The aim of this Bordeaux trip was to try out two local restaurants. So, after Olivier introduced you to London’s 3-star Gordon Ramsay Restaurant, here’s a dinner at his Bordeaux property, the 2-star Pressoir d’Argent, located within the walls of Bordeaux’s prestigious Intercontinental Hotel.
The agenda of this journey
|Sheraton Roissy CDG
|Paris-Bordeaux – Air France – Economy
|Le Pressoir d’Argent Gordon Ramsay (here)
|Le Quatrième Mur (Bordeaux)
|Bordeaux-Paris – Air France – Economy
The Pressoir d’Argent concept
Gordon Ramsay needs no introduction. What makes Pressoir d’Argent special? A menu designed exclusively around local products and promoting the region.
And if the name “Pressoir d’Argent” comes as a surprise to you, it’s because the restaurant hasone of only five lobster presses in the world and invented by Le Divellec, who used it in his Paris restaurant, copying the duck press used at Tour d’Argent for Canard au Sang (Pressed Duck)
It is, of course, used during service as part of a genuine ceremony.
The setting is very traditional, but not pompous or obsequious.
The place is quiet and comfortable, but doesn’t weigh down on guests like other properties of this style, where you hardly dare whisper or make the slightest movement.
As you’d expect, the tables were large and well spaced out (but perhaps the COVID effect was playing a part, as we were a week away from the introduction of the health pass).
The Pressoir d’Argent menu
We are promised a menu built around local produce, and the promise is kept.
A short menu is also a guarantee of fresh produce and masterfully prepared dishes.
And, of course, the tasting menu.
The meal and the dishes
The choice will be very difficult. I hesitated for a long time for the starter between foie gras and langoustine and for the main course between turbot wellington and lamb.
In the end, it will be thelangoustines and the turbot but by the time you read this I’ll have tried the other two dishes, and the review will be in progress as a “TravelGuys” weekend in Bordeaux has been planned with Olivier, and we immediately booked the Pressoir d’Argent.
As soon as I’m seated, I’m asked if my table suits me and if I’d like an aperitif. I’ll start with a Laurent Perrier Grand Siècle.
Appetizers arrive immediately afterwards.
Homemade focaccia to go with it
I’m given the menu (see above) and I make my selection. I’m pleased to note that the property offers a wide selection of wines by the glass, which is perfect when dining alone, but not common in restaurants of this standing. So I’ll ask the sommelier for advice for every dish.
No sooner had I placed my order than the ballet of appetizers continued with an oyster from the Arcachon Basin (number 2) and crepinette of pork.
Freshly baked warm farmhouse bread and homemade semi-salted butter. The butter is delicious, with the consistency of ice cream.
Finally, the langoustines arrive.
They are cooked in seawater with a head cream and a green tea sabayon flavored with lobster bisque emulsion.
Very fine, with a surprising blend of tea and langoustine. A smoky aftertaste comes from the creamy heads: the langoustine heads have been barbecued before being pressed.
Speaking of presser….the table next door must have ordered lobster, so you can see the famous press bursting into the room.
The staff ask if the pace of the service suits me, or if I’d like it to go faster or slower. A simple but important gesture when amuse-bouche and entremets are continually served between courses.
Finally comes the house signature dish, Turbot Wellington. It will be sliced in front of me.
It’s ccompanied by a porcini mushroom and turbot milk tartlet.
The cooking is perfect and the dish is a delight. A perfectly successful local adaptation of Gordon Ramsay’s famous Beef Wellington, which once again makes the most of local produce.
Next comes a beautiful cheese cart. I let the waiter advise me, an opportunity to make some great discoveries.
New entremet: Cucumber in Riqlès style (memory of a mint drink that the oldest among you knew well), pelargonium (it’s a plant), balsamic vinegar .
Surprising. Like a mint candy, the cucumber is softened and domesticated.
For dessert I had the possibility of taking the chocolate from the tasting menu.
A very fresh dessert (because of the sorbet), and you can really feel the hint of ginger.
And one final surprise.
For the record, the sommelier had a good idea of my tastes and suggested an original digestif: a Japanese peated rum!
The criticism often made of this type of restaurant is the somewhat obsequious, sometimes cumbersome service. Not here.
The attitude of the staff is of course at the level expected of a two-star restaurant, but without overdoing it. The conversation was friendly, the staff were very willing to talk about the food and wine, and sometimes we even continued the conversation on other subjects.
Next to me was a couple with their child, who sometimes joked with the staff in a rather relaxed way.
This is exactly what I expect from this type of property: a high level of professionalism, but I don’t like being served by morticians when I’ve come to have a good time.
I’ll repeat what I said earlier. The room isn’t noisy, but it’s just as lively as it needs to be, and the customers have a great time, laughing and chatting with the staff…
There are Michelin-starred restaurants where, as a customer, you feel the weight of the property’s history and reputation weighing down on both customers and staff alike. In the long run it spoils a meal.
None of that here, and that’s appreciable.
I spent 3 hours at the table and didn’t see them go by. Good (and even excellent) food is one thing, but a timeless experience (especially when you’re alone at the table) is not so common.
My experience at Pressoir d’Argent was simply perfect, because the excellence and originality of the dishes were matched by very pleasant service.
All in all, a bill of 363 euros, which isn’t nothing, but seems totally justified to me. I’ve had additions of 100 euros or much less that were more painful because of the experience, which is not the case here. Far from it.
And a gift from the house to take with me before I leave.