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Restaurant L'Arpège in ParisL'Arpège (Paris)

Fooding Guide 2003 special honor award 

Alain Passard is like a flamboyant matador dressed in an apron. The Cupid of vegetable gardens, he inoculates his impetuous guests with a (chloro)fill of ecstasy as they succumb to the woody curves of his “house of cuisine”. The passionate chef takes no heed of passing trends, and his “déjeuner des jardiniers” menu (€175) will send shivers down your spine: the play between hot and cold of an egg with Xérès and maple syrup; the transubstantiation of vegetable ravioli in a vegetal consommé; the chiaroscuro of a cucumber, black olive and geranium sushi; the typhoon of an oyster with fennel, lovage and cucumber; the earthquake of a mint/pea hummus with cauliflower/anchovy pesto; the big bang of a stuffed cabbage with a Parmesan-chamomile emulsion; the stroke of genius of a roasted asparagus wrapped in rhubarb, dipped into a smoked shallot/carrot mousseline; the guiding star of a strawberry salad with yellow cucumber and feta; the eruptive pleasure of a minestrone with palourde clams, octopus and eel smoked over olive wood; the unexpected thrill of sole cooked in vin jaune, with vegetables and a shallot-nettle-broccoli emulsion; the flash of lighting from the baby shallot and thyme tarte tatin; the passion of a potato purée with Kalamata olives; the percussion of a crisp vegetable risotto sprinkled with mint, lovage and cilantro; the lyrical flight of roasted guinea fowl in sauce vierge; the island cloud of a moussey coffee sorbet, stripped with caramel over a verbena cream; the virtuous circle of a shiso-raspberry sorbet. And don’t forget about the wines! A Bourgueil from the Domaine de la Chevalerie (€16 a glass), a Pouilly-Fuissé from Denis Jeandeau (€18), a Chablis from Vincent Dauvissat, a red Côtes-du-Jura red from Julien Labet (€90 a bottle)… from amongst 800 bottles in the collection. Set menus €175 (lunch), €320 and €390. À la carte €245-325. // M.J.-D.

Getting there

Restaurant L'Arpège
84, rue de Varenne
TEL: +33 1 47 05 09 06
Subway: Varenne