The answer to the eternal question, “what came first, the chicken or the egg,” may still be open to debate, but at The Connaught at least, there is a clear winner and on Sundays, it’s the egg. Kicking off this month, Hélène Darroze launches Le Poulet du Dimanche, a sumptuous six-course tasting menu all based around the humble roast chicken.
The menu at the Connaught, priced at £95 for two, opens with an amuse bouche of confit egg yolk (second picture) served with leek and smoked bacon, brioche croutons and Parmigiano-Reggiano emulsion, all served in a golden egg. Next, chicken reigns supreme, in a delicate consommé – a nod to the classic French la poule au pot. The Lyonnaise dish chicken liver royale follows, served with roasted chicken oyster, langoustine, celeriac and Périgord black truffle.
Save plenty of room for the chicken itself (first picture), which comes from the Tauzin family farm in Les Landes, where Darroze grew up. The chicken, shared between two, is stuffed under the skin with black truffle in winter, morels in spring and ceps in autumn. This is served with boudin blanc and “Pommes Paysan”, a twist on french fries. The final chicken course is a small fresh corn tortilla served with confit chicken leg.
The egg then comes back to shine with the desserts, where there is a choice of three egg-based dishes inspired by Darroze’s childhood: the classic crème caramel, an île flottante scented with passionfruit and lemongrass, and finally olive oil madeleines.
For the Michelin-starred chef, the weekly roast fowl was a tradition in her house in Les Landes. Once service had finished in the family restaurant, the family would gather in the kitchen to help prepare the roast chicken, and the leftovers turned into delicious dishes.
In London, in this soigné Mayfair dining room, dishes are served on Belgian ceramic from Studio Pieter Stockmans, along with Sylvie Coquet’s chicken-leg figurines.
“For me, Sunday is the day you spend with the ones you love,” says Darroze. “During my childhood in Les Landes, my grandmother would cook for the whole family every Sunday, roasting chickens from my grandfather’s farm. Roast chicken is a special sharing dish for me, and I hope that by bringing this very personal menu to my restaurant at The Connaught, we will give our guests the opportunity to share some treasured time with their family and friends.”