Kevin Myers: Chef Guillaume Lebrun is probably our greatest genius
Beware restaurant prizes: they are probably as much about fashionable trends and public-relations spin-doctoring as they are about quality. Trust me on this. Eating is how I spend my holidays and my time and my money. Take, for example, this week's Pellegrino awards in London for the top restaurants in the world. Of the 100 listed, I have eaten in six of them; and yes, I paid my own way in them all, to the last groat, sou and thaler.
Number one is the world was Noma, in Copenhagen. Haven't eaten there. Number three was The Fat Duck in Bray in Berkshire, and I know it well. Number 43 was St John in London, and I have also eaten there. Also at Hibiscus,(number 49). And at La Grenouillere, (76) in France. And at the River Cafe, (82) in London. And at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, (95). I have eaten in other Michelin-starred restaurants which did not make it into the Pellegrino 100 -- including Angela Hartnett at Murano, one of the Gordon Ramsay chain; Raymond Blanc's Manoir aux Quatr' Saisons; the Roux Brothers' Waterside Inn, many times; Helene Darroze at the Connaught, and Rick Stein's at Padstow.
And I can say with certainty that Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud is better than them all. Two other restaurants in Dublin I can say with equal certainty live in this same bracket -- Derry and Sally Anne Clarke's L'Ecrivain, and Kevin Thornton's restaurant in the Fitzwilliam. They could not have survived as they have done unless they were very, very good indeed. They are certainly better than any of the British and French restaurants I have eaten in with two Michelin stars. Which merely confirms that the Michelin-system is thoroughly rotten: indeed, I have been in two-starred restaurants in France that wouldn't get half a star in Ireland.