Courchevel 1850 is an absolute culinary hub and there is no restaurant more highly regarded than Le 1947, the only three Michelin star restaurant in the village. The location at super luxury hotel Cheval Blanc Courchevel, is perfectly fitting for a restaurant of this calibre and I’d definitely recommend stopping at the ground floor bar before heading downstairs for your meal.
Having popped my head into a few of the top hotels in Courchevel, I can definitely say Cheval Blanc, and our own home for the weekend, Aman Le Mélézin were my two favourites. Aman pipped the Cheval Blanc to the post though by virtue of being so intimate and welcoming!
As soon as we entered the restaurant we were offered a kitchen tour, I’ve had tours of Michelin starred kitchens before but this is the first time I was invited in before even trying the food (with the exception of my press trip to El Cellar De Can Roca). We were immediately introduced to Head Chef Gérard Barbin who gave us a personal tour of the small kitchen which directly opens into the dining room.
Chef Barbin has is protege of the legendary chef Yannick Alléno who opened Le 1947 in 2008 and received two Michelin stars in 2010. Barbin was appointed head chef in 2015 and it was in 2017 that Le 1947 gained the third star, the highest accolade for a restaurant. Not new for Yannick Alléno though who already has a three star restaurant under his belt, Alléno Paris au Pavillion Ledoyen as well as other distinguished restaurants around the world in Dubai, St Tropez, Taipai and the restaurant at the prestigious Royal Mansour in Marrakech.
To be awarded three Michelin stars, every element of a restaurant has to be perfection and we were immediately awed by the dining room. There are only five tables in order to optimise the experience and the space has been designed by Sybille de Margerie around a beautiful Corian sphere. The designer used different tones such as bronze, chocolate and white to create a chic and minimalist environment that also has a cosy alpine feel with blankets on the chairs and waitresses in beautiful white shift dresses with furry pockets. We ordered a glass of Ruinart to start – and talking of wine that’s where the restaurant name comes from. The hotel was named after famous the St Emilion vineyard and Le 1947 is the most prestigious vintage of Château Cheval Blanc. The wine list here is sensational as the restaurant has access to the very best.
Just a little word before I launch into the food descriptions, with a menu this complex it’s so hard to remember everything about it and taking notes would disrupt the flow of the meal, not to mention the ruin the romance! So apologies for lack of detail but I hope I can give an overall flavour of this incredible meal. We started with a series of amuse bouches and we were instructed to try the squash oil and seeds together before taking this canapés from the bark to try.
Next we watched as a waitress bought over a bowl of rice and fashioned nigiri sushi for us, topping it with eel, the perfect morsel to pop in your mouth accompanied by a little table side theatre.
Next we’re presented with a menu in the form of a scroll, beautifully done up with a ribbon. At most three Michelin star restaurants I’ve been to there’s a set menu but here there’s the option of choosing the menu highlights or going à la carte, we opted for the latter.
But before the meal began properly, we’re presented with a brioche style bun with truffle dressing which the waitress splits open and fills with more truffle.
As well as providing us with a more classic and very delicious country style bread. It all goes down very well with the bottle of Sancerre ordered by Mr S.
We opted for three starters to share starting with Lulu’s scrambled sea scallops with French toast topped with Osciètre Caviar. Scrambling the scallops was incredibly inventive and apparently ‘Lulu’ is a reference to the lady who inspired chef to do it. The scallops are creamy and in appearance and texture are quite reminiscent of risotto.
Mr S and I had seen this frangipane tart during our kitchen tour and we knew it was a must order. It’s made with ‘poivrade’ artichokes and a vin jaune reduction. The comté cheese was grated at the table.
Our final starter was billed as animal broth with toast of smoked pigeon tartare, preserved celeriac, lard and black truffle. We were told this stock takes days to prepare and of course, as with all the food at 1947, only the most exceptional ingredients are used.
Main courses are divided into hilly, mountain, subalpine and alpine. I opted for subalpine which was served in three parts: firstly clam ‘roudoudou with genever, cuttlefish flesh, coconut lard and saffron next wood fired lobster with lemon palm pine and seawood confiture sauce with wild herbs and finally crispy bread and cockles. Unfortunately my trio of dishes was the only slight disappointment of the evening as I found them to be overly salty.
Mr S opted for alpine which was also served in three parts, firstly he received the bone which encompassed bardot-style potatoes steamed with marrow and cumin condiment. And then for a touch of magic as we were invited back into the kitchen…
Crispy salad leaves from the mountain were prepared using liquid nitrogen and made into a crispy side dish for the beef main course.
The main event is the very finest wagyu beef cooked to perfection in the oven.
A cheese course comes as standard and there are no complaints here (apart from the fact I’m feeling very full) and the cheeses come from an award-winning producer in Grenoble.
We’re presented with a baked brioche with honeycomb butter which I believe has been on the table infusing the whole time but by now I’m slightly confused after so much food and drink! Anyway the brioche itself is light as feather and feeling too to eat too much of it, they prepare for us to take back.
Sadly after all the food, we had to say no to the twelve part dessert opting for a refreshing pineapple dish and nibbling on the petit fours instead.
Every detail is covered at Le 1947 and I’d highly recommend a visit for dedicated foodies in Courchevel 1850.