5 hours of food heaven, 5 hours of my taste buds going woohoo, 5 hours of one dish after another being served to my eyes, my nose, my mind and my palette, and 5 hours of sitting in a restaurant with a big grin on my face. Stumbling out in the warm Paris night, these thoughts swirls through my mind and I smile because thanks to Guy Savoy I just had the longest meal of my life but also one of the best.
Situated in the 17th district, Guy Savoy is located only a few blocks from the l’Arc de Triomphe. He scrupulously selects his french and local ingredients according to their origins and treats them the utmost respect orchestrating extraordinary variations on flavors and textures that have earned him his golden reputation (and three Michelin stars). The end result is some of the best food that I have ever had - classics reinterpreted with cutting-edge culinary techniques.
Inside, with brown walls, African art and abstract modern paintings, the restaurant decor was serious, but the colorful plates on the table showed Savoy’s festive side. I decided to go with the 18 course degustation menu and they were able to accommodate a tasting menu for my vegan wife as well (not 18 courses though). We were warned that I had a 5 hour experience in front of me, but if the food is good why not extend the joy.
We started with two amuse bouches, the first one was a simple foie gras toast but the second one was amazing - a pea soup with fresh peas and a poached quail egg Already at this point, I was hooked. This is what I prefer a three-star experience to be, great culinary techniques that I haven’t seen before, combined with fantastic presentation and food that I actually like to eat. Scrumptious!!
The next course was a delicious trio of tomatoes, which clearly were in season when we visited Paris. Every restaurant had a couple of tomato dishes but this one was spectacular. I also bought the Guy Savoy cookbook they sold in the restaurants and to my very happy surprise the recipe of this course was included. Now I just need to sharpen my french so I can get all the ingredients right.
After the tomatoes, Chef Guy served a giant langoustine, who looked more like a baby lobster, clean, crisp and cooked to perfection. Then I had razor clams, an ingredient that very fast has risen to become one of my favorite seafood ingredients. The razor clams were served on their shells, cooked perfectly, and just complimented slightly by some lemon, a tiny bit of garlic puree and some fried parsley. This was a very well composed dish.
How do you top a dish like the razor clams?? Well, you throw in caviar in the mix. The next course was zucchini flower with caviar and smoked sabayon. The zucchini flower was dried but had an interesting taste and the combination with the caviar and the sweet sabayon was amazing. It also had some Brunoise vegetables to give it some crunch.
So how do you top caviar and sabayon? I didn't think it was possible and then the kitchen serves two amazing fish courses.
The first one was the cheeks of Sea Bass with celery sponges. The sous chef brought the whole fish head to the table and then very carefully cut out the cheeks and put it on the plate. I heard about fish cheeks before but I never had it and it was amazing. The whole dish was elevated by the fish broth served tableside as well.
After that I had a Red mullet with squid, served with some squid ink vegetable paper that was incredible. And the colors of this dish was fantastic. The pictures doesn't do it justice. At this part of the dinner - I was thinking, Chef Guy can't serve any more seafood - it is simply not possible.
But it is possible. Suddenly the sous-chef rolls up a table next to ours with a funky white pillow on it. On the table is also a couple of small copper pans and a wonderful cut of raw salmon. The pillow is dry ice, and the next course is salmon cooked three ways. First, it is cooked on dry ice, second moved to my very hot plate and finally cooked in a steaming vegetable broth that is pour into the plate. It creates a wonderful texture and the chervil cubes made of jelly compliments the dish nicely. Are we done with seafood now??
Nope, Chef Savoy has one final seafood card up his sleeve, and it is a stunner. A lobster and chantarelle tart with a delicious sauce. I almost licked my plate - which I know is not considered good etiquette in any restaurant, especially in a three star one. But I almost decided to do it anyways - it was that good.
What about my wife's vegan dishes? Guy Savoy does a great job of catering to any dietary restrictions and from my wife's reaction throughout the meal, she was very happy and satisfied with the plates that was served. She summarized her experience by giving Chef Savoy her number two ranking of best gourmet places to eat if your are a vegan, number one is still the Fat Duck in the UK. Picture above are two of the dishes she had, A great chantarelle dish and a wonderful chocolate gelato with raspberries and avocado.
My next course was foie gras with berries and aubergine. The course would have been better without the aubergine but it was still very good.
Chefs are very often remembered for their signature dishes and when people mention Guy Savoy they often highlight the Artichoke and Black Truffle Soup. It has been a signature dish of his since the 1980’s, and it tremendously rewarding . The intense broth perfumed with a distinct earthy flavor of aromatic black truffles and the strong nutty and tangy flavors gets better with each sip, leaving you wanting for more. An mushroom brioche is also served alongside, with some black truffle butter on it. When spreading the black butter on the brioche the waiter proclaims ”butter makes everything taste better!” And in this case it did. A dish that I could eat every day for the rest of my life.
The next course was a lamb course with a saddle, rack, shoulder and sausage made of lamb. It is one of the best lamb dishes I have ever had. The knife cut through the saddle like butter, the flavors were intense, the lamb was cooked perfectly, and you could really enjoy the variety of lamb and how different the various parts taste. An incredible dish.
Cheese was on the menu next - and the waiter rolled out a table filled with cheeses. It was the biggest selection of cheese I have ever had at a restaurant. There must have been 40 different types of cheese to choose between - I picked 5 and they were all great.
After the cheeses a very nice palette cleanser was served - a little summer sandwich. Nothing spectacular, but a good transition. The following course was simple yet very flavorful, a wonderful vanilla creme with some whipped lemon egg whites.
The menu ended with some fantastic desserts where the highlight were a strawberry and wild strawberry profiteroles. The berries had intense flavors and it was a perfect ending to a great dinner. The problem is that it wasn't the ending, the desserts just kept coming and coming and when the waiter finally rolled out the trolley of ice creams, sorbets, conserves and traditional biscuits, I was full beyond reason.
But what an amazing night, the food is truly spectacular, the wine list extremely impressive and the service as good as it gets. If there is a restaurant that deserves three stars then Guy Savoy is it.
It is also a very expensive restaurant but once in a while when you feel like going on a culinary journey and be blown away by food that you quickly realize that you could never cook at home, then Guy Savoy in Paris is one of the best alternatives in the world.
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