There’s no doubt that Yannick Alleno is one of the world’s greatest chefs – he’s dripping in Michelin stars, with 15 across 17 restaurants around the world.
Two in France each hold three Michelin stars – Alleno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen and Le 1947 a Cheval Blanc in France’s Courchevel 1850 ski resort.
My review of Le 1947 declared the food to be ‘out of this world’.
Now Britons have a chance to try the chef’s stellar cuisine without the faff of a trip across France – because Monsieur Alleno has launched a restaurant set within the seductively suave Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane.
It’s called Pavyllon, and it’s a game-changer – artistry and a soupcon of flamboyance, but food that’s filling, too. And the service? A masterclass in how it should be done. The wine is top-tier, too.
Legendary chef Yannick Alleno has opened his first-ever UK restaurant – Pavyllon (above) – at Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane. Ted Thornhill pulled up a stool at the ‘magnificent’ kitchen counter
Yannick Alleno (above) holds 15 Michelin stars across 17 restaurants, with two in France each boasting three stars
Ted writes: ‘Pavyllon is a game-changer – artistry and a soupcon of flamboyance, but food that’s filling, too’
And what’s more, while a heavenly meal at Le 1947 costs 415 euros (£370), the prices are more down to earth at Pavylloyn, with a five-course set lunch menu available for just £55.
Before you even sit down, you’ll be feeling that whatever you’re about to shell out will be money well spent.
The restaurant is sumptuous and smothered in calming hues by acclaimed Parisian designer Chahan Minassian, who oversaw the interior design. The piece de resistance – the magnificent 30-seat wooden counter, where I sat.
Here guests can dine and watch the impressively well-drilled kitchen brigade prepare their food, with waiters and sommeliers weaving in and out of the chefs with mesmerising efficiency, never losing their cool even in the most frantic of moments and delivering the food and drink with effortless charm.
‘The restaurant is sumptuous and smothered in calming hues by acclaimed Parisian designer Chahan Minassian, who oversaw the interior design,’ Ted reveals
Pictured left – some tempting bites that got the meal underway. On the right, the first course – a trio of warm potatoes glazed with lovage mayonnaise
Ted’s refreshing ‘modern gazpacho’, served to him by Yannick himself
A ‘stupendous’ 2022 pear cider by Eric Bordelet that ‘coupled wonderfully with the raspberry and coconut pudding’
If this scene was a TV channel – I’d tune in.
The bonus on the night I visited was that Yannick himself was present, gently guiding laser-focussed head chef Benjamin Ferra Y Castell and the rest of the team, and gamely pausing from time to time to pose for photographs for guests.
I tried a £148 tasting menu with paired wines. That’s a hefty bill, but the quality never dips below impressive.
First up was a quirky number – a trio of warm potatoes glazed with lovage mayonnaise and served with cucumber and seaweed. This was followed by a refreshing ‘modern gazpacho’, served to me by (warmly smiling) Yannick himself, with cured ham and celery sorbet in the mouthwatering mix.
A beautifully cooked slice of red mullet garnished with chorizo butter and served with a chermoula sauce was the delicious third act, followed by a succulent lamb chop accompanied by green shiso coulis and moreish anchoiade.
The primary-school-aged version of me would have been licking the sauce off the plate.
Not the done thing here, so I wiped every last molecule up with some of the fantastic homemade bread that was in seemingly endless supply.
The final two acts? A duo of delectable desserts – raspberries with a coconut and dill sorbet (an unexpectedly flavoursome combination) and then a well-executed vanilla Napoleon (aka mille-feuille) with Earl Grey caramel (I felt uneasy about this one beforehand because I’m not partial to the pungent taste of Earl Grey, but the way it was blended in here was most pleasing).
By the time I’d finished dish number five I had room for only the thinnest of wafer-thin mints.
Each of the paired wines that knowledgeable head sommelier Baptiste Beaumard picked for the meal was thoughtfully matched with the food and enthusiastically presented.
He took my tastebuds from the Alsace (a white 2021 Domaine Ostertag Sylvaner Vieilles Vignes) to Austria (a knock-out Burgenland Umathum) via Normandy – a stupendous 2022 pear cider by Eric Bordelet that coupled wonderfully with the raspberry and coconut pudding.
The hospitality competition in this quarter of the UK capital has always been hot – Yannick and his able Pavyllon team have just turned up the temperature even further.
Menus at Pavyllon London run from breakfast to dinner, encompassing a la carte and two tasting menus (£98 and £148 respectively) as well as a lunch-time set menu at £55.50 for five courses. Visit www.fourseasons.com/london/dining/restaurants/pavyllon-london.
Ted was hosted by Four Seasons hotels.
PROS: Suave setting, kitchen counter seating is thrilling, stellar food and wine, top service.
CONS: It’s not Yannick Alleno at his most artistic (but then, it’s probably not supposed to be) – to sample his top-level food Britons will need to travel abroad. Tasting menu is pricey.
Rating out of five: ****