Dining in a Parisian three Michelin starred restaurant can be quite expensive. Guy Savoy is no exception. According to Business Insider Restaurant Guy Savoy has the most expensive tasting menu in the world. I do not know if that is correct but at € 360 it is at least more expensive than most restaurants and a lot more pricey than the Spanish three Michelin starred restaurants. But there is a possibility to taste the food of Guy Savoy for a lot less money than € 360. Everyday one table is reserved for guests who want to ”discover – or rediscover – the delights of a French gourmet restaurant, but who hesitate”. So if you are lucky to secure that table, which I was, you can choose from the full lunch menu, one starter, one main course and one dessert for a fixed price of € 110. When I made the reservation I thought this offer was a result of the ongoing euro crisis but when I entered the restaurant there were not many, if any, empty tables.
Guy Savoy is one of ten restaurants in Paris with three stars. The eponymous restaurant is currently located on rue Troyon in the 17th arrondisement, near the Arc de Triomphe, but will in 2014 be relocated to the Hotel de la Monnaie on the left bank in the 6th arrondisement. Guy Savoy was present during the entire lunch and spent a lot of time welcoming and chatting with guests.
I had reserved the 110 euro-table but instead of getting three courses I got four. For my first course I had ordered the myriad of of peas-course but the Restaurant Director thought that me and my girlfriend should try monsieur Savoy’s signature dish, the artichoke and truffle soup. He therefore offered us to try both dishes. We were served half portions of each dish.
Myriad of young peas
Green peas in three ways; fresh, as a jelly and as a purée with a runny egg that was cut open tableside. The peas were of very high quality. A very good dish.
Artichoke and black truffle soup, layered brioche with mushrooms and truffles
The intensity and depth of flavour of the soup was just incredible. It was like if a million artichokes had been compressed into a small bowl of soup. Together with the truffles and parmesan this was pure magic. It may very well be one of the absolutely best dishes I have had for a long time. However I am not sure I would recommend the dish If you would go for the à la carte menu. The flavour is so powerful that a half dish is enough. More than that and you would get tired of the artichokes. In a tasting menu though, this must be brilliant. The soup was served with a very fine brioche with truffle butter. Guy Savoy wants you to dip the brioche in the soup.
Glazed Bresse chicken confit, vinegar jus (confit et laquée)
Deboned legs of a Bresse chicken, which had been braised in some kind of vinegar jus, were served with sauteed cabbage, mushrooms, a chicken stock based sauce and, on a separate plate, pommes Maxim. The Bresse chicken was of very high quality and had an amazing flavour. Unfortunately the chicken legs were a bit firm. Despite that remark this was a very good dish. It was a well constructed dish with the acidity of the vinegar perfectly balancing the richness of the chicken.
Hard meringue with lime zest and soft meringue/marsmallow with mango purée. Both very good.
Rhubarb and flowers
Rhubarb in different textures and nasturtium. Unfortunately I do not remember all components of this dessert but there was a rhubard and nasturtium flower jelly, a rhubard sorbet and some thinly sliced rhubarb (the rolls). It was a good dessert but the sorbet was a bit watery, not having the intense rhubarb flavour that high quality Swedish rhubarb has. On top of the sorbet was some kind of soft meringue-ish thing.
After finishing the dessert we were presented a vast selection of mignardises. All were very well made, even if the macaron was not on par with the ones at Jean-Paul Hévin on rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré. My favourite was an amazing sorbet of strawberries and Earl Grey tea.
Service was of course very good. Oddly though, considering the great number of front of house staff, the waiters seemed to be a bit stressed. We were sitting in the middle of the restaurants three rooms and most of the time three or four of the staff were standing in our room waiting for something to do. Despite that most of the waiters rushed while entering and exiting the room.
It is hard to review Guy Savoy without mentioning the price. It is not cheap. Whether it is worth the money depends a bit on the size of your bank account or your interest in dining. It is possible to eat very well in Paris for a fraction of the cost of a tasting menu at Guy Savoy. One example is the excellent one Michelin starred Akrame, where I had dinner the same day. Having said that Guy Savoy is an amazing restaurant with excellent food. The quality of the produce is stunning, the dishes are well balanced and the food is delicious.
The classic three Michelin starred restaurants don’t get much attention in the hip foodie world today. Instead all of the spotlight is on the avant garde chefs and the most recently opened restaurants. I think this is a bit sad. Classic french cuisine can be very good. Many times much better than some innovative food. I do not care if food is interesting, intellectual or innovative if it doesn’t taste good. For me the latter is the most important thing. When it comes to deliciousness, Guy Savoy is an exceptional restaurant. I really do hope to revisit Guy Savoy some time soon.
You can see more pictures, in higher resolution, from the lunch at Guy Savoy on my Flickr-account.