Our 2 Michelin star lunch at Le Relais LOUIS XIII

relais louis xiii paris

I’ve always wanted to bring my better half to a Michelin star restaurant coz she’s never eaten at one before and decided it would make a great birthday present for her! I booked a table for two and set aside one day in our Paris vacation for this.

relais louis xiii

Le Relais LOUIS XIII fits the bill perfectly coz:

  • Chef Manuel Martinez got 2 Michelin stars in 2014
  • The restaurant serves classic authentic French cuisine
  • This is the very spot Louis XIII was proclaimed King of France in 1610 (thus the name)

michelin star

Oh, and did I mention that Picasso used to live across the street? smirk Relais Louis XIII is a very historical restaurant and they’re proud of it – the interior has the original old stones, wooden beams and valuable portraits of Louis XIII and Marie de Medicis as well as stained glass windows and antique Louis 13 chairs.

relais louis xiii menu

I had booked a spot at 12:15 pm when the restaurant opened and the waitress patiently explained and translated each of the menu items from French to English for us! There is no English menu, but the staff can speak English so there’s no worries there.

cream puff

We were served warm cheese puffs upon arriving and the table is perfectly set with butter, salt and pepper as well as a bread tray. The wait staff to table ratio is at least 1:1 – which meant we had our very own waitress and at least one other staff to help…and help they did!

relais louis 13

It was a little disconcerting, the level of service that was given – move your glass a little and they’ll come over with a smile to refill it and move it to just the right spot where it was before, facing the correct way.

amuse-bouche

More about Michelin star level service in another post, I want to talk about the food!

Entrées

Ravioli de homard Breton, foie gras et creme de cepes

ravioli de homard breton

This is their signature appetizer which got them the Michelin stars. It’s what my dear ordered and it’s absolutely fabulous! I can eat this every day and not get sick! The beautiful ravioli is half lobster and half foie gras.

ravioli foie gras

It’s topped with a porcini mushroom foam that’s so intense I’ve never had anything like it before. A beautiful start to the meal.

Toast de tete de veau / sauce gribiche / encornets

calf brains

I ordered this solely on the waitress’s recommendation. She said it’s a classic French dish – the kind the restaurant does best. This restaurant serves classic French haute cuisine with minimal modernist touches and I thought this would go well.

tete de veau

It’s toast topped with the brain of a calf and comes with nicely seared pieces of squid that makes an interesting texture combination, especially with the toast it’s served on. However, their flagship ravioli dish is slightly better I have to admit I secretly coveted my better half’s appetizer. Haha!

Main Course

Lieu jaune de ligne / fricassee de legumes / tomato confite / emulsion aux herbes

john dory

This is what my dear had! It’s a John Dory fish with tomato confit and a herb emulsion.

We’ve always wondered what John Dory tastes like and when the waitress explained what this was, she ordered it immediately. It tasted great – the fish was cooked perfectly (moist and tender) but it’s the kind of white fish that is popular in the West – bland by itself but absorbs flavors well, which is where the herb emulsion comes in, as a bit of a modernist touch.

Quasi de veau de lait “Hugo Desnoyer”

hugo desnoyer

My order is sweetbread! I’ve always wanted to eat sweetbread cooked by a classic French chef and here was my chance. I wasn’t disappointed!

sweetbread

There’s an option to add macaroni with morilles (morel mushrooms) for an additional 14 Euros but I opted out as I wanted to taste it by itself and we ordered a lot of desserts. Sweetbread is the thymus gland of the veal and it’s a very rich and creamy dish. There’s also a bed of perfectly caramelized asparagus at the bottom which cuts down on the heaviness of the dish. I loved it!

Cheese

Assortiment de nos fromages

fromage

There’s nothing more French than a cheese course before the desserts and we both opted for it. This is one dish divided into two, instead of sharing from our own plates, French restaurants can actually portion one dish into two upon request!

The selection of their cheeses also came with a delicious apricot chutney on the side!

Desserts

MilleFeuille, crème legere a la vanille Bourbon

millefeuille

This is their famous millefeuille with Bourbon vanilla light cream! It’s probably their most famous dish and dessert and we opted for a shared dish (one dessert portioned into two plates).

mille feuille

The awesome thing about Relais Louis XIII’s mille-feuille is that it’s deep fried! Words cannot do it justice, the crunchy texture of the dessert and the vanilla bean speckled custard made me nearly lick the plate to finish everything up!

There’s a reason why it’s the restaurant’s most popular dish, you can’t get a better mille-feuille elsewhere!

La Pomme – Gelee au Gin et sorbet Citron basilic

molecular gastronomy apple

This is my adorable dessert, the mysteriously named “La Pomme” (The Apple). It’s one of their rare molecular gastronomy forays. It’s a piece of art – there’s a cream filling inside the small “green apple” (complete with a fake chocolate branch and candied basil leaf).

relais louis apple

I was pleasantly surprised by the intense basil flavor of the crunchy “apple leaf” made of sugar infused with basil and the chocolate stick goes into the faux green apple (which consists of just a very thin layer of real apple tasting jelly) which in turn bursts with the filling. It’s a very intelligent dish that plays with your mind and mouth.

