed with flavor), we tucked into a first course of Parisian cream with vegetables and smoked herring soft roe. Next: smoked eel in greens with red wine jelly-- with the watercress picked by hand in a farm south of Paris. For the main course, we enjoyed lamb from the Île de France region raised by the Morisseau family, followed by a plate of delicate mignardises (the "dessert before the dessert") and then a fine strawberry tarte made from freshly picked strawberries.
Priced at EUR 90 for four courses, the menu is available for lunch only, Monday-Friday. As there are only 45 seats in the dining room, it's best to book at least one week in advance for lunch. (For dinner, make reservations at the same time you are making room bookings.) Contact Maître d’hôtel Sébastien Rival ([email protected]; 01 44 58 10 55) for bookings.
PS. Advise your clients to be on the look-out for a new cookbook from the celebrity chef in the fall.