Friday, December 25, 2009

Le Jardin des Sens (Montpellier - France)

For Christmas Eve lunch; we decided to splurge and celebrate by having lunch at Le Jardin des Sens in Montpellier. Le Jardin des Sens is the only two Michelined stared restaurant in Montpellier and it is considered the best restaurant in town. The Pourcel twins & Olivier Chateau have made this restaurant an institution for food and wine lovers.

The dinning room is stunning with its theatre like architecture (tables are situated at different levels). The decor is elegant chic and the atmosphere is subdued sophistication. There are no walls in the restaurant, just enormous windows that give you an amazing view of the bamboo garden and Christmas decorations. It is a very festive view.

For amuse bouche; tasting cups of avocado puree topped with cream. A creamy and dense avocado puree, the cream added an extra dash of freshness and sweetness. A lovely tasting amuse bouche.

The second amuse bouche was deep fried cod fish balls. Deep fried to a rich golden brown. Crispy on the outside but soft and tender on the inside. The cod fish was slighty salty and the creamy sauce added extra flavour.

The third amuse bouche was a plate of mini mille feuilles and mini olive bread. Both were flaky, lightly crispy and tasty.

The starter was pea soup with fois gras. The pea soup was light as a feather yet so tasty. The big surprise was the fois gras at the bottom; which added richness and texture. An amazing soup.

We all took the special lunch menu which gave you a choice for entree and main course. The first choice for entree was prawns and mushroom ravioli in a broth. The prawns were cooked perfectly, the raviolis had very thin skin and the filling was full of flavour. The broth harmonised the dish with its creaminess.

The second choice for the entree was a selection of Languedoc specialties. The specialties included tempura with a pumkin puree, roasted scallp with oranged endive and seasonal vegetables wrapped in a rice ravioli. This dish met all the tastes and textures needed to make this a very nice experience. Very creative yet classical in a way because it uses all local ingredients.

The first choice for the main course was veal. The veal was tender & juicy. The accompanying sides were hearty, rich and flavourful. A well presented and put together dish.

The second choice for the main choice was rouget. The fish was tender and flaky. The bone marrow added a soft beefy flavour. The only thing not needed on this dish was the fried seaweed with olives. The seaweed had no taste and had an oily & soggy texture. It added nothing to the dish.

The red wine that accompanied our lunch was a Saint-Joseph, Cuvee du Papy, Montez 2006. We all agreed that the Saint-Joseph was very good. Also a very good bargain. The wine went very well with all the main courses.

The fashion with fine dinning is to have pre-dessert before the main dessert. Though I am a chocoholic, pastryholic & ice-creamholic; I think the dessert thing is getting out of hand. By the time we finished the lunch; everyone was on a sugar rush. The proportion of desserts to the proportion of the lunch itself is off-balanced.

For pre-dessert, a tray of home made chocolates, candied fruits and mini maccarrons.

The second pre-dessert was mango & passion fruit cooler.

A selection of pre-dessert specialties; ice cream on a stick, wafer cones filled with passion fruit confiture, white chocolate sticks and mini walnut tarts.

More of the pre-desserts; oranged chocolates, mini beignets & mini madeleines with a rasberry sauce to dip them in.

And finally, the main dessert was exotic fruit crumble topped with vanilla ice-cream. A very nice combination of acidity, sweetness & sourness with the soft & creamy texture of the ice cream and the crunchy texture of the crumble.

The lunch only lasted three hours. The lunch was lovely; a beautiful setting, good friends, good food & wine and Christmas Eve. A truly nice memory.

11 Avenue Saint-Lazare
34000 Montpellier, France
04 99 58 38 38

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