The left side of the restaurant is occupied by semi-private tables that can be made more secluded by drawing curtains around them, as well as cabinets filled with a collection of one-of-a-kind dishes each designed by a different luminary (artists, actors, musicians, etc.) to provide a talking point for diner conversation. Lending the room a more festive feel, the ceiling is a colorful mural titled “Un Jardin a la Française” by French artist Stéphane Calais.
La Cuisine is also where the lavish breakfast buffet is laid out daily in the open kitchen where, during lunch and dinner, diners can watch their dishes being prepared from scratch against a background of a backlit wall of decorative wine bottles. The menu here changes seasonally, so while we were there, it was still filled with spring dishes and ingredients such as English peas and asparagus, though the changeover to a summer menu featuring more fruits and lighter fare should occur within the next few weeks.
Just to give you an idea, though, we enjoyed a starter of Brittany crab with minced carrot, beets and turnip over a bed of avocado puree and crab mousse along with a glass of Pouilly Fuissé made from 75-year-old chardonnay vines by up-and-coming winemaker Denis Jeandeau. For a main, we selected the John Dory with potato scales, spring asparagus, baby artichoke, red pepper and olive along with a glass of Chateau Simone Clairette made from grapes grown on the slopes of Mont Ste. Victoire in Provence. After choosing a few (all right, five!) fromages from the over-dozen-strong collection rolled out on the cheese cart, it was time for dessert. Though diners can choose from a la carte options, what drew our eye was the section of make-your-own millefeuilles...especially when we learned we could actually step behind the pastry counter with the chef to put the dessert together ourselves.
As you’ll see in the video, diners can select from three different flavors of millefeuille pastry, four different custards and a variety of fruit and sweet toppings as they get an impromptu, step-by-step tutorial on how to assemble this classic French sweet. Top Chef Desserts has nothing on this! Have a look at our handiwork in the video, and then you can check out the photo below if you want to see the messy aftermath.
Based on what we had, dinner for two including entrees, main dishes, desserts and a bottle of wine would run around 200 euros.
Full disclosure: Eric Rosen was a guest of the Royal Monceau for one night, but all opinions expressed are entirely his own.