October 28, 2016

Relaxing 3-star pop-up lunch

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A few weeks ago I was browsing on Facebook when a promoted ad caught my eye.  The Shangri-La Hotel group invites guest chefs to do pop-up events at their hotels around the world, and I know from reading about them in the past that these have included some of the world's celebrated chefs.  I got a little curious and clicked on the ad, and soon I found myself rounding up a few friends to have lunch at a restaurant I haven't stepped foot in a long time.

Petrus at the Island Shangri-La is hosting Frédéric Anton, who has been with Le Pré Catelan for nearly 20 years and helped it acquire three of those coveted Michelin stars.  I've long heard the name but never had the opportunity to visit, so this would be my chance to get a sense of what it might be like to dine there.

We had a choice for each of the three (or four) courses, but I really wish that I could have taken every single one of them, since they all sounded really delicious.  Indeed, the courses I ended up not choosing all looked really good.

L'aubergine, préparée en caviar, huile au parfum de curry, oignons frits, caviar de France - the eggplant caviar seasoned with curry oil was very, very delicious.  But the strong flavors from the curry completely overpowered the French caviar until the salinity became the only detectable trace from the eggs.  The deep-fried onion chips added a nice touch, though... both in terms of texture and flavors.  A nice start to my lunch.

Les perles du Japon, risotto, crème au Parmesan et jus gras - probably the weakest dish today.  The thin disc of custard on top was supposed to be made with foie gras, but I kinda tasted mushrooms... Still pretty tasty, though.

L'agneau, rôti, au poivre de Timut, salade de céleri aux agrumes - this was some really good shit.  I looooove lamb, and these lamb chops were exactly what I needed today.  There was a good amount of tasty lamb fat, and the chops were cooked nicely so that they were still very tender.  I could taste the presence of timur but the chef seemed to have been rather restrained here.

Le Paris-Brest, compotée de figues, crème légère 'pralinée et pécan' - the Great One complained that the Paris-Brest is supposed to look circular, but I didn't mind having this arrive like a cross between an éclair and a profiterole.  I absolutely loved the soft hazelnut cream with candied pecans embedded, and the fig compote made things even more interesting.  It was, though, a little rich at the end of this lunch.

One of our dining companions generously brought a bottle of 2007 Louis Roederer Cristal.  The first pour was not as cold, which delivered noticeable acidity.  After cooling down in an ice bucket, there was a little more of the toasty notes on the nose.

I wasn't really feeling like drinking much at lunch, so I didn't take the sommelier's offer of 2004 Petrus by the glass (which was offered at a decent price, TBH), nor sharing in the bottle of red Burg that the others at the table shared.

This was a very good and relaxing Friday lunch, and I was pretty stuffed by the end.  Perhaps I'd have the opportunity to take in the beautiful views and the cuisine at Le Pré Catelan... soon.

P.S. Many thanks to the sommelier for waiving corkage for our bubbly.

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