I am a little late with this post from my dinner at Alain Ducasse back in July, but I was so uninspired by the meal, that I couldn’t force myself writing anything about it.
First of all, let’s start with the positive. Redesigned by Patrick Jouin et Sanjit Manku, the dining room is simply stunning. You feel like as if you were Alice in Wonderland, who just fell into the rabbit hole and found herself in this surreal, fairytale-like world.
The menu and the concept of the fine dining restaurant (“managed” by Alain Ducasse) has also been transformed. Different to what Alain Ducasse at Plaza Athénée used to be, now it’s all about vegetables, herbs and Mediterranean flavours, which brings us to the food. When you look at the menu, first thing you can’t help, but notice are the prices. Paris does have some of the most expensive fine dining restaurants in the world and in a way, it can be forgiven when the dish has been created with luxurious ingredients such as caviar or winter truffles (…and when the country has very high social taxes). But what about when a plate of vegetables (from the gardens in Versailles) costs 85 euros and it’s by far the cheapest dish on the menu? Or how about sole with zucchini and crayfish for 140 euros? My main course, gamberoni from San Remo with sesame, beans and peas went for 155 euros. As soon as there was some caviar involved, one dish could be easily priced 185 or 195 euros.
Unless you are at some cool hipster place in Copenhagen, fine dining rarely comes cheap. In my point of view, however, prices should be somehow justified. Yes, you will pay probably even more at L’Ambrosie in Paris, but the cooking there is exquisite and the caviar portions are generous. The dishes at Alain Ducasse though, could have been as well served, for three times less, at some high-end brasserie somewhere in Paris. I wouldn’t see the difference in the quality of products or skills of the chefs.