Having made the reservations through e-mail and gotten a confirmation from the restaurant, I requested for the hotel to re-confirm my reservations with Guy Savoy at Rue Troyon when I arrived and with our reservations fixed, we took a cab down to the restaurant and the common facade of the restaurant belies the whole dining experience and 3-star rating. As someone who enjoys food, I thought it might be great to enjoy what is meant by 3-star Michelin since I haven’t had the chance to experience one before.
The evening we arrived at the restaurant, there was a family of 4 who apparently did a reservation without any confirmation from the restaurant, thus they had to be declined. As expected with many high-end restaurants, reservations are always required beforehand. Anyway the restaurant manager showed us our table which was located in an alcove beside the main entrance. It felt private, making us comfortable since we weren’t dressed in the most formal attires and I would have to say, it’s a very good start!
After we were comfortably seated, the manager introduced us to the sommelier who enquired on our drinking preferences. However as we were not avid wine drinkers nor connoisseurs, we just asked for a light sweet wine for our drinks which the sommelier politely obliged and gave recommendations for. We took his recommendation and was served a nice sweet wine for our drink. Next, the manager presented us with a menu and mentioned what was not available today before taking his leave. Before we even had time to peruse the menu, we were offered amuse bouche which was a small morsel of foie gras with brioche. It was a nice light offering, tasty yet not too strong in taste for the foie gras. On top of the small surprise, my Mum had a bigger surprise as the manager came in passing her a small bag filled with a special gift from the restaurant.
For the main meal, we decided to go a la carte since my Mum has a light appetite and we might be too full for a full course menu. Apparently Guy Savoy has a rule requiring the full table to take up the same set menu or go a la carte. It is worth noting that the manager takes note of any allergies and special dietary preferences before taking our orders which shows the restaurant’s desire to ensure a complete and wholesome dining experience. The manager was also able to tweak the portions according to the diner’s capacity and make minor adjustments to the certain food, which suits us just fine!
After ordering our food, the proprietor of the restaurant, Monsieur Guy Savoy himself came out and made a personal greeting to each of the guests present tonight before heading back to the kitchen. I have always noticed that chefs thats does these have a certain confidence and quest for perfection in their food, something which I experienced while dining at Tojo’s in Vancouver as well. To start, we were provided a choice of breads from the basket before the real appetizer came. It was the same appetizer as the one in the set menu which was named Myriad of Peas. What it actually was a jelly of raw peas topped with a slightly creamed pea puree, soft peached egg, a salad of peas and curly watercress with chive oil. As decoration, purple shiso leaves with cumin flavour. Presentation wise, this dish was nondescript though the purple shiso leaves added a punch of colour to the otherwise greenish tinge. The egg was boiled to perfection and tasted extremely well with the peas. Or perhaps the peas might have masked the taste of the half boiled egg. The appetizer felt fresh and served to cleanse the palate of the amuse bouche and the bread.
For a high end restaurant, their bread rolls was good and they even had 2 types of butter to choose from, and if I am not mistaken, one was sea salt butter or something to that extent. It was light and doesn’t have the rich creamy taste of normal butter, thus wouldn’t make it too filling when added onto the bread. Our next dish was actually a half-portion of one of their main courses, the Breton Lobster cooked in a court-bouillon, cut in thick slices and sauteed in butter. The shell of the lobster is garnished with a ragout of lobster claw flesh and avocado before being filled with the lobster medallion and raw avocado. This dish is served with pan-fried chantarelle mushrooms and lobster coral jus with Yuzu lemon. Warm and really delicious, my parents and I truly liked this course and the jus that accompanied the lobster was practically licked clean! Presentation of the dish was good with the black plates providing a strong contrast for the red tone of the lobster and the jus, topped with the green-yellow hue of the avocado.
The next course was a soup, which incidentally, according to the manager was the restaurant’s specialty and a must try. Personally, I have never been a fan of artichokes, though I really liked the flavour truffles gives to food. Given that it was an artichoke and truffle soup, I was a bit hesitant at ordering this dish, but since it was a specialty, we went ahead. This plain soup was served with slices of black truffle and parmesan shavings. Besides the soup we were provided with a layered brioche with mushrooms, and a small spread of truffle butter. Looks wise, it was ordinary, but the soup had too much flavour, and I would have preferred a lighter version, though I can’t deny it tastes delicious. Maybe because it was overhyped, I didn’t find it extra special, though it should be noted we chose to add the parmesan shavings to our liking as it was provided separately from the soup since we had mentioned that cheese was one of the ingredients we don’t really enjoy on food. I also thought the truffles didn’t really add much interest to the soup in question. This was perhaps not a course I might put on my must-eat list the next time I visit.
