Our time at Mandarin Oriental, Paris was a feast for the senses, gorging on art work, devouring the interior of the beautiful hotel and indulging in tactile massages…and now it was time to tantalise our taste buds with dinner at the hotel’s two Michelin-starred restaurant, Sur Mesure par Theirry Marx.
Thierry Marx is Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Director across the hotel’s two main restaurants as well as Bar 8, room service, the Cake Shop and private catering but Sur Mesure is the jewel in his crown.
Before our culinary feast we were led down to the wine cellar by David Biraud, chief sommelier and restaurant manager, who is about to compete in the final of the Best Sommelier in the World competition!
David showed us a very special bottle of vintage 1832 Madeira wine that he keeps in the cellar. The date of the wine reflects the founding of the Jardine Matheson Group which the Mandarin Oriental is part of.
We weren’t drinking that but we had something nearly as good, another glass of the Louis Roederer house champagne to enjoy with a selection of canapés.
David told us that the champagne was chosen to be their signature choice after rigorous blind taste-testing to ensure the very best fit for the hotel. And the fresh flavours were perfect with the light croque monsieur and the tomato bite that exploded with goat’s cheese.
After our aperitif it was back up to the main restaurant space which was a like a cocoon of white with little private dining spaces and intimate nooks. I loved the draping and the ultra modern pure white space, but there was also a good reason behind the design. Design duo Jounin and Manku created a blank canvas for the restaurant so that all the senses are focussed on the food rather than being distracted by over-the-top decor around them.
With David being one of the best sommelier’s in the world we didn’t hesitate to let him choose all the wine to pair with our six course meal so we could just relax and enjoy all the flavour sensations.
Before the meal began we whet our appetite with a selection of bread stick crackers in a parmesan soil…
And chose from an excellent selection of bread. Now, we definitely ate more bread than I’d care to admit but it was totally heavenly! I loved the simply crusty country loaf but my favourite was the rice bread roll which was so light and soft.
Theirry Marx is one of France’s most celebrated chefs, training with world-renowned chefs at top restaurants such as Ledoyen, Taillevent and Robuchon. Through his career he has gained numerous accolades, several Michelin stars and in 2006 he was elected Chef of the Year by GaultMillau Guide and Le Chef magazine. The incredible chef has become known for his innovative techniques and experimentation with textures and flavours.
His skill in molecular gastronomy was immediately evident in the selection of canapés.
And then the tasting menu began… ok so you can’t quite tell what this is but the foam was crushed celery and Granny Smith apple, covering a simply fried piece of scampi. A delicious combination with the salt of the fish contrasting beautifully with the sweet dressing.
The next course was onion soup described as ‘trompe-lœil style’ a type of artwork and French for deceive the eye. The names hints at Thierry Marx’s cuisine, firstly that it is beautiful like a work of art and secondly that there may be more to his food than meets the eye. This was not your classic bowl of thick onion soup with a hearty, cheesy crust. Instead we were presented with a very delicate dish that simply allowed the flavour of the onion to sing.
Next we had a choice of dishes either meaty or vegetarian,
My choice was the vegetable option of green asparagus surrounded in mineral water served with a rather unusual hemp brioche with a garlic flower and matcha tea viniagrette. The dish was a great example of how Thierry Marx presents primarily French cuisine but draws inspiration from his travels to Australia, Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan. My fellow blogger, Laura chose the option of foie gras and smoked eel and you can take a look at her gorgeous dish in her review.
My fish course looked like a piece of abstract art and I loved the colours of the gorgeous white and gold plate designed by Agence Jouin-Manku exclusively for Mandarin Oriental, Paris. The dish itself was a beautifully cooked sea bass and delicious crisp cauliflower with the tasty flavour of miso. The last ingredient was Kabuto jus, I forgot to ask just what this was and all Google seems to be telling me is a Samurai helmet or a Pokémon character…so make of that what you will!
I’ll rarely choose a chicken option but after a fair amount of food I didn’t want beef as my meat course and the sweetbreads spaghetti didn’t appeal to me, though Laura loved it. But I was glad I went for the poultry option as the meat was tender and perfectly enhanced by the shallots jus.
And finally a bento box of goodies, I can’t possibly remember what everything was, by now I was in a food coma! But I do remember the brownie being excellent, in fact all the pastries were totally sublime.
But I’m the girl who always wants one more cocktail and I managed to convince Laura and one of the other girls to come into the garden for ‘one’. Fortunately heaters and blankets meant we weren’t too open to the elements of the cool March Parisian weather. Aren’t these cocktails awesome? Especially Laura’s popcorn drink, a heady blend of vodka, passion juice, strawberry juice and cotton candy. My glass wasn’t quite so fun but my Honey Love made with Calvados, honey, lemon juice, plum bitter and champagne was totally delicious.
Our second day saw us trying the hotel’s other restaurant, Camélia which was named after the flowers blooming in the landscaped garden. We enjoyed our breakfast in the light and bright space with options of a gorgeous buffet or food made to order.
Our lunch was also at Camélia, where we tried Thierry Marx’s simple, contemporary dishes.
I loved the succulent crab rolled up in to cannelloni and flavoured with fennel and ginger, the dish was light with aromatic flavours.
Whilst Laura really enjoyed her choice of crispy quail with Beluga lentils, however a warning if you choose this dish it does turn your mouth black!
There was no way that I wasn’t having the fish option which contained some of my favourite ingredients, sea bream with artichoke à la Barigoule. As you can imagine I was in artichoke heaven!
Laura was also very happy with her farmer’s chicken with crispy potatoes.
As I was flying to Florence the next day I caught an earlier Eurostar back to London so I didn’t have time for dessert but I got a quick snap of the other ladies’ which were highly aesthetically pleasing.
La Tarte Citron with creamy lemon, hazelnut paste and a sweet crust…
Though my choice would have been the hotel’s signature dessert Le Saint-Honoré, puff pastry, feuilletage, pastry cream with vanilla and sweet caramel. I didn’t actually try it but just typing that sentence is making me want it – I think the words ‘vanilla’ and ‘caramel’ have that effect on me…
I think I better stop there cos just reading this post has probably induced a food coma in you but needless to say I left well and truly delighted with the food at Mandarin Oriental, Paris and quite in love with Thierry Marx’s cuisine. My next post will be slightly less calorific as I plan on telling you about our experiences with art and design in the French capital.
Do you have any favourite restaurants in Paris?
I was a guest of Mandarin Oriental, Paris on this trip. Our transportation was provided by Eurostar.
The Eurostar operates 21 daily services from London St Pancras International to Paris Gare du Nord with fares starting from £29 and journey times of 2 hours and 15 minutes. Tickets are available from www.eurostar.com or 03432 186 186.
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Mandarin Oriental, Paris
Rue Saint Honoré
75001 Paris, France