There’s a sorbet on the side to cleanse your palate too!

(along with crunchy bits of juniper tasting sweets)

Tarte minute au chocolat “Grand cru”

grand cru tart

This is my dear’s dessert! It’s a chocolate tart that oozes with rich and creamy molten chocolate. Not just any chocolate – their custom restaurant Grand Cru! It’s on their daily special and the wonderful spin they put on the dish is with the two ice cream you see – there’s a vanilla quenelle and a chocolate rocher.

The interesting bit is that the “chocolate ice cream” is *hot* and the vanilla bean ice cream is *cold*! The former is actually a ganache, plated like ice cream. It really plays wonders with your palate – it’s genius, how they pull off these things!

crumbing table

We thoroughly enjoyed our 2 Michelin star lunch at Relais Louis XIII. The restaurant has a few mixed reviews on the net about bad service but we received excellent service throughout, it’s the exact opposite of the snobbish French waiter stereotype.

relais louis us

Our waitress was warm, patient and translated each menu item for us, and one of the younger waiters took this photo of us. It’s an excellent place to go for classic French cuisine in Paris! Relais Louis XIII has consistently been one of the best value 2 Michelin star restaurants in Paris, France – delivering fresh, classic French cuisine you won’t be able to sample anywhere else! :)

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33 thoughts on “Our 2 Michelin star lunch at Le Relais LOUIS XIII

    • Yeah, it’s okay for lunch! :)

      However, everyone else is wearing coat and tie though, and suits are MANDATORY for dinner!

      It was quite expensive but just coz the Euro is so strong, it cost over RM 1,000 and that’s without wine, I would budget RM 2,500 for 2 pax for dinner without wine.

      You have to place bookings really early (ours was the last table but it was a nice table in front) and most Michelin star restaurants require a booking fee (usually 100 – 200 Euros) IN ADVANCE (you can pay via credit card online) just to reserve a table. The amount is deductible from your bill so you actually have to pay before you go as soon as you book and if you can’t make it, you won’t get your money back.

      It’s a good system to prevent no-shows though and the bill is going to be more than 200 Euros anyway, just one note to make sure your credit card is authorized for international use or else you can’t eat at most Michelin star restaurants in France.

      It’s well worth it though, in France and in Michelin star restaurants, they don’t rush you, when you book a table, it’s YOURS for the ENTIRE afternoon/night. We stayed for 3 hours and others stayed for longer on the same courses!

    • Yeah, dining at a Michelin starred restaurant is a must do at least once in your life! :)

      That’s why I wanted my dear to experience it, the service is great and the food is better!

      This restaurant is 2 Michelin star but actually there’s not much difference between 2 or 3 stars in terms of price since dinner would usually cost 200 Euro per pax for a fixed menu.

      Our lunch was cheaper, it cost over RM 1,000 but that’s not including wine and we ordered extra desserts and I had the traditional French cheese course.

      BTW, it’ll be a lot more expensive with wine, cheapest bottle is 100 Euro.

  1. i’m wondering how much did this meal cost too.. hahaha..

    “move your glass a little and they’ll come over with a smile to refill it and move it to just the right spot where it was before, facing the correct way.” .<

    • Well, if you dine at Michelin starred restaurant, be prepared to spend at least RM 1,000. :)

      It’s the price for two without wine, it can be much higher for dinner, 400 Euros for 2 without calculating anything else, that’s just the price without water (which is chargable).

      Haha! Well, the service was good, at no point did I feel intruded upon. They want things to be just perfect and if you go to toilet in the middle, they’ll even hold the course or if you go for tooo long, they’ll cook another coz it’s too cold dy.

      That’s what you’re paying for, and also of course the great food!

  2. wow, it looks like you made some incredible choices from start to finish for this meal. and hello, fellow offal-lover … i like how you opted for offal for both your starter and main. brain is brilliant, haha :D i like the interior design of this restaurant too, with the portraits on the wall, the cushy chairs and the colourful window panes :)

    • Haha! Yeah, I love offal too and have always wanted to eat sweetbead! :)

      The sweetbread is from Hugo Desnoyer too, a butchery which only sells to Michelin star restaurants, a really upscale kinda butchery which nowadays have a cafe attached to it to.

      I guess it was so good that they had to advertise the fact that the sweetbread is sourced from Hugo Desnoyer.

      The portraits are real vintage art, this place is where King Louis the Eighth was proclaimed King of France 400+ years ago so it’s a nice place if you like history.

      The place opposite is where Picasso stayed when he was alive last time too and he used to eat here (before it was Relais Louis XIII, it was also a restaurant).

    • Thanks Mel! :)

      I loved dining at this classic French 2 Michelin star restaurant! It’s awesome and authentic!

      I’ll write more today!

