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Gilt's Desserts: Fine Pieces of Art on a Plate
Do you remember why I came to Gilt the first time? I came seeking the best pain perdu in town, but unfortunately I didn’t have the honor of tasting it. Instead, I went on a journey indulging in some fine desserts, which took my breath away... If the desserts were that good, I expect the same from food... And I was right.
I went to Gilt for lunch with my uncles. I don't know why and I'm not sure how Lebanese tend to think, but why would Burgundy, Gilt’s neighbor, be fully booked for lunch and not Gilt? Some fine food is served here and at reasonable prices.
As we sat, I couldn't but notice the details of the architecture. I already mentioned them in my previous review but they are worth highlighting again. The wood, metal and straight lines create a certain harmony in this simple yet luxurious setup, making this pub a good destination for lunch and soothing gatherings. A lovely space where natural light fills the space during the day…that is relaxing and enjoyable.
What an architectural marvel; Inside this long rectangular space with a very high ceiling, you will feel the power of the wood. It’s the "piece de résistance", as it covers the floors and walls… round and squared tables, a variety of different beautifully designed chairs, the bar… which is lit with many metallic lanterns hanging from the ceiling.
We were welcomed by a plate of cereals. A mix of salted cereals containing soya beans, fava beans, sun flower seeds and other roasted ingredients: an addictive mix. Spiegel glasses were filled with water, warm crunchy bread was offered, and we ordered.
Let's enjoy some good food:
- We started with the shrimp, rocket and spinach salad containing raw shrimp Carpaccio cut in half, marinated in lemon and topped with fresh greens (rocket and spinach) alongside guacamole and cherry tomatoes with some orange drops adding a hint of sweetness. The mix, seasoned with a lemon vinaigrette, is a perfect blend of fresh flair.
- The Greek quinoa salad is a mix of delicate quinoa and feta cheese, diced vegetables from the Bekaa Valley, and kalamata olives with lemon vinaigrette.
- Spotting risotto on the menu, that was a must. A risotto is not the easiest dish to master and the fine dining version at Gilt contains black truffles and champagne. Perfectly cooked rice that was al dente, cooked to perfection, slightly hard, extremely hot and that had subtle notes of champagne and a rich aroma of truffles. Between every other bite crunching into those truffle slices will literally put a smile on your face. That dish made my day.
- The tartare, an authentic steak tartare, seasoned with minced raw beef accompanied by house greens tossed with a white lemon truffle vinaigrette and French fries. I hear from Marc that this is one of the finest he has ever had. A perfect quality of meat and amazing seasoning.
- As for Sami, he went for the fish, the freshly caught sea bass filet served with artichoke fricassee and line of artichoke mousse. An eye candy plate for gourmet people and a treasure of the sea that's cooked to perfection.
Tasty lunch... expected more from the Pain Perdu:
Now for the pain perdu... Honestly, I was deceived. I expected something extraordinary. The brioche perdu, as it's called here, is a 2cm round piece of dough topped with a layer of caramel and served with a portion of strawberry quarters in their sweet syrup and a vanilla ice cream. I loved the strawberries and the ice cream but the pain perdu was too spongy, too milky and too soaked. Even though topped with a crunchy layer of caramel, which I think should be thicker, it lacks sweetness and tastes too much like bread. I didn't enjoy its spongy feel. I would have preferred that it be soacked less, would have added sugar to it and removed a little bit of the milk that makes it unpleasant on the palate.
Anyway, no problem, forget about the pain perdu, you can and must try to taste Gilt's premium food and the fine deserts like the crunhy hazelnut orange cream. A quick reminder: Crunchy Hazelnut Orange Cream (fresh orange segments, hazelnut biscuit filled with anorange cremeux, meringue, homemade candied orange peel top). Served in a bowl, a long finger of hazelnut biscuit lay majestically. Cut into this biscuit and enjoy the aromas that will fill the room. A line of soft meringue, a round piece of biscuit with cream lay on a bed of orange peel. A crunch and explosion of flavors follows…from sweet to savory and fruity all at once. Few orange quarters on the side add some finesse and freshness to the creation. This is simply love in a plate.
So the next time you're in the area, give Gilt a try.