To see “lettuce, caviar” feature on a five-course menu might not inspire much enthusiasm. However, when it is part of an extraordinary dinner to celebrate Alain Ducasse’s 10 years at The Dorchester, and is cooked by his protégés Tom Kitchin, of The Kitchin in Edinburgh, and Jean-Philippe Blondet, executive chef of Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, one knows it is going to be an extraordinary creation. Indeed, the amuse-bouches entail a long process of braised butter lettuce, crème crue, pressed caviar, smoked eel and beurre noisette.
And this amount of complex subtlety is just the start of the one-off evening (£290 per person) on November 23. A champagne reception with Ducasse segues into the aforementioned amuse-gueules, followed by Kitchin’s west coast shellfish and seaweed rockpool served with 2015 Vouvray Sec, Le Mont Domaine Huet, and then Blondet’s fillet of turbot with oyster and red wine sauce accompanied by 2014 H Germain Meursault. Kitchin takes the helm again for a saddle of Borders roe deer with root vegetables and fruits – to be savoured with 2012 Gevrey-Chambertin. The finale will be Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester’s chocolate, from Ducasse’s Paris outpost, served with 2004 Saint-Julien Château Langoa-Barton. Mignardises and gourmandises accompanied by 2001 Rivesaltes Ambré Domaine de Rancy will complete the feast.
It looks to be an exciting evening backstage in the kitchen as well as front of house. “I am looking forward to collaborating with Tom, who belongs, like me, to the Ducasse generation – chefs who trained under him and now share a common culture,” says Blondet. “My time with Ducasse was an incredible experience and something I will always treasure.”