Monday, January 02, 2017

Dinner at Goust, Paris

Paris is a mecca for Michelin star dining.  The city (and surrounding metro region), boasts 70+ Michelin stars (10 of which are 3 stars).  Given my Michelin star dining crusade from Tokyo, where I consumed 8 stars in 3 days, you'd think I'd be in my element there.

But, during my first trip there, we mostly decided not to do fancy dining.  One reason was simple: fine dining in Paris is crazy expensive.  I was traveling for business, and I certainly could not use my expense account for those sorts of meals.  Second, many were closed for the August holiday.  And thrid, most Michelin establishments only offer very large tasting menus, aka, 12 courses with no choices for any, and I just wasn't in the mood for long, drawn out meals during the busy work week.

So during my entire time in Paris, I only ate three Michelin stars.  Two were at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon for lunch the first weekend with Ojan, which was good, but not outstanding (although an incredible deal, price-wise).  The other was dinner at Goust our final weekend in Paris, with two other colleagues.

Goust was recommended by our hotel concierge.  It was located only a 5 minute walk away.  I'll be honest: I assumed it just another one of the slew of mediocre single Michelin star places in Paris, recommended only due to proximity.  It also didn't seem very popular, only a handful of reviews could be found, unlike more famous places.  But the reviews that did exist were positive.

What really drew me in to Goust was the menu.  Online, they just provide the basics, explaining that there is a seasonal menu, always evolving.  I of course needed to know more, so I e-mailed the restaurant to find out the advance menu.  Unlike other places I contacted, they responded, and did so in English, and in a friendly manner.  The moment I saw the menu, I was sold.  I was able to easily make a reservation via e-mail (appreciated due to my not speaking a word of French!).

A small fraction of our dishes!
We had a good, albeit long, meal.  Since I'm used to eating earlier than folks in Paris, I opted for the earliest reservation time, the moment they opened, at 7:30pm.  It was after 11 when we left.  I went into the meal not knowing much, because there just weren't many reviews online, so I had no idea that what I thought was going to be a reasonable 3 course meal was really going to include so many bonus dishes.  If you count every dish, we had ... 17 different dishes ... EACH.  I had spent the day walking around Paris, visiting all the patisseries I wanted to check out, so uh, I'd been indulging and eating all day long.  I wasn't really prepared for that level of indulgence.  Next time, I most certainly would not be eating pastries at 4pm before heading to dinner a few hours later!

There were some misses (desserts weren't great, mains were fine but unremarkable, and amuse bouches looked better than they tasted), but the starters were incredible, with one very memorable high, the best non-dessert/pastry that I had in Paris.  I'd go back again just for this one dish alone, in a heartbeat.  The food was also just very interesting, and kept us engaged throughout the entire meal.  Lots of molecular gastronomy, some more successful than others, but again, interesting and enjoyable.

The Setting

Service was stellar.  Our server seemed to anticipate our needs before we even realized we had them.  He was friendly, and easily spoke English with us.  It was the only place we dined where I didn't feel bad that I was speaking English.  As you'd expect in a Michelin starred establishment, the basic service elements of having cutlery swapped out between courses, crumbs cleared, etc were handled, but it also never felt stuffy.  When I got up to use the restroom, my napkin wasn't refolded, a practice I always find just too much.
Interior.
The space was broken up into two small rooms, each with only a handful of tables.  Our room had only 4 tables.  It was small and intimate, dimly lit as you can tell.  The noise level was very low, but, it certainly didn't feel like somewhere you weren't allowed to enjoy yourself either.
Place Settings.
Tables were set elegantly, with white tablecloths, fancy gold embellished plates, and ornate silverware.  Tables all had small candles, and real red roses in fancy glass holders.

Still, it managed to not feel stuffy.

I don't have a photo, but the bathroom was stunning, with slate sinks, and real towels to wipe your hands on.

Food & Drink

The menu was not large, only 4 options each for starters and mains, and 3 desserts, but you don't need tons of options when the menu is all great.  Most importantly for me, they actually offered a la carte at dinner, a rarity.  I wanted to be able to size my meal appropriately, and pick my dishes, so this was very appealing to me.  The other menu option was the tasting menu, for the whole table only, 4 courses for 85€ (wine pairings for a very reasonable 35€).

Prices were reasonable ... for Paris, and for Michelin starred.  Starters ranged from 32-36€, mains 39-45€, and desserts were 16€.  Certainly not for a random night out, but no where near the insane prices of many of the other Michelin establishments I researched.

