Les Menus: "Listen to what you eat" Les Menus, in Moscow, presents the bold and experimental cuisine of Michelin three-star chef Pierre Gagnaire, regarded as one of today's most innovative and artistic chefs. Classic French cuisine with a modern twist and culinary artistry at its finest create an unforgettable feast for all the senses. It's an experience I have dreamed of trying for a while. A dream come true as my quest to try as many Michelin Starred Chef's restaurants as I possibly can.
"Le groupe hôtelier coréen Lotte avec lequel j’ai ouvert un restaurant à Séoul a fait appel à moi pour mettre en place un restaurant de bon niveau qui essaie de faire une cuisine française avec la petite touche qui caractérise ce que je suis. Par ce biais, je veux donner aux gens sur place l’envie de la qualité, d’un travail soigneux et de former les jeunes à une autre façon de cuisiner."
L'esprit Balzac set menu is renamed after his 3stars restaurant and l'esprit Gaya set menu after his 1star restaurant. The origin of the name:
Les Menus a region in France and not (The food menus as some might have thought) is situated in the Orne department (Normandy region) in the north of France at 64 km from Alencon, the department capital. Les Menus is 110 km from Paris and 278 km from the port at Calais.
Is a well known French chef, and is the Head Chef and owner of the eponymous Pierre Gagnaire restaurant at 6 rue Balzac in Paris (in the 8th arrondissement). Gagnaire is an iconoclastic chef at the forefront of the fusion cuisine movement. Beginning his career in St. Etienne where he won three Michelin Stars, Gagnaire tore at the conventions of classic French cooking by introducing jarring juxtapositions of flavors, tastes, textures, and ingredients. On his website Pierre Gagnaire gives his mission statement as the wish to run a restaurant which is 'facing tomorrow but respectful of yesterday' ("tourné vers demain mais soucieux d'hier").
The menu choices:
Mussel soup, Langoustines, fresh pasta, potatoes, lobster, squid, beef, pork and others.
Les Amuses Bouche of the day:
- Hummus with sesame oil and Eggplant with olive oil (baba ghannouj) served in mini shots and prepared a new high-end way. Those two yummy appetizers are served with a plate of different kinds of bread. A Grissini bread especially prepared flat, a Russian special black bread and another toasted Grissini Gagnaire's way with fresh cherry tomatoes. - Lemon bite with fresh ginger combining a mix of sweetness and lemon zest served with goat cheese ball covered with bread dipped in beet root and tomatoes.
Grissini bread is a dry and crispy variety of breadstick that comes from the Turin region of northern Italy. Grissini bread is roughly the same size as a pen or a pencil, but it can sometimes be larger. Although Grissini bread is consumed all around the world, this type of bread is generally considered a staple of traditional Italian cuisine.
Black Russian bread (Borodinsky):
Flour, rye flour ,brown sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, caraway seeds, fennel seeds, active dry yeast, coffee granules, dark corn syrup. Ingredients that make it black and tasting nothing like the white bread we know.
Three kinds of crunchy hot bread were proposed twice (Torpido like French baguette, pain au lait and a brown bite) and a special light sweetened crunchy pastry. This lunch was full of surprises. I didn't even start the main dish and I was already served with all the bread choices with two kinds of butter, a salted and red pepper one.
It was time for serious stuff and time to order the main course:
For lunch, the head waiter suggested I take the four course menu trying a bit of everything Chef Garniaire has to offer:
L'esprit Gaya set menu:
- Thin slice of lobster (coated in olive oil and lemon confit, Bisque Dodo, Buckwheat pan cake, cauliflower with sesame): A simple fairy tale. Every bite is unique, every bite combines more flavors that you can ever imagine ending the carnaval of flavors with the lobster unique bisque. Just look at the presentation of this artistic plate, you'll understand what's coming next. -
- Roasted duck foie gras Dundee-Pinky (Onion cream flavored with vodka, Melba toast and iberico ham) Unbelievable majestic taste. A melting sweet and alcoholic flavor flows over your tongue when the aromas of the foie gras ignite followed by the crunch of the caramelized onions on top.
- Roasted filet of beef (cooked in paprika tandoori butter, Parmesan custard, potato marguerite) Gelee of beef on the chips done in a salad way, broken into small pieces all covered with a bit of greenery. Just put the piece of meat in your mouth and as your tongue touches it, the story starts. Perfect seasoning in this small piece of wonders.
- Pierre Gagnaire Desserts: - Lemon macaron with white chocolate praline, sweet creams of red pepper and red pepper confit with lemon cream and lemon gelee. - Chocolate dessert with gelled of Cahlua and bellies with nuts an chocolate ice cream. - Garden dessert, raspberry jam ad fresh raspberry, pastry and whipped cream and green leaves and raspberry mousse.
- The Spirit of Pierre Gagnaire set menu is for 5000rub (163$) or 10,500rub (343$) with wine. The Decoration: Golden chairs Louis 16 style, golden chandeliers, soft carpet, floral decoration on tables, beautiful wine displays at the entrance, central white column, the wine and champagne station with more than 10 carafes waiting to be used, relaxing cushions on every chair, long chesterfield-like sofas in the middle of the restaurant, the three private rooms of 6, 8 and 12 persons, Damier style flooring, the liquor trolly.
- Every single detail counts: A perfect presentation of the plates, a very professional staff and service, the use of Badoit French sparkling water, the generosity of the offerings, three desserts served per person, the custom made plates for Pierre Gargnaire with his logo engraved, a set menu that they produce even if it's one person only, the smile on the staff's face continuously and much much more. Even the tooth picks presented at the end have their own silver disposal tray.
White wine tasted:
Petit Chablis, Patrick Piuze, Vendanges 2010 A really wonderful experience I have been dreaming to try, and my quest to discover as many Michelin starred chefs creations continues. After Joel Robuchon, Yannick Alleno, Hakata Hiramatsu and Guy Savoy, experiencing Pierre Gagnaire was a dream come true.
A lunch worth every penny. If you have the chance to visit Moscow soon, this is a stop not to miss.