As you know if you’ve been reading this blog, I like my food and in particular Michellin starred food. In Ireland there are only nine Michellin starred restaurants and only one with two stars – Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud. Having opened in 1981, it gained its first star in 1989 and its second in 1996 which it has retained for the last twenty years. Having managed to get a last minute table for a Saturday Lunch (there’s an entire post that could be dedicated to getting that table but that really is another story) we were shown through to the lounge with its high ceilings, well spread out seating and although it’s not my forte some very impressive artwork. The Sommelier came over with a wine list that was thicker than War and Peace. Over the years I’ve picked up some wine knowledge including what to do when confronted with a wine list of this size. My mate Peter who who is sadly no longer with us, always told me you should trust the Sommelier as he will always know what he has that is drinking well and he will never give you a duff wine. So that’s what I did. We wanted some bubbles to start and he recommended a Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru 2006 from a Champagne House we’d never heard of and in all honesty would never have picked ahead of some of the more familiar and often over rated names that appear on wine lists. It was a wonderful choice, pale gold colour with tiny bubbles and very dry and crisp. (I was going to write Crisp and Dry but I didn’t want you to think it was like cooking oil)
We were taken through the bar area and to a short flight of stairs which opened into the dining room. It was bright and airy, there was a buzz about the room, a mix of romantic tables for two and some larger groups of six possibly more. This wasn’t a staid and reserved dining room where you could here every word the person across the room whispered, this was a dining room where you could happily hold a normal conversation and know that the people at the table next to you wouldn’t hear you.
A selection of breads were offered, I opted for the one containing bacon. Bread and Bacon? Could this be true, had I found the white van mans holy grail? A Two Michellin starred Bacon Butty? No, it was just a roll, a very nice roll though. An Amuse Bouche followed, a pea and mint mouse with ham and croutons. It was incredibly light and delicate but had so much flavour for such a small dish. The pea was sweet, the mint was fragrant, the ham added a touch of salt and the crouton some crunch.
I’d been reading up on the restaurant and its awards prior to our visit, one dish was consistently being singled out – Blue Lobster Ravioli coated in coconut scented lobster cream with toasted almonds and split curry dressing. The pasta was incredibly thin, but not translucent which meant that the ravioli only revealed its beautifully cooked lobster once you had cut into it. All the accompanying garnishes on the plate were perfectly balanced and added to the dish without overpowering or competing with the Lobster. My guess is this dish has been on the menu for a long time and has been refined over the years into the faultless dish In front of me.
Beverley went for the Red KIng Crab and Cucumber Maki, Lemon Croquant, Bombay Sapphire and MInt, with Vanilla Oil. The presentation was beautiful, simply beautiful, as I looked longingly across the table hoping Beverley might leave some. Not a chance. Before I could hoover up, it was gone. Now an insight into writing a Blog because obviously we are learning as we go along, I’ve just spent 30 minutes trying to come up with verbose ways to describe the structure of the dish, it’s impeccable presentation but I keep deleting what I’ve wrote and starting again because nothing we could write would come close so please just look at the photo on the left and trust us that this was in Beverley’s words refreshing and mouth-wateringly good.
Beverley went for the Annagassan Blue Lobster poached in salted butter with Sweet Chive Emulsion and Green Apple Jus, again another stunning looking dish. But I wasn’t just looking at the dishes on our table, I was looking around the room, at the tables near us, almost every plate that came out of the kitchen had a wow factor. I went for the Roasted Milkfed Veal and Sweetbread, with Parmesan Cremeux, Wye Valley Asparagus and Pearled Veal Juice. Again another beautifully presented plate of food although compared to some of the other dishes it didn’t have the “wow” factor in looks, it certainly had them in taste. LIke every other plate that had reached our table, it packed punch but without being overpowering, all the garnishes complimented the main ingredient and enhanced it. Our conversation now turned to a return visit and we hadn’t even finished this one.
A pre dessert arrived, a very light mango coulis with tapioca. It garnered childhood memories for me but on a far more sophisticated level than Ambrosia with a dollop of Robinsons Jam. This was so light and a perfect palette cleanser before dessert.
Anyone who has read the previous Blogs will have guessed that Beverley went for the Cheese Board, but this wasn’t a Cheese Board, it was a trolley. I’ve never seen that many cheese’s together apart from behind glass in a delicatessen. Four were chosen along with a selection of crackers, some of which I’m guessing were baked In house. All I know is when we go back I’m having the cheese as well as a Dessert. I went for the Cosmic Apple and Pistachio, it certainly lived up to it’s name, it was a stellar dish. Nine elements of differing tastes and textures combining to make a vibrant and very refreshing dessert. (I forgot to take a picture so I have used one from Head Pastry Chef Aoife Noonan’s Twitter Feed). Some petit fours followed, all incredibly light and delicate. Like all the courses, the waiter serving them described what they were, annoyingly I can’t now remember but please be reassured they were gorgeous!! I think the Macaron was blood orange and the “Lollipop” had a liquid centre encased in a crisp shell. Our friend Rory had the Nougat and I’ve no idea who had the pastry but it was the perfect finish to a perfect lunch.
It was a perfect lunch not just because of the food but the service and ambience which all comes together to enhance your visit. I watched Stéphane, the Restaurant Manager, but he is much more than that. He worked that room making time for every table and guest regardless of wether it was there first visit or they were a regular and he has been doing that since 1986. Whilst talking to him I praised his sommelier who had perfectly paired a glass of wine with every dish, I watched the table linen being ironed prior to the next service, I discovered that Patrick’s son was working as a waiter and I learned that in the Autumn it will be shutting for three months for a refurbishment. I’m already planning our next visit.
My only complaint… I wish we lived in Dublin!!
Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud is one of the best restaurants we have been to. Ever.
Adam & Beverley xx