Le Chantecler is located in the elegant Le Negresco Hotel. It is an ornate dining room off the heavily decorated lobby and was recently re-done in shades of pink and green. As the name means “rooster” there are many examples of rooster art in the room. Only 16 tables are very well spaced in the quiet and well lit room. They offer a small a la carte menu as well as several tasting menus. We chose the Discovery Menu which is a surprise but they were nice enough to provide me with a printed menu at the end of the evening. Service is formal and old school (ladies menus have no prices) but friendly and anxious meet your every need. Pacing was spread out, so if you’re in a rush definitely let them know. The wine list is a huge book but didn’t seem to have that many choices but it was possible to get affordable local bottles of wine.
Amuse bouche included cauliflower and garlic on a cheese biscuit (nice bite, biscuit was great), black pudding and apple in crust (okay) and foie gras on toast (good).
Bread service included parmesan, cranberry and multi-seed. The parmesan roll was a bit dry and not as buttery as it looked. The multi seed had a very crisp exterior and lots of seed flavors. The cranberry was my favorite with a dense chewy interior studded with tart berries and a nice exterior.
The last amuse bouche was a mushroom ravioli with sage which was interestingly served at room temperature. The pasta was fairly thick which made it seem tough. It had only mild flavor.
Our Discovery Menu tasting started with a new dish: scallops two ways, roasted with mashed Jerusalem artichoke and salsify and as carpaccio with citrus jelly. The carpaccio was cold with chilies, vegetables, sliced egg and French caviar. The caviar was briny and the jelly dots mildly flavored. The scallop slices were tender and sweet. The toasted scallop was warm with sea beans on top and Jerusalem artichoke purée under and around it. The two tastes worked well together and this one was my favorite of the 2 preparations.
Dover Sole with spinach was served with glazed salfify. The fish was a tad overcooked but the salsify was quite nice and perfectly cooked. This was a mild dish and not in the winner column.
Another new dish was on our menu, Roasted Mallard duck with honey, spices and winter vegetables. It was served nicely rare with the honey giving it a fragrant perfume. Crispy quince and Swede (yellow/orange turnips) were served with the tasty bird. The breast meat was among the best I’ve had with not a hint of livery taste. The turnips were predictably bitter but the quince was a nicely sweet foil for it. This was a great dish.
A selection from the Matured cheeses by Mr. Bordier in Saint-Malo was next. Our choices were accompanied by a delicious grapefruit/orange marmalade. It really accented the cheeses well and made the course special.
Kaki fruit (like a persimmon) perfumed with Madagascar vanilla, an olive oil biscuit, nuts and honey made up the first dessert. The ice cream was nicely smooth and the fruit and honey were a sufficient sweet fix but it didn’t rate a yum.
The second dessert was a Solliés (near Marseille) fig that had been roasted with earl grey and served with 67% dark chocolate cream and crunchy walnuts. It was nice but not a strongly flavored fig. The crunchy ring it was perched on, and filled with chocolate ganache, was actually the better part of the dish.
Lest you leave unsatisfied the dessert cart then arrives at your table. Filled with chocolates, fruit, nut, chewy, crisp and creamy options. We tried a sampling but none stood out in memory, although all were beautifully presented.