PRICE PAID: $280 PP (LIST PRICE- PRE-CHALLENGE)
FINAL SCORE: 8.0/10
Located in London Mayfair right near the Marble Arch in the beautiful (if a bit overdone) Hotel D0rchester is Alain Ducasse's UK flagship restaurant. Headed up by chef Jocelyn Herland, this is only one of 27 restaurants in the Ducasse empire. It has held its third star since 2010; an impressive record after opening only in 2007.
Herland previously ran La Plaza Athénée in Paris, and was hand-picked to run Ducasse's London headquarters.
A few quick notes about the interior- sited in the already gorgeous Dorchester hotel, the restaurant itself is full of natural, understated colors and a few design flairs. A fiber-optic-lit machination called La Table Lumière sits in the corner (I happened to be seated right next to it) for those wishing for a more secluded experience. During my meal, a toweringly obnoxious couple from California dined with their little girl who kept throwing her caviar and seafood whilst requesting chicken nuggets. At certain points, I couldn't blame her.
Our first bites were an enormous pile of cheese snacks. Hollow spheres of breaded cheese- what an interesting start to a meal- and I'm not kidding when I say it was, like, two pounds of snacks. 7/10.
First course is a beautiful, thoughtful presentation of lobster with raw and cooked asparagus. Sauce is awesome. Lobster is perfectly cooked and fresh. 8/10.
Next, we had some duck foie gras stuffed with peach. Foie is almost refreshingly light. 9/10.
Thirdly, some Scottish langoustine served with squid ink ravioli. Soft and rich. The broth ties things together perfectly with flavors of green mango and lemongrass, what an exceptional and memorable dish. 10/10.
Next, a generous cube of turbot with clams and beans. The beans are a nice textural partner to both. 8/10.
The only mild disappointment of the evening was, unfortunately, the main. This beef was overcooked and not well matched in its black olive jus. 7/10.
Some excellent Comté Garde Exceptionnelle from 2012. 9/10.
Ducasse must enjoy the looks on his patrons' faces when staff members come by and dump enormous quantities of baked goods on their table. These macarons and chocolate are excellent, but once again: there are a shitload of them. 9/10
Surprisingly similar to Milky Way bars; the chocolate and ganache dessert is another pleasing contribution to the finish. 8/10.