Lifestyle, Vacation

Dining Experience: Hélène Darroze at the Connaught

Have you guys ever dined at a Michelin star restaurant?  Michelin stars are a rating system to grade restaurants on the quality ranging from one to three stars.  One star indicates a “very good restaurant”; two stars indicate  “excellent cuisine”; and three stars means “exceptional quality, worth the visit”.

The first time I visited a Michelin star restaurant was three years ago in San Sebastian.  You can read the post here.  Since we’re in Europe, we knew we had to try out some of the Michelin star restaurants.  There are 163 Micheline star restaurants in the world and sadly, none in Canada.

Thanks to Jeanie who chose Hélène Darroze.  Hélène Darroze is a renowned female chef who owns two Michelin restaurants.  She is also the winner of the Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef Award in 2015.  I’m elated that we were able to dine at one of her restaurants.
While walking towards the hotel, I saw a Goyard Store, so I just took a pic with it.  We don’t have this brand in Vancouver.

This prestigious hotel is more than 100 years old but it still looks luxurious.

The interior is sophisticated with beautiful wood panelling, plush furnishings, and an intimate vibe.

When we were seated, we were presented with two menus – tasting and lunch.  This marble menu is the tasting menu.  It works by eliminating what you don’t want by leaving the ball on the outside and what you would like to order on the inside.  Genius, isn’t it?

We opted for the lunch menu which costs 52 GBP per person which is roughly CAD $88.  It consists of 1 starter, 1 main, 1 dessert, 2 glasses of wine, a bottle of water, and tea or coffee.

Honestly, this meal is A FABULOUS BARGAIN!

And in case you didn’t know, we are the bread family.  All the females in my family (especially my mom) love bread. We polished this loaf within minutes.  Not to mention the tasty, flavoured butter which made this perfect bread even better.
We started off with a trio of amuse bouche.  Everything was so cute and dainty.

We had 3 or 4 different staff serving us and they were all welcoming, cheerful, and a bit humorous. :)

My appetizer was this beautiful plate of heirloom tomatoes with gazpacho jelly, anchovy, basil, and Taggiasca olive.

We also ordered this gorgeous plate of wild garlic lasagna layered with ricotta and topped with snails and ham.  The texture and flavours were astounding.

For my main, I ordered the Challans duck with a crust of spices and peppers served with Manuka honey, cherry and beetroot.  Once again, this was cooked to perfection.

Elaine was in awe looking at this beautiful dish.

The salmon tasted very soft and buttery.  Come to think of it, I must have overcooked my salmon at home.  Obviously, my salmon tasted nothing like this.

Basically, we’re so full but there always seems to be a second stomach for desserts.

Umm…let’s talk about exquisite tableware.  Desserts and coffee were served in the Hermes Balcon du Guadalquivir plates and cups.  I don’t know if it’s the porcelain cup but this coffee was insane.  Even my sister’s English Breakfast tea was not that boring =)

Dark chocolate truffles
Like I said we couldn’t eat a bite but we couldn’t resist these petit fours.

More chocolates…

We are not done yet.  They also gave us a Canneles de Bordeaux (French pastry with custard center) and by this time, we can’t put anything in our mouths.  Seriously, my stomach was bursting.  Lol.  We took it back to our hotel and devoured it at night.  As usual, this did not disappoint.

We were at the restaurant for almost three and a half hour.  It was a joy to eat every course.  We were stuffed to the brim.  Like REALLY FULL, I couldn’t eat until 10 that night.  And that was pretty crazy cuz I’m usually always hungry.

So, I’m in love with Hélène.  The food is sublime.  This is easily the best meal I had this year.  It’s a bold statement but it’s true.  I highly recommend those who will be visiting London to try this restaurant.  I would still come here for lunch rather than dinner since it’s double the price.  Next stop:  Madrid.  See you soon!

PS I find it INCREDIBLY HARD to describe food.  Also, I think taste is very subjective.  So, please excuse me for not describing the food in details.

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Nora
    November 24, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    That was a great post! The food is mouth-watering delicious! I love the marble menu. What a neat idea! The presentation of the dishes are amazing. I wish I had joined you guys. Maybe next time we can go to a Michelin star restaurant together. ;)

  • Reply
    A Very Sweet Blog
    November 27, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Jo, you are so lucky! I’ve never dined at a Michelin star hotel. I’m familiar with Connaught Hotel, because years ago when I researched European hotels it came up in my search. I can tell both the service & food was impeccable. What a great experience and thanks for sharing these lovely pics of your experience. So beautiful >.<
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

  • Reply
    Jeanie
    November 28, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    Oh what I would give to experience that all over again!!! What topped it off was the absolute comical aspect to it with the bottled water…lol def in the top 5 best and most memorable meals of my lifetime!

  • Reply
    little luxury list
    November 29, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    It looks delicious and beautiful – I’d love to visit and am putting it on my “to try” list. Any place that serves on Hermes dinnerware must be divine right? How did you make reservations?

  • Reply
    Mariann Yip
    November 30, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    Everything looks so delicious! What a fabulous dining experience, I must have to try! http://mariannyc.com/2017/11/28/holiday-errands-with-famous-footwear/

  • Reply
    Rowena
    December 11, 2017 at 8:53 am

    Looks like you had such an elegant dining experience! Everything was so beautifully presented! And how fun was that marble menu! There is something to be said about Michelin star establishments. I need to add this to my list for our next visit to London :)

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