Monday, 3 March 2008

Review: Domaine de Chateauvieux

"Can I have the foie gras?" She looks at me, eyes wide with hope.


"What about the crab?"

"'Fraid not."

Her heart sinks as her worst fears are realised.

"Pregnancy sucks," she says.

And although inside her my child is growing, in the surroundings of this two Michelin starred restaurant, I can see her point. My eyes scan down the other dishes on the tasting menu.

L’œuf de poule poché sur une effilochée de crabe « Royal de Norvège », émulsion des carapaces aux piments d’Espelette

Le pavé d’aile de raie bouclée poêlé, carottes étuvées au cumin, émulsion de moules de bouchot au pamplemousse rose et campari

L'oie de Bresse « Miéral » rôtie et confite, poêlée de mousserons et purée de persil, jus corsé à l’ail doux

Les fromages frais et affinés

La mousse au chocolat au lait et ganache aux fruits de la passion, crème brûlée au thé Earl-Grey et sorbet au citron vert

Hopes are raised and then cruelly dashed by a malevolent ingredient lurking in the background of most of the dishes. Molluscs, crustacea and raw eggs lie in wait like a band of Victorian muggers down a darkened alleyway, daggers drawn and ready to pounce. Damn you, émulsion de moules! Up yours, runny œuf de poule poché!

Over in the corner I spot the cheese trolley, unpasteurised heaven on wheels for some, a listeria theme park for others. There may be tears tonight.

The a la carte menu isn't looking too promising either but she goes for the snail and frogs leg starter and pigeon for her main course. We ask for the pigeon to be well cooked. Does it arrive well-cooked? No. Oddly cooked? Most certainly. It turns up on a tray in the middle of a balloon that turns out to be an inflated bladder. How quaint. And it's rare in there. Maybe still even tweeting although I can't hear any noise from the avian isolation tent. I can't understand why it wasn't listed on the menu as Barely Warmed Whole Pigeon Cooked In A Former Pee Bag, or maybe they thought it would sell out too quickly.

Meanwhile we've all be ploughing through the glorious tasting menu, trying not to ooh and aah too much in front of the mum-to-be. It's difficult because the Norwegian crab with poached egg is sensationally sophisticated. A roll of skate wing is moist and lifted by a citric pink grapefruit and creamy mussel sauce. The goose cooked in two ways is wintery and rich, with melt-in-the-mouth confit and meaty fillets offering different textures to the palate. The food is as good as I remember from our first visit to this Genevan restaurant five years ago.

Luckily back then, our mum-to-be wasn't pregnant and could eat everything on the menu, as perhaps she could now in all truth. The French attitude to diet during pregnancy is far more relaxed than the British and we probably take caution a few steps too far, however as complete novices in the baby business we're happy to play things very safe. In six months time I've promised her a feast of foie gras, unpasteurised Epoisse cheese, scallops, and rare beef but for now these are off the menu and those sacrilegious two words, 'well done', will have to be used until our mini gourmet is ready to enter the world at the end of August.


Simon said...

Congratulations! And same to E.

thepassionatecook said...

congratulations! to be honest, i've never thought much of all those taboo foods they advocate here in the UK, i've given birth to 3 and never paid much attention to them. especially when you investigate the reason why they're forbidden in the first place: most of them (seafood, peanuts, etc) because they "might trigger allergies in the baby" - which i complete rubbish! they have allergies because they grow up in a polluted environment and eat crap all the time!
i can safely say that i didn't die and my children are perfectly healthy despite me eating sushi once a week and seafood galore! i did chew on well-done steaks, though, and i avoided eating meat where i couldn't be 100% sure that they'd be organic and free-range and stroked to death...

Chef Mom said...

Wow! I have three grown kids and went through all of the pregnancies not even knowing I wasn't supposed to eat those things!

Good for you, though, for doing everything you can to have a healthy baby!

Anonymous said...

My advice would be doggy bag it, (even in a 2 star), freeze it, then serve it up to Mum to be as her first post-natal treat following whenever "it" is due. Chris

ros said...

Congratulations to you and your other half.

Hah- if six months working with children hadn't put me of motherhood already, I think this post might have.

No cheese or wine for 9 months?! NOOOO!

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