3 Michelin starred food in one of the most attractive dining rooms in the world
Le Cinq (The Fifth) is the flagship 3 Michelin starred restaurant set within the absolutely stunning Four Seasons Hotel, a short walk off the Champs-Élysées in Paris. The head chef is Christian Le Squer who has graced the restaurant with the ultimate accolade since he arrived in 2014 as was clearly the mandate that the luxury hotel banked on when gaining him. The meal was utter refinement with some stunningly designed signature dishes, charming service and on a misc note, the purist, bottled water I have ever had. The €315 price tag for lunch and wine is actually getting away with things lightly for a Parisian 3-star restaurant, but I can’t help thinking that if you were to take someone special here for dinner, you may as well put a thousand aside. One thing’s for sure, you will have a very good meal and serious browny points if you ever did this as one of the most romantic and prettiest locations you could possibly have dinner.
The meal began with canapés of a thin parmesan waffle which was extraordinarily light and cheesy, an aloe vera mousse with edible sweet wrapper which was not my favourite flavour, a mini pizza stick with mozzarella, mushroom, thyme which was absolutely loaded with mushroom flavour and tartlet of Artichokes. The latter had cottage cheese and olive which was an acquired taste, but with a gorgeously done pastry.
The bread was made in house and among the choices were brown baguette and cereal brioche with Brittany butter – both were of a pedigree standard of baking and churned Brittany butter which is coincidentally the broth place of the head chef. The amuse bouche was a cep jelly and cuttlefish mix which had absolutely stunning smokiness and a pure jelly vinegar balance – a lovely and light start.
My chosen starter was a play on onion. A royal juice truffle sauce and onion reduction had gratinated Parmesan and baguette and formed in to ‘bulbs’ of onion. Each of these had little onion membrane with onion purée inside. Baguette croutons had the perfect crunch and the sauce gave the more salty bite it needed. Green dots of thyme made for a simple and pleasant combination and the technical skill of the dish was clear to see. The onion flavour itself was intense and this was a cracking starter.
The main is a signature of the chef and I was aware of this dish prior to arrival and equally keen to try as a staple dish. It is a rectangular tube of pasta, comprised of spaghetti strands all joined together to form the shell, inside which is a cheese, ham and mushroom mix with a truffled sauce costing €135 for one serving. The pasta is beautifully done and aside its obviously impressive design, the quality of the ham, mushroom and cheese blend with stunning truffled sauce, really did make this as good as it looked and was a superlative dish – very pleased to have made sure I have had this as one for the life ticks to ensure.
Predessert was a green apple quince and yoghurt from Brittany which had a slightly slimy texture, but the apple was so powerful. Miniardise (tiny bites) were offered prior to the dessert and included cherry with cherry juice inside (incredibly good), chocolate and a cracker with lemon sorbet and lemon balm. The latter was so fresh and the caramel and pecan nuts was soft and wonderful.
The finale was another signature dish which I was informed from more than one source was the grapefruit dessert. This is served as a Mille Feuille, with orange candy and dill on top. Grapefruit is not normally my favourite fruit owing to how sharp it can be, but this was done beautifully with enough sweet to offset this in the candy and the grapefruit sorbet layer as well, having a carefully balanced level of sweet. A gel base with slices forming perfect rectangles, a sorbet and crystallised grapefruit candy layers meant that if you do not like grapefruit, this version had everything to make you happy with it. Only world-class chefs have the ability and control to do this.
Coffee was joined by a display of the temptation trolley for a huge number of petit fours, all finished off with a serving of light, butter and sugar buns which show off the clear pastry skills of the kitchen. I should also mention that a quality meal should not be without good wine and after a long chat with the sommelier, I was much more happy to have just one glass of something fabulous rather than a half bottle of something average and boy did he produce this in the glass of 2012 Morey-Saint-Denis at €38 for the glass. Such a beautifully smooth Burgandy to accompany food of the highest quality was 100% worth every euro.
I loved this meal and this place. It had the ability to make me enjoy something I usually do not enjoy, had fabulous dishes and service all round and was set in one of the most beautiful interiors known to the dining world. The hotel has two other restaurants either side of the courtyard, both Michelin starred, but Le Cinq is the temple and deservedly so. Even if you can’t make this, the Four Seasons here is also famed for its display of different flowers throughout the year in the lobby and restaurant areas and getting dressed up to simply coming in for a drink in any of the communal areas will be worth it for your time.
Le Cinq: an exquisite restaurant.
Food Grade: 94%
Location (Click google logo for directions)