Have you ever gotten lost in a dining experience? Felt so elated that the world outside is forgotten and for just a few hours you are transported to another place. A place of service, beauty and elegance.
This was just the experience I had at Le Louis XV Alain Ducasse in Monte Carlo at the Hotel De Paris.
We arrived for our lunch on a Wednesday. I usually prefer to do dinners for a tasting style meal but do to availability we could only secure a lunch reseravtion. We entered off the busy square in the center of Monaco filled with crowds and fancy cars. We approached the restaurant room and were greeted by the utmost professional host and taken to our table.
Upon entering the dining room, I was breathless. The architecture is reminiscent of Versailles Grand Siècle. Flowers upon each table remind you that you are at a special occasion indeed. How often does one get to savor the recipes of Alain Ducasse, in what is most definitely one of the most beautiful dining rooms in the world?
We were presented with the champagne cart and settled in to what would be a 3 and a half hour lunch.
You have the choice at lunch of choosing from the dinner menu or an abbreviated lunch menu. We decided on the latter, assuming it would save us a bit of time, and save our stomachs a bit of sanity. We were undeiably mistaken.
We were presented with an array of first bites. Spinach in phyllo dough, was a favorite, but they were all excellent and hard not to devour. It was the most magnificent butter presentation I have ever seen. A cart was rolled to the table with a dome six inches high of hand made, unsalted butter. A marble bowl held the gold serving piece that would slice into this butter as though it was pudding, and placing a portion at the center of the table. The bread cart arrived shortly after we placed our order.
The bread cart itself was just as remarkable. What seemed like over fifteen choices. The bacon and the brioche I selected were both delectable.
The first course came out, a vegetable tart with seasonal veggies and an anchovy.
Then we had the choice of a pasta or a cold fennel soup. I ordered the eggplant pasta as it's hard for me to say no to a handmade pasta. The dish was incredilbe. Hints of smokiness from the eggplant encriched the soft noodles. I wanted to lick my plate clean. The soup didn't impress me as much, altough a cold soup is a nice idea for hot summer day. I am not a huge fan of fennel, which I am sure affected my thoughts on this dish.
For the main course I choose the hen with roasted veggies. It was carved table side and presented with the cooking jus. Rustic and clean, this was a nice dish but I was still thinking about the eggplant pasta.
Then it was onto dessert. I choose the mascarpone sorbet with wild strawberries cooked in their own juice. This dish embodied summer completely. The mascarpone sorbet was so creamy with a hint of tartness and the sweet strawberries and their rich red cut through the white like snow.
I also tasted the rum baba and the apricot souffle. Let's just say Alain Ducasse understands desserts.
Overall this experience was truly sensational. The service alone was outstanding. This should definitely be on your list when in Monte Carlo!