You’ve heard of “food pairing”, the art of combining two flavors that we would not necessarily have thought of bringing together? We discovered food and cognac pairing when we dined at Matsuhisa, the gourmet Japanese restaurant at the Royal Monceau Raffles Paris. A chic and trendy establishment with Nobu, the famous chef, at the helm.
The staff greet us with loud cries of “Irasshaimase!” as we enter the imposing dining room. Here, no Zen atmosphere, but an enchanting DJ who invites us on a journey with music that chimes with the luxurious and voluptuous surroundings.
The very contemporary Japanese cuisine of the Matsuhisa restaurant is both delicate and fragrant. The signature dishes underscore the flavors that go equally well with tea or sake, beer or wine.
We propose to break with tradition by imagining a tasting menu to bring out the fruity, floral, spicy and woody notes that lie at the heart of cognac, a powerful eau de vie that is both rich and complex, subtle and aromatic.
This evening, the tuna sashimi and vegetable rolls are served with a VS cognac chilled to -15 ° C, savored in a tulip glass. One or two centiliters, no more, best appreciated with a glass of water to hand. We optimize the pairing by using cognac as a condiment, an ingredient in its own right, rather than a drink.
The sautéed shrimp, spinach salad and crunchy miso come with a VSOP served cool at 8°C. Each dish impresses with the precision of the composition of the chef-artists who created it. Finally it is time for the flagship dish: the famous Black Cod served with miso sauce and yuzu. The flesh is pearly, crisp and melts in the mouth. It blends perfectly with the balsamic, smoky and vegetal notes of the VSOP.
For dessert, the mochis, vanilla or chocolate ice cream in rice dough are simply addictive. A rare XO served chilled forms a perfect match.
All these delights transport us magically to the land of the Rising Sun. Around us, the cherry trees are in bloom and time seems to have stood still for centuries.