A Birthday Surprise – Dining at “Le Jules Vernes” in the Eiffel Tower

eiffel1I had always been under the impression that “Le Jules Verne“, the restaurant located on the 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower (altitude of 125 meters) was a tourist trap serving horrible food with the view of Paris being its only saving grace. Since we’re living in Paris (once again, Chee’s favorite city in the world) and Chee had gone on and on about how the reviews were outdated and that the restaurant was now helmed by Alain Ducasse (with 25 Michelin stars to his name in all his restaurants around the world), I went surfing around online and to my surprise, I found rather positive reviews of the restaurant.

Jules Verne was one place Chee would never have thought that I would bring her to given my fear of heights. SURPRISE!!! Jules Verne it was for Chee’s birthday (Tip: To land a table right next to the window, book at least 1 to 2 months in advance).   With its own private lift access, we were swiftly led up to the restaurant on the 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower.  Restaurant diners can also head to the viewing platform through a private access from the restaurant.

Jules Verne

The lunch menu (88€ or 125€ with 3 glasses of wine) which we decided on had a choice of 3 starters, 3 mains and 3 desserts plus the suggestions of the day.  A nice cute touch was the butter molded in the form of the base of the Eiffel.

Jules Verne2

Appetiser was a pumpkin velouté with chestnut. Simple and well-presented. As for starters, we had the preserved duck foie gras, fruit and orange marmalade accompanied by toasted brioche and the ravioli of crab meat with crab sauce. Once again, great presentation and a good start to our meal.

Jules Verne3

The main dishes did not disappoint. Chee’s dish of roasted pork chop served with stuffed tender onion, straw potatoes and cooking jus as well as my dish of slowly cooked ox cheek and carrots both hit the sweet spots for us. Flavourful, gratifying and thoroughly yummy.

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Chee’s desert was a chocolate/mint variation whilst I chose a light desert of a contemporary vacherin of passion, mango and fresh ginger. Being a chocolate lover, I realised I had made the wrong choice when Chee’s dessert arrived. I kept looking over to her yummy dessert.  If you’re still hungry by this stage, the complimentary mignardises (small sweet tidbits) of chocolate truffles, guimauves (marshmallows), macaroons, and brownies would definitely make you keel over.

All in all, it was a very good experience.  The wines served paired well with the dishes.   Did I freak out coz of the height? Thankfully, once I was in the restaurant, it wasn’t all that bad. Nevertheless, heading out to the private viewing platform of the Eiffel Tower was indeed a challenge for me. Doubt I’ll do that again!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHEE 😉

Le Jules Verne
5 Avenue Gustave Eiffel, 75007
+33 1 45 55 61 44
Open 7 days a week

Spotting UFOs in Parisian Markets

There’s something to be said about waking up on a Saturday or Sunday morning and heading out to one of the markets/marchés in Paris to shop for fresh produce.

When we first moved to Paris, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that a marché was set up every Wednesday and Sunday right outside where we lived, under the metro tracks of La Motte Piquet Grenelle and Dupleix stations. It became a routine to wake up on Sunday, pop by the marché, soak in the atmosphere with the locals and pick up what would be our brunch – e.g. roast chicken, cheese with baguette, oysters, paella, sauerkraut with sausages (yes, we can get non-French food items too ;)).

I’ve often stopped in my tracks to stare at a UFO – “unidentified food object” and Bolly would roll his eyes and tell me what it was followed by an exclamation along the lines of “Tu as jamais vu ça?” (You’ve never seen this before?). Oh well, blame that on growing up in a city and not being in the least bit interested in cooking.

Here are some pictures from our visit to the Marché President Wilson (16th arrondissement) last Sunday with my cousin.  Spot any UFOs? 🙂

I still don’t know what type of flowers these are but they were a beautiful shade of blue…

I never knew that there were so many varieties of tomatoes…

I could get used to a lifestyle of Sunday oyster brunches 🙂

Another yummy dish, escargot in garlic butter…

When I saw this, I thought of a popular dish in Singapore, sambal (chilli-based sauce) stingrays…

This was one of the UFOs that I stopped to look at when I first arrived in Paris…sea urchins…

Marché President Wilson is known to be one of the more expensive marchés with an uppity Parisian flavour. Comparing prices is a must!

Growing up, I almost always only ate button and shitake mushrooms and never knew that there’s a wide range of mushrooms with different varieties coming into season at different times of the year…

Some are obviously huge…

Pheasant anyone?

One of the perks of living in Paris, finally learning to identify different cheeses!

My all-time favourite UFO! Any guesses?

Fantasy Fridays: Macau, China

For the benefit of those who are reading this blog for the first time, we had earlier decided to give ourselves another reason to look forward to Fridays 🙂  A holiday every Friday! Not exactly a real vacation every Friday but more of a photo re-cap of a trip we or either one of us have taken in order to re-live our past travels and all the related memories of each trip.

