My favourite part of the trip to Guilbauds? Feeling like I was famous for three hours. Maybe you’re already rich and famous, in which case you probably don’t need to feel that way for a Saturday evening. For the rest of you, start saving, because it feels fucking great.
Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud is Ireland’s only two star Michelin restaurant and at this level it’s not just dinner, it’s a dining experience. That experience starts with a drink in the lounge, or what your granny would call ‘the drawing room’. Once you are seated in the comfort of high backed armchairs, impeccably turned out French waiters present oversized menus and a wine list the size of an encyclopedia. Let the evening begin.
Starters included all the who’s who of fine dining; lobster, foie gras and oysters to name a few. But it was the king crab ‘maki’ that had my name on it. What arrived was a little work of art; the crab beautifully arranged in rolls of cucumber and served with the fresh flavours of lemon, vanilla and mint. It was light, perfectly balanced and had the layers of flavour you’d expect.
However, the stars of the show were the croquettes of suckling pig. Two succulent and meaty golf ball sized croquettes of pork, with all sorts of irresistible trimmings like quail’s egg, foie gras and pancetta.
And on to the mains. The Fillet of Irish Beef was served with a Roast Foie Gras Madeira and Truffle Jus. I don’t think I even read the rest of the menu. It was everything I hoped and dreamed it would be; perfectly cooked, melt in the mouth beef with a sauce you would sell your granny for. The Sika Deer Poached in Mulled Wine with Green Apple Polenta and Toasted Muesli was excellent too but it was no match for my steak. I may have lost the starters but I won the mains.
I don’t know who won the dessert. I got a bit confused around about now – dessert seemed to comprise of not one, but four courses. I’m not complaining, mind you. First there were petit fours, which were followed by the pre dessert, which was a mere warm up to the actual dessert, which was (of course) followed by whiskey truffles. Got all that? Needless to say they were all sublime and four is better than one, that’s what I say.
We washed all this down with a lovely Bordeaux red, from Pauillac. At €90 it was one of the cheapest options on the menu. Usually you can expect to be punished for ordering the cheapest wine on the menu, but when you pay €90 you hope that won’t be the case. It wasn’t, I’m glad to say it was excellent.
One of the undoubted joys of Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud is the people watching opportunities and the dining room is perfectly designed to facilitate. No table could be described as the bad one. We watched the guy in the Hawaiian shirt and wondered how he got in. ‘He’s probably the richest guy in the room’ I commented. Later, his girlfriend paid for dinner. Huh?
The piece de resistance? An appearance from the man himself. It’s always nice when a well-known chef takes the time to come and greet guests, it’s even more of a bonus when he has a good old chinwag with you. It was the finishing touch to a flawless evening. A trip to Guilbauds will cost you but you’ll remember it long after you’ve forgotten every other average meal you had since.