Bread was served after the orders were taken. Sadly, the pain au levain was cold. Luckily they served bread with butter which made the bread instantly better. I learnt later, from Umami, that it was not common for restaurants to serve butter with bread all the time.
Our lunch started with the amuse-bouche. A shot glass filled with layers of chestnut puree, foie gras puree and parmesan foam. My dining companion sure took delight in my share.
Moving onto the first course, the eggplant caviar with poached egg and citrus turned out to be an excellent choice for this pescetarian. It was akin to a glorified ratatouille, refined yet still as familiar, still as comforting and hearty. The molten yolk would have added an additional level of richness and my bread became the perfect vehicle for the dish to ride on.
Moving on, I had a panfried "plank" fillet of sea bream with braised endives in an orange sauce. The fish was fresh and perfectly cooked but I found the orange sauce slightly too tart for my liking.
A waitress came by to offer a helpiing of their famous mash potato. It was buttery and a texture so fine that it just melted away as soon as it entered the mouth. Wow, effortless eating.
The cheese turned out pretty good too. Unlike DSD, I am not a fan of most brie as I much prefer harder and stronger smelling cheeses like blue or goat's cheese. Fortunately, the brie de meaux affine (aged brie) was not bad, being slightly more robust than average. It went well with the fruit and nut bread. But that couple of really thin slivers ran out too fast. I thought maybe some additional accompaniments like dried fruit and nuts would be wonderful.
Last course was dessert. It was a tough choice choosing between a spiced peach sorbet or an apple crumble. Both did not appeal to me one bit but in the end, I went with the more exotic-sounding former. Not expecting much, I only found the pretty pink color attractive. Taste-wise, it was just okay and I did not mind the cumin spice flavour that some at the table found repulsive.
With our coffee, we were served some really delicious dark chocolate filled with a saltish caramel. I had a second helping and should say something since I am not really a huge fan of chocolate to begin with.
Oh I should mention, we had a really crisp, fruity white wine, a Chardonnay if I recalled correctly, throughout our lunch. It paired pretty well with most of our food. But if you are ever there in a big group, make sure you ask for your rightful share of wine. We had to remind the waiter to refill our empty glasses.
Otherwise, it was another delicious lunch, made excellent with good company.
La Table de Joël Robuchon
16 Ave Bugeaud, 16th Arr.
Metro: 8 line to Victor Hugo