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Ducasse to open at the Dorchester


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As the Decanter reports, Alain Ducasse is set to launch a 70-person capacity restaurant later this year, inside the Dorchester Hotel. Do Ramsay, Wareing, Roux, Charvot and the likes have to seriously worry now? Is some serious competition coming their way?

Does Ducasse plan some kind of Louis XV in London? Will Mayfair turn into Monaco? Could the Dorchester return to the culinary fame it had under Mosimann? And will London get a second three-star restaurant? Or will it be just a classy brasserie, some sort of Spoon on a bigger scale?

Should any member have a deeper insight into what Ducasse's plans are, I would be really interested.

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  • 7 months later...

More details have emerged about Alain Ducasse’s new venture at the Dorchester.

The 80-cover restaurant will be situated in the former Terrace space overlooking Park Lane and is scheduled to open on 13th November. Reservations will be taken from 1st October onwards.

Head chef will be Nicola Canuti, whose prior experience includes Ducasse’s Louis XV in Monte Carlo (and also a stint working for Marco Pierre White). Most recently, he cooked at Ducasse's Spoon des Iles in Mauritius. Sous chef will be Bruno Riou and pastry chef Angelo Ercolano.

Christian Laval, the maitre d', has worked at Ducasse's three-star restaurants in both Paris and Monte Carlo and has managed Spoon Food & Wine in Paris since 1998. He will be supported by Philippe Beaucourt. Hugues Lepin, the head sommelier, also has prior Ducasse experience, but has most recently been Head Sommelier for Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's.

Edited by ameiden (log)
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I'd be interested to see a list of the number of seats at every Michelin three-star restaurant. I wonder how that could be assembled.

[Edited to add: started a separate topic on that issue]

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
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80 covers is high for a top-end *** joint.  Harder to maintain consistency with that volume.

40 is more like the norm.

J

certainly in the UK but when i first visited some 3* in france i was struck by the size of the likes of Boyer les crayeres, Bocuse & Taillevent

you don't win friends with salad

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Louis XV in Monte Carlo has about 50 covers, Ducasse at Plaza-Athénée in Paris about 60. If the new Dorchester place wants to play in the same league, 80 covers is indeed a fairly high number. But then it all depends on logistics and numbers of staff ...

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I don't really give a monkeys on the numbers as long as it lives up to my expectations. Am already chomping at the bit for when the reservations line opens on Monday and I need to try and get 3 tables booked before Christmas. It better be worth it because if the Louis the XV is anything to go by, London will have seen nothing like it, ever...

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I have just spoken to the Dorchester and the cost of the 3 course lunch menu will be £35 and for dinner £75. These really are quite ambitious prices for a new opening and will have to be achieving something fairly spectacular if it is really going to be justifying these prices. Am thinking that Texture may well be the better value of the two best new boys of the year at least in the short term.

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I have it on good authority that it will be the full on Ducasse with no expense spaired - looking at the quality of seafood they are looking to buy it certainly will be too!

If a man makes a statement and a woman is not around to witness it, is he still wrong?

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Bookings are most definately being taken and it is due to open on 13th November as previously advertised and they're taking bookings up to November. Booking line is 020 7629 8866. Have just booked 3 tables (1st, 3rd and 5th week of it being opened) without any problem. Better start saving... :smile::laugh::biggrin:

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Yep, bookings are being accepted just managed to book no problem at all. After Lunch at Louis XV last week I couldn't resist, if it reaches 75% of that level I'll be reasonably happy :rolleyes:

Matthew,

I will be at Louis XV next week. Is there anything that impressed you most, any dishes from the current menu that you would recommend in particular?

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I had the lunch menu and wholly recommend everything we ate! If it hasn't changed then I can fully recommend the Lobster and chestnut soup, Pigeon served with a sauce made from its offal, the Bernard Anthony Comte from the cheese board, the Louis XV chocolate dessert and the wild strawberries with Mascarpone Sorbet, all of which were particularly stunning. I also tasted seabass spiked with black olives and capers and a wonderful cepe salad. The saucing was particularly impressive, something that is so often lacking these days.

Truly fantastic cooking and a bargain to boot, I would happily have paid full ALC prices for what I ate yet it was €125 including wine, water, coffee and petit fours. IMO London offers nothing approaching the level of ingredients and cooking on display there. It got me all excited about fine dining again and took all my willpower not to return the following day :smile:

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Wow, that sounds terrific, thanks very much indeed. I won't be able to go back the next day either as I will be heading back to Britain after lunch. But the day before I will be dining at Joel Robuchon (**) in Monte Carlo which will allow for a direct comparison. (And also try out the new chef at the Chantecler in Nice, apparently MOF 2007.)

That is another aspect of it too - with the opening of the Dorchester restaurant, Robuchon and Ducasse will be competing in Paris, Monaco, London and (soon again) New York.

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I know I maybe getting a bit over cautious now having booked 3 tables but in all the pulicity junk coming out there seeems to be a lot of emphasis on the head chef Nicola Canuti taking a modern interpretation of Ducasse classics. All sounds a bit wishy washy to me and could well come up below the real thing, or then again it could just improve an already legendary formula.

I have also just spoken to the restaurant in the last few minutes to try and book another table for a Monday lunch in December but after taking my booking they charmingly informed me that they are closed on Sundays and Mondays. So beware.

I think the most exciting thing to me with the AD is whether he will be getting his cheeses from Bernard Antony. Only the Capital and Sketch have his cheeses in London (I think) and I would love it if he gets them in as well as his cheeses are without compare. Only just under 5 weeks to D-day now!

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I'm thinking that this will not be a full on version of his cuisine, after all to charge £75 for three courses would barely buy you a starter in Paris or Monaco though it would stretch to the lunch menu in Monaco so we may be lucky.

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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The price doesn't concern me so much as £75 is a strong starting price in London to say the least (£10 more than established joints such as Petrus, Square, Capital et al). The cost is probably less than Paris and Monaco because of 2 issues:

Staffing - only one brigade in the UK in all likelihood unlike France where there are two due to the French love of spoiling the fun (AKA working hour laws).

And London in general is a lot cheaper to eat than Paris or Monaco at the high end and I don't think even AD could get the custom if he went in at £100 for 3 courses.

I just get the vibe it won't be the full on experience. Still crossing fingers tho.

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True it is £110 for the so-called 'prestige' menu but it's 3 course a la carte is only £85 which after many years of honing is not a bad price considering you actually get about 10 courses. And I know Le Gavroche is also up there at £90 for its tasting menu and probably more than that for its a la carte, it's just that I think going in there at £75 for 3 and lunch at £35 (only GR RHR is more) is quite steep. I wonder how much it will be with a star or two?

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So we're now debating the quality of yet-to-open restaurants by their prices? I've said it before but I'll say it again: this board has gone weird.

Given the details we know so far, the place looks like it will be similar to his New York branch, Alain Ducasse at Essex House (or wherever it's now moved to). Therefore: three-star in style, splendour and wallet gouging, but it'll be a faithful "interpretation" rather than a clone of the Monaco experience.

(This time last year we were equally excited about Joel Robuchon's arrival. And when was the last time anyone went there?)

Edited by naebody (log)
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