Memories are Made of This

General Manager Patrick Simiand of Ledoyen tells JJ why the starters need to be in “one bite”.

We want to talk more about this trip’s first week. Proving it’s possible to enjoy the best of London and Paris (thanks to Eurostar), with time to spare …

DAVID: Time and space, to fit these columns, do not always allow for some of the special people, places and things we come across as we travel. So, this is sort of a withdrawal from our memory bank of recent events in London and Paris. Again, we recommend…

JACKIE: London’s One Aldwych Hotel shocked away my jetlag as soon as I entered the reception. A full size decoupage dog, adorned with colorful cartoons welcomed us. They were artful and fun, like the hotel. Riding the lift is an event as the color changes with the time of day and the checkered mirrors reflect endless mirrors… like traveling up and down in an art installation. After getting lost in our suite’s indulgent bathtub, I was refreshed and ready to join the many lovely Londoners in the spacious One Aldwych Rotunda Bar where theatregoers, families, pals, and sweethearts gathered under high splendid dangling floral arrangements. An artful Oarsman, with his oar piercing the air above, hovers over a group of gents (you have to see it). No need to leave the hotel to dine, as their fine dining Restaurant Axis is a London favorite. We pampered ourselves with a brave starter, deep fried pig’s head. It’s marvelous if you don’t think about it. We can guarantee the fish and chips, salmon (poached with fish cockles). Executive Chef Tony Fleming’s use of samphire, a sea asparagus, tips off how brilliant a food artist he is, and why he has gained fame in the media. Chef Tony’s novel menus also serve Indigo and the Rotunda bar. Indigo, overlooking the Rotunda, offers great people watching along with great dining. Sad to leave, but it was Eurostar to Paris.

The mystery “Spaghetti” of Ledoyen.

DAVID: d’Aubusson Hotel. Too briefly we wrote about some of the brilliant changes here, all under the talented supervision of Director/General Manager Walter Waeterloos. At the top of our list are the new bathrooms; in a word, fabulous! Walls and floors and counters of stunning polished granite frame a perfectly conceived combination of beauty, comfort and space for all our necessities. The new bath surrounds you with water: a rain shower, handheld shower, and whirlpool tub that sends up air-propelled jets that sooth and revitalize. Five stars from us! Walter is also responsible for the spirit of his great staff. They bring their own marvelous personalities, warmth and pleasure in their work.

JACKIE: Especially helpful was our friend and Head Concierge, Jean Vernaz always smiling with excellent advice. And in the breakfast room, server Roshan Dabare never forgot my l’eau chaud avec citron (hot water with lemon) or Dave’s egg-white omelets. Merci beaucoup to one and all!

DAVID: You might treat yourself (as we did) to a special occasion in our city of dreams. We chose to lunch at Pavillon Ledoyen, nestled in that lovely stretch from the Place de la Concorde to the Rond Point, a peaceful park called the Carre des Champs Elysees. This palatial restaurant, once the Pavillion of Napoleon III, is the perfect setting for the cuisine of brilliant Chef Christian Le Squer who has earned 3 Michelin Stars. In this city of more restaurants than we could visit in a lifetime, only nine others have achieved this honor. Our sampling of his dazzling and daring menu included some “one bite” starters (treats that burst and vaporize with flavor). The langoustine is velvet with a surprise scoop of melting lemon butter. The asparagus with truffle sauce and a secret yolk tucked into a soufflé like egg white was as elegant as the diners. Lobster and pistachio sorbet, ahhh!

JACKIE: The most dumbfoundingly grand was the spaghetti with ham and morels. A little boxcar made of the pasta, when tapped open poured out the innards in a grand sauce. One of their cheese offerings was the rare Epoisses (by Berthaut) affine au Marc de Bourgogne. Run to the cheese shop! After more desserts than the law should allow, we took the long walk home, knowing how lucky we are.

And we wish you the same …we’ll travel!