Collection Culinaire: Tasting November
As I may have mentioned once or twice, the Hotel Concorde celebrated its seventh birthday last week. In honour of this special anniversary, Head Chef at the Brasserie Le Faubourg Steffen Sinzinger and team have put together an extra special Collection Culinaire for November: a selection of the best dishes from 2012′s Collection Culinaire menus, based on the feedback from guests. It certainly can’t have been easy picking favourites, but the result, which I was lucky enough to sample this week, really is exceptional. Though the special anniversary Collection Culinaire will be available throughout November, you only have until November 7th to take advantage of the special birthday offer: seven courses for the price of the usual five-course tasting menu. Click here to reserve a table sharpish!
We approach the Brasserie Le Faubourg through the lobby – it’s David’s first time inside the Concorde, and I’m showing off. The lobby, an elegant and welcoming space frequented by guests, professionals and locals alike, is in its element tonight; it’s Saturday night, the cocktails are flowing and the atmosphere is lively and relaxed.”It’s by Dietrich Klinge,” I say, as David asks about the roughly carved wooden sculpture in the centre of the room, “It’s great isn’t it – abstract, yet somehow incredibly human. Look, that one’s by him too,” I say, as we reach the bust at the entrance to the Brasserie.
The smiling waitress takes our coats and we are shown to our seats at the last free table in the house. Our champagne arrives, and minutes later, before we have finished reading about the seven courses which await us, the amuse-bouche, or Grüße aus der Küche (“Greetings from the kitchen”) as they say in Germany, have arrived: veal jelly with red cabbage and apple.
The waitress brings over the wine for the first course, a 2010 gérard bertrand chardonnay. The fresh taste is a perfect match for the raw marinated tuna with cream of veal, lobster gelee and rocket salad, which comes in little dollops, beautifully arranged on the plate. The cracked black rice and delicate croutons sprinkled over the top give the whole dish texture, not to mention a satisfying crunch!
The next course arrives: a perfect little pork knuckle, pea, potato and roasted onion parcel. I watch as the sauerkraut foam is poured elegantly over the dish, the smell alone is enough to drive my tastebuds wild. The wine, a 2011 villa huesgen riesling, is my favourite wine of the night – a fine bouquet, with subtle, fruity notes.
“This place really reminds me of the Savoy,” David says, “it was one of my favourite restaurants in London. The food is excellent, really excellent, but sometimes with great cuisine, the atmosphere is so rarefied you can barely enjoy it. This place still manages to be friendly and relaxed.”
The next course, a sole sandwich with scallop, fennel vegetables and saffron foam and a 2011 domaine les rocailles altesse is one of the two “birthday courses” which is only part of the collection until November 7th, so if you’re reading after this date, then skip this bit to avoid acute food envy! The baked tomatoes and cress garnish really brought out the flavours of the fish and seafood.