More lunch with Gordon: the food!

Little beehives of sweet and salted butter. Every detail was exquisite.

Go slip into your best bib!  The Experienced Travellers are taking you on a culinary pilgrimage as they revisit their Gordon Ramsay lunch at the Trianon Palace Hotel.  By popular mandate, here are the complete, unabridged  food pictures.  Consider yourself warned.

(If you haven’t read the first post on this topic, start here  and follow with this entry!)

Gordon's idea of a perfect afternoon

This  journey required a roadmap, and it was thoughtfully provided by the maitre’d.  Armed with flutes of fine champagne, we strategized over the menu to plot our meal. The ETs were focused, confident – and hungry.  We knew we could go the distance. 

A different take on caesar salad

The amuse bouche was a caesar salad. On top is bufala mozzarella, with a little something extra.  The fork pierces the cheese and “whoosh” – it’s stuffed with a delicate salmon mousse!  Underneath is shredded lettuce, anchovy and a crouton.  We never found out what the black disc was, but who cares!  The champagne flowed, and all was well.

Very high-end chips and dip

These are perfect paper-thin potato chips (not the wavy kind), and crisp sesame bread with two dips – one eggplant and the other with caviar.  My standard for chips and dip has been raised forever.

An artful lobster tortellini

The first course on the menu arrived.  Lobster tortellini with squid carpaccio in a consomme broth.  It was lovely to look at, and spectacular to eat. 

By now,  Nurse progressed from the champagne to a Fitou Cuvee Cadette 2007 from Domaine les Milles Vignes.  I had a Riesling.  A mild light-headedness and all-around goodwill was setting in.

One plat - John Dory

We rested between courses, while our attentive waiters watched over us.  Up came the second course.   For me,  John Dory – with a cepes and chanterelles mushrooms fricassee in a basil vinaigrette (and a little smiley of sliced radishes for good measure). 

The Pigeon. This dish changed the way we looked at pigeons for the rest of the trip.

Nurse chose the  pigeon.   The taste and texture suggested that this Bresse pigeon could be a relative to the famous chickens of the same area.  This was served on potatoes and artichoke terrine, Muscat grapes and almonds.   The memory of this dish threatened every plump pigeon we saw in the Luxembourg Garden.

There were waiters whirling all round us, clearing dishes and using those little crumb brushes.  The room felt smaller and more expansive at the same time.  We were beginning to feel… so very full. 

The pre-dessert. Custard with raspberry chutney

While waiting for dessert, we were served a pre-dessert.  Maybe it was meant to get us warmed up for the actual event.  This custard with raspberry chutney was light and wonderful. 

At this point, we’re an hour and fifteen minutes into it, and the ETs are deeply aware of the importance of pacing.  We slumped slightly in our chairs.  Eyelids were drooped.  Heads bobbed from side-to-side.  How do the real food-iacs do this? 

Strawberry cheesecake in a puff of smoke

Now the real dessert arrived – floating on a gossamer mist.  Heaven-sent strawberry cheesecake.  Fresh, chopped strawberries with lovely crusty bits and a sabayon.  To demonstrate the educational value of this meal, I can now say and spell sabayon (a whipped sauce  – this one flavored with kirsch).

C'est frommage - the cheese course

As we wearily rested our spoons from the cheesecake, we heard the rumbling of a cart.  And there appeared before us, an abundance of cheeses.  All the will, and all the strength of the French nation was on that cart;  slices and rounds;  blocks and wedges.  We chose a bleu, a hard yellow cheese, a brie and — the shining star – an Époisses de Bourgogne.

Delectable bread

Cheese of this magnitude deserves a remarkable conveyance.  The artisan bread filled with hazelnuts and golden raisins was perfect.  

The ETs marshalled our diminishing strength to give the cheeses the attention and praise they deserved.  We quietly called upon the Immortals of France to lead us through.  This was the last course on the menu.  Surely, we could persevere and conclude this exquisite meal with honor.  

