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Jun 17, 2008 12:24 PM

Jean-Christophe Ansanay-Alex & Ambassade de l'Ile

Jean-Christophe is opening Ambassade de l'Ile in London next week, with a soft opening this week.
I was curious as to what we can expect from him.
How is he regarded in France? What are his signature dishes?

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  1. I think Auberge d I’Ile is one of the most under-rated Michelin 2 stars. It is really a shame as this is a restaurant that should get more attention and press. His food is tied to the seasons and ingredients are extraordinary.

    A meal at Auberge d I’Ile

    We started in the lounge for our amuses.

    1. Fried sweetbread cube
    2. In a small tart a mousse of something I can’t remember—
    3. On a glass plate a tempura of many vegetables and herbs i.e. potatoes, beet root, basil and zucchini

    Amuse at the table:
    A small langoustine with pink grapefruit. Then a delicate broth was poured over the langoustine. This was a light breath of spring—a morsel but handled with great finesse.

    1st course:
    Delicate Mollet de Foie Gras, Morilles et Asperge, emulsion “comme un cappuccino”.
    First there was a layer of foie gras that was almost like a flan, then small morel mushrooms, and cut up green asparagus from Luperon. Covering all was a foie gras emulsion that did mimic cappuccino.

    This dish was extraordinary—inventive as well as delicious!!!

    2nd course:
    Tarte folle de tous les jeunes primeurs du printemps, une crème glacee a la moutarde douce—
    The tart was full of the best young vegetables of spring—peas, peapods, carrots, radish, string beans, purple potato and turnips. On the top was a mustard ice cream—reminiscent of Passard’s gazpacho with ice cream. Again this was inventive and delicious.

    3rd course:
    Langoustine Bretonne royale, chutney de fruits acidule d’un beurre d’agrumes—3 large grilled langoustines from Brittany, with chutney on the side.

    The langoustines were topped with a reduction of shallots and red wine and spiced with Indian spices. The saucing was a bright yellow citrus butter that had a carbonated quality. Another winner from JC with an “ethnic” Indian component.

    4th course:
    This was a superb dish that displayed why JC is 2 stars and hinted at 3 star abilities…he is definitely on the rise. This dish showed JC’s attention to detail, his awareness of texture as well as taste. It also showed his ability to execute each element successfully. On a garlic leaf were stewed plump frogs legs and broad beans with pike quenelles as light as air and a nougatine of garlic.

    5th course:
    Omble chevalier with mushroom mousseline. The char lake fish similar to salmon trout tasted as if it had just been caught. The saucing was almost like hollandaise with mushroom enhanced whipped cream added. Sticking like a wing from the fish was the crispy skin. Simple—exquisite!!!

    6th course:
    Mignon d’Agneau de lait cuit en croute de Sel, Tomates “Coeur de Pigeon” et Aigre-doux.
    The lamb is first presented whole and then returned to the kitchen for plating.
    The lamb sat on small whole tomatoes done sweet/sour. Tapanade (a puree of capers, black olives, anchovies and herbs with olive oil and lemon juice added) sat on top of the lamb. The saucing was traditional—each ingredient worked together to create fabulous flavors.

    7th course:
    Cheese cart with selections from Lyon Fromagers—Cellerier, Lery and la Mere Richard

    8th course:
    Warm peach soufflé…nice transition…simple and clean.

    9th course:

    Auberge de I’lle is a solid 2 star restaurant with a gifted, talented, charming chef. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, the service cordial and professional.
    This is a carefully crafted cuisine. JC is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. His English is very good.
    A perfect evening.