The Guardian‘s Jay Rayner reviewed Le Cinq, at the Four Seasons Hôtel George V in Paris. As they put it “It was supposed to be a joyous trip to one of France’s famous gastro palaces – what could possibly go wrong?” Well read the first paragraph and you might get a foreboding of what’s to come. THE World’s Best Bad Restaurant Review, EVER…
“There is only one thing worse than being served a terrible meal: being served a terrible meal by earnest waiters who have no idea just how awful the things they are doing to you are. And so, to the flagship Michelin three-star restaurant of the George V Hotel in Paris, or the scene of the crime as I now like to call it. In terms of value for money and expectation Le Cinq supplied by far the worst restaurant experience I have endured in my 18 years in this job. This, it must be said, is an achievement of sorts.”
It’s not intended as comedy but it’s up there with the best of Monty Python. Why did he pick this restaurant, you ask…?
“I chose Le Cinq, restaurant of Christian Le Squer, named chef of the year by his peers in 2016. I assumed it would be whimsical, and perhaps outrageous. Never did I think the shamefully terrible cooking would slacken my jaw from the rest of my head.
The dining room, deep in the hotel, is a broad space of high ceilings and coving, with thick carpets to muffle the screams. It is decorated in various shades of taupe, biscuit and fuck you. There’s a little gilt here and there, to remind us that this is a room designed for people for whom guilt is unfamiliar. It shouts money much as football fans shout at the ref. There’s a stool for the lady’s handbag. Well, of course there is.”
Here are a few other choice descriptions…
“The canapé we are instructed to eat first is a transparent ball on a spoon. It looks like a Barbie-sized silicone breast implant, and is a ‘spherification’, a gel globe using a technique perfected by Ferran Adrià at El Bulli about 20 years ago. This one pops in our mouth to release stale air with a tinge of ginger. My companion winces. ‘It’s like eating a condom that’s been left lying about in a dusty greengrocer’s,’ she says.
The cheapest of the starters is gratinated onions ‘in the Parisian style’. We’re told it has the flavour of French onion soup. It makes us yearn for a bowl of French onion soup. It is mostly black, like nightmares, and sticky, like the floor at a teenager’s party. There are textures of onions, but what sticks out are burnt tones, and spherified balls of onion purée that burst jarringly against the roof of the mouth.
A dessert of frozen chocolate mousse cigars wrapped in tuile is fine, if you overlook the elastic flap of milk skin draped over it, like something that’s fallen off a burns victim. A cheesecake with lumps of frozen parsley powder is not fine. I ask the waitress what the green stuff is. She tells me and says brightly:
‘Isn’t it great!’
No, I say. It’s one of the worst things I’ve ever eaten. It tastes of grass clippings. Parsley is brilliant with fish. But in cheesecake? They take it off the bill.”
You really should read the whole thing. It’s a classic.
(via The Guardian)