Alain Ducasse does not really need an introduction. The French chef is one of the icons of the French cuisine and manages a number of restaurants including some three Michelin star places. He is famous for becoming the first chef ever to manage restaurants carrying three Michelin Stars in three different cities. Besides restaurants, Alain Ducasse also owns and manages cooking schools, cookbooks, and acts as a culinary consultant.
Restaurant Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée is housed inside the ultra-luxurious Hôtel Plaza Athénée, located on famous avenue of couture Avenue Montaigne in the center of Paris. Hôtel Plaza Athénée is no ordinary hotel. History and modernity are combined into an inspiring, iconic hotel that offers new heights of elegance. Guests can be pampered at the Dior Institute spa, enjoy exquisite food in no less than 5 restaurants, sip great cocktails in the cocktail bar or even enjoy some ice-skating on the seasonal ice-skating rink. All rooms are very luxurious and offer marble bathrooms.
It is in this unique and historic setting that Alain Ducasse manages one of his flagship restaurants: Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée. The restaurant was totally renovated in 2013 and re-opened in September 2014 with a new, unique interior and a new restaurant concept.
Today, the interior of the restaurant, created by Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku, could be considered as one of the finest dining rooms in Europe. It is modern and sleek, while maintaining some art deco elements and a general feeling of grandeur that is own to the whole hotel. Three shiny chrome capsule-like elements cover some of the tables and refer to a dining cloche. The polished wooden tables and white colours offer a beautiful contrast and are completed with modern designer chairs and modern artistic elements by artists like Pierre Tachon, Shinichiro Ogata and Tina Frey. The dining room remained very spacious with a high ceiling where the stunning Swarovski chandeliers – with thousands of Swarovski crystals – form the shiny stars of the restaurant. A beautiful and elegant interior that combines the best of the past with the design and comfort of tomorrow.
Atthe kitchen of Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Alain Ducasse chose a different approach than at his other restaurants. Here, he and his Head chef Romain Meder serve a “naturalness cuisine”, inspired by the fish, vegetables and cereals trilogy. It is a healthier and more natural cuisine, where the chefs aim to respect the environment by using locally sourced and seasonally relevant ingredients. The philosophy also refers to the shojin cuisine, a Chinese cuisine that only uses vegetables and cereals. At Plaza Athénée, these ingredients are combined with more luxurious ones such as caviar, truffle and lobster. This approach sets apart Plaza Athénée from Alain Ducasse’s other restaurants and the style of cooking is truly unique. Light, pure, earthy but above all, delicious.
Highlights of the menu include a starter that combines volcanic hill green lentils from Puy, with a royal portion of caviar and a flavoured delicate jelly made of eel. Guests also get an espuma and small grain pancakes on the side so they can create their own caviar pancakes. A unique and delicious experience. Another starter with caviar brilliantly blends chickpeas from the Hautes-Alpes mountains with sturgeon arrow, and golden caviar. The food is not all French at Plaza Athénée. One of the best dishes we tried, for example, was the homemade corn flour tagliolini pasta with tartufi di Alba. During the meal, many chariots are used to enhance the dining experience.
The dining room is managed by Denis Courtiade, one of the world’s best maîtres that already received numerous awards. A perfect restaurant team is not complete without an excellent sommelier and Head Sommelier Laurent Roucayrol takes this task at Plaza Athénée. Laurent manages an amazing wine menu and serves a remarkable high-level wine pairing with the chef his menus.
In the kitchen, Head Chef Romain Meder leads a team of motivated, skilled chefs. Romain hails from France and gained experience in his native country and the British West Indies. After his international training, he spent two years with Hélène Darroze in Paris and the luxurious Maison Potel et Chabot, before starting to work for Alain Ducasse.
Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée is truly unique restaurant. The “naturalness cuisine”, which combines fish, vegetables and cereals trilogy, offers a healthier and more natural cuisine while maintaining the signature of Alain Ducasse. Luxurious products are matched with earthy and pure flavours, resulting in what must be one of the world’s best dining experiences.
Written by Sven & Frank