    • Yeah, I would expect that from a 2 Michelin star restaurant! :)

      It’s delicious too, that’s the most important thing.

      Next time we want to go to a place that specializes in modernist cooking like Heston’s The Fat Duck in Bray but that has a 6 month waiting list!

  3. Awesome, HB! I’m so happy for you guys! That looked incredible! You will have some amazing memories to share through the years. :)

    • Thanks Mari! :)

      Yeah, we have a lot of awesome memories from Germany and France already!

      We plan to go for one overseas trip every year, haven’t decided on the next one yet, but it’ll add to our memories.

  4. aww.. what a romantic you are! and what a great birthday present – food looked awesome – classic french cuisine in Paris no less.. perfect!

    • Yeah, I really wanted my better half to experience that! :)

      Classic French cuisine in Paris at a Michelin star restaurant! I actually wanted to book in two restaurants, but couldn’t get a booking at the second place.

      You have to place bookings really early (ours was the last table but it was a nice table in front) and most Michelin star restaurants require a booking fee (usually 100 – 200 Euros) deductable from your bill so you actually have to pay before you go as soon as you book and if you can’t make it, you won’t get your money back.

      I think it’s a good system though, so people will make sure they’re there to eat.

      …and the good thing about French restaurants, when you book a slot (lunch/dinner) the table is yours since they don’t have a concept of rushing people through a course unlike other places which can have multiple bookings in a night.

      I love that about France, when you book a table, it’s yours for the afternoon or night, it’s an occasion instead of just eating out. We stayed for 3 hours, most people stayed until it closed!

  5. ohmuhguh.. i am VERY INCREDIBLY jealous!!! i’ve always wanted (and still do!!!) to try out a Michelin Star restaurant, too. perhaps my chance will arise some day! you have some guts, man! calf brains and thymus gland all.. but i secretly wonder what sweetbread tastes like, too! see it a lot on masterchef. lol.

    believe it or not, i haven’t even tried foie gras. so yeah.. i think i need some amping up yet before taking on Michelin Star stuff. or maybe i just need to not be told what’s in it! HAHAHA. the desserts.. oh myyyyy. <3 <3 <3

    • Yeah, I wanted my dear to have that Michelin star experience too! :)

      Sweetbread is actually a very French dish and very expensive coz it’s from veal (very young calves) and there’s only one in an animal. This one comes from the exclusive butchery Hugo Desnoyer to boot, which supplies to a lot of Michelin star restaurants.

      I was told the brains dish is classic French so that’s why I went for that. I loved the sweetbread more though, it’s so awesome.

      I have had foie gras in Malaysian restaurants but they usually use the pate form which is much cheaper and tastes NOTHING like real foie gras (the fattened goose’s liver as it is).

      There’s a huge price difference too, and foie gras isn’t cheap in France too! It’s 20 Euros for a small amount of pate over there. Haha!

      The desserts are awesome too, the MilleFeuille at Relais Louis XIII is the best in the world, I heard. :D

      Here’s hoping you enjoy your France vacation when it comes!

      P/S – Remember to book the restaurant early!

  6. Both of you were so lucky to dine in a posh Michelin restaurant. That’s my dream to sink my teeth in their delicious spread. Look at all your yummy orders that sent me drooling with jealous eyes!

    Hey did you leave a big fat tip for the waitress? I seldom trust reviews left by hotel guests as I always found the rooms or restaurants to be excellent.

    • Yeah, it’s an awesome experience! :)

      I was a bit apprehensive coz I read a lot of bad reviews online but mostly it’s about the Asian sommelier (which we didn’t bump into since we didn’t order wine) but the service was excellent!

      However, in most Michelin star restaurants, you have to pay when you reserve a table and the money is not refundable, which is different from other countries.

      That’s a good thing though, to avoid no shows, since you can’t just turn up at a Michelin star restaurant and expect a table, in France, when you book a table it’s yours for the afternoon or night – the entire time! They don’t have multiple bookings per night/afternoon so you can stay 3-4 hours.

      I did leave a tip coz I spilled my drink (oops) but the wait staff said it was okay, they knew it was her first time in France and maybe they overhead us talking about the negative reviews on tripadvisor (but we were saying how it wasn’t true) so they wanted to make an awesome impression.

  7. LOL….1:1 wait ratio looks like got its good and bad ya. Kinda not much privacy with someone hovering around.

    Food looks terrific :)

    • Haha! Yeah, it sounds like that eh? :)

      But to be fair the service is very discreet! They don’t hover around and they don’t make eye contact unless you make eye contact first so it’s very attentive that way.

      You don’t even have to summon a wait staff by doing anything except look over, and one will come right over. Very upscale. They don’t stare at you but I guess they do other stuff while keeping one eye on you without looking at you if you get what I mean.

      They’re not beside you too, the wait staff is all at the back, overlooking the entire restaurant.

      I liked the service, you don’t have people rushing you coz in France when you book a table it’s yours, they don’t accept multiple bookings, only 1 booking per lunch or dinner so the table is yours the entire time!

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