Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester : Best London Meal Experience 2016

I’ve had a handful of special meals under my belt this year. Some come with a price, some dead cheap. But as 2016 beckons new beginnings for 2017, I’m still thinking about the best meal experience I’ve had in London this year. With three Michelin stars under its name, there’s no surprise that the setting was at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester.

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreI can’t tell you how many times I’ve re-written this blog post since my visit early this year (I KNOW!). Words can be so limiting when it comes to describing the experience and I really wanted to give it justice. I figured instead of giving you a sit down on the restaurant’s history (which you can read here), I’ll just tell you about the amazing experience as I relive it in my head.

Basically, MD and I decided to go all out before I headed off to Morocco for a semi-“Eat, Pray, Love” trip. It was a celebration of all sorts so we ended up at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, excited to try meals from new head chef Jean-Phillipe Blondet’s kitchen.

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreUpon arrival, MD and I were greeted with warm service. We were sat near the Table Lumiere, the restaurant’s private dining area cocooned in a shimmering curtain of fibre optics. It was rather bedazzling.

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreAlain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreLooking at the menu, we decided to go for the four course a la carte meal (£120) and a bottle of wine to share. Our sommelier was absolutely wonderful as he chose a delicious Chablis which paired well with everything we ordered.

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreAlain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreA bouquet of bread was brought to the table and I had a hard time choosing which ones I wanted because everything looked like a baker’s dream!

Alain Ducasse at The DorchesterHowever, it was the plate of gougeres that stole my heart. They were ridiculously moreish, with just enough Gruyere and a tease of nutmeg.

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreI had to stop myself from devouring those bad boys as I wanted to make sure I had enough space for the meal ahead.

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreAn amuse bouche of salmon and vegetable consommé arrived. It had just the right punch and my appetite was definitely excited.

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreMy starter of Scottish langoustines with broccoletti and confit lemon was a big highlight of the night. The portion was quite generous and both pieces of shellfish were cooked well. I can still remember how I savoured the sweetness of the langoustines in my mouth with each bite.

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreThere was a bit of bisque for sauce and it was utterly gorgeous. It had great body and the flavour was everything you wanted a bisque to taste like.

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreMD’s Dorset crab starter was actually quite stunning, too. Served like maki, generous portions of crab meat were rolled in celeriac sheets and topped with caviar. The sweet-salty flavoured worked wonders, and fried little crab legs added a nice texture.

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreMy second course was a fillet of halibut with beetroot and radish. Upon seeing the plate, I feared that the vibrant beetroot sauce would overpower the taste of the halibut. On first bite, I was deemed wrong. Not only was the fish melt-in-your mouth fresh and good, the sauce was thick but balanced, perfectly complementing the flavour of the fillet.

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreI was also given little slivers of toast with smoked halibut slices.

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreHowever, I’m not gonna lie. MD’s native lobster à la Parisienne was a scene stealer and I had major food envy. I prefer lobsters on the shell to keep flavours in tact, but surprisingly the meat was still super succulent and juicy. The bisque was synonymous to the one I had with langoustines but with thinner consistency. I loved it and held my breath as I enviously watched MD devour it like a devil.

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreI loved that they served us all the rest of the lobster meat as well. Meat from the claws and legs and head were perched on a bowl of peas and pea puree. Heavenly.

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreMD’s third course was another fine-dining classic: beef rossini with crunchy cos lettuce and Périgueux jus.

DSC04883-2That fillet was perfectly rare and ultra-tender. The foie gras was delicately delicious and the combination was really spectacular. Possibly one of the best executed beef rossinis I’ve tried.

Alain Ducasse at The DorchesterSpiral potato crisps were served with the beef and it made a nice, fun texture play for munching.

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreBut I do love my own main course of pigeon with pepper-crusted potato tubes. I kid you not, folks. This pigeon was damn tasty.

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreThere was great depth of flavour into the meat and the jus was just incredibly earthy. It was classic cooking at its best. A wild plate of comfort, if you must.

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreAnd look at how beautifully cooked that bird is. I wanted to cry my brains out at how beautiful the colour was and the texture of the pigeon was just so spot on. I’m not much of a game girl, but this totally was a game changer. Har har.

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreAs like the lobster, a bowl of meat from the pigeon wings was also served in that ultra thick, rich, beautiful jus.

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreAfter a delicious meal, we had some palate cleansers in the form of passionfruit and lemon sorbet with blobs of merengue. Yum!

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreMD had a pistachio souffle which looked picture perfect. It was light as a feather and the flavour, good. Not too sweet, nor the nutty flavour overpowering.

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreBut I had my heart set on one thing: Alain Ducasse’s famous Baba like in Monte Carlo, a baba au rhum like no other.

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreAlain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreAlain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreAlain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreI was given three types of rum to go with my baba: the Clairin Sajous (extremely strong and not for the faint-hearted); the Matusalem Gran Reserva 15 (sweet and slightly spiced); and the Abuelo 12 (dry, smoky, fruity). I ended going for the second option as I thought it would go well with the baba.

