There is a certain way I was imagining how an experience at a 3 Michelin starred restaurant would be. So far, I hadn't really be close at the other places I'd eaten at.
But today I got that experience at Guy Savoy.
I sure as hell paid for it, but I sure as hell ate the best lunch of my life so far. Maybe the best meal so far.
I walked it a few minutes after my booking and was welcomed by pretty much everyone in the restaurant, including Guy Savoy himself. I sat down and had a cool glass of Billecart Salmon Rose poured and took in the surroundings. Rich colours of timber, leather, mahogany. But that didn't last long because the head waiter/matire'd/whatever they call them these days came and offered to give me a look at the kitchen, since I was “earlier than everyone else” (in Paris, fashionably late appears to be not only the norm but the expectation).
Back to the table and I decide to go all in. The 360 euro tasting menu. Yes, that's EXCLUDING wine.
This was going to be a big one.
The wine list/winencyclopedia is delivered and I opt for an excellent looking half bottle of white.
And it begins.
More accurately, it begins with a cloud of smoke from the dry ice hiding beneath the lobster carpaccio. Somehow, I don't think the cloud is quite is quite enough to hide my smile.
Course after course follows and just when I think I've tasted the perfect dish, another one comes along and betters it.
A while back, Guy Savoy said that there was no such thing as the perfect meal. I'm inclined to agree with him. There is no such thing as the perfect meal, that's why chefs need to keep pushing boundaries. That's why people that love food keep searching for perfection. But the reason that no one can rest on their laurels has to be a result of the tremendous hunger, the tremendous greed that exists with all of us. For a chef to draw a line and say that they've created a perfect meal, would be like asking a rich person to never get richer. You can always get richer, and you can always push the boundaries of food.
It doesn't have to be wild and crazy like at El Bulli, it can just be pushing refinement, like Guy Savoy.
Seriously, a soup of asparagus with truffles and cheese. On the side, toasted brioche with truffle butter. To make that good, you don't need foams or gels or sous vide bags ad nauseum (maybe you do, I have no idea), you just have to pair things well.
Same as he does with the foie gras and radish. Every other foie gras dish I've had in France is still insanely rich. But this dish isn't. The acidity of the radish keeps just enough of the richness of the foie gras to make it enjoyable, but cuts through enough for you to feel invigorated.
If the food was great enough, the service is a good match. Hands down the best, most professional, friendliest service of the European dining trip. Considering the quality of restaurant I've been to, that says a lot. They even do matching breads with your meal. Who else is doing that? Superfluous? It doesn't feel it. Nothing does. Everything is right. Dining here is fun. It's formal AND fun, those are the two elements missing from other restaurants. Some have either, but it's rare for a restaurant to have both.
By the time the dessert cart comes around to mark the end of the meal, you're full. In both the stomach and heart. Because you know that you've just eaten a truly great meal at a truly great restaurant. You're in Paris, and you've just been shown why you came half way around the world and spent so much money.
Michelin star tally: 21