Category Archives: Michelin meal

A symphony of (Michelin) stars

Yo-Yo Ma is playing Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major (Prélude). I walk into a room that radiates style and substance. It was only when I sat down did I realise that there was no music in the background. The goose bumps on my arms – the room did that all by itself. I am at Daniel, one of New York’s most revered restaurants and my first ever three star Michelin adventure.

An ordinary danger of a “party for one” (as they say in the US) is that ‘the one’ is more often than not settled into a corner. Not tonight. I spent the most electric evening in the company of great food, excellent service, and had the best seat in the house.

I am in New York; the city that demands single women order a Cosmopolitan. But the latest Sex And The City movie has left me disgusted and I could not bring myself to pay tribute to the TV series. The White Cosmopolitan (Vodka, Elderflower Liquor, Lime Juice, White Cranberries) at $19 is a delicious compromise. Its served in a martini glass with a giant ice cube decorated with frozen orchids. The show has definitely begun.

I opted for the 3-course Prix Fixe menu ($105). The sommelier helped me choose two reds that would be perfect with the scallops and beef I ordered. I started with the Louis Jadot Beaune, 1er Cru, 1999 ($25) and went on to the Californian Ridge Santa Cruz Mountain Estate ($25). Both wines were completely luscious.

I am not sure if it was cleavage or charisma but something worked and what followed (instead of standard 3 courses) was a symphony of “with compliments of the chef”. I am no food critic and I would much rather eat the meal than describe the ingredients but I have to make an exception this time. Here is what I was served:

–          Amuse Bouche 1: A trio of beet including roasted yellow beet and beet cured octopus

–          Amuse Bouche 2: Clams with horseradish and pineapple

–          Amuse Bouche 3: Crab salad with Persian cucumbers and sesame coulis

–          First Course: Hazelnut crusted scallops with morels, Swiss chard & pink peppercorns

–          Amuse Bouche 4:  Sesame crusted cod with asparagus tempura

–          Second Course: Duo of Beef: Black Angus Short Ribs and Wagyu Tenderloin

–          Third Course: A selection of 5 cheeses included my favourite  Époisses de Bourgogne

–          Surprise Dessert 1: a strawberry soup with strawberry sorbet and strawberries

–          Surprise Dessert 2: freshly baked madeleines

–          Surprise Dessert 3: a selection of 6 gorgeous petit fours including a pistachio macaron

And as a bonus, my request to meet the chef was rewarded with a tour of the kitchen. Oh the joy!!! Even though patron Chef Daniel Boulud was in the house, the five minutes I spent with Executive Chef Jean Francois Bruel were far more inspiring than the several minutes Chef Daniel spent at all the important tables.

For several reasons, starting with holiday remorse, I had to force myself to go out this evening. There is much to be said about working from the inside out. Tonight, I had to work from the outside in and discovered that it works just as well. So go on, be your best sexy and watch the world smile for you.


Daniel on Urbanspoon


Filed under French, Michelin meal, New York, Restaurant, Tasting menu

Ever afters

It has been one step forward three steps back – both emotionally and gastronomically. My last blog post didn’t go down too well with some well-wishers. I understand – nobody likes hearing a ‘no’, especially when they think they are helping. So I got a bit of a lashing and words like ‘ungrateful’ and ‘patronising’ didn’t act as the Band-Aid they were probably intended as. I had no hopes of an emotional fix this week but my food soul was craving for some loving. This I could do.

I took the day off from work, dressed in my best Veronica avatar, and made my way to brand new Bar Boulud – Michelin star chef Daniel Boulud’s first London restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. Best decision of the year.

Bar Boulud is a sexy restaurant. The manager led me to their charcuterie bar designed along an open kitchen. I backed the restaurant and faced a team of 10 very good looking chefs. Absolutely perfect for this single diner who needed a day of nobody else.

I think I had London’s most charming waiter at my service who helped me choose my meal today: I started with the Dégustation de Charcuterie (£14) featuring their signature Pâté Grand Mère of chicken, pork and cognac, and a glass of Hochterrassen Grüner 2008 (£6.50); next was their Piggie Burger (£13.50) with a yummy Achaval Ferrer Malbec 2008 (£10.50); and to end a Gâteau Basque (£6). You know you’ve done Veronica proud if the chef comes over to talk to you. The Executive Chef Dean Yasharian came over and talked to me. It was a perfect meal – the Universe was conspiring to distract me from the most awful week. I try and try and try some more, but don’t know how in the world to stop thinking about the Ex. I also reflected on a question my friend Elie asked me last week. He wanted to know if it was the Ex I missed or the being in a relationship? Hmm….

I don’t ever remember my parents saying, “Let us help you prepare for a life on your own”, or a fairy tale that  didn’t end in “… and they lived happily ever after.”, or a single day when it was better to come home to an empty flat rather than to a hug from someone who truly cared about me. Intellectually I know that there isn’t always someone for everyone, that a lot of people very successfully find their own happy version of an ever after. But that has never been enough for me. How do I now convince myself that it is okay not to want someone who will want to share my life, and allow me to share his?

Today as I reluctantly start talking myself into finding my own happily ever after, you will forgive me for being confused about what I miss.


Bar Boulud on Urbanspoon


Filed under Bar, Bar food, Burger, London, Michelin meal, Open kitchen