I have not read any other reviews of Taillevent on Tripadvisor before dining there or writing this so I have no idea how this sits alongside other views and our experience of this level of dining in Paris is admittedly limited to two other Michelin 2 star restaurants.
The Discovery degustation menu for two plus a modest amount of basic wine cost 480 euros. Not cheap dining. the atmosphere was smooth, professional, almost clinical and in no way at all warm...very formal indeed. Quite theatrical in fact.
The meal started with the offer of an aperitif , we asked for champagne and accepted the offer of the house champagne....accompanied by the cheese puffs all was fine. Sitting side by side, backs to the wall and feeling just a little strange at the seating arrangement..?
We are not big drinkers but Burgundy lovers and unfortunately I badly mishandled the wine situation ...after asking the sommelier to provide just several glasses of good burgundy with our meal she was unable to understand what I was asking for and suggested we have the wines she recommended (house label to the end) ..starting with their Pouilly Fume. To my regret I agreed, only to have our glasses refilled several times with their pouilly fume (once through what i believe were our obvious wishes to the contrary.) When they tried to serve a sweet wine which I didn't want with about the fourth course I physically put my hands over our glasses to prevent pouring....and asked quite firmly for some burgundy... Got the house label again...not bad wine. Was never at any stage offered a wine list. Yes... I should have asked for it of course but I was feeling so much on the back foot that I just went with it. The party of French businessmen at the next table sent their Pouilly Fume back and had some very firm words I didn't understand which produced the wine list and shortly thereafter some red wine of their choice.
On to the food.... What do you get for 190 euros a seat..? As closely as I can recall with apologies if I have omitted anything....and by the way the food service was perfect and the waiter who mainly served us was very nice.
A small compote of crab meat with small delicate medallions of cucumber on top..citron marmalade..nice taste, nicely put together but in no way remarkable
One small Langoustine wrapped in a layer of wafer thin potato browned all around...very nice...second best dish..can't imagine how it was assembled but really not exceptional or exotic in content at all....can't work out how they did it though.
A spelt wheat risotto with tiny wild mushrooms followed..seriously good, this is what you hoped for , a real taste sensation...best dish.
Grilled fillet of red snapper...well that's what it was..completely unexceptional...a smaller piece of grilled white fish.
Lightly braised duck livers..very tasty with a lovely apple and raisin sauce but very veined. Can you de-vein foie gras ..? Or is that not possible. My wife did it on the fly and left all the veins on the plate ..I just ate them with the burgundy I had finally managed to get.
And that was it....5 dishes..! But for a light and fluffy egg white and fig thing...nice...and a small delicious chocolate cake, petite fours and coffee.
I was unhappy that I had allowed myself to be so managed on the wine front, but happy enough with the food although there was no meat dish at all, and only one of the dishes was exceptional. I certainly would not consider a second visit.
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