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreSponge cut, cream plunkered and flaming rum sorted, I dug into the baba. The bittersweetness of the Matusalem paired well with the sweetness of the sponge, and the cream tied it all quite nicely. MD didn’t like it but I really enjoyed it. I think this dessert may have an acquired taste; it’s not for the fainthearted but it really is quite spectacular.

We were absolutely stuffed at this point and needed some coffee to digest a bit better. And then the petit fours came rolling in.

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreSome macarons were served…

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next Shore…plus some chocolate bites.

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreAlain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreAnd then we were given more options to consider. Honestly, the canelle was absolutely amazing, and so was the pistachio millefeuile. I was on the verge of chomping on the choux pastry but I would’ve erupted if I did. Next time, definitely.

Alain Ducasse by The Girl Next ShoreAlain Ducasse at The DorchesterWe were also given some doggy bags filled with nougat, biscuits, calisson and fudge and to take home. I though that was quite a nice touch.

We left with ridiculously full bellies and smiles on our faces. As we left the restaurant, each staff we passed by greeted us with warm a warm adieu. No, I thought. A tout a l’heure more like.

Verdict for Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester is a special restaurant for special meals, no doubt. Food is definitely world class, particularly for classics that are executed perfectly. I don’t think it’ll be everyone’s cuppatea, if I’m being frank, but if you’re looking for a place of excellent hospitality, then this is it. Service was genuinely great, with a certain type of finesse worthy of a galaxy of Michelin stars. The whole experience is a London-gastrono-must.

Go with your loved ones, go with your most trusted friends, go when you feel like treating yourself because you deserve it.

(4.5/5)

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester
53 Park Ln, Mayfair, London W1K
Ave spend pp is £150
Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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18 Comments

  1. 30th December 2016 / 2:28 am

    The bouquet of bread looks amazing, as does the rest of the meal (the color of THAT pigeon – OMG!). A truly epic meal that made me so hungry as I read about it. xoxo, nano

    • Honey de Gracia
      31st December 2016 / 8:54 am

      Twas truly epic, Nano – i hope you get to try when you visit Londontown! =)

  2. 30th December 2016 / 10:34 am

    Absolutely my favourite restaurant in London! The seafood is just perfection!

    • Honey de Gracia
      31st December 2016 / 8:53 am

      Only the best! =)

  3. 30th December 2016 / 1:30 pm

    That steak looks like utter perfection!

    When I did my Michelin star experiment, I must admit that this was my least favourite restaurant of the three we tried. It may just have been an off day though because so many other people just love it!

    • Honey de Gracia
      31st December 2016 / 8:52 am

      I remember that experiment, what fun! I did hear mixed reviews of this place, but we must have been lucky because everything was just superb, and the service was seriously good.

  4. 30th December 2016 / 3:56 pm

    Not based in London but I definitely want to come here next time I visit! Looks delish 🙂

    • Honey de Gracia
      31st December 2016 / 8:51 am

      I hope you do, Zoe! And I’m going to be looking at your posts on the best next thing for Leeds too 🙂

  5. 1st January 2017 / 4:17 pm

    I’ve been once here for dinner, which was for my sister’s bday a year ago and we loved every moment of the meal. I’ll confess we ate nearly all the gougeres and I only wish that pistachio soufflé had been on the menu when I went -it looks divine! Can totally see why it was your foodie highlight!

    • Honey de Gracia
      1st January 2017 / 4:28 pm

      Happy 2017, Shikha! Those gougeres are sooooo good, I’m still absolutely thinking about them! =)

  6. 2nd January 2017 / 7:31 am

    I love the photo of you with the gougeres – who says you can’t play with your food in a fancy restaurant XD. Also may have giggled at ‘game changer’, that pigeon looked divine. All the best for 2017 Honey xx

    • Honey de Gracia
      3rd January 2017 / 6:48 pm

      Ahaha, thanks Frankie! Happy to report no scoffing came by from the staff! All the best for you too, my dear!

  7. 10th January 2017 / 7:23 am

    OMG this is simply INSANE… cannot believe the desserts that just keep rolling on in, christ! All of the dishes look absolutely mouthwatering and I know I would love every moment of the experience. Dying to try the infamous gougeres and I quite simply want to faceplant into that beef rossini muahaha. Miss you, love AP xo

    Andrea’s Passions

    • Honey de Gracia
      10th January 2017 / 9:11 pm

      The gougeres were seriously moreish! And yes, the sweets just came in I almost felt embarrassed to decline! Miss you too! x

  8. 11th January 2017 / 11:57 pm

    Oh man I don’t even know where to begin with all the things I want to eat in this post 😉 Your langoustines! That pigeon! The rum baba (I love how they dolloped the cream on top – looks more satisfying than the one I had at Hélène Darroze, have to say!) Glad you had this pre-holiday treat, H – you deserve it <3 x

    • Honey de Gracia
      12th January 2017 / 10:06 pm

      Hahah thanks T! This one was actually May last year… I’m so beyond my posting! But yes, absolutely delicious!

  9. 26th February 2017 / 9:36 pm

    Honey that looks so epic! Want want want! I’ve had Alain Ducasse @ The Dorchester high on my list for so long but keep saving it for a special occasion. I’ll be sharing the link with my other half for not-so-subtle encouragement!

    Thanks for sharing

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