This week's episode in gastronomic excess was lunch with the French ladies at Le Grand Vefour, a restaurant that's been operating in the Palais Royal since the 18th century. (Okay so it was closed during the first part of the 20th century but there's no reason to get technical.) Guy Martin is the chef and while it was a huge scandal when the restaurant went down from 3 Michelin stars to 2, it's certainly not lacking in character and showmanship. And for my money, the main dining room is among the prettiest you will find in Paris.
The place was quietly buzzing with a crew of black and white attired waiters and sommeliers, and every time you turn your head, someone's there offering you something more to eat. The cheese tray was half the size of my dining room table, and the dessert I ordered as part of the luncheon menu morphed into three with the addition of the mignardises (little bites that normally accompany your coffee) and a special cake from M. Martin's native Savoie. And if it wasn't the most transcendent meal I've had, it certainly was attractive, each course being its own mini work of art.
|My dessert was a concoction of strawberries and rhubarb (and vanilla ice cream) inside a hard candy tube and topped with cotton candy.|