Friday, August 20, 2010

L'arpege - Paris - France - Review

Name: L'arpege
84 Rue de Varenne,
Paris - 75007
01 47 05 09 06

Food: French, Modern French
Average price: - $34Euro -  $320Euro

Complimentary: Lots of bread and butter.

Butter (Bordier?) was divine - smooth and salty and creamy.

We ordered:

Tartlettes des Legumes
potato with carrot and sweet sour vinegar sauce

This was nice. Salt was the last flavour to hit my palate - the potato chip was very crisp and the veggies full of flavour.

Second chip with diced veg - main taste was celery, it was also nice but not as much depth as the first.
Potato chip with cherry tomato.

Fresh tomatoes

There's nothing like a fresh tomato - sweet and salty and juicy and fresh - very yummy (and from Alain Passards garden where much of the produce is from).


Fines ravioles potagères; consommé végétal  - beet, smoked vegetable ravioli in broth

Absolutely divine; the pasta itself was perfect - soft, delicate and melt-your-mouth - the best pasta I have had
Favourite filling was the smoked vegetables - an absolute taste sensation.

R: You wouldn't think this dish would be spectacular, but don't let the picture fool you. Perfectly cooked with such simple flavours that melt in your mouth.

Oeuf a la coque
quatre epices

The egg was nice with a runny yolk and a slight sweetness from the maple and saltiness from the fleur de sel that pared well with the rich egg. R marvelled at how well the shell was cut.

Yellow tomato gazpacho with mustard ice cream

The mustard was very strong (which is why this was the weakest dish for R) but a tiny amount of it helped to bring out the flavour of the tomato.

couleur saveur, parfum et dessin du jardin, cueillette ephemere
Sweet and sour pinot vinaigrette with beets and raspberries 

Sweet with a tangy element, interesting.

Bouquet de homard de Chaussey au miel du Jardin
vinaigre des xeres

Lobster with honey sherry sauce 

R said this was awesome and was trying to shovel the sauce into my mouth.

Potato with purple basil and candied lemon

Oh my goodness this was AMAZING. The lemon elevated this dish to something unique and spectacular. The potato was perfectly cooked and buttery creamy and perfectly seasoned. I still talk about this dish and am eager to try to replicate the flavours.

Cooked tomatoes 

Sherry vinegar and butter gave these beauties another dimension. Yet again something I will try myself.

I will always remember getting this plate in front of me and thinking "is that it? We are paying 300 euro and we are just getting cherry tomatoes". Boy did I eat my words, or my thoughts I should say.
Best tasting tomatoes ever, with bursting flavour with every bite. Amazing.

Green beans with peach and basil emulsion -

The sauce was smooth yet coated the beans well. The beans were tender but crispy and  the peach added a nice sweet and tart element.

Tomato with zucchini and garlic 

The garlic tied the dish together perfectly - everything was balanced and overall it was a nice light dish

Peas with black currants and onion

The currants added sharpness to the sweet peas which weren't mushy at all. A livened up version of a pea side dish.

Turbot du bretagne au Cotes du Jura
Belles de Fontenay fumees au vieux chene

monkfish with wine sauce and smoked potato 

R is not much of a fish person but still liked it.

Canard de Challans á l’Hibiscus
Betterave coucher de soleil et marc d’orange
Duck with hibiscus, orange and olive oil emulsion, carrot. beet and onion

R's favourite dish of his life - he was in heaven.  He keeps telling everyone about his love of this dish.

R: I will always remember this dish. I did not want the dish to finish. I wish I was stuck in ground-hog day on the day I had this dish! Its hard to describe the flavours, but there is something about the hibiscus that just cut through the dish and made me moan with pleasure. Sex on a plate might be the best way to describe it.

Veggies with smoked eggplant and cous cous 

This was OK. Everything was cooked nice and flavours went well but it was one of the weaker dishes of the night.

cheese plate

We tried the Comte, goats cheese and some Camembert . I loved them all but my favourite was the Comte.

Grapefruit sorbet

A little grainy and acidic (and not very visually appealing.) I also might have tasted fennel?

tomato macron, sesame and spinach, beet

These were ok, my favourite was the sesame and spinach - perfect shells and crunch.

Veggie cake and candied beetroot 

Raspberry, currant and white gooseberry? in hibiscus soup

This had a  tangy depth of flavour with a floral sweetness  - great berry dish, very refreshing. although I was hoping for a sweeter, more solid dessert.

Cost: $615EURO for one vegetarian ($250e) and one meat ($320e) 16 course degustation (Cuisine Choisie) with two bottles of Evian ($15e).

Service: Fantastic. We happened to arrive at the same time as Alain Passard, after a quick chat he offered us the chef's table and from the minute we sat down we couldn't have received better service. The maîtresse d’hôtel was superb, she balanced humour, professionalism and efficiency like a pro. We were left wanting for nothing as far as service goes.

Atmosphere: Spacious but dated. We sat in the corner by the kitchen doors underneath a painting of Mrs Passard herself, from our position we could see the entire restaurant. The restaurant itself is quite small so there aren't many tables. The decor is a blend of mustard yellow, checker red and light oak (pearwood?) lacquered walls. It doesn't have that sophisticated, trendy feel - there are fresh produce such as tomatoes and squash on each table that gives the restaurant a more 'homely and welcoming' vibe - which is how Mr Passard describes his restaurant, upon leaving he told us to think of this place as 'home' and to come back and visit the 'family'. The candlelight gave it a romantic touch. The noise level was only moderate when full.

Parking: Forget about it. Parking in France is a nightmare (and sometimes laughable at how ridiculous it is, we saw an instance where are car was so pinned in, both cars next to it were touching its bumpers). Do yourself a favour and take the Metro (trains every 3mins) or a bus.


Hours: Mon-Fri 12-2:30pm, 8-10pm

Would I return: Yes. It was our favourite restaurant in France.


  1. Those have got to be the brightest tomatos I've ever seen!

  2. I have same opinion over the ""Veggies with smoked eggplant and cous cous "". But at least he tried something original. R is right: the ''Canard de Challans á l’Hibiscus'' is a grat item: delicious sauce, great quality duck, and a remarquable depth of taste. I have hard time deciding over 1 favourite restaurant in Paris, but L'Arpège is clearly one table I like


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