The atmosphere in this restaurant is really what makes is a
special place. From the moment you walk in and are greeted by the charming
maître Hubert, you already know that at the very worst, you'll have a cracking time
eating here. There are very few people that can create such a feeling of warmth
and joy in an environment that nonetheless remains fairly formal. Thus it is no
surprise that eating at Guy Savoy is more than just eating, it is a performance
like no other.
Luckily enough, the food side of things isn't all that bad. As a matter of fact, the food served here is characterised by a focus on simple preparations of beautiful produce; something that everyone can relate too. Savoy's food is like the man himself: generous, full of life and with a sharp sense of humour that makes it (and him) unique.
Take for instance his most famous creation to this day: The artichoke and truffle soup. For a dish that has been on the menu here for at least a good 15-20 years, this seems incredibly contemporary. Not unlike the langoustines with caviar of Ducasse, or the garguoillou of Michel Bras, this is a dish that has stood the test of time. The reason for this is most likely the fact that it seems incredibly simple. Ingredients that share a certain earthy flavour - artichokes and truffles - simply combined in a soup that is topped with a few slivers of truffle and parmesan and served with a brioche with truffle butter. The intensity of flavour that emanates from this dish and the balance of these is what makes it such a memorable creation. This truly is one of those dishes that every gourmet and gourmand ought to have eaten at least once in their live. As a nice little touch that exemplifies the generosity and spontaneity of the house here one should mention the fact that whenever it is possible your waiter will offer you a second helping of say the brioche with the soup or the foie gras club sandwich that comes as an amuse. Such little touches make the experience even more enjoyable and fun.
One element of the cuisine here that should be noted is the
simplicity of the preparations. This is food that like at Alain Passard's
restaurant for instance, seems remarkably bare and minimalistic. What makes it
special is the fact that both the product quality and technique here are
spotless. An example that illustrates this style is a simple dish of
asparagus. Served with nothing but caviar and a sabayon of smoked butter. This
is a dish that truly sings, as the combinations seem as evident as that of
truffles and artichokes in the soup. It is one of those dishes that is somehow
disarmingly simple, but at the same time is so powerful and tasty that it makes
the whole thing work.
If it weren't enough, this focus on big flavour comes out even better with a spring lamb, served with a minestrone of vegetables, pieds et pacquets and a tomato-flavoured rice. For those who have never indulged in the Marseillais delicacy that are the "trotters and packages", this might be a gentle, and delectable introduction to this otherwise fairly rustic dish of lamb trotters. Here they merely add another texture and flavour to the dish, which features some incredibly juicy and tender milk-fed lamb and that minestrone that will undoubtedly have many fans. It is again a combination of flavours that no one will have trouble appreciating, which perhaps explains Savoy's success. Instead of cooking things that no one wants to eat, Guy Savoy focuses on dishes that are simply delicious, full of flavour and easy to understand. Lest one forget, the side for the lamb is exactly this kind of thing: A bit of rice, cooked in a rich stock that is so packed with flavour that one really cannot have enough of it. That is what makes food like this so special, the fact that even a simple grain of rice can be turned into something so addictive.
Eating at Guy Savoy is a show, in which everything somehow falls into place. There is the great atmosphere, the very good service, the delicious food and the feeling that one comes here to have an experience and not just a great meal