L’Arpège – Where vegetables have the power to hold a plate
Three-Michelin Star L’Arpege holds the title of the most expensive lunch we’ve ever had in our Europe trip. However, it is definitely the most delish one!
Chef Alain Passard shocked the world when he eradicated red meat from his Parisian restaurant’s menus in 2001. Although meat is still featured on the menu, his dedication to vegetables was something previously unseen. So don’t expect to eat foie gras here please!
Prior to my meal there, I was skeptical about the vegetables’ power to hold a plate. But Chef Passard has definitely changed my perception. The fiance treated me to this meal after the proposal). We had a ridiculous lunch with more than 10 dishes? I totally lost track but it was definitely a memorable lunch.
Only our table has this lovely pot of roses. I didn’t realise it until the boy told me so. Yuan lai is because he had asked the restaurant to get me a bouquet of roses with a certain budget. And the restaurant prepared a pot of roses instead of a bouquet! Quite amusing actually! And after the meal, I requested to take the roses back. Guess what, the waitress told me they have to return the pot to the florist, so they have to use a cloth to wrap the roses and put in a paper bag for me. Aiyo!
I won’t go into details of each and every dish we had, but some highlights were the perfect soft boiled egg with sherry & whipped egg white with chives. The yolk was runny and each spoonful was a combination of sweet from the sherry and savory from the egg & chives.
I also love the unique beet sushi which featured slightly sweet white rice draped with a thin slice of beet accompanied with garlic oil, shaved beetroot and grated horseradish. It was visually impressive and tasty.
Beginning with its own 100% natural and organic garden some 250 kilometers Southwest of Paris, the restaurant is known by some as the most expensive in Paris and by others as “fussy vegetarian food”. But to me, this is how food should be.
Arpege uses the natural flavours of vegetables to bring out the goodness of each dish. This is how simple their dishes are. Just like their plate of spinach with carrot moussline, they basically tossed it with some olive oil and onion compote and were good to go.
I really enjoyed the plate of raw green salad which featured ingredients picked less than 8 hours prior. They are mixed and plate together in perfect harmony. Not forgetting the vegetable raviolis, the broth was a bit too overwhleming for me, but I enjoy the textures I get from the diced vegetables in each ravioli.
FINALLY OUR MAINS ARE HERE! I have eaten for close to 2 hours and was already to the bream. We ordered a chicken and fish to share. The waitress will first present a whole pot of nicely grilled chicken before dividing it equally to the diners. And my fish was paired with cabbage and asparagus.
We had a range of sweet treats and a precious plate of delicate mille feuille.
Each of us were allowed to bring back the knife we used as a souvenir, a good way to remember my meal at L’Arpege. We were so worried that the police at the airport would question us for bringing a knife in our bags but thankfully all was smooth.
Here’s our photo with Chef Alain Passard. He was busy making his rounds at each table during the meal.
Dining at L’Arpege is like reading through a story book of Chef Alain Passard’s vision of serving his guests only the vegetables of his labor. Chef’s respect of nature is remarkable. Our lunch costs 140€ (about SGD232) per pax.
84 Rue de Varenne
Tel: +33 1 47 05 09 06
With this, I am done with Europe trip. Here’s a list of other Europe posts for your easy reading:
– Germany: Frankfurt & Cologne
– Holland: Keukenhof / Zaanse Schans / Volendam / Amsterdam
– Belgium: Bruges & Brussels
– The Proposal