Twice yearly Yapp Brothers enjoys the great privilege of taking over the entire restaurant at Le Gavroche for our annual Spring and Autumn lunches. A fringe benefit of this is that approximately 2 weeks beforehand I convene with my old friend Silvano Giraldin under careful supervision from maître’ d Emmanuel Landre and chef-sommelier David Galetti and road test numerous different food and wine combinations in order to devise an exciting seasonal menu and pair it with appropriate wines.
Yesterday was the appointed day for this gastronomic girth-stretcher so I enjoyed the lightest of breakfasts before embarking for Upper Brook Street’s hallowed temple of haute cuisine. By coincidence a wine-loving Aberdonian chum and Gavroche regular, Steven Keenon, called me that morning and asked me if I would like to join him for lunch there.
I explained that I was already heading there for lunch myself and reciprocating his goodwill managed to get Steve promoted to the tasting panel.
The welcoming committee soon had us seated with glasses of Champagne from J Dumangin Fils and Saint Péray Mousseux Brut: Domaine Biguet to compare and contrast over some cracking canapés. We then sampled a heady selection of amuse-bouches and starters including a terrific duck gizzard and potato terrine, some superb mi-cuit salmon and delicious English asparagus – all of which we cross-referenced with an equally diverse selection of wines. The line-up of main courses included fillet of beef, guineau-fowl in a cream and mushroom sauce, curried stone bass and a leg of rabbit with broad beans and carrots. Desserts were equally numerous and appetising and I was beginning to wonder whether I had the stamina to complete our Leviathan lunch. Fortunately a few words of encouragement from Michel Roux himself saw me over the finish line and, after much debate over coffee, we managed to finalise our food and wine selections.
Attendees on May 17th who don’t want to know the menu in advance should look away now!
At our Spring lunch we will serve a Saint Péray Moussex comme aperitif with or without an optional shot of Crème de Cassis from Gabriel Boudier. Our pre-starter will be the mi-cuit salmon served with a Cassis blanc from Clos Sainte Magdeleine followed by a divine gratin of shrimps and mushrooms accompanied by André Vatan’s palate-cleansing Sancerre rosé. The rabbit was the firm favourite for the main course which we will partner with a 2003 vintage Vacqueyras and a budget-busting Domaine de Trévallon 2001. By way of light relief our dessert will be a coconut and mango panna cotta served with a Coteaux du Layon from Château la Tomaze.
I, for one, can’t wait to relive the experience!