Monday 26 August 2013

Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, 21 Upper Merrion St, Dublin 2

Mr. FFID and I decided to go a little 'posh' a few weeks ago, oui! I was offered an Ireland's Blue Book gift voucher a while back and from all the amazing properties I could visit, I chose the only 2 Michelin-starred restaurant in Ireland: Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud.

The restaurant is located in one of my favourite areas of Dublin city centre, close to Merrion Square and next to the very up market Merrion Hotel.

We booked a table for lunch on a Saturday afternoon and were very much looking forward to it . On arrival, we were immediately greeted and led to the dining room. On our way, we were welcomed by every single member of staff. I heard French accents all along and was called 'Madame', it made me feel a bit old.

The dining room is very bright with high ceilings and contemporary art on the wall. We arrived when lunch service had just started and there were only 2 other people at that time.

I must say I was uncomfortable at the beginning of the meal, being in the middle of the room, feeling so many eyes on me, it felt so posh.  We were asked if we wanted an apéritif, we went French style with a Kir. There were so many floor staff that I felt a bit overwhelmed in what was a pretty empty room. However, people quickly started to arrive and the room filled up quickly, I felt much more relaxed.

We were brought the menu and the biggest wine list I've ever seen, as big as a phone book, they acttually have a little table for it. It was quicker to ask the French sommelier for recommendation and he tempted us to a French malbec from Cahors at the hefty price of €60.

Lunch at Patrick Guilbaud cost €40 for the Table d’Hote Two Course Lunch  and €50 for the Table d’Hote Three Course Lunch, we decided to go for 3 courses. A la carte and tasting menus are of course much more than that and you can have a little look yourself on their website, preferably on pay day.

We were brought a delicate amuse bouche of potato foam, mimolette cheese with hints of vanilla and coffee. It was so light and melted in the mouth.

We also had to chose from a great selection of their homemade breads, I couldn't resist to the call of their cute mini baguette, so French!

To start, we both had the terrine of Duck foie gras, elegantly plated and colourful. The  melon gelee and compressed peach burst with flavours and a lovely toasted brioche was served on the side.

Then, I had the juicy and tender roast lamb rump which was cooked to perfection, served with fregola sarda and piquillos pepper. It was summer on a plate, full of well balanced flavours and you could really taste the freshness of the ingredients.

Mr. FFID's dish was just divine. His succulent slow cooked pork belly with carrot, yuzu and flavoursome Shitake mushroom was absolutely smashing. We also had some mash served in a cute Le Creuset pink cocotte.

My favourite moment was probably the arrival of the majestic cheese course. The waiter pushed a big trolley of Irish and French cheeses to our table and we got to choose 4 of them. I have to say it was the biggest cheese selection I've ever seen in a Dublin restaurant so far.

I didn't want to share my dessert with Mr. FFID but I had to. We had beautiful Muscat poached apricots with almond ice cream and Amoretto milk, a light fruity dessert to finish with, we were pretty full at that stage.

When you think the deliciousness is over, you are brought tea or coffee and a little tray of  delightful petits fours with the obligatory macaron bien sur!

We had a fabulous experience, I think that even more than the food I was impressed with the service. At first it was a bit intimidating but then I couldn't stop watching the waiters' little routine of looking at each other in the eye just before they simultaneously lifted the silver plate covers when bringing the mains to each table. We were very well looked after and this is what made the lunch so memorable. I felt a like I was in Paris but without being looked down at. The food was faultess and we didn't leave hungry, the portions were just perfect sized at each course.

While expensive, eating at Patrick Guilbaud is definitely something to tick off your foodie list, it's a formal dining experience and is best kept for très special occasions.

Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud
21 Upper Merrion Street
Dublin 2
+ 353 1 676 4192

This is an independent review, I paid for my meal.