The Four Seasons George V takes luxury to the next level. We were staying in Le Meurice, which has a much more boutique feel and although it is still grand, it was like a Holiday Inn in comparison to this. The flower displays alone were enough to blow you away. We were greeted at the door and guided through to Le Cinq’s classy dining room. It had a much more relaxed and warm feel than Le Meurice, and with plenty more diners having lunch there was a much better atmosphere as well.
Immediately the champagne cart was wheeled over and we all started with an excellent light glass of rose. Then came the star of the show. Not the food. But the waiter. Julien he was called. He quite literally was the best waiter I have ever had. From the moment he came over and realised we were Geordies his chat started. Over the course of the meal we covered football, films, traveling and of course the food. It was the perfect blend of unbelievable charm with flawless professionalism. He quite literally made the meal.
The Market menu was three courses for €110, which felt like a bargain after the previous two meals we’d had. There was a choice of two starters, mains and desserts, so if you didn’t like pigeon and liver you were pushed towards the fish choice of Whiting.
To start things off three little amuse bouches were all a little bit strange. The egg shell was filled with what tasted almost like a cappuccino cream. Then there was some fish with apple I can’t remmeber the details). And the final one was a little pastry filled with ricotta and a fish paste that tasted a little bit like sweat but in the best way possible.
Then came a choice of excellent breads came with a stunning Sicilian olive oil, and an even better seaweed butter from Brittany. I was happy with the new Lurpak slow churned butter, until I tried this.
A pumpkin and ginger soup followed, and it was a really refreshing way to prepare for the meal. The pumpkin seeds gave an added crunch, and served cold this really was a fitting dish for the warm Spring weather outside.
The Octopus and Prawn starter was a thing of beauty and tasted as good as it looked. The seaweed crisp and vegetables gave it a pleasing variation of textures, and the flavour of the octopus, which had charred flesh, was stunning. The side of a thin anchovy, buratta and jalapeno pizza slice was a delicious little treat. If only takeaways started doing a 12 inch version.
The Watercress soup (served cold) came with a Muscadet jelly and a side pastry with Mediterranean vegetables on top. It was a beautifully light starter, with such a clean and fresh flavour. The jelly brought a sweetness that really worked with the watercress.
For main I went for the Pigeon coated in sesame seeds and foie gras, with liver and spinach inside. It was kind of like a Pigeon Wellington, and was a good portion for a lunch menu. There was a lovely balance between the richness of the foie gras with the earthiness of the liver. The celery were coated in a cocoa crumb, which seemed a little bit random, but gave a nice hit of sweetness.
The Whiting was perfectly cooked and had an almost butter like taste and texture. This was just a flawless main course, and easily the best fish dish I have tasted.
A grapefruit sorbet with champagne and mascerpone was a lovely palate cleanser. The tang of the grapefruit was perfectly offset by the creaminess of the mascerpone. I would have been happy with this for dessert.
I went for the Green Apple combination which had a light candy floss on top and a lovely sorbet. But the further I went down the sweeter it became, and I couldn’t finish it all. The liquid at the bottom was a bit like a shot of Apple Sourz and tasted almost artificial in its sweetness.
My parents had the chocolate and cherry dessert with coconut ice cream. Hot chocolate sauce was poured over it to melt the dome of chocolate (a trick I’m a bit bored of) but this was much better than the Green Apple dessert and the plates were as good as licked clean by the end.
Then came the petit-fours, which were all delicious, although again quite sweet. There was lemon meringue pie, an orange cream one and the last was something like a cherry profiterole.
If that wasn’t enough, truffles, nougat and sweets followed with the coffee. The waiters then gave us a box of our choosing to take home. They also took a photo of us and gave us each a printed version before we left. It was these little touches that made it the best dining experience of my life.
The food was excellent, and definitely worthy of 2 Michelin stars. It felt much more deserving of a third star than Le Meurice. The dessert was the only course I wasn’t blown away by, and it was hard to find a fault with any of the other dishes. What made the meal though was the service. They made it a pleasure to be dining there, and also had great patter which made it into a surprisingly laid back and fun lunch. Something you don’t tend to associate with fine dining.
It cost just over €260 a head, but that included two excellent bottles of a vintage 2008 Chablis (€130) and a bottle of rose champagne. This is of course a lot for lunch, but it still managed to feel like great value (for Paris that is) as the lunch market menu at €110, gives you all of the extras, making it more of a 6 course meal. I promised the waiter that I’d return next year, and given just how good this meal was, I definitely intend to.
31 Avenue George V, 75008 Paris, France