Monday, November 9, 2009

Two Stars at Relais Louis XIII

I was full of anticipation to check out our first starredItalic restaurant in Paris, which I had made reservations for a full month in advance. Relais Louis XIII, which has two Michelin stars, is situated in a charming 16th century old building with open stonework walls, in the 6th arrondissement near the Louvre museum. The lunch menu was priced at a surprisingly affordable 50 Euros per person, and besides the customary starter, main and dessert, also included a cheese platter, water, and coffee. This was a real steal given the quality of the food and the cooking!!

We were served not one, but two amuse-bouches - miniature cheese puffs and pizza tartlets, and a corn soup cappucino, which E really enjoyed. My starter of scallop terrine with chives was simply wonderful, with a perfect smooth and quivery texture and oh! those scallops were just brimming with sweetness. Smothered in a creamy butter sauce and yet not too rich, this was such a treat.

But what we really really loved was E's starter of seared foie gras served on a bed of sauteed wild mushrooms. This could not be more delicious. The generous lobe of foie gras (the size of my hand!) melted in our mouths, while the sprinkling of fleur de sel accentuated the smoothness and rich fragrance of the foie gras, all perfumed by the earthy aroma of the wild mushrooms.

For my main course, I chose the seared seabass, which tasted nothing at all like those farmed seabass I buy in the local markets and supermarkets (must have been a wild seabass, maybe Chilean?) It was supremely moist and juicy, with a crisp skin and perfectly seasoned meat...the best seabass that I've eaten! Could things get any better?

Yes, they could. E went one up and had this lovely main course of lamb served with aubergines and tomatoes confit. The lamb was PERFECTLY cooked to a rose pink and was absolutely tender, juicy with nary a hint of that sometimes unpleasantly musky odour.

Very full at this point, we were presented with the cheese trolley from which wafted delectable cheesy aromas, so we pointed and ended up with several large slices of which we could only recognise the brie, gruyere, and mimolette. It was all good and very addictive to nibble on, so despite our full stomachs we still managed to finish more than half the selection.

And finally, the desserts! I had a white chocolate mousse frozen into an ice-cream ball, with a fromage blanc of cassis - like a cheesecake. This was adequate but nothing very much to shout about.

Meanwhile, E continued his run of good choices with this minestrone of exotic fruits served with a scoop of mango ice-cream. Tangy, intense and sweet all at the same time, this was a flavour explosion on our tongues. I simply loved that mango ice-cream to bits - it was so so concentrated that it tasted even more like mango than the real deal.

Full as we were, there was still room for petit fours, which were served with our coffees. These came beautifully presented on a silver tray with caneles and the most deliciously soft and fragrant nougat that I have ever eaten in my life.

Oh, what a meal! Words cannot do enough justice to it.

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