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Hughes Lepin, Alain Ducasse, Christian Laval, Philippe BeaucourtBest French Restaurants in London

 

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester logo

ALAIN DUCASSE AT THE DORCHESTER

Recommended reviews and articles about this restaurant:  Bloomberg  /  eGullet Forums  /  GAYOT  / 
Evening Standard  /  Andy Hayler  /  Jan Moir  /  The Observer (UK) /  Telegraph.co.uk

  MICHELIN GUIDE

GAULT MILLAU

GAYOT  
 

 

17/20  

Dinner
Tuesday to Saturday
6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

 

Lunch
Tuesday to Friday
12 noon to 2:00 p.m.

 

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The restaurant is closed Sunday and Monday.

 

 

 

 

Address:

  Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester
Park Lane, London
W1K 1QA, England

Jocelyn Herland

Angelo Ercolano

 

Phone:

  +44 (0) 207 629 8866

Fax:

  +44 (0) 207 629 8686

Email:

  alainducasse@thedorchester.com
 

Executive Chef:

  Jocelyn Herland
 
Chef Pâtissier:   Angelo Ercolano
 
Chef Sommelier:   Vincent Pastorello
 
Restaurant Director:   Nicolas Defremont
     
Chef Propriétaire:   Alain Ducasse
 

Official Site;

[website]

  

 

 

Ducasse Offers Understated Luxury at Dorchester

 

Review of Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester by Richard Vines

 

November 16, 2007

The Dorchester Hotel in LondonNov. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester does have a certain ring to it. When the world's most-feted Chef opens a restaurant in one of the world's best-known hotels in one of the hottest cities, it's not unreasonable to expect fireworks.

Ducasse does deliver, though in an understated Gallic way. The menu isn't filled with the experimental dishes you might get from a U.K. Chef seeking to make his mark. The design is generally restrained, with a couple of flamboyant elements, yet this venue is a classic of sorts in terms of food, service and ambience.

The executive Chef Jocelyn Herland, formerly sous Chef at Ducasse's three-star Plaza Athénée in Paris, delivers a menu of contemporary French dishes that are technically accomplished and make use of luxurious seasonal ingredients, some of them British. Ducasse says he wants this to be a specifically London restaurant, not just another outpost of his international fine-dining empire.

His confidence is such that he doesn't seek to seduce with fancy amuse gueules. Instead, he sends out fabulous bread that is cooked on the premises and a pretty plate of crudites with a light whipped-cream dip. That doesn't do it for me, but the bread is so good, I keep making the mistake of filling up on it.

The quality of the produce and the cooking is consistent, as you would expect and require from a restaurant that is firmly pitched at the level of three Michelin stars. There's a gorgeous creamy chestnut velouté with foie gras or the simplest of dishes, raw and cooked autumn vegetables with mushroom marmalade. There's also a rich pumpkin ravioli in a parmesan emulsion.

Crunchy Peppers

There are only eight main courses -- four fish and four meat -- but it's unlikely you'll find a shortage of dishes you want to try. Even something as simple as the peppered Angus beef fillet is perfect in its way, with beautifully soft meat and crunchy peppers. This is served with pepper sauce and a stack of pommes pont-neuf. That's chips, or French fries, to you and me.

Landes chicken comes with an excellent Albufera sauce, containing foie gras. But it's the quality of the produce and the clean flavors that work so well. Each dish smells as good as it looks, and the sauces in their little pots are the icing on the cake.

Options I have yet to try include seared Scottish scallops with white and green Swiss chard and a ponzu dressing; and baked sea bass and mixed shellfish in a light herb-butter sauce.

The desserts are also good, including Ducasse's signature rum baba -- from his Louis XV restaurant in Monaco -- that is generously soaked in your choice of rum. There's an intricate chocolate star with raspberry, decorated with edible silver foil. The chocolate-coffee dessert on the lunch menu, served in a martini glass, is aromatic and sensual.

Trays of Teas

Meals are a little unbalanced by a flurry of giveaways at the end. Just when you are starting to wind down, there are chocolates and macaroons and then a trolley of jars of candies. There is also a tray laden with plants for refreshing infusion teas, and the strong, dark espresso is as good as you will find.

The front of house is smooth under restaurant director Christian Laval -- though there were some delays in getting out the business lunch on Wednesday -- and the attention to detail in the design of the plates, the cutlery and the table decorations helps to make it a special dining experience.

The room -- designed by Patrick Jouin, who has worked with Ducasse in Paris, New York and Las Vegas -- is a play on British luxury as seen through the eyes of a French Chef. Through the eyes of a U.K. restaurant critic, it's more Parisian understatement with a dash of Vegas in the so-called Table Lumiere, which is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling strands of fiber-optic lighting.

The 600-bin wine list is 85 percent French and 100 percent expensive. I gasped at some of the prices. But there are cheaper options around 50 pounds ($102). If you are not running a hedge fund -- as several of the diners appeared to be -- or spending a bonus, the sommeliers are fine with a low-end budget.

If money is tight, stick to the set lunch, which is good value at 35 pounds for three courses. Dinner is 75 pounds for three courses and 95 pounds for four.

So, London now has a flagship Ducasse establishment, just as Paris is about to have a Gordon Ramsay. I suspect we are getting the better end of that exchange. London is short of top-end gastronomic restaurants, and there is plenty of room for Ducasse.

My reservation is that I am more excited by younger Chefs who are already in London, including Shane Osborn at Pied a Terre, Brett Graham at the Ledbury and Aiden Byrne -- who is cooking just a few meters away from Alain Ducasse -- at the Dorchester Grill.

Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, Park Lane, London, W1K 1QA. Tel. +44-20-7629-8866 or click on http://www.alainducasse-dorchester.com.

The Bloomberg Questions

Cost? Easy to pay 200 pounds a head for dinner.

Sound level? There's soft music playing.

Date place? Yes.

Special feature? Table Lumiere.

Inside tip? The window tables are good.

Private rooms? Yes.

Will I be back? Yes.

(Richard Vines is London food critic for Bloomberg News. opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer of this review: Richard Vines in London at rvines@bloomberg.net .

© 2007 Bloomberg L.P.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.  Visit www.Bloomberg.com

 

The Good Cuisine

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Grand Livre De Cuisine

L'Atelier of Alain Ducasse

The Provence Of Alain Ducasse

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