Tuesday, January 26, 2010

La Tour d'Argent - Paris

France being the home of many top notch restaurants, we decided we must visit at least one in the few days we're there. Having being recommended by a friend, we made a booking for La Tour d'Argent. Luckily the lovely reservation people working there speak English cos my French is shocking!

On the day, we decided to sleep in and have a light breakfast. We strolled to Notre Dame and then through the Latin Quarter before finding ourselves outside La Tour d'Argent. Its a good 10min stroll from the Latin Quarter, but definitely plenty of sights and people to see!


Me + La Tour d'Argent = YAY!!!

Walking in there is a lobby where you can leave your bags. They also have a waiter (Who looked no older then 13) escort you into the elevator and up into the restaurant.

Being a week day lunch time and the whole GFC, the restaurant was relatively quiet. My request for a window seat overlooking the Notre Dame was fulfilled.

We were the first few tables there. We keep forgetting the Parisians have a later lunch than we're used to.

Everything in the restaurant had their logo on it

The food menu

We were given two menus. One menu is for the ladies, and one is for the men. Why? The ladies menu has no prices! Only the Men's menu will have a price, therefore allowing the lady to order whatever she likes without having to worry about the price. Unfortunately, in this case, we were splitting the bill! Dang! hehehe

Their famous wine encyclopedia menu

I never fully believed how extensive their wine menu was until the waiter plonked this in front of me. I'm pretty sure the table shook and the glasses wobbled. Imagine the thickest Yellow Pages you own. Now imagine those pages using thick heavy weight paper instead of the flimsy see through paper. Now wack on a thick leather bound hard cover. THAT my friends, is probably the closest you can imagine to how big this monster is.

I really didn't see a point as its impossible to read all the different wines they have. Which means you either have to trust your sommelier, or skim read. FAST. Luckily, on their first page, they have a few reds and whites that are quite popular with a big price range. We decided to choose something from that page instead of asking the sommelier. Why? Some of the wines are in the thousands of euros. I can't afford a few thousand euros if he happens to choose that! Especially since I'm not a wine connoisseur.

Amuse Bouche

Cold green pea soup with tomato jelly I think?

Some type of consomme aspic

I can't remember what the filling was, but it was really really good!

Crusty sour dough

Their bread came fresh out of the oven. Nice hot crusty bread, almost too hot to handle!

French butter

Another Amuse Bouche

The only way I can describe this is a cold Thai green curry with mussels! hehehe tasted really good though!

Pike dumpling. Unbelievably light texture with a gorgeous mushroom duxelle cream sauce. It was almost like eating a firm hot mousse. I was so tempted to run my finger along the dish to get the rest of the sauce.

Some type of pasta thing my friend had

Our Duck!

Close up

La Tour d'Argent is famous for their pressed ducks (Carnard a la presse). The restaurant not only serves ducks, but they also own a farm to raise the ducks they serve. According to Wikipedia, the duck is first strangled to retain the blood. The duck is then roasted, with the breast, legs and liver removed. The remaining meat and carcass is put into a press (similar to a wine press) to extract all the blood, juices and marrows to create a sauce. The sauce is then thickened with the ground liver and other seasoning before serving it on top of the duck breast.

Our duck getting prepared

The press!

Cooking and thickening the sauce

The first course of our pressed duck

The duck breast is served medium with some potato puffs on the side. The long anticipated moment arrives and......I'm disappointed. The very first bite was nice, but it also left an unpleasant after taste that lingered on throughout the meal. Don't get me wrong, the duck was cooked to perfection, it was the sauce that I didn't like. There was spice in there, that neither me nor my friend could put a name to. But that spice really didn't agree with our stomachs. In fact, after we had finished our meal and headed back to the hotel, I actually spent a good 2 hours lying down trying not to throw everything back up. It was worse that every time I burped or breath, I could taste the sauce. :(

Mind you, almost every second table had ordered the pressed duck. From the looks of other people's face, it looked like they enjoyed the dish. It was just the 2 of us who didn't. My friends who also went previously absolutely loved it. So I guess its a personal taste thing, which is such a shame because its the first time my friend has ever eaten duck!

With every pressed duck you order, you also get a post card with a unique duck number on it.

Second course of our duck

The second course of the duck was much nicer in my opinion. It also changed my friend's opinion on ducks! Thank goodness! I didn't want him walking away thinking all ducks tastes like the first course. Actually, this tasted very Asian with the soya sauce and sesame oil flavours.

André Terrail

André Terrail is the owner and manager of the restaurant. He went around introducing himself to every table and checking that we were happy with everything. We actually had a photo taken with him, but my friend's camera got stolen 15mins after arrive in Madrid!! :( Damn, cos he's pretty darn cute! Except watching him approach other tables made him seem a little creepy. He'll slowly walk up behind your table and wait for a lull in the conversation before introducing himself. At first, he seemed a bit like a stalker/scorned ex-lover! hehe

The table behind us had ordered some type of organ thing that was cooked tableside. It looked absolutely amazing to me, absolutely disgusting to my friend! haha

And of course, the best way to judge the cleaniness of a restaurant, is by its bathroom! If they can't keep a bathroom clean, that is open to the customers, what hope do they have of keeping the kitchen clean? Well luckily, I can report that their toilets are spotless!

Duck Mosaic

They have a La Tour d'Argent branded perfume in the toilet for the ladies to freshen up with!

Err...incase you're too full and need a nap?

Awesome duck taps!!!

Hand towels with their logo on it

Didn't I say spotless!?

Complimentary Chocolate ganache/mousse with more chocolate

When I had made the booking, I made up some excuse that it was our 10 year anniversary (Of E punching me in the face......), hoping for special treatment. Except they had gotten the message mixed up and thought it was my birthday. So when they came over with this, I had the dumbest look on my face as if I didn't know what was going on! hehehe Oh wells, we scammed a free dessert out of them anyway!

Complimentary Petite Fours

Strawberry Tart

My apricot dessert. I don't even know why I ordered this, because I don't like apricot! But by the sounds of the menu, it sounded the most interesting even though its made of apricot! hehehe It did taste nice thought!


Truffle chocolates! There was 4 flavours, I went for a good mint one

A nice espresso to end the meal

The whole dining experience lasted close to 3hrs. I was very impressed by the level of service, but it is a bit snooty compared to the likes of Tetsuyas where everyone seemed very welcoming and friendly. It could be a language barrier thing or even the fact that the restaurant wasn't full, making hard to talk at a normal voice level without being heard.

Out of everything we had, my least favourite dish was their signature pressed duck which made us both quite ill. Not because of food poisoning, but the after taste and whatever spice they used just did not agree with us. But besides that, everything thing else we tasted was delicious! My Pike Dumpling would have to be my favourite. Something definitely worth researching and replicating! hehe

Given a choice, I would probably choose to go Tetsuyas again rather than La Tour d'Argent. I just found the atmosphere so much better at Tetsuyas. But mind you, I am a bit biased because of the duck. But I also prefer a lighter cleaner taste then the rich French food. But I am glad I went and can now tick it off my list! Quack!

La Tour d'Argent
15-17 quai de la Tournelle
75005 Paris
(Ph) 01-43-54-23-31

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