My last week started on a spectacularly gastronomic note when I won a competition to a special one-off Taste of London Tasting Evening in collaboration with Laurent Perrier. The venue was the stunning Les 110 de Taillevent, a French restaurant in Marylebone. I joined a group of other competition winners for a glamorous evening of wining (or should I say champagn-ing) and dining which definitely helped cure the Monday blues.
We were gathered around a table specially laid out for the event.
The evening kicked off with an introduction by Jack from the Taste of London crew, followed by Simone of Laurent Perrier. Simone explained a bit about the history and tradition of Laurent Perrier Champagnes and the level of detail and craftsmanship that goes into making each of the varieties. He also talked about how champagne goes very well paired with food and how the evening’s dishes had been specially curated to complement the four types of LP Champagne we were going to sample.
Les 110 de Taillevent is headed by talented head chef Raphaël Grima, who has stayed true to the classic French cuisine but given it a modern and contemporary twist. The food we sampled had its foundations in French cooking but was inspired from other European culinary influences as well.
The evening kicked off with some lovely cheese scones. They were puffy little savoury morsels – light, airy and very delectable. Along with the scones we tasted the Laurent-Perrier Champagne Brut, La Cuvée. It had a very bright, delicate and clean taste with citrus aromas.
The first dish we tried was a dazzling Scottish Langoustine Raviole, Carrots, Citrus Butter. The pasta was fresh and perfectly cooked, slightly al-dente sitting on a bed of seductive foam and strewn with microherbs. The slivers of carrots added texture and bite.
We paired this with the Laurent-Perrier Champagne Ultra Brut, N.V – a crisp, very dry and quite effervescent champagne. It has a very naked taste as it has no added sugar, which balanced the saltiness of the langoustine and the sharp flavours of the sauce.
Next to arrive was the Spelt Lobster Risotto, Lobster Bisque. Though not much of a looker on a plate, it was the most luxurious thing. It was paired with the Laurent-Perrier Champagne Brut Rosé, N.V. The Rosé was my favourite – rightfully so as it was based on the Pinot Noir grape, my favourite red wine. The colour and intensity of this champagne was beautifully elegant. It had a crisp and fresh taste that went brilliantly with the indulgently rich risotto. The slightly sharp notes cut through the creamy and smoky bisque and the sweetness of the lobster. The Cuvée Rose is one of the most versatile of champagnes and can also be paired with meats like venison.
This was swiftly followed by the Diver Scallops, Butternut, Walnut & Chestnuts, Cider Sauce. The scallops were beautifully cooked and the presentation stunning.
My favourite dish was undoubtedly the Yellow Chicken Breast, Fettucine, Supreme Sauce. The meat was amazingly tender and sliced like butter. It was flamboyantly served on a vibrant puddle of Supreme Sauce that was simply sensational.
The high point of the evening was the tasting of the Laurent-Perrier Champagne Brut 2007. A fine, vintage champagne that is quite lively, fresh and full of body, predominantly made of Chardonnay grape. It paired well with the smooth and creamy sauce of the chicken and the dessert that followed.
The magic continued with dessert with a decadent ÉCLAIR, Paris-Brest Style.
Throughout the evening, the service was attentive and efficient. The staff were polite, savvy and well-preened but with warm and engaging smiles. We genuinely felt well looked after.
The food at Les 110 de Taillevent is quietly ambitious and gloriously refined. Every plate of food presented was feast for the eyes and tastebuds. What I also learnt from this event was that it is never uncool to drink champagne, no matter what the occasion is. Laurent Perrier make some really fine varieties, fit for every occasion.
I always thought that Champagne is only a pre-dinner aperitif or an occasional celebratory drink, but picked well, it pairs beautifully with food. Thank you Taste of London and Laurent Perrier for opening my eyes to the endless possibilities of drinking champagne.
Location: Les 110 de Taillevent London, 16 Cavendish Square, Marylebone, London W1G 9DD
More information on Les 110 de Taillevent London can be found here.
Taste of London runs 16th – 19th November. More information on Taste of London can be found here.
N.B. Our meal and drinks were complimentary.