On arrival we were greeted with a cocktail reception hosted by Clotilde Lataille. There were two cocktails on offer and she was available to chat through her creations:
5 O'clock in Charente
Martell V.S. Cognac, Red Ruby tea, Scezuan syrup, blackberries, lemon juice and Perrier-Jouet Champagne
Martell Cordon Bleu Cognac, Byrrh, IPA syrup
The cocktails were delicious. My favourite was surprisingly the Can-Can 300, which was strong and warming on a cold and dark October evening.
After the drinks reception we were seated ready for the feast. We started with an amuse bouche of bone marrow, Martell Cognac, seaweed and caviar d'aquitaine. This wasn't my favourite dish on the menu, it was actually surprisingly tasty but I couldn't get the bone marrow concept from my mind, which marred my enjoyment slightly. The texture was like a smooth pate, which went very well with the home made bread selection (sourdough, brioche and white roll) served with pine nut and basil butters.
The next course was one of the best. It was a warm soup like dish. Cappuccino of foie gras, chicory and Martell Cognac. The soup flavour was strong and the foie gras perfectly smooth. I savoured every last mouthful. The starter was complemented with a crisp and cold glass of Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut.
It would always have been difficult to beat the last course but Pascal created another sublime dish. We had an eclade of lobster and mussels with pine smoked Sabayon, which was mouth wateringly delicious. This was served with a white wine: Limoux, Toques & Clochers Fut 92, Cuvee Jacques 2009.
Finally we came across the best dish of the night. The feedback was so positive that Pascal has incorporated this into his main restaurant menu. "Tipsy" white goldfish, autumn truffle, pumpkin pulp and toasted seeds. The fish was cooked to perfection and the incorporation of pumpkin and truffle worked tremendously. It was insanely delicious! This was paired with a cocktail of Martell X.O. Cognac, apricot, passion fruit, Rose vermouth and lemon myrtle tea. The cocktail was great but maybe a little strong to be paired with the fish.
The next delight was a twist on a cheese course. We tried Roquefort macaroon, Martell Cognac and pickled cobnuts. The macaroons were perfect and sandwiched the cheese. It was a strange sensation as you automatically associate macaroons as being sweet tasting so to find the flavour of savoury strong cheese is quite a challenge on the taste buds. However, I loved the idea, it worked really well and would recommend others to try it. The cheese was paired with a dessert wine: Rancio, Domaine des Schistes, Ambre.
Finally we were treated to a Gascon Mess, which was filled with whipped cream, meringue and deliciously sweet red fruits. It was a great final course and really complemented the rest of the meal.
After dessert came the digestif and our chance to have a Martell Cognac tasting. We tried the Cordon Bleu and the X.O. After a small sample of each we could choose our favourite to have with coffee, which was a great little touch .
All in all this menu was amazing and the evening was fabulous. It cannot have been easy to incorporate Martell Cognac into every dish but Pascal did an incredible job and produced a truly fantastic experience. All of the courses were delicious and exceptionally different from one another. The drinks pairings on the whole worked very well with the dishes. Everyone was smiling and laughing but most importantly mind boggled by the food. This certainly was a celebration of ingredients and culinary imagination.