We are all currently gripped by Scandi-mania so when legendary chef Alain Ducasse teamed up with self-proclaimed Norwegian 'Salmon Man' Ole-Martin Hansen to launch his new concept menu at Le Dali in Paris, we were intrigued. Grazia's Victoria Grier went along to see what all the fuss was about.
[Left: Coquillettes pasta, ham and black truffle, Right: Steamed cod, green peas and smoked eel]
Ole-Martin Hansen has become the talk of the town with his family smokehouse Hansen & Lydersen in Stoke Newington, North London. His traditional smoking methods and recipes have been in his family for over 80 years. Alain Ducasse, the king of French cooking was the first chef to own restaurants carrying three Michelin stars in three cities across the globe. Together they have created restaurant concept Le Dali in one of the world's most luxurious hotels, Le Meurice.
First off, the venue. Le Dali puts the 'L' into luxury. It is definitely a place for encounters and a moment to savour. Settle down beneath the keystone of Philippe Starck's project, a giant canvas painted by his daughter Ara Starck. Le Dali is a grand space and its namesake artist's spirit reigns supreme, thanks to surrealist touches such as a chair with feet in the form of ladies shoes which all add to the mystical aura of the place.
[Left: Cookpot of morels, eggnog and white wine, Right: Risotto, squid and seasonal vegetables]
Known for his respect for seasonal ingredients, Alain Ducasse's main belief is that a chef's expertise should be used to highlight the real natural taste of food. Over the years he has partnered with many talented chefs and this time it is the kooky slightly unorthodox Ole-Martin Hansen. (I turn up to the elegant Le Meurice to find the very tall Ole wearing blue branded overalls and bright red Hunter wellies!). Once I am seated amongst other journalists Ole comes round with a tray of smouldering juniper wood. He wafts the deliciously earthy smoke towards us and like an excited child at Christmas exclaims in his melodic Norwegian accent "See! Juniper!"
First course is a 'Hansen & Lydersen' smoked salmon platter. Four individual pieces of tender smoky salmon are each accompanied with Sake, Breton whisky Single Malt Glann ar Mor, Cognac and a Sauternes Cahateau Guiraud 2007. The combination is mindblowing.
To follow is the Spring Dali Salad which is on the lunch menu for 38€ and accompanied by a glass of Champagne Roederer Rosé 2008. A delicious plate of seasonal crunchy greens, perfectly French in every way.
Main course is a Thick smoked salmon steak with broth infused with hay. This is accompanied by a delicious glass of Alsace Pinot Noir Herrenweg Domaine Josmeyer 2010. A lightly smoked fillet with a rich golden broth, poached baby spring vegetables and enoki mushrooms. Simply delicious!
To finish a touch of theatre as a flaming Baked Alaska arrives at the table. Shortbread layered with fresh strawberries, strawberry sorbet and gooey meringue with a caramelised top. Drizzled with kirsch and set alight, it was truly a delight!
A two course lunch at Le Dali with a glass of wine will set you back around 150€ (approx £120). If you are visiting Paris for the weekend I would definitely recommend popping into this gourmet hotspot for a bite to eat!
Le Dali at Le Meurice Hotel, 228 Rue de Rivoli, Paris
Follow Vic on Twitter @VicGrier