Meeting with a number of great chefs this summer I have quickly realized that they have a few things in common. One of the things they have in common is that they put all their energy into flavour.
Franck Cerutti, a long-time second to Alain Ducasse at the Le Louis XV in Monte-Carlo, is one of them.
I had the opportunity to come back to Monte-Carlo this summer to try Franck Ceruttis food again and some of the dishes I have had here, not all of them, has to be counted as spectacular.
Food here is simple and straightforward, allowing the ingredients to shine and show itself off. Some might even find the food to simple but for me it has become one of the few restaurants that educate me in terms of top quality ingredients and flavours. That is the main reason I come back here.
The bread trolley at the beginning of the meal is fantastic. This is almost like a bakery shop on wheels presenting 20-30 breads baked fresh every morning. Here there is something for everyone to choose from and I recommend trying the bacon bread and the sun-dried tomato bread.
Each meal starts with a refreshing introduction and an indication of the importance of vegetables in this kitchen. This time I had olive oil bread with fresh and crisp raw vegetables, tuna belly, anchovies and Taggiasche olive oil sprinkled on top.
What to look out for if you come here are for example vegetables, pasta, risottos and fish.
This time I had fresh pasta with tomato and basil. The pasta itself was actually cooked as a risotto where the uncooked pasta was put in a tomato sauce and by adding white wine it was cooked until it released its starches to make a thicker sauce. Then there was tomato marmalade in the bottom of the plate, tomato confit and reduced tomato water poured on top. The tomato water had been boiled until well reduced in volume, leaving the most amazing concentrated flavour with a beautiful thickened, almost syrupy, consistency. All the way this was a delicious dish being light yet rich and packed full of concentrated, intense tomato flavour with the right hint of high quality Parmesan cheese.
I have not yet had a risotto like the one I was served at Le Louis XV the other summer. Actually the second best I have had was at La Chevre d´Or in Eze, not far away from Monaco, but that’s another story. Franck Ceruttis risotto was outstanding. Each and every grain of rice had perfect texture and had absorbed the chicken stock used to cook the risotto. It had a perfect amount of Parmesan cheese and was served with chanterelles, garlic, crispy parsley and some juicy, tender frogs legs on top. I haven’t tried Massimiliano Alajmos risottos yet but that is about to happen next week. Still I doubt the risotto served at Le Louis XV can be beaten.
Twice I have had fish here. The cod was served with a beautiful Rouille sauce having the perfect amount of saffron and the fish itself was firm but perfectly tender with a clean taste. The sea bass was cooked a la plancha and was accompanied by vegetables in season. I missed the skin from the sea bass though as it can be very tasty.
This time I also tried veal liver which was very tender and had a nice texture, being quit mild on flavour. It was served with carrots, onions and veal juice. Perfectly executed and an enjoyable dish to eat.
Desserts are always lovely at Le Louis XV. The signature dessert, Le Baba au rhum comme à Monte-Carlo, is one that is impossible to get tired of. And the mascarpone sorbet served with warm wild strawberries is one I dream about; the cold sorbet, the wild strawberries and the warm sauce of wild strawberries. Simple but absolutely delicious. As for this dessert the waiter told me: “the more you do to food, the more you take away from it”.
I couldn’t agree more.