Burgundy restaurant and Wineries
we are staying in Beaune on a Thursday evening in the middle of October ( 4 people) . Looking for a suggestion for dinner and for wineries that allow for a visit and tasting. Prefer good burgundy cuisine and nice cellar selection , cost should be 55 euros or less without wine. Appreciate any suggestions.
Below I have added my reports on many restaurants from in or around Beaune from the past 12 months, all have fairly reasonable lists and you should be able to get a drink.
Regarding tasting in the region the very best addresses will only accept you with an appointment. If you have a retailer in your town that you buy Burgundy from they may be able to line up some visits for you through their importer. You can visit some of the larger Negociants without an appointment and I'm led to believe that Olivier Leflaive in Puligny-Montrachet is worth a visit. Bouchard Pere et Fils in Beaune are also making very good wine and they have a tasting area open to the general public.
Have a great time.
Such was our over indulgence in Paris we had vowed to eat but one small lettuce leaf on our first day in Burgundy. Being a Sunday on the day of arrival there were not any lettucier's (surely this is what a lettuce provedore in France is called) open let alone anything much else so we thought what the heck, lets do dinner.
We were struggling to find many places that were both open and not already booked out when we spotted Bissoh, an excellent Japanese fusion restaurant that we had dined at several times before. I pulled up the car and Heidi ran inside and asked for a table for four and then came the trick question, 'do you have children'? If she said yes would we be denied a table? Could we pretend that a 3 and 4 year old were 18+? Perhaps they could act their shoe sizes, which is in the mid 20's in European sizing? Heidi decided honesty is the best policy and we were granted a table 'avec enfants'
After tasting at Marc Roy earlier that afternoon I absolutely murdered an Asahi while Heidi gracefully sipped a glass of cremant de Bourgogne. The wine list here is excellent. It lacks a little vintage depth but there are some gems and pricing is well below Australian retail. We decided upon a bottle of 2001 Armand Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin 'Clos St.-Jacques' at a most reasonable 185 Euros. It was absolutely superb, showing an intoxicating perfume of sweet earth, red berries, violets and mineral. In the mouth it was sweet and lacy with great volume and near perfect balance. There are just a few savoury, development traits sneaking in but all in all this is a youthful, majestic bottle that tastes great now but will be great in 10 years.
Our amuse of pumpkin soup was laced with miso and utterly delicious. Starters of brochette of pork and daikon radish for Heidi and grilled salmon for me were given a little Japanese treatment by the chef's light hand and both were flavoursome and extremely elegant. A plate of sushi and sashimi were faultless and crhme brulee and sesame custard for desserts counter the notion that one should avoid desserts at Asian restaurants.
The coffee here was freshly ground and one of the best I've had in France (could they send some Italian barristers to this great country and show them how to pull an espresso?). It was strong and earthy with great crema. I can attest to its strength as I lay wide-awake, with eyes the size of dinner plates later that night.
1 A Rue du Faubourg Saint Jacques
21200 Beaune, France
03 80 24 99 50
Ma Cuisine is what it is, it rarely changes but is very good. You must approach it with certain expectations and they will be met. Owner, Pierre will greet you, seat you and take your order. If you order white wine it will have to be chilled so you will sit and wait without a drink for 10 or so minutes. There will be a table of Americans getting anxious about the preceding point. The wine will arrive just in time for the entrie with a basket of good bread. Wife and chef Fabienne's menu changes with the season but the style is good home cooking and it does not change. Food prices are perhaps a little dearer than they could be, wine prices are appropriate and the wine list is excellent. You must book.
We had just finished tasting the superb 2009 line up Chez L'Arlot and ambled down the RN74 to Beaune for a cheeky lunch here. The 2005 Coche Dury is a big, rich dense wine in need of more time. It is a little shy on the nose, emitting the barest whiff of almonds and orchard fruits. It has power without weight and is very long in the mouth. It is a wine that was excellent with scrambled eggs with freshly shaved black truffles. The truffles had a promising aroma but were a little lacklustre in the flavour stakes. Roast pigeon with ratatouille was excellent with the 2007 J.F Mugnier Chambolle-Musigny. A Chambolle that had notes of blackberry and strawberry confiture along with some dried flowers and earth. It has a super sweet fruit heart and finishes with adequate acidity. Cote de Porc and a chicken breast in a rich, creamy truffle sauce also adorned the table and all were beautifully turned out.