The wine program was unique.  Yes, they had a wine list, by the bottle.  Besides that, you could opt for a wine pairing at the per dish level, at a fairly reasonable 10€ each.  The interesting part is that they wouldn't tell you what the wine was, until after you had it.  You had no say in what you were getting.  No other options were available by the glass.

We ended up enjoying this creative wine program.  The server made sure to bring us the wine before our dish would arrive, so we could taste it and think about it.  He always asked us to guess what it was, before presenting us with the bottle.  He congratulated us when we got the wines correct.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Crackers, Amuse Bouches, Breads

The moment we sat down, we were offered still or sparkling water.  Our water glasses were kept refilled throughout the night.  This was nice, except, it ended up being fairly pricey.  We weren't aware of the water prices in advance, but the price for all those bottles really did add up to a shocking amount.

And then, our meal began.  With 8 dishes (!), before we even got to our appetizers.
Welcome Snacks: Crackers and Grissini.
Also, within moments of sitting (literally, less than 3 minutes), we were brought initial snacks: grissini and colored crackers.  They were served in paper cone, with a metal holder.

The grissini were crispy and crunchy, with tons of olive oil flavor.  If I was at all munchy-feeling, I would have loved them.

The crackers came in three colors (red, green, and yellow), but all tasted the same.  They were thin and actually fairly flavorless, but fun for nibbling while we settled in.  None of us had any idea what they were.

I hadn't even settled into my seat, much less brought out my pad of paper and pen, so I entirely missed the description of what they were when the server brought them.  One diner commented that they reminded him of fish food, you know, the flakes that you sprinkle over a tank?  He wasn't wrong, although I know that makes them sound unappealing.

These welcome snacks set the tone for what was to come.  So much food was about to come our way, more than half of which we weren't expecting.
Welcome Bites.
Soon after, probably still within the first ...5 minutes that we had been seated, more food arrived.  This was a trio of welcome bites, all stunningly presented, on a slate.

Note, at this point, we had not even ordered anything.  I hadn't even told them about my allergy.  Food was coming fast and furious, and I was totally unprepared!

From back to front, we had: daikon and goat cheese "ravioli", a carrot gelee "airbag", and a Bloody Mary juice sphere.

I sat back for a second, stunned.  The calibre of the meal about to unfold started to become obvious.  I was clearly not just going to perhaps share a starter and get a main dish myself, and have a easy, but tasty, small meal as I had anticipated.  It was about to get far more involved than I expected.  We were in for the long haul apparently.  Well, ok then.

The others all dug in immediately.  I was still frantically trying to pull out some paper and a pen, and jot down the descriptions before I forgot them entirely.  My companions comments however made me very excited to dive in, as they were very intrigued by the flavors and textures of the bites.

Since I don't like goat cheese, I didn't have my ravioli, but these were ridiculous cute.  A thin slice of daikon, stuffed with goat cheese, folded in half, and secured with an absolutely tiny clothespin.  So cute (the clothespin was just for keeping it together, it wasn't edible).

I started with the "airbag".  I thought this was going to be a filled item, but I'm not quite sure why I thought that.  Rather, the "airbag" was just the base, a puffy, but unfilled, crispy cracker.  On top of it was the carrot gelee, formed as a round disk.  I didn't particularly taste any carrot.  The garnish on top was a tiny bit of Spanish sardine. This I liked, as it brought some saltiness.

The final item was the one that the others all couldn't stop talking about.  A Bloody Mary juice sphere, perched atop pearl spoons.  We were told that yes, it had vodka.

You clearly needed to put the whole thing in your mouth and eat it, as it was liquid inside, and burst easily.  It was a very flavorful bite, I understand why the others were raving.  The tomato flavor was very strong.  I didn't taste any alcohol.  They all really liked it, but to me, it was far too oily.  Oily tomato juice wasn't very interesting to me. 

So, overall, I didn't actually like these bites.  One was just a cracker, with a flavorless gel, and a bit of salt, and the other, an oily tomato juice.  They did show off a lot of technique though, and were a fun way to get started.
Bread and Butter.
Once we ordered, more food started arriving, this time bread service and an amuse bouche (no, those other things were not the amuse!).

Since our meal started with the crackers, I thought that there might not be a bread service, but I was wrong.  The server came with a bread basket, and served us each a slice of two breads, one was a soft white bread, the other a crusty wheat bread.

