Lunch at Pavillon Ledoyen is an incredible treat. The restaurant holds three Michelin stars, which it was awarded just six months after its stewardship was handed to acclaimed chef Yannick Alleno.
My two teenage girls and I are about to find out what a 3-star dining experience is like. And I’m going to find out if anything if they’ve remembered anything I ever taught them about table manners
So what is a 3-Michelin star dining experience like?
Well first of all, let’s set the scene. Pavillon Ledoyen is on the Champs-Elysées, just past the Palaise Royale. The restaurant itself is like a small palace, surrounded by an expansive garden which in itself seems indulgent in the middle of one of the world’s most famous cities.
Our coats are taken and we’re seated upstairs in a grand looking dining room with large windows overlooking the garden, with high-backed velvet lined chairs that seem to encourage the girls to sit up straight and refrain from touching the table with their elbows.
The menu is explained as a champagne trolley is wheeled up for me to choose from. It’s the only choice I have to make for this meal. Guests are invited to choose one key ingredient – vegetable, meat or fish – for the main dish. Guided by this choice, Chef Alléno then constructs the entire meal around the core dish, including the starter and dessert.
First we’re served an aperitif; a crispy wafer with a hint of cinnamon accompanied by roasted baby vegetables and a tiny pot of gravy. This is followed by an egg white meringue with apple sauce.
Our next course is a butternut jelly with cream, butternut seeds and shaved nutmeg, served with a dollop of Normandy crème frais. The flavours are delicate and it’s incredibly light.
For entrees, Miss 14 is served chicken consommé with chicken leg sausages, which is served very grandly in a pot pie with puff pastry topping. The topping is sliced off to allow the waiter to shave a few white truffles into the consommé.
Semi-vegetarian Miss 19 has the ravioli with spinach, topped with egg white foam and shaved white truffles. It is, apparently, to die for.
My main course, chicken stuffed with fois gras and baby leeks, is accompanied by a 2009 Morey Saint Denis Clos Sorbe. Miss 19 has John Dory with leek and artichoke and Miss 14 has Wagyu beef with parmesan crisps and mushrooms.
We’re served a pre-dessert (the girls quite like this concept). A selection of small apple dishes with a beautiful candy apple biscuit.
And then dessert arrives – an assortment of chocolate wonders, which unfortunately we don’t have too much time to savour as we’re already late for our next Paris appointment: The Eiffel Tower.
The food is all so beautifully presented with flavours delicately balanced. I was worried about bringing teenage girls to a Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris. Worried about their manners and also their appreciation. That the flavours might be too rich or too subtle for their teenage palates, but I was wrong.
But the girls appreciated every thing about it; the service, the etiquette, the presentation, even the truffles. In fact, especially the truffles.
Dining with the girls may never be the same again.
- Carré des Champs-Elysées, 8 rue Dutuit, 75008 Paris