Well, if you read the previous entry you'll have had a hint that we're staying somewhere rather nice for Easter, which also happens to be my husband, H.'s, birthday. This rather nice place has a one-star Michelin restaurant where I'd booked a table for Saturday night. The other nights, I thought, we'd eat at their smaller, Spanish-style restaurant. Well, it turns out that on all nights but Sunday the one-star Michelin is the only restaurant that's open. And the hotel is a way out of town so we haven't felt like getting a car in to find a less serious place. So by Monday, suffice it to say, we'll be very fat. Not the least because since it's the first time since we met that Easter doesn't coincide with Passover, so part of H's birthday present is a rather lovely Easter Egg from La Maison du Chocolat.
But oh, the food. So far we've resisted the tasting menu, we'll have that tonight. But even without the tasting menu they bring you at least 6 different dishes before you get to the starter. On the first night these included caremelised seaweed paper, a quail egg coated with a salty caremel coat, and little balls of maize powder flavoured with chilli. Last night they included tiny mandarin jellies, caramelised slices of grapefruit, praline covered in nuts which had been dipped in salt first so that the whole effect was savoury rather than sweet. The food comes from the El Bulli near Barcelona, the one that they laugh at you if you try and get a table any time for the next 12 months. The chef here studied there and is producing food originally created at the original restaurant. It's really delicious.
The best thing, though, about staying here, is the breakfasts. They use the same tasting type approach. So when you sit down you are offered tea, coffee or chocolate. Then a basket of baked goods - five different ones including this morning tiny croissants, local cream-cheese filled pastries, mini doughtnus, and muffin-type fruit cakes. To go with these then arrive a plate with six tiny containers - one butter flavoured with coffee, one butter flavoured with strawberry, one cream cheese flavoured with chives, one banana compote, one praline, and one pumpkin jam.
Oh, and I've forgotten that by now you've also received four shot glasses, each with a different juice. This morning they were carrot with orange (I didn't like it - tasted a bit chemically), cherry with blackcurrant, apple with basil (absolutely marvellous) and mango with passionfruit. When all that is gone you get a second plate with five tiny portions of loveliness. This morning it was whipped yogurt (I think it must be whipped with egg white - it tastes distinctly yogurty but with an amazingly light texture), at the bottom of which was a teaspoonfull of white chocolate mousse, a vanilla mousse topped with lemon jelly, a tiny teacup full of an orange soup with tiny chopped pieces of mango, celery and lemongrass, a teacup of mixed red fruits, and some bananas flavoured with coffee.
Just when you think you've died and gone to heaven they give you the savoury menu which includes local anchovies with basil oil, or smoked salmon with aniseed. Today I had scrambled egg with tiny slivers of tender baby garlic and spring onions. And then I cried because breakfast will never be better than this.
Now I need to get ready for our evening of the tasting menu. Wish my stomach luck!