Truffles. The final movement.

But there was more.  Yes, more!  The final course is perfect ice cream truffles asea in a bowl of dry ice, smoking like holy incense at a sacred feast.  The truffles transported the weary ETs to a final phase of dining that passeth all understanding. 

Only a visit from Gordon himself could bring the ETs to rise from their chairs.  He didn’t appear, but the ETs did slowly stumble out of the restaurant,  awed by the experience.  I have a vague, wine-infused memory of paying the bill which I did without a qualm.

It was a magnificent, memorable meal. 

A reflection of perfection.


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19 Responses to “More lunch with Gordon: the food!”

  1. Tim Says:


    I want. I want. I want.

  2. Clare Says:

    Oh My.

  3. Robette Says:

    A pre-dessert followed by the real dessert. Now that’s an idea I can wrap my fork around. I knew the French were connoisseurs of food, but I had no idea they invented the concept of a double dessert. I have obviously not been giving them enough credit!

    • Julie Says:

      Robette, I see a trip in your future! Don’t you need to cover JFR in Paris next year? Think of all the double-desserts you can discover.

  4. Terry Says:

    Julia, some of the best writing so far! Well done. Of course the food was lovely, but where does one get a crumb brush?

  5. Mary B. Says:

    Absolutely unbelievable. The groans from this end went on and on as each course was presented. I know someone whose gout will be screaming at merely a read-through of the menu. He shall remain nameless.

    Was slain by the caesar. What a delight.

    Terry, we actually have a roly crumb brush. I think my mom bought it to entice my kids to clean the tablecloth. Was underappreciated. I use it often however.

  6. Ann Mason Says:

    I remember crumb brushes! My grandmother had one. I think maybe these are left overs from the days starching and ironing of tablecloths – they had to last for more than one meal
    . However, I am pretty sure Gordon Ramsey uses a clean one each time.

  7. Gage Says:

    I started reading about 2:00 and I started with the pictures at Gordon’s. I am so hungry now that I am moving to the kitchen to graze. I will never turn my nose up at Hell’s Kitchen again.
    The blog is great Julie – keep it coming. I particularly like the food and wine parts. I always tell people how creative you are and this certainly proves it – the writing and photography are amazing.

    • Julie Says:

      Gage thanks for your comments! The Readership demands food stories and so they shall have them. Let’s figure out how to sell a workstation in Texas this way!

  8. paula b. Says:

    I second Tim’s comment: I want, I want, I want.

    Definitely on my must-do list for next Paris trip.

    Thank you Julia, well written and lovely photos.

  9. Crone Says:

    Wonderful reading, Miss Julie! The words, read aloud, tasted almost as scrumptuous as the actual cuisine must have.

    Now as to crumb brushes–and of course a meal comme cela will as certainly include a crumb brush as it will NOT include a salt shaker on the table. One can find crumb brushes even on–startling lime-green plastic horrors and something that looks exactly like what I use to get the cat hair off the futon. But if one goes on e-bay–ah! What an offering there! Among other delights, I found a very nice silver plate ($9.99), an arts & crafts copper and brass set ($7.87), a Forman Bros. silver crumb brush ($11.99 w/o tray, as I recall), an art nouveau copper tray and brush ($148), and a rare Victorian sterling silver scoop and brush ($1096.78) All certain to be a match for the sturdiest artisan bread or the flakiest croissants. Bon appetit, tous!

    • Ann Says:

      Or you could just use a whisk broom and a dustpan, maybe a couple of bucks at the Dollar Store.

    • Julie Says:

      Cara I am enjoying the thought of a Victorian sterling silver cat-hair removal tool. I appreciate your enlightening contributions to our online world.

  10. Happy Birthday Julie’s Paris « Julie's Paris Says:

    […] inspired by the orgiastic 2 1/2-hour lunch at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant in Versailles.  But the continuation of that post with more photos and description is a better read! We know that the Readership wants French food […]

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