To honour the restaurant’s glorious history, Chef Pare has undertaken the task of creating a tasting menu that reflects on the distinguished tenure of a culinary legend: Auguste Escoffier (1890-1897).
“We could not overlook the phenomenal history of The River Restaurant with the Escoffier food legend. We have been poring over old cookbooks and documents at the hotel, and at the Musée Escoffier in Villeneuve-Loubet, France, and are trying our very best to replicate and interpret some of his now legendary dishes. It is our humble homage to the great chef.” James Pare.
Taking on Escoffier’s legacy of modernising French cuisine the result comes as a seasonal six course tasting menu that pays tribute to a set of Escoffier’s most famous dishes. The first installment includes Quail Consommé, Sole Victoria and Peach Melba.
Recipe – Sole Victoria Serves 4 people
1 whole Dover sole
½ Scottish lobster (400-500g)
1g fresh truffles
200ml white wine
300g fish bones
50ml reduced fish stock
2 egg yolks
½ tbsp lemon juice
Heat the butter gently on a medium heat until it has stopped bubbling and sizzling. The water content will have evaporated and the sediment will have settled on the bottom of the pan. Skim off the scum and ladle out the butter, leaving the sediment behind.
A dash of cayenne pepper
1½ tbsp chopped lobster
1½ tbsp chopped truffle
Take the Dover sole off the bone and put the fish bones aside. Sweat the onions and fennel in a large pot, but do not colour the vegetables. Deglaze with white wine, let them simmer for 2-3 minutes then add the fish bones. Fill the pot with cold water to cover the bones and simmer for ½ hour. Strain and set 150ml aside. Use the rest to poach the sole fillets later. Place 150ml in a pan and reduce to 50ml on low heat for the sauce base.
Start by cleaning the lobster while it is alive. Pull the tail and the claws off the live lobster; cook the tails in boiling water for 2 minutes and the claws for 6 minutes. Cool the lobster right away in ice water to stop the cooking process. Remove the meat from the lobster tail by putting the tail on its side and crushing it with light pressure, using a towel hold each side of the shell and break it apart without damaging the tail meat. To remove the claw meat, use the back of a knife or crab crackers to lightly break the shell and remove the claw and cartilage. Dice the tail and claws. Keep some of the lobster for the garnish, about 3 tablespoons for each sole fillet and use the rest for the sauce.
To make the sauce Victoria, find a small bowl that will fit inside a medium-sized pot. Add 2-3 inches of water and allow the water to simmer. In the bowl, add the reduced fish stock and the two egg yolks, and whisk for 2-3 minutes until it thickens like a cream, then slowly whisk in the clarified butter, starting with 3 tablespoons. Keep adding more butter until the mixture starts to emulsify. After all the butter is used, add the cayenne pepper, chopped lobster and truffles. Set aside in a warm place until it is ready to serve.
Fold the sole fillets and poach them in fish stock for 3-4 minutes on low/medium heat. Place the fillets onto a plate, arrange chopped lobster on each fillet, shave the truffles over and serve with the sauce Victoria.