Luxury Hotels


Does anything beat chips?  No, they are technically not the same as ‘fries’, which are somewhat skinnier. Above are chips with truffle salt at Kitchen restaurant at CHEWTON GLEN HAMPSHIRE. Ideally have’em with Isle of Wight Mermaid Gin, on the property’s beverage menu.  For the record, Mermaid Gin delivers a smooth yet complex blend of fresh organic lemon zest and peppery grains of paradise, with a hint of sea air from wild-foraged, fragrant rock samphire. The name, by the way, comes from samphire, known locally as ‘mermaid’s kiss’.  It clings to the cliffs around the Island and marks the high tide line on the beaches – like the kiss of a mythical mermaid saving sailors lost at sea, rock samphire was a signal that shipwrecked sailors and smugglers were safe from raging seas.

It’s a fair bet that there will be nothing so ordinary as chips on Alain Ducasse’s New Year’s Eve menu at xxx. Theyr’e still trying to sell two-night packages over the holiday but they don’t share menus.  By contrast, in Dubai, ONE&ONLY THE PALM is booked solid. Kids have a complimentary party from 7.30 pm and adults have a choice of Yannicck Alléno New Year’s Eve dinners – no prices are given as food is part of the lodging package – all beverages are à la carte.

At 101, the menu is Canapés; Scallop loaf with Truffle Essence Sauce; Salmon with Pickled Cucumber, Salmon Gravlax and Horseradish; Osetra with Blinis and Isigny Cream; Alaskan King Crab with Black Garlic, Pickled Cucumber, Mustard, Potato and Lime Zest; White Truffle Risotto with Carnaroli Rice and Winter Truffle; Turbot with Potato, Baby Leeks, Chives, Truffle and Lemon Caviar Condiment; Beef Tenderloin with Mushroom Purée, Black Truffle, Asparagus, Celeriac and Perigourdine Sauce – and Maple Hazelnut, Crunchy Hazelnut, Chocolate Mousse, Biscuits, Vanilla Cream, Maple Caramel Sauce and Crumble.

If that all sounds too much, simultaneously in the resort’s STAY by Yannick Alléno. Start with Creamy Scallop and Prunier Osetra Caviar: Modern (?) Celery Remoulade, Black Truffle, Lovage Mayonnaise and Parmesan; Langoustine and Prunier Osetra Caviar Tart and Beurre Blanc Sauce; Dover Sole braised in Yellow Wine, Comté Cheese Viennoise and Walnuts; Seared Veal Tenderloin, Potato Gnocchi and Wild Mushrooms; Fresh Camel Cheese, Lemon Confit and Dates; Dark Chocolate Soft Cream, Speculoos and Cinnamon Ice Cream.

Now remember both those menus appear ‘for free’ ‘ you have paid for them as part of the room package.  Elsewhere in Dubai you canpay. Girlahead likes the sound of the four-course Italian menu, with live entertainment, in that amazing soaring atrium at BURJ AL ARAB, AED 12,000. In Paris, top of the wish list would be Jean Imbert’s six-course dinner at PLAZA-ATHENEE, Dorchester Collection – €1,210 per person including paired wines, kicking off with Truffle Chantilly Tart. Across town at LE CHEVAL BLANC PARIS, Arnaud Donckele’s Penitude menu starts with St-Jacques Scallops with root vegetables and truffle, paired with 2010 Graacher Himmelreich Spätlese Joh. Jos. Prüm – €1,300 plus €480 or €990 for paired wines – and at midnight they throw in, courtesy LVMH, a glass of 2003 Dom Pérignon Plénitude 2.

Now bubbles also go with chips. That’s an idea.  Girlahead will mull it over for a week.  SEE YOU AGAIN ON NEW YEAR’S EVE.

PS until then, here’s Cheval Blanc’s Christian Boyens: