Hélène Darroze at The Connaught hotel has held its two michelin star status for over 5 years now. Everything about the place feels glamorous and special, from the dark wood panelled walls to the plush carpet and immaculately dressed staff. As fine dining restaurants go, y’know, ones with tablecloths, this is one of the best.
They’ve started offering a new menu, Le Poulet du Dimanche, or The Sunday Chicken, for those of us who never paid attention during French lessons. Priced at £95 for two people, with 6 courses of all things chicken, it really is rather good value.
We started with little cheese bonbons, ham sliced in a sexy machine at the table and some beautiful brioche along with a cold apple broth. Light and palate cleansing would be the words.
The description of the first chickeny course got a giggle round the table, l’oeuf coque “directement sorti du cul de la poule”, which Google translates as ‘the egg directly out of the hen’s bowl’. Referring to her mother only using the freshest eggs when Hélène was growing up, this confit egg yolk with crisp skin and smoked Alsace bacon was as rich as anything; as luxurious as the surroundings.
Chicken consommé with ravioli of Biggore ham was the opposite of its predecessor. Light, delicate and dainty. Once the tiny diced vegetables had been eaten, our waitress poured a good glug of Armagnac to give the final spoonful a real kick.
Liver “royale” was a real treat as it featured langoustine, chicken oyster and black truffle; a collection of ingredients that always get me excited.
The main event was of course the chicken itself. A beast of a bird, from Les Landes, was brought to the table for all to see, then the breast removed and plated alongside pommes paysannes and boudin blanc in the prettiest of fashions. The chicken was stuffed under the skin with foie gras and wild garlic. I could have done with slightly less stuffing but its flavour was so good and the chicken so perfectly cooked it didn’t really matter.
The leg meat then returned inside a mini tortilla which was a joyous and surprising way to finish this chicken bonanza. For something so small it was packed full of vibrant flavour.
Desserts were insane; ile flottante, a slice of creme caramel and freshly baked olive oil madeleines, showcasing the best way to use to eggs that I could possibly imagine.
Le Poulet du Dimanche menu was very special indeed and that’s mainly because it really was a celebration of the humble chicken. The whole experience was a mega posh Sunday roast but at that level of cooking, and for the amount of food you get, it’s refreshing to see that it doesn’t cost the earth.
There are only a few chickens per service so booking ahead is essential. Visit their website for details.
We dined as guests of the restaurant.