Pim and I had been talking about meeting for a while : it was just a matter of patiently waiting for the opportunity to arise, since her job has her fly into Paris regularly. It finally did, and we had dinner yesterday at Flora, a restaurant operated by the young lady chef Flora Mikula, and about which I had read good things.
We had a fabulous time together, talking animatedly about myriads of things, blogs and food and restaurants and wine and jobs and books and jam and chefs and travel, chatting away like there was no tomorrow and laughing the whole time.
The restaurant experience itself was unfortunately not as stellar as I would have hoped for such a special meeting. We chose to have the Menu Dégustation Surprise (the surprise tasting menu), which turned out to lack harmony as a whole. It started out well, with a soft-boiled egg with a morel cream and truffle mouillettes (toasted fingers of bread to dip into the egg), and then a lobster tempura on a bed of ceps, with a velouté de cèpe poured all around.
But the fresh foie gras that followed was nervy and tasted off, the sauce too strong and sour. The Saint-Pierre fish went well with the artichaut barigoule (a stew of artichoke hearts) it was served on, but we felt it was somewhat overcooked. The next dish was a mignon de veau with mushrooms. This was delicious, the mushrooms tasty and well-seasoned, the veal tender with crispy bits, but that was just way too many mushroom dishes for one menu : I know this is September and all, but come on, hadn't we had enough mushrooms by then?
Then came the cheese platter, out of which Pim and I shared a plate with Boutons de culotte (teeny goat cheeses shaped on a little piece of straw), Brin d'Amour (a herbed sheep's milk cheese from Corsica), Maroilles and a delicious cow's milk cheese aged in a walnut crust, the name of which unfortunately escapes me now.
Dessert was a moussy rectangular chocolate cake, with a tiny scoop of nutella ice-cream, and a roasted fig with a scoop of a very surprising blue cheese ice-cream (glace au fromage blanc et à la Fourme). They served this with a chunky peach sorbet which was delicious, but had nothing to do with the rest : this was obviously meant to be a pré-dessert and served before the actual dessert, but we were the very last diners and apparently they didn't want us to linger much longer, as confirmed by the waiter who was popping his head every thirty seconds to see if we had finished our coffee and were ready for the check.
Oh well, maybe they were just having a bad night, and the regular 32€ three-course menu would probably have been a better choice. But this certainly didn't put a damper on our meeting in any remote way, and we still enjoyed our lively conversation, both of us super-delighted to finally meet. Oh, and next time she's in town, I'm taking her up on her offer, and we're cooking Thaï food together!
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