Yes indeed. Today has been one of the greatest days in our lives. The others that come to mind are (i) at Cordon Bleu (ii) At Le Gavaroche (iii) At Fat Duck (iv) At the Rolling Stones Concert in Mumbai (v) at Deep Purple in Mumbai.
We started the day walking the streets of Lyon. Good city. Not that much to see but lots to eat. We went up on the Funicular to the Basilica at the top. Nice. Slowly the day turned to evening and then to night.
We caught a taxi to Restaurant Paul Bocuse where we had a reservation for 8 pm which we had booked months ago from Bombay [shhhh dont tell Bal/Uddhav/Raj that we did not want to eat Misaal Pao]. We were taken to our table where after a glass of refreshing Champagne we proceeded to order our meal. Let me tell you one thing. In India its only the Panjabis who knew what a classy restaurant should look like. We have been to Gavaroche, and Bocuse [yes its only two] but they have so much in common with Gaylord/Ritz etc etc. Look, the Panjabis even called their place the Ritz. This would have been years and years ago.
Anyway, I digress. Soon after we ordered, the great man walked into the dining room. Both of us were nearly reduced to tears. This was a true legend and giant of the culinary world, a man before the Roux brothers, before Gordon Ramsay before Ducasse, before everybody. A man 84 years old with bright shining eyes and a firm handshake. One of the greatest living cooks. A master chef to beat all masterchefs. My mind went to all those movies we have seen of hysterical fans crying at the sight of the Beatles and Elvis. My god we were close to that. He happily posed for a photo and went on his way. This restaurant has one sitting at lunch and one at dinner turning out 110 meals of high class food every meal. No pre cooked curries or daal bhaat here. Every plate fired a la minute.
The meal. It was in a word fantastic. Superb, outstanding. Worth every penny or euro.
But this is what a restaurant experience is all about. This is one of the long standing 3 michelin star restaurants. Probably has had 3 stars for the last 40 years. Every plate is put down with the logo facing you. Every glass has a logo facing you. There is a small stool for ladies to keep their purses. On entering we handed in our coats. On exit we were returned our coats with the waiting taxi. No receipts nothing. At one stage the Sommelier dropped the water bottle. Immediately he replaced the whole bottle and our glasses and appologised profusely. Mind you the bottle was almost over anyway. Lots of jokes exchanged about dropping the wine bottle instead of the water bottle. We were just two Indians [the only brown faces] in the restaurant. We threw no names, did not have any name ourself [we are not rich vegetarians as Vir Sanghavi so eloquently put it] we were not the mittals/jindals or other rich marwadi. No Sindhi would be here, the Sindhis stick with Pan Asian thank god no french for them. We ordered no 300 euro wine.Yet, we were called by the restaurant manager to visit the kitchen and have our photo taken with the Head and Sous Chef. Arti was handed a autographed Menu. Something we will treasure and take to our respective pyres.
What an evening what a man.
But I must conclude on one note. I think Le Gavaroche is better.
Pumpkin Soup [Amuse Bouche]
Foie Gras with Verjuice Sauce
Foie Gras with Jellied Consomme
With Paul Bocuse. The greatest Chef of the 20th Century