Saturday, August 04, 2012

Birthday Dinner at Pierre Reboul

Tuesday 10 July
Today was Barbara's 60th birthday, and as you can see from this picture, she doesn't look a day over 59.

As well as an appropriate opera, Holt had planned a celebratory meal at the Michelin-starred restaurant of Pierre Reboul, within walking distance of the Théâtre de l'Archevêché.
The symbol of the restaurant is Πr = Pierre, get it? and its style is quirky to say the least.  The assiduous and friendly waitstaff assured us that we would have time to complete the menu Les Amateurs before we had to set off for the opera.  If we had gone for “Les Experts,” we might be there still.
We started off with a glass of NV Godme Pere et Fils Grand Cru Brut Rose Champagne.
The food came in a steady dance, a suite of succeeding flavors, strong on contrasts of sweet and salt, hot and cold—all beautifully orchestrated.  Above, you see the amuse-bouche: a crème caramel made of foie gras. Sweet, smooth, creamy, but with just a hint of extra richness, the most edible form of liver Holt has yet to encounter (possibly because there was so little of it—but see Halali last year).  There was also a shot glass of soup made with mouflon mushrooms (French porcini), topped with duck fat foam. Thick, dark, delicious. 
On to the Jeu de crudités/translated as "Raw vegetables new texture":

a. A tiny tomato bombe: sort of a jellied exterior that popped to deluge the tongue with tomato soup.
b. A jellied vegetable terrine, sitting on top of a crisp crackling base, with micro-greens implanted: a garden as Kit-Kat Bar.
c. Carrot lollipop: sweet and cold, resting on a bed of salty raped carrots (for raped carrots, see Catherine Legouis)
Served with a flakey parmesan spiral of croissant-type dough.

Then Soupe de roche de Provence revisitée/Special fish soup from Provence:

That's bouillabaisse in a shot glass (perhaps a tad repetitious in form, but not in flavor): powerful essence of fish stew, but based on a dark roux that any New Orleans chef would have been proud of (of Old Orleans, we say nothing). Unctuous, but cut by a sweet green apple foam on top.
b. The same soup presented as a candy bar (jellied) with a strip of cheese down the center. The running theme of jellies might seem a bit too Victorian, but welcome on a summer’s day.
Then a bit of pure silliness: a compressed roll of cheesecloth, which after the supremely competent waiter doused it in hot water, shot upwards in the adult version of the straw-wrapper snake trick.

Omble chevalier des sources d’Archiane/Chaar from Sources d’Archiane

The fish course, translated as “chaar” (but not Arctic char, by any means). Skin crisp as a potato chip on a bed of mayonnaise foam.

Galet de Pomme de terre et Beurre d’algue/potato as a pebble and seaweed butter
Small potatoes en argille (baked in edible clay): not a great thing in itself, except to the extent that the potatoes didn’t taste of kaopectate. More curious than interesting.  Served with a round of a compound butter with toasted nori, which was entirely successful.

Caille burger, Frite et soda citron/Quail Burger, fries and lemon fizzy drink

McDonald’s takes over.
a. The main trick—reminding us of The French Laundry’s puns on Tongue and Cheek or Oysters and Pearls, but we have to say, less successful—was a reconceived hamburger joint. A quail burger: with a perfect little quail breast on a brioche bun. But the quail was overwhelmed by a too accurate recreation of “special sauce” (it might be different for the French in whom the sauce doesn’t instantly recall childhood trauma) and the addition of a pour of brown sauce didn’t really help much.
b. French fries: a tiny potato-soufflé impaled with tiny crisp genuinely French fries.
c. Lemon squash in a Starbuck’s cup. We are everywhere.

From here we switched to red wine: La Ferme Saint Pierre Ventoux Roi Fainéant 2010.

Roquefort en macaron/Roquefort cheese in a macaroon
Next the savories. An electric blue macaroon of Roquefort with a spoonful of apple-laced creamy sauce (a nice contrast) and a little block of the cheese.

Huile d’olive AOC et miel façon savon moussant/Olive oil AOC and honey as foaming soap

Savory blended into sweets: Olive oil biscuits with honey and olive oil beaten until it became ice-cream, looking like a disc of soap sitting in its foam.
This was ushered in by the waiter bearing a Roman candle and a smoking bowl of dry ice in which he was hectically basting something. The something proved to be a balloon, which once removed from the dry ice, re-inflated to wish Barbara a Happy Birthday.

Πr surprise aux fruits rouges/with red fruit

From here, more desserts in a long procession.
a. The Roman candle lit the way for a chocolate bombe: dark on top, white base, over which a hot strawberry soup was poured. Made for quick eating.

b. Then raspberry tartlets
c. Squares of chocolate banana cake.
d. Two tiny ice-cream cones filled with lychee sorbet.

And finally, it was all over, and with many smiles and good wishes we walked to the open-air theater to see a superbly-sung Nozze di Figaro with the adorable Patricia Petibon.


Andi said...

Looks like a great birthday celebration!
(and a fizzy Starbucks drink?)

Andi said...

Looks like a great birthday celebration!
(and a fizzy Starbucks drink?)