There's one menu it's 55 euros or 115 with wine (quite a lot of wine).
Obviously I went with wine.
I started with a glass of sparkling Gamay (though they did tell me it was a Cab Franc) called Moisson Rouge, this was a little bit of an error, because from then on the glasses and dishes came pretty thick and fast.
First was a dry Vouvray, which was apparently a mistake by the (very beautiful) Spanish bartender, so it was swiftly joined by a glass of natural sparkling Vouvray - the 'You are happy' C. Chaussard, and a glass of slightly oxidative Assyrtiko (Pyrgos 06, H. Hatzidakis).
The bouches with which I was amused were three little cheesy bread thingies.
A mini bowl of ceviche with a rather fab chunk of mackerel (I think) hidden within.
Tempura Shrimp dusted with tamarind powder, there was an amusingly Proustian moment with the shrimp as the first thing they brought to mind was Scampi fries, though to my mind that's far from a bad thing.
A thin slice of (a very large) beetroot with powdered goats cheese and little splodges of chicken liver parfait. At this point I actually asked what the variety of beetroot was as it was larger than any beetroot I'd seen before, however the waiter assured me that it was just a normal beetroot. Evidently French beetroot grow much larger than English ones. When I get round to it I'm going to look into the possible implications of beetroot envy.
The last bouche was a bouillon de courge (squash), though it was actually very meaty, with two pieces of raw? turnip? and a couple of slivers of very intensely flavoured meat in the bottom.
Onto the actual dishes, mackerel with cauliflower, celery and lychee, was RAW, very sexy raw mind, the florets having been rolled in finely chopped parsley and celery tops, the mackerel was needless to say stunningly fresh and beautiful. It was served with Yvon Metras, Ultime 2010, Fleurie. One of the gang of five natural Beaujolais boys it was, as expected, all about floral cherry scented lithe crisp Gamay goodness.
John Dory, baby leeks, onions and herbs was a little love letter to the allium family, obviously the herbs were chives, I could have drunk the best part of a pint of the light green sauce. I will leave it at that. Oh and the 09 Puligny-Montrachet from F.Cossart that it came with was great, Normandy apple tart like notes, some lovely biscuit leesiness and what the French would probably call puissance.
Up till this point everything had been outstanding.
Iberico pork with raddichio and citrus. I’ve never really understood the point of kumquats, yes I appreciate the humorous potential of the name, but they always seem to be a bit extraneous. Similarly extraneous was the delicate curry spicing about the pork. (Grotte di alte, Nero d’Avola/Frappato Occhipinti)
If you look at the history of French cuisine, the boldest intellectual leap was to make a break with the pan European middle ages style of spiced and curried dishes. Early luminaries such as Nicolas de Bonnefond stressed that food should taste of its primary ingredient; a soup of leeks for instance should taste of leeks. Prior to this thematic schism the cuisine across Europe had been much closer to what we’d probably identify as Persian. I don’t think that classical French cuisine has ever really re learnt how to deal with curry style spicing, it always seems to stick out like a sore thumb, never being used in a bold enough fashion to actually satisfy, but being there just enough to titillate and annoy.
The first pudding was clementine with a white mushroom and a rum/vanilla cream. The mushroom part was very odd, I really wasn’t sure whether I found it interesting or upsetting. Obviously this is a fascinating dilemma to be confronted with, however I prefer not to wrestle with it at the end of my dinner.
Tocino del Cielo, the classic Spanish dessert, came as a sugar confit egg yolk on top of a mini piece of pastry. I cannot get enough of sugar confit egg yolks, it was properly fab. There was a glass of Fidele, a Blanc de Noir Champagne from Vouette & Sorbee, of which my tasting note was the eloquent and poetic ‘FUCK YES’ read of this what you will.
Le Chateaubriand was excellent, though thinking of it along side meals that I’ve enjoyed at the Ledbury or Roganic I can’t quite justify its acclaim. The wholly natural wine list is fabulous and obviously has been as inspirational and provocative as they probably hoped.
A final Indian note came with the petit four which was a single piece of mango with a few of the little candied fennel seeds that you sometimes find served after meals in India.