The white one, focacia-like, was soft, but lacked the decadence of an oily focaccia, so it was fairly unremarkable.

The wheat had a nice crust, and was soft inside, but it was a bit sour (as in, sourdough), which I don't like.

For a city known for amazing boulangeries, the bread did let me down.

As I was pondering the bread, my table mates were going crazy over the butter.  The butter was served with a special knife alongside, able to stand up on its own end (as you can see above).

I understand why they were going nuts.  Butter in France is unlike anything I've ever had in the US.  Our hotel had a highly mediocre breakfast, but even there, the butter in the buffet was better than any I've had in the US.  And I don't have words to tell you about the absolutely incredible butter we had at my office.  I had no idea butter could taste this amazing, really.  I ate it with toast or croissants at breakfast.  I ate it with walnut bread after lunch.  I may or may not have literally eaten it by the spoonful.    I don't want to think about how much butter I consumed in my two weeks in France.  So, I understand freaking out about butter.

But to me, the butter at Goust, while certainly good, certainly better than US butter, was nothing like our office butter.  I'm not sure any of the others had tried the office butter though.  They all kept slathering more and more butter onto their bread.  I quickly rationed some for myself, worried it was going to run out.  Which it did.  I gave the ration I had claimed away to the highest bidder, who eagerly took it all.

Of course, our attentive server noticed the moment the butter ran out, and brought out a fresh one, including a fresh knife as well.  Bread plates, for those who were loving this course, never went empty.  Our server was excellent.  He also told us about the butter, where it was made, etc, but I missed the details.  I just know it was handmade?
Amuse Bouche: Almond Panna Cotta / Red Pepper Jelly / Black Garlic and Greek Yogurt "Foam".
So as I said, all those previous surprise dishes were not actually the amuse bouche.  The amuse bouche was much larger.  It was ... savory panna cotta!

Oh, be still my heart!  And as I said, I didn't even know Goust served an amuse bouche, let alone one right up my alley.  I love puddings and custards, sweet or savory, hence the reason my blog has a label just for puddings, and, yup, for panna cotta in particular too.  I love to see savory spins on these.  As I jotted down notes, trying to capture the details, the others dove in.  Are we noticing a theme here?  I was always a few steps behind the others (which isn't actually normal for me).

You see, normally when I dine, I have a notes template ready.  I write out the known components of the dishes I order in advance, so I can fill it in as I go.  If I'm going somewhere that I know has extras thrown in, I have those ready in the notes too.  This makes the dining experience more relaxed, and takes away the awkwardness of frantically writing things down at the table, even if my fellow diners don't mind it.  But here I was totally unprepared.  Thus, I was always behind the others, which gave me a chance to take in their responses as well.

And again, they all loved this.  I think Ojan had even finished his before I took my first bite.  I dug in with eager anticipation.

The panna cotta was creamy, with a decent almond flavor.  The red pepper jelly, just like the Bloody Mary sphere, was very flavorful, but again quite oily.  The foam had a nice texture, but I didn't taste any black garlic.

So again, another dish that was presented in a beautiful fashion, full of textures and flavors, demonstrating great technique, but fell pretty flat for me.  But like I said, the others really liked it, and Ojan gladly polished mine off.

Starters

So here we were, not even having received our starters yet, and we'd had two types of crackers, two types of bread, 3 bite size items, and a very large amuse bouche.  I feared for my stomach, but, the starters were the courses I was most looking forward to.  And indeed, the turned out to be the highlights of the meal.

The menu had only four choices for starters, but, quite frankly, I wanted them all.  And ... I got to have them all.  I ordered one myself as a starter, and opted to have another as my main dish, since I wanted a lighter meal (note, we ordered long before I knew how many extra courses were going to be sprinkled in, I had wanted a smaller meal from the start!)  It was no problem to have a starter as a main.  Our other two dining companions each ordered the final two choices, and of course let me try a few bites.
Wine Pairing for Foie Gras: Late Harvest Gewurztraminer. 10€.
Three of us opted to have the wine pairing with our starters, not knowing really what we were getting into, but we all wanted wine, and didn't want to pick a single (very pricey) bottle from the list.  Plus, this way, our wine would best match what we were each eating at the time, right?

As I mentioned earlier, our server was sure to bring us the wines before the starters themselves.  We each tried our wines, trying to figure out what we all had.  Since we all had different dishes, we all had different wines.

