[Paris, France] Au Petit Sud Ouest – Le Foie Gras & Duck Confit Specialist

26 10 2013

Thanks to JY’s recommendation, we chanced upon Au Petit Sud Ouest (google translated to mean “the small southwest”) in what turned out to be my most enjoyable meal in Paris. The restaurant specializes in everything duck, including an extensive foie gras selection cooked in 4 different ways (fresh, semi-cooked, bloc, pan-fried).

They take their foie gras seriously here and I say this because of the efforts to differentiate their goose liver dishes from duck liver dishes on the menu. Personally, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference but I guess it definitely makes a difference to the foie gras connoisseur.

The restaurant interior exudes a rustic countryside charm and the dishes seem to reiterate this point. The plating is done simply with an emphasis on taste and texture.

We started by sharing a pan fried foie gras with caramelized apples (23.50 Euros) and a pan fried foie gras in truffle sauce (23.50 Euros). There was no clear winner between the two and I guess it really depends on the individual’s preference of sweet vs savoury. I felt that the tangy acidity of the apples provided good contrast and balance, cutting away at the cloying nature of the liver, whereas the savoury truffle sauce had the opposite intended effect of accentuating the fattiness of the liver further. Either way, they were both remarkable and left me speechless. I swear a tear was welling up in my eye. Damn ninjas cutting onions.

Most customers seem to opt for the duck confit as their main course, although other mains on the menu include a grilled duck breast and several duck stew variants. I had been going on a duck confit rampage so this was my 3rd or 4th confit in the span of 2-3 days. Glad to say that this one put the rest to shame and was easily the best duck confit I have had, though the ones at Ember and Skyve in Singapore do put up close fights.

The Duck Confit comes with either Thinly Fried Potatoes (15 Euros) or Wild Porcini Mushrooms (25.50 Euros) or both (22 Euros). Given that the duck was the highlight, I couldn’t comprehend why the mushrooms were so damn expensive. That said, there was nothing I could nit pick about the velvety porcini mushrooms (also known as Ceps in France or Penny Bun in UK) or the crisp potatoes. They were just too perfect. This dish was just too perfect.

The other mains sadly, were not as remarkable.

The Grilled Duck Breast with Fried Thin Potatoes (18 Euros) and the Duck Stew with Red Wine Sauce (15 Euros) had an unexpectedly tough rubbery texture.

As for desserts, we all adored the Creme Brulee (6.40 Euros) but I found the Thin Apple Chips Tart Perfumed with Armagnac (6.50 Euros) to possess a slightly heavy taste of flour.

Nothing I say here would do justice to such an exceptional meal. No doubt, a visit here will surely level up one’s palate for foie gras and duck confit.

PS: The Eiffel tower is just a stone’s throw from the restaurant and it makes for a lovely post-dinner stroll.

Au Petit Sud Ouest

46 Avenue de la Bourdonnais, Paris

Tel: +33 145555959

Advertisements




[Paris, France] L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Etoile – A Slight Disappointment

16 10 2013

If you are on the streets using googlemaps, the entrance to Joel Robuchon Etoile couldn’t be harder to find. We were looking out for some indications of a posh looking restaurant but there was nothing that even vaguely hinted to where the restaurant was. We finally discovered it was inside a bookstore, very much like how there used to be a cafe inside the now-defunct Borders bookstore at Wheelock place. Truly an unexpected location for a restaurant holding two Michelin Stars.

Lounge area

Set lunches are priced fairly at 42 Euros / 62 Euros / 82 Euros for 3, 4 and 5 courses (exclusive of the amuse bouche course) respectively.

The kitchen operates on an open concept to allow patrons to better appreciate the efforts taken to prepare their food. It also allows for easier interaction with the friendly servers.

One of the few noteworthy dishes of the meal was our amuse bouche, a 3 layered shot of warm foie gras mousse topped with port wine sauce and parmesan foam. Definitely a winning combination with a well thought out layering sequence for a perfect transition of flavours. As the spoon entered my mouth, I first detected the rich fatty liver mousse, subsequently complemented by sweet port sauce, with the journey ending off with a savoury airy foam. One of the most blissful few seconds in recent years.

The Mackerel appetizer was one of our server’s recommendations and that’s what I got. My friends took quite a liking to it but personally, I was severely disappointed. While the flesh was rather tender, the skin lacked an adequate sear and turned out soggy. The belly portion wasn’t as fatty as I would have liked either and the fish was rather cold by the time I dug in (which could also be the reason why the skin was soggy). I guess the plus points for the dish was the delicious mustard sauce and visual vibrancy.

M got himself the Maine Lobster with Sugar Lettuce (11 Euros supplement). I preferred this to the fish but again, it didn’t stand out much.

I also had a side order of the Foie Gras with French Sourdough (29 Euros). I found the texture of the foie gras pretty smooth compared to the ones I have at more casual diners during my trip but I didn’t fancy the accompanying compote.

For main, I had the Chicken with Tuna Sauce. The chicken breast was sliced thinly and awfully tender. The tuna sauce was unexpectedly smooth as well. While the execution was flawless, it did seem a little simplistic for such a reputable French restaurant.

M had the Iberico Pork (11 Euros supplement) which was extremely tough. He feedbacked that the sauce was marvelous though.

Another well-executed but simplistic dish was the Deep-Fried Whiting Fish. It was the best “Fish without the Chips” that I have had with outstanding freshness of the fish and extraordinarily light batter.

All mains were served with a heavenly velvety mash.

Desserts as a whole was very meh, especially the Mango Mousse and Yoghurt with Papaya Coulis.

I made the correct choice picking the Coffee dessert, comprising of a Coffee Jelly base, Cocoa Crumble, Chantilly Coffee and Coffee Ice Cream. What I liked most was the playful integration of textures.

Mango Mousse

Yoghurt with Papaya Coulis

Frankly, I’m on the fence about this one. The food is by no means terrible but my elevated expectations were not met during this luncheon. In my humble opinion, for the same price paid, there are better alternatives in Paris. On the other hand, raising the pot and opting for their degustation menu might produce significantly better results.

PS: There is a small booth near the restaurant entrance selling Pierre Herme macarons which perhaps warrants dropping by if your desserts don’t turn out as well as planned. The Arc de Triomphe is a 3 minutes walk from the restaurant, so plan your itinerary accordingly if you are a visiting tourist.

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Etoile

133 Avenue des Champs-Elysees

Tel: +33 0147237575







%d bloggers like this: