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July 5 2017 2:30 AM
IRELAND'S most-celebrated restaurant is enjoying its best-ever year this year as diners are flocking to Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud in Dublin.
Stephane Robin, the director of Ireland's only two Michelin-star restaurant, said 2017 was turning out to be the "best ever year" since it opened 36 years ago.
The stellar performance in 2017 follows three consecutive record-breaking years in 2016, 2015 and 2014 as the restaurant benefits from the boom in fine dining and the recovering economy.
Speaking to the Irish Independent yesterday, Mr Robin was commenting on new accounts for the restaurant firm, Becklock Ltd, showing that accumulated profits at the business increased by €210,458, going from €564,531 to €774,989 in the 12 months to the end of last August.
The company's cash pile during the year increased more than four-fold, from €371,419 to €1.479m. The famed restaurant is housed in the five-star Merrion Hotel on the southside of Dublin city centre.
Mr Robin said that for the restaurant to attain a third Michelin star "is a dream. Never kill the dream".
Paying tribute to the staff, he argued that the sheer consistency in the quality of the food and the service had never been as high as it is today at the restaurant.
Mr Robin cited the lobster ravioli, wild salmon ("no fish can beat it"), king crab ("beautiful) and Wicklow hills lamb fillet ("superb") as being particularly popular with the diners right now.
Those who opt for the evening eight-course dinner can pay €185 per head or €120 for a three-course meal, while a two-course lunch costs a rather more affordable €50 per head.
Mr Robin said that the restaurant was benefiting from the "huge amount of tourists in Dublin this summer, especially the number of Americans. It is quite amazing".
Last year, the restaurant closed for three months for renovations and he said that the refurbishment was now paying off.
The project involved a new kitchen being equipped and the business deliberately did not increase the number of tables beyond the existing 20.
"We have 60 to 70 'covers' in the evening time and if we had increased the number from 90 to 100 'covers', the quality would suffer, Mr Robin said.
He said the renovated restaurant "is very smart, very elegant and very comfortable. We are very, very happy with it."
The business has no plans to expand or open any other restaurants.
The director added: "We regard the restaurant here as our baby, which deserves all of our care and attention."
The restaurant employs 38 and staff costs, including directors' pay, last year totalled €1.278m.