We didn't have time for one of Fabienne's sublime tarts but will be back soon to check one out hopefully.
Passage Saint-Helene, Beaune
03 80 22 30 22
Caveau des Arches
The 22 Euro menu at this very popular establishment is one of the true bargains of France. We had a wonderful lunch of Burgundy snails doused in plenty of butter, garlic, a wonderfully rich Boeuf Bourguignon and very tasty nougat semi-fredo all for the aforementioned 22 schmackers.
The wine list here is excellent and extremely well priced. Our 2008 Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet was immediately generous and accessible with plenty of the Domaine's famed spearmint and some lovely orchard fruit aromas and flavours. There's a kiss of minerality to the finish. For red we went for a 2005 Arnoux Vosne-Romanee. Almost the colour of a bruise this was extremely primary and very ripe. Some spicy oak showed on the aroma still and the fruit was dark, resembling liqueur cherries. It is a strong, forceful Vosne that will need plenty of time in the cellar before showing its best.
The place is full of locals, the toilets deserve a special mention (very nicely done, with quality soap and hand towels) and the service is excellent.
Caveau des Arches
10 Blvd Perpreuil, Beaune
03 80 22 10 37
Hostellerie de Leverenois
We were treated to a meal at this spectacular Relais and Chateau hotel by Boisset winemaker Gregory Patriat. We opted for the more casual dining restaurant but it was still quite posh with excellent service. Gregory brought along two of his wines to have with dinner, a 2007 Meursault 'Rougeots' and 2006 Beaune 'Greves'. The Meursault was tasty and correct with some exotic fruits, almonds and minerals and good acid cut. The 06 'Greves' is in a fabulous spot at the moment and those of you who bought some will be pleased. It shows a lovely perfume of red fruits and sweet earth. It is beautifully balanced in the mouth and is fine and quite lacy.
For dinner we all had a wonderfully rich chicken bouillon, served quite artistically with shredded veg in a bowl and the bouillon in a trendy carafe. The theatre does not detract from the dish's comfort food sensibilities. Main course, a delicious poule au pot, beautifully done. A cheese plate 'wedgie' where the local Epoisses was the undoubted star and dessert the most wonderfully rich chocolate fondant.
We had a brilliant evening recounting some very funny tales. Gregory told an extremely funny story about Jean-Marc Vincent (a grower whom we represent). Jean-Marc was visiting his consultant oenologist in Marsannay and needed to go to the toilet. His consultant was having work done and only had a portaloo. When Jean-Marc was inside he picked the loo up with his forklift and took it for a drive through the village with Jean-Marc inside.
Hostellerie de Levernois
Route de Combertault,
03 80 24 73 58
We plugged in the most direct route in our navigation system from our digs in Bligny Les Beaune to Bouze-Les-Beaune where we were to dine at La Bouzerotte. A charming drive through Pommard then up the hill to the Hautes Cotes de Beaune. At one stage we were on a tiny, windy, bumpy dirt track that was barely one car wide and we were starting to doubt the stately sounding English women's voice emitting from the nav. Finally after giving our front wheel drive hire car a serious lesson in four wheel driving we arrived with brake, clutch and power steering fluids smelling like they were nigh on boiling point.
The restaurant is quaint and most inviting. The floor is run by one lady (I assume the owner), with some help of her young son and the place exudes warmth. The wine list is shit and the only three wines you really want to drink from it have mark ups on them that would make the Hyatt look cheap. We suffered through a bottle of 2008 Patrick Pester Savigny-Les-Beaune Blanc that showed a little lemon and lots of dirty things. It just avoided our 'nil by mouth' rating, as it was passable with food. A 2001 Germain Beaune 'Montagne St.-Desire' was promising on the nose but as skinny as Bruce Reid.
We all decided the 60 Euro truffle menu would be the rub and weren't let down. The starter was pretty much a bit of toast that had more black truffle shaved on it than we've consumed over the past 5 years. Entier of foies was sublime and was also smothered in truffle'magnificent. Sweet just cooked scallops followed and again they were accompanied by Australia's total allocation of truffle for this year. The main course had less truffle but was fabulous. Succulent pork had a kind of dauphine potato thing on top and was served with a reduction of cider and mustard, excellent!
A small but well-chosen selection of fromage was to follow and desserts were simple but very good. Heidi's mother had the most wonderful chocolate mousse, I had a beautiful trifle like thing laden with fresh plums, cream and ice cream and Heidi had panna cotta with raspberry coulis.
We left feeling satisfied and felt that we would not hesitate to return if we could bring our own wine (we'll probably actually return regardless as the food and service is excellent). We returned down the main road via Beaune and the car seemed a lot more pleased when we arrived home.
Par D970, Bouze-Les-Beaune
03 80 26 01 37
We have dined here twice before, the last time some six year's ago. In the subsequent time it had dropped from three to two Michelin stars, regained the third star and changed major ownership, with the sous chef taking the major stake holding from the Lameloise family. The food has never been better in our not so humble opinion.
This may be the best value 3 star dining experience in France with the 150 Euro set menu delivering a fabulous culinary experience. We arrived with grandparents and children and couldn't have been made to feel more welcome. The kids were given colouring books and we settled in and kicked back with a 2007 Jean-Marc Boillot Puligny Montrachet 'Les Referts'. A wine of great restraint and focus with plenty of white peach and flowers of the same colour as the aforementioned peach. There's a fruit sweet heart and a big minerally finish. It went splendidly with a plate of interesting little morsels.
A complimentary plate consisted of sea urchin roe brulee, a perfectly crumbed and cooked Loire Valley prawn and a chestnut soup, splendid stuff. The first course of the degustation course was raw scallops with caviar, scallops on a Jerusalem artichoke and mushroom puree with crab meat. Everything was in perfect balance and there was real freshness to the dish. To follow, Lotte (monkfish) wrapped in seaweed, served with baby muscles, curry sauce, lettuce marmalade, orange and butter and carrot sauce. The monkfish had a texture somewhat akin to lobster medallions but had a more neutral flavour and was a perfect canvas for the accompanying sauce.
At this stage we realised two things. We needed more white wine and the kids were getting a little fractious. The kids were sorted out with our iphone that has some good children's 'apps' (applications) on them. Patrick chose some funny cat that you talk to who mimics you in a funny voice and as 'hello pussycat' blasted through the dining room of hushed tones we nervously grabbed the phone and switched it to silent mode. The 2004 Roulot Meursault 'Perrieres' was elegant, with cool fruit aromas, a touch of celery, plenty of white peach and loads of minerals. It was very dense and chalky with fabulous rocky detail. It was long and linear and whilst the preceding Puligny was very good this made it look a little pedestrian.
The next course was indeed the perfect match for the 'Perrieres'. A chunk of perfectly cooked lobster lay next to a V shaped bowl that housed plenty of delicious shellfish foam. Once you reached the bottom of this vessel there was a prize of more lobster and earthy morilles mushrooms.
Often in 2 and 3 star restaurants the star dishes of the savoury courses turn up early on in the piece, not chez Lameloise, the main course was sublime. Perfectly cooked saddle of venison rested upon trompet de la mort and had a fresh, palate invigorating cannelloni of radish and butternut pumpkin to accompany. Part of the dish was also a shot glass of foies gras foam under which laid braised meat from the legs of the deer. This was a near perfect match with the 1999 Bruno Clavelier Chambolle-Musigny 'La Combe d'Orveau'. A wine that was extremely fresh, bright and energetic. There's a hint of mineral and earth underpinning lovely sweet, floral laden fruits. It shows impeccable balance and finishes very direct with great cut. Grandpa Geoff almost denounced the venison as tough until he realised his knife was upside down ( this method of cutting would not have severed a rotten banana) but flipped around it was indeed tender and sublime.
Pre-dessert of mango soup with banana cream was both balanced and sensuous. We all had beautiful desserts, Helen's dessert sent her into restrained raptures as a combination of wickedly decadent cherry and chocolate things aligned to provide a near perfect dessert. Heidi's crepes Suzette was a little boring albeit correct and she noted later that she only chose them for the theatre of the service. Geoff's coffee dessert had the most wonderful ice cream and other variations of supercharged coffee things and my tart pommes fine was indeed the most perfect tart tartine. Petit fours were actually petit twenty fours and coffee was very good.
Lamelois is on fire, it is an outstanding restaurant with brilliant service. The food is undoubtedly three star, with a modern twist but not too tricky.
Place d'Armes, Chagny
03 85 87 08 85
Aupres du Clocher
A relative newcomer on the scene having opened some 18 months ago, this modern restaurant in the heart of Pommard seems to be on the lips of everyone at the moment (well 3 people told us about it so I could be exaggerating a little). The chef is ex Lameloise and is obviously technically adept and quite imaginative. The food is a little tricky and some things don't hit the mark.
The wine list here is in building phase and there are some good, well priced selections although not much vintage depth. Young Coche Dury can be had at reasonable prices so we opted for a bottle of 2007 Coche Dury Meursault. This is piercingly young with plenty of Coche gunflint, some green apple, lemons and a huge lick of minerals. It is linear with laser like focus. Our red, the 2005 Thierry Violot-Guillemard Pommard 'Clos Blanc' is also a wine that is too young albeit very good. There's a faint suggestion of flora on the nose along with ripe plums and a little tar. It is rich and forceful in the mouth with sappy, perfumed fruits. There's plenty of earth to the finish and tannins are sweet and chewy.
A complimentary Amuse Bouche of cauliflower soup was well seasoned and delicious. A just cooked through scallop adorned the centre of the soup. For entrie my scallops with black pudding and mashed pumpkin was presented artistically and was extremely tasty. Heidi' de-construction of Ouefs Meurette was somewhat less successful. The egg was 'molecular gastronomy'd' into a weird sphere shape and there were also snails added to accompany strips of pancetta. The red wine broth was serviceable.
For main course an excellent fillet of Sandre (a freshwater fish), lay atop some mashed potatoes with pieces of mackerel and swum in a pool of cream and chives, very satisfying. Again Heidi's main was a little too 'Terry try hard' and was a kind of Coq au Vin in cannelloni with baby vegetables. The cheese course was inventive and sublime. Epoisses on a mini baguette was served next to a glass with epoisses foam and some chunks of pain d'epice at the bottom, in which you dipped the baguette. Desserts were very good, strawberry croustillant with a panna cotta filling for me and a tart tatin with green apple sorbet and a caramel sauce for Heidi.
The children were well looked after here with chef preparing some delicious fish with potatoes for them followed by green apple sorbet. Service is very good and friendly and the dining room is spacious and comfortable.
Aupres du Clocher
1 rue de Nackenheim, Pommard
03 80 22 21 79
Our delicious luncheon started with an amuse bouche of pumpkin soup with flecks of ham and croutons. We all had the 39 Euro menu which started with the most wonderfully rich and decadent soup of chestnuts with foies gras and quail eggs. It had some coconut and ginger in it and was the perfect balance of sweet and savoury. Main course was what could be called 'Duck herders pie' (a kind of shepherd's pie but made with duck meat). The mash that lay on top of the delicious stringy, spice laden duck meat seemed to be a combo of potato and celeriac. The pie was accompanied by a dense and sticky jus. It went wonderfully well with our red wine.
The wine list here is good and there are some gems at good prices. We started with a 2007 Jean-Marc Boillot Puligny-Montrachet, a wine of great clarity and focus. It was quite lemony with a sappy, sweet mid-palate and excellent minerally cut. It breathed up to show some freshly churned butter notes. Our red was the 1996 Georges Mugneret Echezeaux a wine that showed the high acidity of the vintage but rounded out superbly in the glass. There were earthy aromas at first with some red fruits. As the wine took in more air there were some intoxicating spicy notes (think cardamom and anise). The palate possessed a fine lacy texture and it has great precision to the finish. Delicious now, even better in another 10 years.
The cheese course was inventive but still excellent. Fresh goats cheese with herbs was layered with white bread (sans crust) to form an artistic sandwich. A scoop of green apple sorbet thoroughly cleansed the mouth after each bite. Dessert was perhaps dessert of the trip thus far. It was a glass with coconut sorbet, meringue, desiccated coconut, coconut mouse and tapioca. There was a shard of dark chocolate sliced in the top of the sorbet. The whole dish worked amazingly well and was a triumph texturally as well.
Service is good, coffee excellent and served with some interesting petit fours and a delicious small passionfruit soup with a refreshing lime sorbet.
Place Malmedy, Beaune
03 80 24 03 82
Troisgros is perhaps the most complete restaurant on the planet. The food is good to brilliant, not fussy, foamy or molecular but takes the highest quality ingredients and presents them thoughtfully with balance, coaxing out the true flavours of the food. Sauces are fruit based, rely on acidity to counterbalance richness and are quite light yet intense. The service is faultless, not intrusive or even noticeable (I guess it must be noticeable otherwise I wouldn't be commenting on it) but incredibly well drilled, timed and measured. The wine list is brilliant, possessing a great selection of the top name Burgundies with quite sensible mark-ups.
We hit the garden area on a balmy, humid spring evening for a glass of the house Champagne (Duval-Leroy) and a plate of various amuse bouche. There was a wafer thin slice of calamari on a biscuit made from its ink that married beautifully with the mineral and creaminess of the champagne. A fried morsel of semolina with orange blossom oil was lively and the citrus notes of the Champagne came to the fore and a simple cheese biscuit adorned with watermelon was delicious. Cherry tomato lacquered with a sweet paint and sprinkled with sesame seeds literally exploded in our mouths and it was time to head inside to the main dining room and attack the degustation menu proper.
When you find Coche-Dury Corton-Charlemagne at well under retail price it is your duty as a Burg lover to annex it from the list. The 2001 is in a marvellous place right now but still extraordinarily youthful. There's the usual Coche gunflint on the nose as well as preserved lemons, freshly churned butter, citrus blossom and minerals. In the mouth it is so direct and focussed with the most rigid of minerally spines and great drive. It is rich but not heavy and has a wonderful length. The 1988 Meo-Camuzet Vosne-Romanee 'Aux Brulees' was selected as our red. I suspect this was made by the late, great Henri Jayer and it was incredible. There was a little meat and musk to the aroma. The palate was spun from the most silky, vinous thread and there was a big burst of ripe raspberries once the wine breathed. It still has plenty of structure and was quite direct and linear on the finish, leaving a wonderfully spicy calling card once swallowed.
Razor clams in green apple and basil jelly was incredibly refreshing, with a nice chalky lightly astringent finish from the apple. This was followed by Mackerel croustillant inspired by Venice. The current menu has a little bit of an Italian bent so Michel Troisgros must have spent a bit of recent time there, in fact he may still be in Italy as this was the first time in four visits that we could not spy him in the kitchen. The Mackerel however was very good, it lay on some pickled onions, endive and capers and had some grainy mustard with the sauce. Next were three lightly warmed oysters wearing a cummerbund of sorrel draped in a cumin infused sauce. There was a really nice contrast between iodine brininess of oyster and sharpness of the sorrel.
The first three courses were just ok with the Coche, the next three heavenly. Plin pasta (a type of ravioli), housed some mascarpone and was conspicuous with its big slice of black truffle on top. The package burst in the mouth, causing a torrent of creamy, fungal loveliness to crash around one's gums resulting in an immediate smile on the face of anyone who encounters it. Rouget barbet was painted a third in tomato/pimento sauce, a third was emulsified lemon and a third watercress puree. The fish was perfect and lay in a pool of delicious beurre blanc. The final dish before the meat course was 'Ecrevisse a la verveine et aux petits pois'. Yabbies were presented with peas and a shellfish reduction poured over the top. The verbena kept the dish in check with its lemony notes and the whole dish was beautifully balanced.
Lamb with mint and artichoke was simple but simply outstanding. The lamb was so subtle, tender and milky it could have been veal. A lovely light, glistening jus was indeed mouth-wateringly good. We wedged a couple of the regions finest cheeses in before desserts including an evil looking tower of goat's cheese scariness (not the cheese's real name, just something I made up).
'Etoiles de coco a la fraise' was cute coconut dumplings with some whipped crème fraise inside, accompanied by some gorgeous new season strawberries. It was a fine dessert but the finale was even better. A small tart of grapefruit showed nice contrast of tartness from the fruit and sweetness from the pastry. It was served with celery jelly and curry ice cream, sounds weird, it was weird but it tasted oh so good and was a lovely refreshing way to finish a most splendid meal.
Place Jean Troisgros 42300 Roanne
Tél. 04 77 71 66 97
Fax 04 77 70 39 77
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
La Ferme de la Ruchotte
Frederic Menager has quite an impressive resume, cooking throughout France at some pretty posh addresses. He has now taken a 'tree change' and is hidden away in the Hautes Cotes of Burgundy about 25 minutes from Beaune. The restaurant is just open Saturday's and Sundays for lunch and is inconspicuous in its setting as part of a working farm. Much of the produce is grown and/or raised on the property and there is a card on the table that warns children that if they wander around unaccompanied they may be eaten by the big llama at the front gate (I don't think it really says that but it does not want children roaming around the grounds without accompaniment).
You arrive at La Ferme de la Ruchotte and are basically treated to what Frederic feels like cooking for you for the paltry sum of 35 euros. The wine list is ok but has been picked over somewhat with many selections having been ruled out with the stroke from a kilometrico pen. The aforementioned pen also decided that Dujac's 2006 Vosne 'Malconsorts' was worth 20 euros more than it was originally listed at and took the liberty of making a crude change. We settled on a 2009 Francois de Nicolay Gevrey-Chambertin 'Les Fontenys' which was quite big and ripe at first with notes of blood plum and cherry. It settled down and was a decent drink, showing a combination of ripe and tart cherries. It was creamy in the mouth and finished with chewy tannins.
Some house bread was served with wafer thin spreading of lard and fennel seeds to start. We then were presented with a hearty bowl of wild asparagus; gently poached egg and a broth of liveche, a herb that added a light curry taste. It was a dish that was so bright and vibrant. Next was Grand Gascon Roti. A huge roasting pan housed roast meat that looked like lamb but was indeed Porc Gascon, a rare breed of pig. The meat was milky, elegant and succulent and it had been roasted perfectly with crunchy crackling on the outside whilst retaining moist and tender flesh. The pan juices were fantastic. A simple gratin de pommes accompanied, not many better foods on the planet than organically grown potatoes that have been cooked perfectly with cream and cheese.
The cheese course was a simple, fresh goats curd with Frederic's naturally leavened sourdough. Dessert was also a simple affair of fresh strawberries with a rhubarb ice cream.
This is a great place with a convivial atmosphere and cooking from the heart, using the freshest of ingredients.
Bligny sur Ouche Ph 03 80 20 04 79
This little, modern restaurant in the heart of Nuits-St-Georges has changed hands a couple of years ago but the food, service and atmosphere remain high and the wine list has been improved somewhat and now there is a good selection of top Burgs at reasonable prices.
We were taken to lunch by Jean-Claude Boisset winemaker Gregory Patriat and were offered an amuse of cornet filled with smoked salmon and crème fraiche as soon as we were seated. It was fresh, lively and inviting. Gregory had brought along his 2008 Marsannay Blanc, which still has fizzing acidity but has softened a little in the bottle to show nice aromas and flavours of preserved lemons and minerals. It was very good with a second amuse of Crème fraiche mixed with shallots and cornichons with asparagus.
Over lunch much of the topic of conversation was centered on the playing of practical jokes on our friend Jean-Marc Vincent in Santenay. As we were to see Jean-Marc later that afternoon Gregory insisted that I give him a 'nipple cripple'. As we drove down the Cote later that afternoon I was limbering up the thumb and forefinger on my right hand but once we met I was distracted and forgot to give him a little tweak.
Entrees were confit potato slices with snails and lettuce for Heidi and Salmon tartare with tonka beans for me. Both dishes were clean, vibrant and full of bold flavours, using the freshest of ingredients.
Gregory opened his 2009 Nuits-St-Georges 'Les Charbonnieres' after the Marsannay and it was very young but drinking well. There were ripe black fruits, purple flowers and some floral/sappy notes from the inclusion of some stems. It is a delicious, mid-weight Nuits with plenty of mineral character. The wine partnered my24 hour cooked pork beautifully. The pork was rich and sticky but if I have one criticism it could have done with an extra hour of cooking. The purple skinned potatoes that accompanied were delicious. Heidi's Dorade with a saffron and chorizo sauce was less successful with the red but a great dish none the less.
A plate with a small piece of four local cheeses preceded a wonderful dessert of Trifle with fresh strawberries. La Cabotte is at the top of its game, serving both locals and tourists with warmth and generosity and turning out food that is right up there with the best of region
24 Grande Rue, Nuits-St-Georges
03 80 61 20 77
Having an extremely full schedule for the week we were a little sad that we might have to miss Ma Cuisine. A two-hour gap miraculously opened up Thursday lunchtime, I made a call and we nailed two seats, not just any seats, brand new seats after 16 years. All chairs have been replaced and there's some banquet seating all covered in fake leather looking material. We just hope no vinyls were killed in the upholstering of them and when they heat up you may indeed need an eggflip to remove bare skin from them but they were comfortable.
We were warmly greeted by Pierre and Fabienne and made to feel right at home. The wine list is still very good, perhaps not so many bargains as there once may have been but some great wines at sociable prices. We selected a 2005 Coche-Dury Meursault 'Les Chevaliers' that was quite dumb on the nose. I probably shouldn't have accepted it as it breathed to show some faint taint. It was big, rich and sappy with excellent length but not as it should have been.
You can make anything taste good if you douse it liberally in warm butter, garlic and parsley, even Brussels sprouts I suspect, but the snails here are incredibly good. Heidi and I used most of our basket of baguette to mop up the delicious sauce once plump snails had been eaten. Tuna Tartare is prepared simply, using high quality fish and is delightfully vibrant and fresh.
For main course my veal sweetbreads were a revelation. Just cooked, sweet, tender and served with a delicious, creamy, vanillin sauce. Heidi's baby chicken dish with Asian spices was also extremely good.
We had planned not to have dessert but spied a crème caramel served next to us, it looked divine and was wobbling like my tummy after the past two weeks eating, it could not be ignored. I duly ordered one and it was classic, simple and heavenly. Heidi had a beautiful piece of tarte tatin, which had thick slices of apple that had a wonderful spiciness. It lay on some fabulous shortcrust pastry and had such an elegant thread of caramel flavour, a simple dish, perfectly executed.
Ma Cuisine is a restaurant whose formula does not change. It is small and busy, the produce is of the highest quality and food flavours are robust and tasty. It is not fancy and you have to wait a while for your wine to arrive but that's just how it is here. It is one of our favourite restaurants.
Passage Saint-Helene, Beaune
03 80 22 30 22
The large gougeres at Pot d'Etain are that big, that if it happened to rain in the pretty courtyard in which we were dining we could climb inside to seek shelter, we couldn't really but they are big.
You would not drive an hour and a half from Beaune (half an hour from Chablis) just for the food at Pot d'Etain. You would however drive five hours for the wine list at Pot d'Etain, it is remarkable. It is one of the great wine lists in the world, with still sensible pricing and a selection that has not been completely picked over. There's not much really old wine here but excellent depth back to the late 90's and you can drink the likes of 1999 Rouget Vosne-Romanee for around 60 euros, Dauvissat and Raveneau Grand Crus with a bit of age on them for well under 100 euros, 1er Crus for 40-60, Coche Dury Corton-Charlemagne for under 400 euros'you get my drift.
We chose to start with the 2007 Coche-Dury Meursault 'Perrieres'. A wine that was initially reticent, emitting a faint struck match whiff but bloomed in the glass. There were notes of white peach, honeysuckle and flint. It had great shape in the mouth with strict 'Perrieres' line and finished with chewy, dry extract. We also ordered a 2002 Emmanuel Rouget Echezeaux that showed a lot of camphor and cedar oak notes to begin with. It certainly breathed up and there were intense red and dark fruits and an engaging thread of spice. It was full, plush and rich in the mouth with great density and extraordinary length.
