The restaurant Le Cinq opened in 2001, part of the luxury Georges V palace hotel, an art deco landmark dating back to 1928. This was where General Eisenhower chose to make his headquarters during the Allied liberation of Paris.
In October 2014 Christian Le Squer, who had earned three stars for a dozen consecutive years at Ledoyen, moved to Le Cinq. He has clearly been recruited with the mission of gaining a third star for the restaurant and in His mission he has succeed.
Stepping into Four Seasons George V hotel is like stepping into a luxury private château – chandeliers, lofty ceilings, beautiful tapestry, silken couches and massive ornate carpets. The stage set is an amalgam of styles: Art Deco, Neo-Classical and Moderne Louis XV and Louis XVI. This is a place of heavy bling: brocade carpets, Louis XVI chairs, crystal chandeliers, and gorgeous mahogany commodes. Add to that fantastical floral creations – a signature of the hotel – which stand almost as high as the potted palm trees. Jazz music from the hotel’s neighbouring lounge often wafts in, which completes the picture. Dining at Le Cinq is like dining at au grand couvert where you are the king and queen and the entire court seamlessly twist, twirl, pop, pour and lift to almost mechanical, ballet-like precision. We felt like Beauty and the Beast’s Belle in Lumière’s dining room – half-expecting the plates to start dancing.
We were greeted by champagne trolley with a selection of excellent champagnes. The meal began with a trio of canapés, most notably a jewel-like silver bubble that pops in your mouth releasing a burst of flavours. This one was so clean, refreshing and you can only appreciate the technical skills that would have gone in making these canapés. Bread was made in the kitchen from scratch, and we sampled the baguette and a multi-seed roll. These were very high quality, especially the baguette. Next was the amuse–bouche, after which the real meal begun. The starter was Le Squer’s signature dish, and one that shows off his technical acumen – ‘Parisian style’ gratinated onions. The menu description belied what followed: tiny, silk-shelled globes which popped in the mouth to reveal unctuous, syrupy onion soup, like liquid gold. Main course was lamb fillet and harissa flavoured lamb sausage served on a bed of lemon scented semolina. This was a very strong and rich dish. Cheese came from top Paris suppliers, and was in impeccable condition, a Camembert particularly impressive. A pre-dessert was necessary at this point to wash our mouth before the dessert. Grapefruit millefeuille was served in both preserved and natural form. This is another Ledoyen classic and was beautifully executed here, the interplay of textures and the balance between the sugar and the fruit acidity makes this dish a thing to behold. There was a layer of confit grapefruit, a layer of grapefruit infused with vanilla and lime, then grapefruit sorbet with a layer of sugar crisp with a touch of basil. Strawberry cake came with strawberries cooked in their own juices and strawberry foam. The fruit was of very high quality and the different textures worked very well together, the overall effect refreshing and enjoyable.Then arrives the dessert trolley, with delicate little sugar pastries that were simply superb, as well as a choice of different chocolate petit fours from an impressive selection presented on a trolley.
As we chomped on some fluffy, Tinkerbell-green absinthe marshmallow from the plentiful dessert trolley, Lumière’s words resounded: “Try the grey stuff – it’s delicious – don’t believe me, ask the dishes, they can sing, they can dance, for after all dear this is France – and the dinner here is never second best.” And quite right he was.
The price for 4 course may seem steep at the time of booking but remember you are paying for the entire experience and not just 4 courses.