A birthday dinner at La Maison du Jardin, Paris
Sunday, October 9, 2011

On Saturday night, a group of us got together for dinner to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Originally, she had planned to dine by herself but when we found out, her table for 1 turned into a table for 10. We went to La Maison du Jardin, a restaurant in the 6th arrondissement, very close to our school.

For dinner, you can choose between a 2-course meal for €26 or a 3-course meal for €32. The restaurant was very cozy, just as if you were dining in someone’s home. It’s a place you can dine on your own comfortably without feeling, well, too alone. They served very good quality French food at affordable prices.

My entrée (first course): carpaccio de thon. Fresh, thin slices of tuna drizzled with a light olive oil and sprinkled with some parmesan, basil, and roasted red peppers. The croutons were brushed with a thyme oil. It was a good dish but I found the texture of the tuna too soft.

My plat (main): rascasse (scorpion fish) with artichokes in a saffron sauce. A beautiful dish, the fish was perfectly cooked, the vegetables were not overcooked, and the sauce was delicious. I cleaned the plate.

This was another girl's main which was a specialty of the restaurant. It was braised duck meat wrapped inside crisp puff pastry and accompanied by very delicious cinnamon roasted figs. Highly recommended.

My dessert: strawberry soup infused with ginger, accompanied with fromage blanc ice cream and a tuile. A simple but perfect end to a meal. I loved the hint of ginger in the strawberry soup. It leaves your palate feeling warm and clean. I'd like to transform the bucket of strawberries in my fridge right now into this.

After the dinner, we went over to a friend’s apartment to have cake and drinks. We had pastries from Pierre Hermé and a box of chocolates, or should I say jewels, from Patrick Roger.

Pastries from Pierre Herme for the birthday girl (and 7 of us). We had Dépaysé (green), Plénitude (chocolate), and Inca (white).

The Dépaysé (green cake) which featured Japanese flavours inside a traditional French pastry. This was my least favourite of the cakes we had today. The green matcha ganache inside the macaron was too dense and not rich enough in green tea flavour. The red bean paste was also too thick and lost it’s true flavour.

The Plénitude(chocolate) was a dark chocolate mousse and ganache on top of a chocolate macaron base with crunchy bits of sea salt and caramel hidden inside. The saltiness was a really nice surprise that worked well with the rich, dark chocolate. I didn’t taste the caramel inside the cake though.

The Inca (white cake) had a hazelnut biscuit, an avocado and banana compote, candied grapefruit, and chocolate mousse all inside a thin sheet of white chocolate.

The Amazon. A specialty from Patrick Roger Chocolate which involves over 20 steps in the making. It's a smooth, oozing lime-accented caramel inside dark chocolate. This was really good, not too sweet, as normal caramel-filled chocolates tend to be.



Well? Let me know what you think. Write me a comment below!