March 19, 2015

Haute Couture Brunch at the Plaza Athénée

On several occasions, I have walked past the Hôtel Plaza Athénée, but never had the chance to stop in. Located on one of Paris’ most fabulous shopping streets, Avenue Montaigne, this palace was just begging for a visit.

As an (extremely) belated Valentine’s Day date, my husband and I made a reservation for brunch at the hotel’s recently refurbished restaurant, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée.

On Saturday afternoon we arrived for what would be one of our most memorable dining experiences to date.

Upon entering the glittering room, we were given our choice of international newspapers, a small, yet appreciated touch. Once seated, we began a culinary journey unlike any other. 

Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Paris

Our “Haute Couture Brunch” commenced with a choice of hot beverages and fresh fruit juices accompanied by an abundant pastry platter. A variety of baguettes were then brought out, served with a selection of jams and Chef Alain Ducasse’s homemade chocolate hazelnut spread. 

Pastries at the Haute Couture Brunch, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Paris
Haute Couture Brunch, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Paris
Alain Ducasse chocolate spread at the Haute Couture Brunch, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Paris

Although we were already filling up quite quickly, it was only the beginning of our luxurious meal. Next came tiny glass pots of yogurt and perfectly arranged tropical fruit plates. Then arrived a surprising amuse-bouche, a spicy fennel purée. 

Fruit plate at the Haute Couture Brunch, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Paris

Next on the menu, was a choice between two copious entrées. I tasted thin slices of Brittany artichoke and black truffle, and my husband sampled the sea bass carpaccio.

Brittany artichokes at the Haute Couture Brunch, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Paris
Sea bass carpaccio at the Haute Couture Brunch, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Paris

At this point, we had just about reached our eating capacity, but it was time for eggs and we continued onward. I stayed classic with benedict, but my husband was more adventurous, choosing the daily special - scrambled with black truffles.

Eggs Benedict at the Haute Couture Brunch, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Paris
Scrambled eggs with truffles at the Haute Couture Brunch, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Paris

As we finished our plates, the cheese course arrived - comté, emmental and a rather pungent camembert.

Cheese course at the Haute Couture Brunch, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Paris
Unbelievably, the XXL meal did not end there. An enviable spread of desserts appeared, including various verrines, dark chocolate, a caramel religieuse and pain perdu in a tiny pan. 

Desserts at the Haute Couture Brunch, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Paris
If that weren’t enough (which it certainly was!), we finished off with a bit of bubbly, some of the finest I have ever been served.

The food was the star of the show, but we cannot forget the staff. At Plaza Athénée service is a true art form, much like a graceful ballet. Each fine detail appears effortless, but one recognizes that an incredible amount of preparation goes on behind the scenes. 

Being a guest here, even if only for a few hours, was truly unforgettable.


Hotel Plaza Athénée
25 avenue Montaigne
75008 Paris

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