FANTASY FRIDAYS!

Destination – Macau, one of the two special administrative regions of China. Getting there is easy – about an hour by ferry from Hong Kong, but leaving Asia’s gaming capital can however be difficult for some…

Temptations abound in the tiny Macau territory of 29 km² (11 sq miles). Be seduced by the variety of Chinese delicacies…

The Macanese welcome. Here’s the contingent greeting you when you get off the ferry.  All ready to whisk you off to the hotels and *casinos*…

The must-see attraction in Macau, the 16th century ruins of a Portuguese cathedral, the Cathedral of Saint Paul…

Macau was the first and last European colony in Asia and remnants of Portugal are still visible in Macau…

BollyChees goofing around in Macau. To be exact, Bolly goofing around 😉 …

One of the 35 casinos present in this “sin city”…MGM Grand…

Enticing those keen on a quick buck with bright neon lights…

Bolly has good luck and Chee doesn’t. Bolly won, Chee lost in the casinos…

We celebrated the unexpected win with a fine meal at 2 Michelin star modern and luxurious Chinese restaurant, The Eight before calling it a night. Highly recommended!No harm placing a few bets for the fun of it.  Don’t forget though, the saying “The House Always Wins” is true…

Hope you enjoyed reading this week’s edition of “Fantasy Fridays” 🙂

Life is Like Eating Artichokes

“Life is like eating artichokes, you have got to go through so much to get so little.”

– Thomas Aloysius Dorgan

For the first time ever, I learnt how to eat an entire artichoke two nights ago.

Bolly was tickled at my child-like fascination at the artichoke sitting on my plate.

We’ve dined in our fair share of Michelin-starred and gourmet restaurants, mid-range restaurants and street-side stalls but somehow I’ve just never had the opportunity to eat an entire artichoke.

Bolly was a good ‘teacher’ who guided me through the process. For those like me who may have not been exposed to the artichoke, WikiHow provides a very informative 11-step guide to eating an artichoke (who’s heard of an 11-step guide to eating a vegetable?).

WikiHow’s Steps 4 and 5 tell you to “take the outer leaves off one by one and hold like a potato chip. Coat the tip (the part that was attached to the heart of the choke) in whatever dip has been offered.” Ours was a mixture of mustard and olive oil.

I must say the process of eating an artichoke can actually be quite beautiful.  “Artichoke Art” maybe?

I’m actually surprised at the sense of humour in WikiHow’s guide. Step 9 says “Pull off the centre leaves…They cover a finer, almost hairy growth just on top of the heart of the artichoke. Some people call this part the “choke,” which is what you will do if you eat it, as it is very prickly.”

After removing the choke, you get to the crème de la crème of the artichoke…the artichoke heart. Tuck in to the sweet and tender heart 🙂

For those who constantly tell me not to play with my dish or the leftovers…here’s what some ‘mischief’ can lead to…

All the effort to get to the heart of the artichoke. Nevertheless, I’d say it’s well worth it.

Just like life isn’t it? The reward is that much sweeter when we’ve put in our fair share of hard work.

Fantasy Fridays: Durbuy, Belgium

For the benefit of those who are reading this blog for the first time, we had earlier decided to give ourselves another reason to look forward to Fridays 🙂 A holiday every Friday! Not exactly a real vacation every Friday but more of a photo re-cap of a trip we or either one of us have taken in order to re-live our past travels and all the related memories of each trip.

FANTASY FRIDAYS!

Today, we head to Durbuy. Wait, Durbuy, where? Durbuy is a town located in the French-speaking southern region of Belgium (otherwise known as Wallonia) about 95 kilometres (59 miles) from Brussels, the capital city of Belgium and 33 kilometres (20 miles) from Liege. Its ‘claim to fame’ is its reputation as the smallest town on earth (le plus petite ville du monde) though with a surface area of 157,5 km² and about 11,000 habitants, I think this small town’s claim is somewhat stretched. Smallest or not, this town has a special place in our hearts…read on to find out 🙂

Perched on the banks of the River Ourthe, the charming medieval town dating back to the 17th century is quaint with winding and narrow pedestrian streets lined with old stone houses. Confiturerie Saint-Amour (bottom-right of photo) is an artisanal jam factory that shows how jam is made in large copper basins…

Stop in one of the cafés for a drink while walking through the old town…

The Château d’Ursel in Durbuy which dates back to the 11th century and refurbished by the d’Ursel family who became owners of Durbuy in the 17th century…

Small as it may be, there are a number of good restaurants in and around Durbuy.  Here we are at one-Michelin star restaurant Le Cor de Chasse celebrating Valentine’s Day…which brings me to why Durbuy will always hold a special place in our hearts… Bolly proposed 🙂

I should have seen it coming. Even the town was trying to drop a hint!

Chee said yes and us BollyChees have been married for 2, coming 3 years (in 5 days’ time 😉 )…

To many more days, months and years of walking down the path of life together

🙂