Amuse of frothy asparagus soup was bright, flavoursome and quite serviceable. To follow we both had Rabbit torte with goat's cheese. It was an earthy dish with an 'animale' smell, not everyone's cup of tea I suspect. For main course confit of duck leg with accompanied by a piece of roasted breast and fabulously silky mashed potato.
The cheese offering was strong, with a good selection of local cheeses. For dessert I opted for the house made ice creams and Heidi had an enormous, rich, heavy macaroon that should the local sports carnival be without a discus for their field events this could make a pretty handy substitute.
Over coffee I spied a sign indicating that they sold wine to takeaway and my mind went into over-drive, planning a serious raid on the list and working out how to get the bounty back into Australia. But my dreams were thwarted when we were shown the selection of wines available for takeaway. It was basically a lot of the entry level wines that the proprietor would have had to have purchased to procure the big name stuff. There was an audible sigh of relief emanating from the credit card in my wallet.
rue Bouchardot, L'Isle sur Serein. 03 86 33 88 10
We had heard that Le Terroir in Santenay had 1990 La Tache on its list for a very reasonable price but when we arrived we were informed by our most gracious host that a friend of ours had indeed drunk the last two bottles, we are comfortable in the knowledge it went to a good home.
This is a homely, local's joint that has a fairly decent wine list but you can drink and eat well for not a lot of money and the service is warm and proficient. Our 22 euro menu was a a steal; and if you paired it with a bottle of local Santenay wine you could get out of the place well fed and watered for well under 80 euros for two.
We started with a half bottle of 2008 Domaine Prieur-Brunet Santenay 'Clos Rousseau', a delightfully crisp, dry white, brimming with orchard fruits and finishing with a torrent of minerals. Our amuse bouche of champignon pannacotta, with a salmon mousse tart was extremely tasty.
Heidi's entrée of Gaspacho was fresh, zippy and correct, igniting the gastric juices. My salad of green beans, lettuce and tomato, had some strips of smoked duck draped across the top and was topped with a nice dressing that had a little sesame oil in it.
We both had pork fillet served with polenta, beans and peas. The meat was tender and juicy and vegetables fresh and invigorating. Red wine to accompany was Cecile Tremblay's 2007 Chapelle-Chambertin. This wine felt like a Rousseau Grand Cru made by a slightly lighter hand. The nose had a wonderful perfume of sandalwood, cherries, earth and blackberries. The palate was liquid velvet, feeling soft and plush yet possessing very good rocky detail and cut. One is left with a wondrous mouth aroma once the wine is swallowed.
Our menu allowed the choice of cheese or dessert and I gave the heavily laden chariot du fromage a good workout whilst Heidi opted for delicious cherry clafoutis with vanilla bean ice cream
We were bade farewell by our remarkable hostess (she had engaged each and every table throughout the night with friendly rapport) and headed off into the Santenay night immensely satisfied.
19 Place du jet d'eau, Santenay
03 80 20 63 47
And I'm still remembering the escargot raviolis we had in your Pommard place, Aupres du Clocher, just three weeks ago. We would happily return, and enjoyed it much more than the more expensive dinner at Jardin des Ramparts in Beaune, where we dined despite your advice that you'd not heard good recent reports. (But our Beaune diner was on a Wednesday, and Ma Cuisine was closed that day . . . .) -- Jake
Thanks to everyone for your very helpful suggestions. We dined at Ma Cuisine in Beaune and loved it. The food was bistro type home cooking and delicious. I had the escargot which were plump and savory with the garlic sauce followed by a wonderful cote de veau sauced with chanterelles. One of us had the menu which was very well priced at 25 euros. The wine list in my view was a notch or maybe two above excellent- two full pages of DRC and two pages of Yquem. We had a lovely Chassagne Montrachet rouge premier cru although i forget the vineyard-went well with the chop and a tripe de veau . On the wineries we had a wonderful visit to Anne Gros including a tour around her vineyards , an introduction to the cellar, and a tasting of 6 wines from the tank, cask and bottle. There is a charge but well worth it.
"Prefer good burgundy cuisine and nice cellar selection , cost should be 55 euros or less without wine."
Ma Cuisine. Don't forget to book early.
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