I’ve always wanted to try a degustation dinner in Paris. This is not a budget meal. It is an extravagant, theatrical, gourmet dinner worth saving for. If you appreciate fine food, eating your way through a degustation dinner in Paris is like a theatre performance. You don’t know how each dish is going to look, smell and taste. Just when you think you’re full, and I felt rather full after dish no. 4, another encore dish appears.
My very first degustation dinner in Paris was at the La Grande Cascade restaurant. This opulent Michelin starred restaurant is located on Allee Longchamp in the gardens of Bois de Bologne. There is literally a waterfall nearby. The restaurant is huge, with immaculate gardens, and has a belle epoque interior. We dined out in the terrace which is shaded by carefuly crafted trees.
The service at the Michelin starred La Grande Cascade is very attentive. The waiters all speak English and will explain each course to you. The only way to start a degustation dinner in Paris? With a Champagne toast of course. Having just learnt about Champagne during my recent day trip, it felt like a big celebratory drink!
The degustation menu was an epic gastronomic affair. It started with a small amuse bouche and a palate cleanser of lobster sushi and gazpacho like soup.
I was a bit amused to choose my bread for a basket of bread rolls of all different shapes and sizes. I opted for a light croissant like bread with just a small slather of French butter. This accompanied my first dish – a cappucino like crab ‘soup’ with star anise nicely. This dish was very light and had small hints of the star anise flavour.
The second course was a Saint-Pierre filet of fish with roasted almond chips, leeks and potatoes with a light salsa style dressing. Beautifully presented, the fish was cooked well and it tasted like a light healthy dish.
For third course we experienced the posh version of ‘macaroni and cheese’. Only this French ‘mac and cheese’ came with celeriac, fois gras, black truffles with a parmesan gratin. I don’t mind truffles however I felt like this dish had a very strong flavour to it and was quite salty. Good thing I still had my Champagne to polish off…and later white wine!
The fourth course was lamb, I love lamb and find it hard to eat anything that comes close to Australian lamb. This lamb was tender and juicy, served with Mediterranean vegetables and a pesto of pimentos (red peppers). I loved this dish!
Now that the main courses were done, it was time for the start of the dessert courses. That’s right, there’s more than one dessert. Technically it was three but given that the meal finished with petit fours I’d like to call it four. I ate four desserts during my degustation dinner in Paris. I admit it. It’s not so much glameating and gluttony! However as my glampacker motto is travel in style on a budget, and given that the meal was expensive, you can’t waste dessert!
It began with Saint Marcellin cheese with toasted brioche containing lemon peel and acacia honey. The brioche was very sweet and a great accompaniment to the cheese. I’m not a big bread and cheese after dinner person so sadly didn’t finish the rather large slice of cheese. It was creamy and rich though!
The first dessert was salted caramel chocolate icecream topped with a gold leaf. It was so very good! This was followed by a Granny Smith apple emulsion with banana cream. This dessert had a chocolate cylinder around it which tasted more like white chocolate. Finally we were presented with petit fours. A macaron, chocolate tart and raspberry mousse. At this point I felt like I was going to burst!
My stomach thorough enjoyed my degustation dinner in Paris. Yes the eight course degustation was extravagant. However it was my last night in Paris and since I wasn’t sure when I’d be in one of my favourite cities in Europe again, it was the perfect way to end a summer trip to Paris.