A pretty perfect lunch in Paris: the meal

Our lunch last month at L’Oiseau Blanc at the top of The Peninsula, Paris, was not, as our friend Keith would say, “a cheap date.” Jan and I began with a Kir Royale (Champagne and cassis) at a hefty 32 euros a glass, and the tasting menus we enjoyed were an eye-watering 285 euros each.

However, we were in a mood to splurge. For one thing, this was a delayed celebration of Jan’s birthday, earlier in the month. For another, we were making up for the fact that a big trip to Canada in 2020 had to be cancelled because of the pandemic. After our two-night stay in Paris, we were setting out on our first international trip in four years.

In my last post, I described the restaurant, its views over Paris, the service, and a bit of history. In this post, I’m simply going to show off the food. The dishes are creations of Chef David Bizet — a veteran of top Parisian restaurants Le V, L’Orangerie and Le Taillevent — and they demonstrate pretty clearly why L’Oiseau Blanc was awarded two Michelin stars. As I recall the meal, his dishes were highly decorated, creative, surprisingly subtle, and often surprising.

I’ll skip over the large selection of amuse-bouches we were given with our Kir Royale, and go right to the first course: an array of blue lobster with, among other things, “salted praline tarama” and a shell gel. Here’s my plate:

Blue lobster gets some beautiful accompaniments.

Next came what the menu described as “leek in salt crust, iodized kiwi, braised squid and burned oyster.” (Phew!) Here it is:

An unusual dish: Leek in a salt crust.

Of the two “main” courses — fish and duck — my favourite was this serving of red mullet in a rich, concentrated sauce with endive and bottarga:

This serving of red mullet was my favourite dish.

Then came this serving of “lacquered colvert duck,” accompanied by (among other things) flamed corn:

My serving of lacquered duck.

Before the final course, we were served what the menu simply described as “pre-dessert.” I couldn’t really describe it as I spooned it up, other than to say that it was delightfully light and refreshing. Here it is:

A light and refreshing foamy dish, before dessert.

Finally came this amazing dessert — amazing because it doesn’t look like much, but tasted wonderful. The menu described it as “iodized raspberry” with meringue, condensed milk and samphire; what looks like a hard outer shell was actually incredibly delicate, light as a feather. Here’s my plate:

Delicious dessert, in an amazingly light shell.

Through the meal, we consumed two half bottles of wine — a white Sancerre and a Syrah from the banks of the Rhone — at 45 euros each.

After our espressos, we made our way out of The Peninsula, which is on Avenue Kléber in the 16th, and sank into a taxi for the ride over the Seine and back to our hotel in the 7th. I recall that not a lot of food was consumed that evening.

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4 Responses to A pretty perfect lunch in Paris: the meal

  1. Jill and Sam Hershfield says:

    Loren, OMG!!!!

    Hopefully your €285 per person for lunch included the tip?

    Is this the most you’ve ever spent for a meal in Europe?


  2. laura salo says:

    where did you stay in the 7th please?

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