Le Clarence has been around about 3 years and is in the private mansion of Prince Robert of Luxembourg, who is also President of a wine estate in Bordeaux, Domaine Clarence Dillon. The building has been meticuously restored and decorated to provide a ‘lived-in’ feel while still being quite elegant. There are three small dining rooms, each with a different decor, and a large area upstairs lounge to relax and have cocktails or after dinner drinks if you prefer that to sitting at the table. There are also some private party rooms. Some rooms have windows to the street and other have windows looking over the courtyard toward the glassed in kitchen area. Beautiful carpet is on the floors topped with large widely spaced tables draped with pale green satin underskirts topped with white cloths whose color scheme perfectly mimics the charger plates on the table (marked with the CD logo). Chef Christophe Pelé works some 2 star Michelin magic on the 3 different tasting menus that are offered. Wine pairings are available. There was also a truffle supplement offered the day we were there but we opted to just have their longer tasting, Menu Le Clarence. Pacing and portion control were great as was the service. Every need was happily attended to and afterwards they showed us around some of the other rooms as well as having a printed menu of what we had for me.
The menu is filled with pictures of the family some of which I’ve included here. We enjoyed a negroni cocktail with some really long breadsticks. They were thin and crisp.
Next was a selection of small bites, Barbajuan, comté cheese gougere and a whelk with tartare sauce. The whelk was marinated and nicely chewy with a great sauce. The barbajuan was a fritter like pastry filled with spinach. It was light, warm and crispy on the outside. It was yummy. The comté cheese gougere is always a favorite and this one did not disappoint.
Cuttlefish was tempura style with sea urchin, tomato and karashi mustard. It was lightly fried and nicely chewy while still being very moist. A bit of wasabi accented this really tasty dish.
A brioche came next – super buttery, crispy and flakey. It was amazing and I could have filled up on them easily. More bread was a dark bread as well as baguette with good salted butter. Good but I’ll take the brioche.
Another multiple option course was next, Scallops, buffalo cream, capers and almond butter / Shrimp, sorrel leaf, avocado cream, raw scallops and sweetbread / Shrimp broth, mussels and fresh herbs. The scallops were a combination of raw and sauteéd ones and were very nice. The mussels were from Brittany and really tasty and eaten by hand. They provided a nice finger bowl for afterwards. The shrimp was with avocado cream and raw with a sorrel leaf. Very good. A last scallop was plated with a veal sweetbread in a shrimp broth. The broth was mild and both were just slightly cooked. It was a good pairing of flavors. In this course there was a lot of mixing and matching and all went together well or stood nicely on their own. It was a fun compilation of tasty ingredients.
Red mullet, daurenki caviar, egg’s yolk all blended together nicely. Pigs ears, raw red mullet onions jam was mild yet tasty. The pig’s ear was the striped piece and very tender. Sea bass cheek, homemade bao with hare and caramelized eel was accented with a bit of soy sauce and sesame. It was to be eaten by hand and filled with good strong flavors and nicely sticky. The bowl to wash up was definitely needed after this.
Partridge, cauliflower, white truffle from Alba and cooking juice was yummy and amazing. Alongside was a combination of cepes mushrooms, ravioli and parmesan cream and wow did this one have great flavor. The ravioli was ultra-savory with a wonderful thick sauce. It was terrific. Multilayered cake of potatoes and royale sauce was a little brown square that was filled with goodness. It was tender and tasty. Everything was really excellent.
A selection of cheeses from Philippe Grégoire was from the cheese trolley. There were wonderful choices and sliced to order with quince honey on the side. I loved the variety of tastes and densities they helped me select.
Dessert was another array of selections. Rhum baba with coffee chantilly was nicely moist and totally yummy. Lemon curd with coriander jelly was a creamy tart on a buttery cookie crust that was nicely crisp on the edges. Chocolate tart was filled with chocolate jelly on a thin cookie crust – totally yummy. Apple cooked in the oven and cream was a caramelized apple jelly on a dish of custard. It was a little tart and less sweet than the others, but with a wonderful texture. Mango sorbet was cool and smooth with good strong mango flavor.
Lastly was a vanilla stuffed cookie. No one leaves here without an outstanding sweet fix.