Le Cinq restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel George V last year won four Zagat awards for its food, decor, service and for being the most popular restaurant in the French capital, Paris.
The 245-room hotel is on the Avenue George V just off the Champs-Elysees in the heart of the city’s most fashionable quarter. The Arc de Triomphe and the Place de la Concorde are short strolls away.
Apart from the accolades in the Zagat Survey - the world’s leading provider of consumer-based information on where to eat, drink, stay and play worldwide - Le Cinq received the award for best hotel cuisine in the Gallivanter’s Guide for four consecutive years. Gallivanter’s is a monthly newsletter that reviews only the best hotels and resorts in the world.
The signature dishes are fricassee of Dublin Bay prawns, lasagna with aged Parmesan cheese, milk-fed lamb from the Pyrenees in sesame and mint cream, chicken Bresse and George V lobster.
The secret of Le Cinq’s success lies in the vision of restaurant director Eric Beaumard. Born in Brittany, Beaumard was introduced to cooking in 1978 at the age of 14.
After completing his training he began working as a commis, or apprentice, in various restaurants until 1981.
In 1982, a motorcycle accident slowed down his career as he temporarily lost the use of his right arm. In 1984, after several months of convalescence, Beaumard headed back to the kitchen at the Maisons de Bricourt in Cancale, Brittany.
He worked there as a cook for six months before deciding to specialise in wine.
From 1984 to 1987 he worked as a sommelier in a number of restaurants. At the age of 37, he moved to Paris to join the Four Seasons Hotel George V team. He was commissioned to create a wine cellar before being appointed Le Cinq’s restaurant manager.
“Le Cinq stands out in the restaurant scene because it offers refined French cuisine in an elegant and warm atmosphere,” Beaumard told Emirates Business.
“The interior design, the service and the staff’s attention to detail make it unique.
“The association of the refined ambience, the finest French cuisine and the inimitable service makes each dining experience unique. Most of our clients come to Le Cinq for the quality and the richness of the cuisine, but also for the quality and the kindness of the staff.”
The majority of diners 60 per cent are hotel guests, visiting mainly from France and the United States, but also from Japan and Europe. The restaurant is booked up at least two weeks in advance.
Without the beverage bill, guests spend on average, EUR110 (Dh590) for lunch and EUR200 (Dh1,074) for dinner.
Le Cinq’s pastry chef, Fabrice Lecleir, can also take a few bows for the restaurant’s success a review in Canadian magazine enRoute described his desserts as “luscious masterpieces”.
Lecleir decided to pursue a career in pastry-making at the age of 16. He began his career in 1992 at Frantour Paris Suffren Hotel as a chef de partie, or station chef, and became a sous chef, or deputy, three years later.
After years of hotel experience, Lecleir moved to the Four Seasons Hotel George V just after it re-opened in April 2001.
Favourite desserts include pear and liquorice surprise and what is described as a “tart like a tiramisu” made with Columbian coffee ice-cream. And although Lecleir labours over the desserts, the restaurant prides itself on delivering them to customers quickly.
Beaumard said: “There is a lot of preparation for each dessert, but they are served in 10 minutes maximum after being ordered.”
Top three reasons
Le Cinq’s mouthwatering desserts will set you back EUR25 (Dh133) each:
1. Manjari chocolate soufflé: flavoured with orange, milk chocolate and grapefruit ice-cream
2. Pear and liquorice surprise: caramelised, vanilla millefeuille, chilled with kumquats and soft and crispy chocolate cake with praline
3. Apple granite with cider delight: selection of ice-creams and sorbets
The crème de la crème of Paris