I enjoyed the guessing game.  When my wine arrived, I took a sniff.  It was clearly a sweet wine, appropriate to go along with my starter involving foie gras.  But it wasn't as syrupy sweet as a sauternes.  Thus, I decided it must be a late harvest riesling.  I wasn't far off, it turned out to be a late harvest Gewurztraminer.

It was fine, and the right thing to have alongside foie, but not really what I wanted at that point in the meal.
Mediterranean Red Tuna Tartare, Mango Egg. 35€.
One of my dining companions opted for the tuna tartare, a dish I was interested in, not for the tuna tartare itself, but for the "mango egg".

The plating didn't shock me at this point, as I'd come to expect things to be fairly elaborate.  Tuna tartare, topped with microgreens, with the mango egg in the center, and dots of purees in assorted sizes and colors on the plate.  It did look like a classic steak tartare, egg and all, from a distance.  It looked yet another application of molecular gastronomy.  Honestly, I was a bit let down by the restaurant so far.  We had seen all these spheres and gelees, but none really delivered any flavor. Great techniques, yes, but, I wasn't impressed.  Until this.

To begin, the tuna tartare was itself one of the best I've ever had.  I do like raw fish, but for some reason, tuna is rarely my favorite.  This however, was quite excellent.  The seasoning was just spot on.

But the really amazing part of this dish was that "egg".  Wow.  It wasn't just another sphere, another gelee.  It was ... mind-blowing, really.  I expected that it would be just like the bloody mary sphere, liquid when pieced.  But it wasn't.  Instead, it was gelatinous on the outside, and runny inside, but not liquid.  It oozed just like an egg yolk.  I couldn't get over how well they nailed this.

I also did like the mango and tuna pairing.  My favorite sushi restaurant in San Francisco has a roll on the menu with tuna and mango, so I know the flavors go well together, but they were a new combo for the others, and they found it a bit strange.

Anyway, a successful dish for sure.  Finally, a dish that delivered on flavor and not just looks.  My second favorite dish of the night.

It was paired with a pinot gris (which we all guessed was an unoaked Chardonnay).
Albufera Bomba Rice with Razor Clams, Cockles and Lemon Emulsion. 32 €.
My other dining companion opted for the specialty of the chef, paella.  The chef is Spanish  and this is a dish he is most proud of.  It was also available as an add on to the tasting menu, the only one with that option.  She got it because she figured someone needed to get the chef's specialty, right?

We were warned when she ordered that it would take at least 20 minutes to prepare as he cooks it al la minute, but, given our parade of other food, this was not a concern.

I am not really a fan of rice dishes of any kinda (except dessert rice pudding of course!), but the appeal in this one for me was the razor clams.  I've only had razor clams a handful of times in my life, but when I have, I've really enjoyed them.

The molecular-ish element at play here was the lemon emulsion, which was really more of a froth.

The rice was nicely cooked I guess and flavorful, but I was in it for the razor clams, expecting a full razor clam perched under the foam or something, but instead it was just bits of clam, chopped up and mixed into the rice, with bits of cockles as well.  They all just turned into chewy little bits.

Not my thing for sure, but the person who ordered it loved it.  Even Ojan, no never likes paella, really liked it and kept talking about the great flavors.  My second to last favorite.

This was paired with chardonnay, served in a wider mouth glass than our other two white wines.
Duck Foie Gras and Horchata Eclair Glazed with Pedro Ximénez, Caramelized Apricots. 34€.
And last, but most certainly not least, my choice.  A foie gras eclair.

This was of course the reason I decided to visit Goust.  You know me.  I love pastries.  I love foie gras.  I've probably mentioned a few times how much I like horchata too.  This dish sounded like, well, a pretty perfect dish for me.

And ... it was.  Ojan and I had decided to share a starter, and the moment I took a bite, I regretted it.  If I hadn't thought it was too late, I would have cancelled my order for my second course, and just gotten another one of these.  I wanted another for dessert too.  It was, simply put, incredible.  It not only lived up to, but far exceeded my expectations.

So, what did we have here?

The eclair was not a fancy spin on an eclair, it actually was just choux pastry, filled with a foie gras cream.  Now, this obviously sounds like something that would be good, except that I usually don't like eclairs/cream puffs/etc, because the choux pastry is always a bit eggy, and I don't like that flavor.  This wasn't at all eggy.  It was light, fluffy, and airy.  The filling was an incredibly smooth foie gras cream.  The foie flavor was fairly subtle, but the texture was just amazing.  It had a sweet glaze on top to just really seal the deal.

Pastry + creamy foie + sweetness = amazing.  This was so, so good.

The horchata showed up as a foam.  It too was light and fluffy, and was really full of rice flavor.

The apricots were soft, sweet, caramelized, and quite delicious.  A bit of additional apricot flavor came from dots of puree on the plate as well.

Every element of this dish was a winner.  The components all worked together in harmony.  Great textures.  Great flavors.  Amazing pairings.  I still can't get over how great this was.

Best dish of the night, best dish of my trip to Paris, and one of the best dishes I've ever had.

Mains

The main course menu also had only four options, two seafood, two meat.  While I wasn't excited by the meat options themselves (beef or pork chop), they both had side dishes I really wanted (one had gnocchi, and the other, sobrasada stuffed gyoza!)  One of the two seafood dishes sounded awesome too.

But I opted to get one of the starters for my main, trying to have a slightly smaller meal.  I was of course intending to share everything anyway.

Ojan and one other diner both got the seafood dish I was most eying, and the other opted for the dish with the gnocchi.  I couldn't convince anyone to get the pork chop, because no one wanted pork chops, no matter had badly I tried to sell the sobrasada gyoza to them ... seriously, how incredible does that sound?  Still, I got to try everything else.
Wine Pairing for Gazpacho: Rosé. 10€.
For our next round of dishes, we all opted for another round of wine pairings.

Mine was clearly a rosé .

It was dry, very floral.  Not something I would have ever picked, as I don't like dry wines, and I'm not into floral either.  This is the downside of the pairings, as I obviously would have rejected it if it had been described to me.

The only interesting part to me is that it was produced by Brangelina?  Yes, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie had a wine made from grapes on their estate.  It actually gets good reviews too, not just celebrities slapping a label on a lackluster bottle.
 Strawberry and Tomato Gazpacho with Wakamé, Blue Lobster Medallions and Tomato Stuffed with Lobster (before). 36€.
My dish was technically a starter, chilled gazpacho with lobster.

It arrived at the table like this, not looking, well, like any gazpacho I'd ever seen.  Shouldn't there be a broth?  I assumed at this point that it must be a play on a gazpacho, and thought that perhaps some of the items in the bowl were not what I expected, and would burst open, letting out liquid perhaps? (which, was true, but not in the way I thought).

Instead, the broth was poured tableside, after I got a chance to take it all in.  This allowed me to see all the components before they got a bit lost in the gazpacho.
 Strawberry and Tomato Gazpacho with Wakamé, Blue Lobster Medallions and Tomato Stuffed with Lobster (after). 36€.

The broth was, well, tomato and strawberry gazpacho.  Such an unexpected combination.  Sweet.  I'm not really sure I liked it, but it was really quite fascinating.

There were four chunks of lobster in the bowl.  I never really like lobster, so I'm honestly not sure why I ordered this.  It was ... exactly what I think of as lobster.  Kinda chewy.  Never as good as crab.

The other components of the bowl were very fascinating however.  There was just a chunk of strawberry and a confit cherry tomato.  And then something that looked like a cherry tomato, which I put, whole, into my mouth.  Imagine my surprise when it burst open with liquid, and the flavor was most certainly not tomato.  It was strawberry.  Sweet, really sweet, strawberry.  I didn't like it in one bite like this, and it would have been good perhaps if I had cut it open and mixed it in, but, well, I thought it was a cherry tomato!

The final element was the "tomato stuffed with lobster".  It was highly unexpected.

To start, well, it wasn't a tomato.  It looked like a tomato, but instead it was a red shell, that I have no idea what it was made from.  Inside was lobster salad, I think with mayo.  Very ... different.

Overall, this reminded me of the earlier dishes.  Interesting, with assorted techniques at play, but I didn't actually like it.  Nor did Ojan.  One other person, who does really like lobster, said she did like it.  My least favorite dish.
Seared fillet of John Dory, Heirloom Tomatoes Tartare with Date and Girolles, Yuzu Hollandaise and Onions in Tempura. 42€.
The seafood dish I would have ordered, if I got a regular main, was the John Dory.  Ojan and one other ordered it, so I got to try plenty.

The fish wasn't remarkable, a decent sear, moist, but fishy.  Maybe that is just how John Dory is?  I've only had John Dory a few times before.

On top was the yuzu hollandaise, one of the selling points in the description for me, because, well, creamy sauce!  I didn't taste yuzu, which was fine by me, but it also just didn't enhance the dish at all.

