Three Stars Old and New

Saturday, April 21st , 2018

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Since my last meal there, Guy Savoy has moved premises. The restaurant is rated number one in the world on La Liste, a sort of “meta list” of restaurant ranking that is just an algorithm using weighted scores of other guides including Michelin, Top 50, local restaurant guides (depending on the country) and some other sources, including my website. The new setting for Guy Savoy looks out over The Seine and is a suitably grand location for this doyen of French dining. We had a really superb tasting menu featuring top of the range ingredients, superb technical skill and lovely, appealing flavour combinations. No one in the kitchen here is trying to experiment on customers or show off how clever they are at the expense of customer enjoyment. Service was flawless and the meal was thoroughly enjoyable, with some real highlights including a fabulous and wildly elaborate vegetable course, and a terrific rhubarb dessert.

Frantzen moved to new premises a year ago in Stockholm and was recently rewarded by being granted the third Michelin star that had up until then eluded it. I enjoyed the old Frantzen, but it was certainly a very cramped space, and the new premises are a great improvement, split over two floors. The various Scandinavian multi-starred restaurants have very different atmospheres and approaches, even though they are often lumped together into “New Nordic” cuisine. Frantzen is much less ascetic than some, showcasing Scandinavian produce such as a fabulous langoustine at this meal, but not wanting to push this philosophy to the extent that it spoils anyone’s pleasure. The menu featured some excellent produce and had particularly impressive service. It was good to be able to try their signature dish once again. This is a wonderfully comforting concoction of French toast using sourdough bread filled with caramelised onions and Parmesan custard and balsamic vinegar – glorious. It was far from a cheap experience, but then nothing is in this part of the world. As far as I am concerned they definitely deserve their third star.

I also had another very good meal at Rambla, the tapas bar in Soho. The highlight was a special dish of velveted turbot from a large 7 kg specimen, the fish having the lovely flavour that only large turbots possess. Rambla is excellent value and delivers genuinely good tapas at a much lower price than almost any of the other trendy London tapas places. If you are ever in Soho then it is well worth a try.

In other news, Michelin refreshed their one-off Hiroshima guide, which was last done in 2013, expanding to the prefecture of Ehime. Nakashima remains the solitary three star, with seven two stars and thirty one star places.