It was time for the main course, for which I ordered a fillet of sea bass for my Mum and the Rib of Veal which was a course to be shared between 2 persons amongst my Dad and myself. The thick fillet of sea bass was grilled whole with the skin and given a layer of seaweed at the top. Dish was accompanied with mushrooms, chard ribs and fish stock infused with vanilla and sweet spices. Overall look of the dish was appetizing and the way the sweet spices placed on the edge was a nice touch. My mum was pleased with this course and I tried a morsel of the fish with the spices and it was a great match. The stock infused with vanilla, I felt, was too rich and should be dipped lightly. Overall, though the sea bass did not disappoint.
As for the rib of veal, which was cooked thick for a tender centre, and paired with potato puree topped with thinly sliced black truffles and veal stock, the meat lacked a certain punch to the wholesomeness of this dish. The meat was accompanied with pearl onions, small carrots and button mushrooms braised in veal stock which had more flavour than the meat. For this dish compared with the fish, it was something of a case of too much and too little. Thus far, it seemed like we preferred the seafood dishes more than the meat dishes, though I do think my Dad and myself do enjoy beef and veal. Just that this one slightly misses the mark.
However, there is salvation for the restaurant as the highlight of the whole meal, I discovered, lies in the dessert! I ordered one strawberry dessert for my parents to share since they were recommended after being in season, and a chocolate dessert for myself, with an added mention that I liked chocolates to the manager. Before the real dessert, we were each presented with 2 small sticks topped with a lollipop scoop of sorbet and ice cream to cleanse the tongue. Great was to start the dessert phase! For myself, the manager came out with 2 dessert, which according to the manager was a special treat for me. Basically the 2 chocolate based desserts was dark chocolate sorbet with chocolate cake and a chocolate biscuit made with marzipan marinated in lime juice topped with a chocolate ganache flavoured with cardamom and black pepper. I didn’t really enjoy the sorbet and the cake since I found they lacked texture and was too rich in the chocolate part. I did enjoy the crunchiness of the biscuit and liked the burst of flavour in that particular dessert.
The best dessert of them all, though, has got to be the texture of strawberry which composed of plain strawberry jam, finely diced “Gariguette” strawberries, strawberry sorbet and granité, crisp strawberries and strawberry juice. The freshness and juiciness of this dessert is truly one for strawberry lovers, and there was a bit of regret as to not follow the recommendations of the manager with regards to the food. My Mum loved this dessert, especially the strawberry juice with the sorbet and I must say it has got to be the most enjoyable food throughout the dinner.
Having thought that the dessert marked the end of the meal, we were suprised by the dessert cart which was wheeled in. In actual fact, diners gets a second helping of dessert from the cart which had sorbets and gelatos, cakes and tarts to choose from. It seems that Guy Savoy ensures that all diners leave with a full stomach but by this time we were tired and really satisfied with the food. The server, however, insisted we give a try to some of their dessert selections and proceeded to give us some of the more popular selection, giving us scoops of passion fruit sorbet, dark chocolate ice cream and a minute slice of apple pie. I took a bit of the dark chocolate ice cream since I had something similar on the cake, and the apple pie was a good way to clean the palate. Ending the meal with the sorbet was an added refreshment, and I could have had second helpings of this sorbet if I were still able to.
To review this meal would have been totally unfair since I do believe we had one of the best service a restaurant could ever provide its diners! Personal to the point of perfection yet never intimidating and warm service which really made diners feel at ease and allowing them to dine in comfort. While the food had hits and misses, there was great variety and a magnificent ending with the wonderful dessert! I could perhaps always be lusting for the strawberry dessert again… As to whether it was worth it, I say it depends on the occasion and company, since the bill was one of the priciest meal I might ever have this year but thus far, it was one of the most memorable dining experiences ever!