REVIEW: Le Grande Maison de Bernard Magrez Restaurant, Bordeaux, France

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Of all the restaurants I’ve been eating in as of lately, very few of those have been truly remarkable. I had a bit of restaurant luck on my recent visit to Jersey, but otherwise nothing truly remarkable has got my excited – until now that is. One sunny weekend I made a trip over to the fabulous Bordeaux to visit the stunning Le Grande Maison Bordeaux. A luxury hotel in the centre of Bordeaux which is owned by the world-famous Bernard Magrez, a man who knows a thing or two about luxury – owning some of the best Château’s and vineyards that Bordeaux has to offer, most notably Château Pape Clement.

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After an afternoon of exploring Bordeaux I was almost counting down the minutes till our dinner, enjoying a chilled glass of Champagne in the lounge before being whisked away into the beautiful dining room which was full of conversation. The service from start to finish was impeccable and the entire atmosphere was so infectious you couldn’t help get excited as to what surprise would be arriving next from the kitchen. The first of those to astound and amaze us was one of the best bread offerings I’ve ever eaten and most likely ever will. A trolley was wheeled to the table, full of different breads with different flavours and huge a tower of butter which is shaved at your table. It was all faultless. Even the small appetisers were fantastic.

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One thing I didn’t expect to be doing when visiting such a gastronomic restaurant was choosing to dine from its vegetarian tasting menu, yet something told me it would be a wise choice and that it was. With more courses than I could ever have imagined each was intriguing and each left me wanting more. The first course turned out to actually be one of my favourites too. A finely chopped beetroot salad topped with a scoop of fresh green mustard made from herbs – the dish quite literally left me salivating after each mouthful. A bowl of warm celeriac tagliatelle was a very unusual creation but utterly divine, delivery not just flavour but a multitude of textures and seasoned to utter perfection. New season white asparagus was served on a gilded gold plate, looking like a piece of art meant for royalty and all those little dollops were so rich and intense.

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Every time a new dish arrived it continued to astound and amaze, with no doubt an army of tweezers used behind closed doors in the kitchen to create it all. A foil-gold plate featured crispy artichoke at its centre and a sauce so refined you couldn’t ever imagine eating anything which could rival it. One of the most enjoyable things I’ve eaten in a very long time was this risotto and couscous medley that had such a depth to it you’d be fooled to think it had a little meat involved, but of course if didn’t. Saffron ran straight through the dish giving it a little lift and was topped off with sage leaves which had a crisp and juicy bite – they were so fresh. Most striking dish of the evening has to go to this very carefully assembled plate of a tomato jelly, fresh vegetable and of asparagus. It was incredible.

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After all the food we’d so far eaten, the last thing I imagined was more food to arrive – three trolleys of it to be precise. First out was the cheese offering, full to the brim of some of the finest French cheese you’ll ever come across, along with simple, but perfectly executed condiments. After a short breather, a breathtaking dessert trolley made a pass, filled to the brim with every French classic you could ever think of, from rum baba, floating island – and the best Paris brest I’ve ever eaten. Sadly I didn’t have room to try them all, although I wish I did.

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There was even a petit four trolley for the grand finale. I felt like I’d been pulled out of a restaurant and rushed into a scene from Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Needless to say everything on this trolley was absolutely perfect. The restaurant at Le Grande Maison Bordeaux was a truly memorable and goes down as one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten. I dined the day after Joel Robuchon left looking after the kitchen and while he may not have been present, the team had absolutely no problem delivering such perfection without him. If you fancy trying this menu now then you better act fast as world-renowned chef Pierre Gagnaire will be taking over from late June – just another reason to come back.

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