Our dinner at Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud was all about luxury, starting from the moment we entered the elegant 18th century Georgian townhouse and were seated in the luxuriously appointed drawing room. A gracious spot to peruse the menu while sipping champagne and nibbling on complimentary but surprisingly plebian hot hors d’oerves. After placing our orders we were led downstairs to the airy, art-filled dining room that overlooks the gardens of the adjoining Merrion Hotel.
I opted to forgo the “Seven course surprise tasting menu” because there were a few items I definitely wanted to try, such as their signature starter, a Lobster Ravioli, described as:
Clogher Head Lobster coated in a Coconut Scented Lobster Cream,
Handmade Free Range Egg Pasta, Toasted Almonds,
Arbequina Oliva Virgen Extra Flavoured with Kari
It was a pretty two-bite presentation but after the first bite the coconut flavor overwhelmed the natural sweetness of the lobster. A companion started with the Dublin Bay Prawns, adorned with Pickled Cucumber, Tobiko Wasabi, and Chilled Horseradish Velouté , and he gave me a miniscule little taste. We both agreed that we preferred Thorton’s prawn presentation the night before.
My partridge entrée arrived, without the pear tree, but with ceps, salsify and leeks in a game jus and rosemary emulsion that was pleasing to the eye, but so over-salted I could barely eat it- a problem that was shared by two other entrees.
Our pre-dessert was a delicious bite of passion fruit panna cotta with a little lemongrass jelly that out-shone my real dessert–an unmemorable Yuzu Lime soufflé. I kicked myself for not ordering the signature “Assiette of Chocolate Plate of Five Cold and Hot Dark Chocolate Desserts” that looked very tempting when it arrived at another table.
The very French wait-staff could not have been more professional as they gathered round the table to simultaneously whisk off the silver domes but I must admit we were hard pressed not to let out a giggle in the face of such gravity.
After conducting our own secret vote for the winner of the Chef Battle, our group could not come to a unanimous decision. One Francophile loved P.G., one was tied, but the rest voted in favor of Ireland’s capricious home-boy, Kevin Thorton.
For the ultimate Irish food extravaganza save up your vacations days, cash in your miles and mark your calendar for the following festivals:
TASTE OF DUBLIN 2009
Thursday June 11th – Sunday June 14th
Taste of Dublin is a four-day celebration of fine food and drink. Set in the beautiful surroundings of Dublin’s Iveagh Gardens, twenty of the capital’s most prestigious restaurants and celebrated chefs will be serving sample-sized signature dishes to our sophisticated foodies next summer. Bringing unparalleled culinary experience to over 30,000 visitors, the very best in specialty food and drink companies will also showcase alongside these outstanding restaurants.
A similar celebration is the:
TASTE OF CORK 2009
Friday June 26th – Sunday June 28th