On top were a couple tempura onion rings.  They weren't really crispy, but the batter was flavorful and I liked it.

Under the fish however was the heirloom tomato tartare.  This was delicious, super flavorful.  That alone made this my third favorite dish of the night.

It was paired with a white blend, again served in a wide mouthed glass.
Seared Txogitxu Beef Fillet / Pumpkin / Gnocchis. 39€.
Our final dining companion went for the beef.

I didn't try it, but he devoured it.

I did of course ask to try the gnocchi.  The gnocchi and the pumpkin were plated together, interleaved, similar shapes.  The gnocchi was just ... gnocchi.  Nothing really interesting.

This came paired with a red wine, a syrah and grenache blend, way too tannic for me.

This was easily the least innovative dish.  Nothing really interesting going on.  Even the plating didn't offer anything special, besides the gnocchi/pumpkin sizes.  This was only dish that really seemed overpriced.

Cheese, Pre-Dessert, Dessert, Mignardises

Ok, moving along to dessert.

The dessert menu had only 3 options, plus a cheese course.  None sounded particularly great though, but we felt lame not getting dessert, so we opted to all just split one.  We were all stuffed anyway, and of course, just like it began, the meal did keep adding on extra courses.

The one dessert turned into another hour and a half of dining, since there was a pre-dessert, and a platter of mignardises afterwards.  If we hadn't ordered dessert, I'm not sure how much of all of that we would have gotten, but the extras alone certainly would have been plenty for me.  The desserts were the weakest part of the meal, sadly.  I just wanted another foie gras eclair.
Marie Quatrehomme’s Cheese and its Glass of Wine. 19€.
But, before we got into dessert, the server came over with a huge block of cheese, and asked if we wanted cheese.  The other two said yes, not really knowing what they were getting into.

They each received large portions of cheese, a single, hard cheese, and another piece of the focaccia-like bread.  It really was too much cheese.  Share plates were brought for Ojan and I, but still, it took us a while as a group to get through all this cheese.  I think if we had known that it was just going to be the one cheese selection, and in such quantity, we might have decided differently, maybe just getting one portion?

It also had a wine pairing, which I forget entirely.  I was getting sleepy at this point!  It took nearly an hour between the cheese and our real dessert.
Pre-Dessert Prep.
After we finally got through the cheese, it was time to cleanse our palettes in preparation for dessert.

An elaborate cart was rolled over, with two large metal canisters.  One was a sorbet, the other water to dunk the sorbet spoon into.

Our server scooped us each out a scoop, tableside.
Pre-Dessert: Peach Sorbet.
The sorbet was peach, although it was red.  But the flavor was unmistakable.  Yes, this was peach.

The flavor was incredible.  Out of control peach flavor.  Ojan thought he tasted raspberry, but I think it was just his mind playing tricks on him.  All I tasted was peach.  Pure peach.  The peaches apparently came from a vineyard.

It was very sweet, very creamy, and served as full size scoops each.  The flavor was incredible, but in this quantity, it was just too much.  It didn't cleanse my palette, it left me with a sweet overload.  In a smaller serving, this would have been more successful.  Yes, I just said a dessert would be better off smaller.
Strawberry Bavarois, Red Berries and Pistachio Ice Cream. 16€.
For our single dessert, we opted for this.  None of us were particularly excited about it, but it was the most interesting of the choices.

I'm not sure any of us really knew what to expect either.  What is a bavarois?

Anyway, it was a layer cake, two thin layers of a light cake interleaved with two thin layers of a white chocolate cream, topped with red berries (raspberries and blackberries), and a scoop of pistachio ice cream on top of it all.

The ice cream was creamy, with a strong pistachio flavor.  They do know how to get flavors into dishes here.

On the side was fruit gelees, super sweet.

Nothing about this was very memorable, although it wasn't bad.
Mignardises.
And finally, a platter of more sweets, four each.  I never really care for the migs at restaurants, but these were above average.

From top to bottom:
Chocolate Financiar:  My least favorite.  Crispy exterior, a bit bitter.

Lychee Lime Gelee:  Super flavorful and sweet.  Third pick.

Matcha and Black Tea Cake: Dense, moist, nice flavors, although quite strong.  No questioning that there was matcha and black tea in here.  I couldn't really enjoy this because I didn't want the caffeine so late at night, but, it was my second favorite.

Cream Puff: And ... my favorite.  A tiny little cream puff, stuffed with vanilla cream.  Fluffy outside, creamy inside.
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