“Cooking is the art of instantly transforming ingredients steeped in history into joy,” says the motto of three-star chef Guy Savoy, hung on the wall of his new restaurant in neon red lettering.
For the star of Nouvelle Cuisine who formed Gordon Ramsay, cooking is an art of artisanal precision with dreamlike powers where the greatest respect for ingredients, the products of nature, is central.
Undoubtedly one of the greatest chefs in the world, the delicate cuisine of Guy Savoy, originally from Burgundy, bursts into the mouth with unforgettable verve, always focused on emotion, the unparalleled desire to please his customers. And its new Rive Gauche location within the renovated Monnaie de Paris (workshops and museum of the Monnaie de Paris) perfectly reflects the fervor of its cuisine.
As I entered the imposing 18th century stone Monnaie de Paris located on the banks of the Seine, I made chills dance down my spine, and when I climbed the grand staircase to the red carpet, I made shivers dance down my spine. I almost stumbled admiring the moldings of the colonnaded upper interior, completely submerged by the building’s teeming soul.
Above and to the right was a handleless door that opened by itself on approach, inviting diners inside Mr. Savoy’s lair. Time and everything outside of space suddenly collapses.
Struck with an unexpected emotion, the evocative entourages reminiscent of a mansion almost pulled out tears. Designed by acclaimed French designer Jean-Michel Wilmotte, the six living rooms are enveloped in a chalky dark gray hue that coats the age-old moldings, while several works of art add a colorful contemporary touch to each room.
As my lunch partner and I gazed at the space in awe, we were taken to a table overlooking the river, its banks bordered by the iconic Parisian booksellers, the tip of the Ile de la Cité and the magnificent Louvre buildings beyond.
The following hours were a dream that started at the seaside and ended in the woods during the hunting season.
The show opened with a dash of Puligny-Montrachet le Trezin Domaine Lambert, 2011 to accompany a leek as light as a feather laminated appetizer tartlets and creamy artichoke and black truffle soup, and continued with fondant Saint-Jacques, red mullet ‘in situation’ garnished with a succulent iodized oyster which brought out the flavor in the buttered fondant of white fish.
The journey away from the sea and inland was marked by a perfectly runny poached egg dipped in black truffle shavings. Following the advice of Chef Sommelier Sylvain Nicolas, we opted for a soft red Côte-Rotie Viallière, Domaine Clusel Roch, 2011 to accompany the typically French veal cooked in a crust in a casserole dish, followed by the unforgettable main course of juicy venison, hearty mushrooms and pan-fried foie gras.
When the cart, more like a car in fact, arrived with a selection of Marie Quatrehomme cheeses, our hearts were leaps and bounds. And it wasn’t over yet. The meal ended on a nasty dark chocolate fondant note, after which we couldn’t bear to tear ourselves away – despite being the last remaining guests.
Even before tasting a single bite, Mr. Savoy’s pocket of understated elegance had caught me off guard, sparking unforeseen excitement. It is a holistic experience where attentive, friendly and knowledgeable staff are a key part of the harmonious celebration of the balance between heart, body and soul.
The chef’s flagship restaurant was previously located a few steps from the Champs-Elysées, rue Troyon, which is today the seafood restaurant of chef Etoile-sur-Mer (star sur mer). On the same street is Guy Savoy’s chic oyster and wine bar, L’Huîtrade. Other restaurants run by the chef include Le Chiberta, Les Bouquinistes, Atelier Maître Albert, a new Goût de Brioche bakery and of course, his flagship restaurant in the United States, Guy Savoy Las Vegas.
Monnaie de Paris, 11 Quai de Conti, 75006 Paris. Phone: +33 (0)1 43 80 40 61 www.guysavoy.com/fr
Follow Rooksana Hossenally on Twitter and Instagram.