After working at the legendary Troisgros, Guy Savoy previously opened his Paris restaurant in 1980, gaining two stars in 1985. It moved to its current premises in 1987, gaining its third Michelin star in 2002. Guy Savoy now has a series of restaurants, including ones in his own name in Singapore and Las Vegas, and Le Chiberat in Paris. The restaurant is split into several small dining rooms, ours having just five tables. The room was carpeted, with no music playing, the tables fairly well spaced. In total around 60 diners can be accommodated at once, with 35 chefs catering to the guests. Guy Savoy himself was in evidence, welcoming customers. There was a “prestige” tasting menu at €330 in addition to the à la carte, and that was what we chose.
The wine list had around a thousand different selections, all French. Ostertag A360P Muenchburg Pinot Gris 2005 was €140 for a wine that you can find for €77 in the high street, Etienne Sauzet Champ Canet Puligny Montrachet 2007 was €205 for a wine that retails at €84, and Leflaive Puligny Montrachet Les Pucelles 2005 was €415 for a wine that would set you back €208 in a shop.
The meal began with tartlets of mushroom with black truffles, which was a most impressive start to the meal: the pastry was incredibly delicate, the mushrooms and truffle flavour superb, with a little dressing providing a touch of acidity (10/10). A wide selection of bread was prepared by baker Frederic Lalos to order, and interestingly these were quite different to the breads from the same baker that I had eaten the night before at Taillevent. Buckwheat bread had a lovely crust and excellent texture, and later on a sourdough bread was terrific, though a seaweed rye bread seemed rather dense (easily 9/10 except for the rye).
A little cup of turnip and carrot emulsion with ginger and lemongrass with lemon salt had great depth of flavour. Hidden away in the serving dish, revealed when you lifted the soup to drink it, was a lobster spring roll with wonderfully delicate pastry and tender lobster (10/10). Caviar with iced cauliflower parfait with a skin of egg yolk and capers had good cauliflower flavour, the caviar going well with it, though for me this was not in the league of the preceding dishes (8/10).
The next dish was special though. Green pea jelly and green pea purée was served with a runny poached egg, watercress salad, purple chervil and lots of fresh peas. The mix of textures was great, but what was impressive was the sheer intensity of flavour of the peas, which were magnificent. These early season ones were from Spain, though the kitchen will switch to using ones from France in a few weeks time. I have only once had peas of a comparable standard, and they were fresh from the lovely market of Ventimiglia in the Mediterranean (10/10).
Razor clam cooked a la plancha with garlic, lemon and deep fried parsley was also impressive, a very simple dish but showing off extremely high quality razor clams without a hint of chewiness, the seasoning spot on (9/10). Red mullet with spinach and mushrooms was next, served with a butter sauce made with the liver of the mullet: the fish itself was beautifully tender, and the mousseron mushrooms were terrific (9/10).
Sea bass with Swiss chard was served with a vanilla and ginger sauce. The sea bass itself was of very high quality and cooked perfectly, though I can never really get used to vanilla in savoury sauces (8/10). Lobster cooked with a purée of avocados, shallots and a reduced lobster jus with port and a hint of chocolate. The lobster claw was served on the side with avocado and a citrus jus. The shellfish was very tender, the shallots lovely (9/10).
Artichoke soup with black truffles and Parmesan was next, a gloriously rich dish with great depth of flavour in the soup, the earthy truffle and artichoke working harmoniously with the Parmesan, the seasoning spot on, served with brioche with a delicate mushroom and truffle butter (10/10). The main course was beef done two ways, served with little crisp discs of potato. Wagyu beef (from Spain) was excellent, served with a little grated fresh wasabi, but even better was slow cooked French beef braised for three hours with red wine, the beef falling apart on the fork. The potatoes were also terrific, delicate and a great match for the rich beef (10/10). The final savoury course was a little bowl of puy lentils with more black truffles from the Dordogne. This was superb, the lentils perfectly cooked, the earthy scent of the truffles elevating the dish (10/10).
Cheese was from Marie Quatrehomme, a noted affineur and one of the few female recipients of the prestigious Meilleur Ouvrier de France awards. The first dessert was a showcase of the first strawberries from Brittany, with sponge cake, strawberry jam, strawberry sorbet and crisp, some fresh raspberries, vanilla cream, strawberry granita and meringue. This was a lovely dish, all the components perfectly executed, a fine combination of textures, the strawberries having the sort of flavour that is now just a distant memory in the UK (10/10).
This was followed by chocolate mousse with lime and a perfect chocolate fondant with a remarkably delicate chocolate tuile (10/10). Even the coffee was impeccable, Ethiopian Mocca with deep flavour. Service was superb throughout, every detail attended to with care. Such glories have a price, and the bill came to €459 (£391) a head all in. It would be possible for eat for a bit less if you avoided the tasting menu and scoured the list for a more basic wine, but Guy Savoy is never going to be a cheap evening. However, if you can afford it then you will have a wonderful time here.
The notes below are from a meal in November 2003.
The dining room is modern, split into several smaller areas each with a handful of tables. Service is faultless, and we even had a waiter, Gregory, who we used to know from Chez Nico in London. A nibble of duck liver pate “club sandwich” was excellent (8/10), while a further amuse-bouche of carpaccio of tuna and deep fried mushroom kebab was also excellent (8/10), while yet another of carrot soup was good but had too much aniseed for me (6/10).
We were able to have half-sized portion of starters (and could have done the same with most main courses) which is a great way to try more things. A pumpkin soup had excellent intensity, cooked with a little black truffle (8/10). Even better was a simple risotto served with white truffles from Alba grated at the table (9/10). Their signature dish is artichoke soup with black truffle and parmesan, served with brioche stuffed with wild mushrooms and covered with truffle butter – the soup had lovely flavour and was well balanced: the bread was a fine foil to the dish (9/10). Bresse chicken was nicely cooked, served just with strips of fennel (7/10) while sea bass was served with salsify, with a vanilla sauce and some rather tasteless shiitake mushrooms (7/10).
Cheese was excellent, a wide selection in excellent condition (9/10). My dessert was very fine: apple was pureed and served in a glass dish, on top of which was fine green apple sorbet, with cubes of cooked apples around the side (10/10). My wife had pear sorbet, caramel ice cream, vanilla ice cream and a chocolate ice cream, which were all very good (8/10). Coffee was superb: strong and dark, offered with raisins with chocolate in filo pastry, as well as a rose tuile, a little chocolate cake and wafers and finally a sliver of apple pie (9/10).
The wine list was sadly of the usual high-end Paris mark-ups, and the bill soon mounts up, with water at EUR 8 a bottle and a glass of champagne at EUR 22 a glass. For two the bill was EUR 560, though admittedly we had pre-dinner drinks and a EUR 80 bottle of Pinot Gris that was one of the cheapest wines on the list. Overall excellent, but costly.