From the bread trolley filled with baguettes, brioches and other bakes that greets you on arrival to the petit four platter that sweetens your palate before you depart, the offerings at this stalwart continue to impress just as they have since 1994.
There’s no resting on its laurels for Les Amis’ two-Michelin-star kitchen. Refined culinary techniques and gastronomic artistry reveal chef Sebastien Lepinoy’s consistently high standards. Skilful techniques are applied to premium seasonal French produce, showcasing their natural flavours – for instance, the juicy langoustine from Loctudy, Brittany, delicately wrapped with thinly sliced courgette and partnered with a light emulsion of extra virgin olive oil.
The cold starters are akin to art on a plate. We have sweet crabmeat and avocado stuffed into a crisp brick pastry roll, embellished with caviar, shiso flowers and edible gold leaves, and surrounded by diced salmon. We are delighted, too, with the exquisitely plated salmon en belle vue brightened with capers and spring veggies, then layered with grated egg white, and crowned with a “rosace” of paper-thin pink radish. This composition is encircled by an artistically piped sauce cocktail.
Moving on from the standout starters to the mains, we enjoy the natural taste and succulence of the line-caught sea bass paired with spring vegetables. However, we are less impressed with the large slice of challans duck; its texture is a little too chewy for our liking.
Signalling the end of our meal is a dessert of pillowy rum baba infused with aged rum and citrus, presented with airy whipped creme fleurette, as well as a classic warm souffle jazzed up with salted caramel.
We know by now that Les Amis has an encyclopaedic list of wines (about 3,000 bottles) that would impress even the fussiest wine connoisseur. As we don’t have time to peruse the list at lunchtime, a bonus point goes to the savvy sommelier who recommends a good-value half bottle of chablis that pairs perfectly with our seasonal spring dishes.