The good thing about the Rockpool Group – is that our staff love to travel, and eat, and drink…then do it all again. It’s what we do! It’s why we work in the industry we work in and love it! We also love to share, and this one from the lovely Kate Grange from our Melbourne reservations team is an absolute peach.
Kate recently travelled to Paris to dine at ‘Le Jules Verne’ at the Eiffel Tower for a friends milestone birthday. Furthermore – it sounds like he copped the bill. Hearts bleeding everywhere….I know!
Take it away Kate…
Le Jules Verne, Sunday 21st July, 2013
My fabulous friend Erwin has for years been saying that for his 50th birthday he would take us out for dinner at Le Jules Verne, atop the Eiffel Tower in Paris, if we meet him there.
And so it came to pass that on a balmy Paris evening on Sunday 21st July, I was among the 16 lucky enough to join Erwin to celebrate this milestone birthday.
On arrival at the Eiffel Tower, you walk past the hordes vying to reach the summit and head to the exclusive elevator for the restaurant.
A quick security check (possibly to dissuade anyone from attempting a Grace Jones style free fall a la 1985s James Bond – ‘A View to a Kill’ – parts of which were actually filmed in the restaurant – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiYzkvsVnV8 )…you then ascend in the lift to the restaurant level. Talk about an amazing arrival! You are greeted by a bevy of wonderful staff who escort you to your table – ours happened to be overlooking Place de la Concorde, and are quickly presented with a glass of Alain Ducasse’s personal selection of Champagne.
Once the last of the party arrived (naughtily, this was me – who knew traffic would be THAT bad on the final night of the Tour de France?!) an Amuse Bouche of cucumber jelly with Langoustine and Crème Fraiche was served – a cooling and calming counter to the heat and craziness of Paris.
The first course is Poached Blue Lobster with marinated vegetables set upon a clear gazpacho like jelly – one of the prettiest dishes I have ever seen. Delicious.
The next course is spicy Artichokes in a Bariguole-style jus. Artichoke served several ways, including raw, poached, fried and as a foam. A dish somehow delicate and hearty at the same time. Both of these dishes were accompanied elegantly with a 2011 Domainy Faury Condrieu.
Up next was seared Turbot, baby leeks and Gold Caviar. This was a favourite dish for a lot of the guests on the night. The Turbot was pleasantly firm and robustly flavoured. The only minus for me for this dish (and indeed the entire evening) was that the caviar reacted with the solid silver of the cutlery (as verified by the metallurgist in the group!) leaving a metallic taste in the mouth. Talk about a first world problem! This dish was accompanied by a 2010 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Chenrovettes Chateau Gert-Boulanger.
And then came the pigeon…
Served with French style Fava Beans and green peas. Perfection! Midway through this course, waiters appeared with more jus, just in case we needed it, which we didn’t, but accepted nonetheless. The pigeon was juicy and oh so flavourful – a real highlight – and accompanied by a delicious 2009 Chateau Montruel Pomerol.
Now it was time for speeches and for the man of the hour, Erwin, to blow out the candles on his birthday cake – which was a delicate wild strawberry and pistachio Palet, also served individually to all guests. The strawberries in general in France are luscious, and these were the best of the best, at the peak of their season. In a word, sublime.
We then adjourned to the restaurant’s private viewing balcony for some fresh air and to soak up the magic of Paris from 120 metres above the ground. Paris is a palpably magical city. If you do ever get the opportunity, do try to visit it at least once in your lifetime. I promise you won’t regret it.
After the fresh air, it was time for ‘second dessert’ a Crispy chocolate fondant cake in the shape of a rivet from the Tower, with hazelnut praline ice-cream, finished with gold paint. Even though we were full, somehow we all managed to find room for this! The chocolate fondant was accompanied by 2002 Banyuls Grand Cru Domaine Vial Magneres.
To finish, petit fours, including (from memory) pineapple macarons, chocolate marshmallows, and coffee.
This was, without a doubt, one of the best meals of my life, shared with some of the best people in my life. Thankyou Erwin, I shall cherish these memories forever. Bon Anniversaire!