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Apr 17, 2012 11:31 AM

Ma Cuisine [Beaune]

A warm and generous embrace welcomed us at Ma Cuisine from Pierre and Fabienne Escoffier. We have been dining here regularly for the best part of a dozen years and with the friendly atmosphere and homely cooking it’s just like eating with friends at home (it’s not really, its like eating at a restaurant that you feel comfortable in).

We were the first to arrive and with Fabienne spending more time on the floor the wine service has quickened in pace just a little (sorry Pierre). Fabienne still spends the morning preparing in the kitchen and buys the produce but has a long term employee now behind the stoves during service.

Last year a bottle of 2008 Coche-Dury Meursault we had off the list breathed up to show the faintest touch of cork taint, so in the name of science we ordered one. It was clean and fresh but quite shy and unyielding on the nose. In the mouth there were powerful, luscious orchard fruits cut by piercing minerally acidity. It was dense and full with a chalk laden finish. It worked brilliantly with Heidi’s scallops, just barely cooked through, plump and sweet with exquisite flavour. Cousin Lucy had the snails in garlic, parsley and butter and her breath will stink for several weeks of our trip but deemed them absolutely wonderful. My tartare of tuna was as good as ever, with the meaty fish being lightened up by fine herbs and a lively dressing. The accompanying salad leaves were perfectly dressed. The children asked mummy if they could have traditionally Burgundian fare based on ham and parsley, to which mummy responded by ordering the fabulous Jambon Persillé.

For main course Heidi opted for Boeuf Bourguignon, simple food done simply brilliantly. The beef was flavoursome, accompanying vegetables fresh and sweet and reduction powerful and beautifully balanced. It was a triumphant match to our 2006 Comte Liger-Belair Nuits-St-Georges ‘Les Cras’. This is seriously polished Nuits with great elegance and perfume. There are notes of black cherry, cedar and spice. In the mouth it was generous yet silky, with fleshy fruits overlaying a canvas of minerals and earth. It had good grip to the finish but tannins are sugar coated. It was also the bomb with Cousin Lucy’s pigeon. The pigeon at Ma Cuisine is generally nothing short of brilliant. I had Côte de porc that was moist, tender and juicy, with delicious mushrooms and a rich reduction that was just getting a little vegemite character to it. The accompanying mashed potato was spread artistically across the plate and it looked like it had a skid mark from a Tonka truck running through it.

The last thing we needed now was dessert, so we waddled up to the table housing all of the wonderful offerings and pointed shamefully at our desired selection. My crème brulee was perfect, classic in every sense. I know why Amélie had such a penchant for tapping the top of the brulee, it is such a satisfying feeling, kind of the same as popping bubble wrap or squeezing a pimple. Heidi’s tarte tatin once again proved that Fabienne is the master of this wonderful tart and Patrick and Lily’s citron and chocolate tarts respectively were ‘Hoover’d’ up before we could taste them. Lucy was most pleased with a tart of rhubarb and ate at an elegant enough pace so as I could pilfer a small piece, delicious!

I have not noticed them before but the toilets now seem to have some photos of famous people who have dined at Ma Cuisine including Bono and some of his friends. Perhaps he could be known as ‘Beaune O’ when playing along the Côte d’Or?

As warm as the welcome had been, the au revoir was even warmer. I think Monsieur and Madame Escoffier were watching as the kids had become a little ratty towards the end of our meal and were quite keen to see the back of them. This continues to be our favourite restaurant of the region for its generous flavours, excellent cooking, pleasant service and superb wine list.


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  1. I agree, jeremyholmes. I could have happily returned there each of our 4 evenings in Beaune.

    1. the pigeon I had at Ma Cuisine 2 years ago blew me away, too… I'd go back and eat there in a heartbeat, not to mention all the gems one can find on the wine list.

      11 Replies
      1. re: Peech

        Just starting to plan our week in Beaune (Oct 8 - 15). Could someone enlighten me on the timing of making a reservation at Ma Cuisine? It is definitely on the list. Thanks! (The Mister Sister is swooning over visions of pigeon).

        1. re: sistereurope

          I usually reserve a week to 10 days in advance.

          1. re: Parigi

            Perfect, thanks! Will be in touch re: the Paris leg of the journey....

          2. re: sistereurope

            mmmm... we reserved the morning of our dinner. However, it was late November.

            1. re: ChefJune

              I once called 3 days ahead and was told it was full (either in June or September, the latter admittedly the busiest month). Since then I have been calling one week ahead, at least. Earlier than late is my motto re resrevation. What has one got to lose by calling early. What has one got to lose by calling late? Everything.
              And whenever I arrive chez Ma Cuisine, the place is absolutely full. Why take chances?

              1. re: Parigi

                Completely agree with your sentiments Parigi.

                However, we visited twice in September within a week, once we reserved successfully on the morning itself, and the second time, we tried our luck and secured a walk-in table for 5 at 9.30 pm.

            2. re: sistereurope

              We generally reserve a week in advance, then check the reservation book with Pierre when we are there and secure another booking during our stay in Burgundy.

              1. re: jeremyholmes

                I am not going to take any chances and will reserve one week in advance! Putting together the Burgundy itinerary now, so far Ma Cuisine and Sunday lunch at La Ferme de la Ruchotte have made the cut, as well as the wine tasting meal at Table Comte Senard, and maybe Caveau des Arches. My hisband LOVES game so any recommendations for a gamey meal would be most welcomed!

                1. re: sistereurope

                  I would add Les Tontons and Aupres du Clocher to your itinerary sistereurope.

                  1. re: jeremyholmes

                    I guess we were the only ones who were treated shabbily at Tontons. I would not return.

                    We had an outstanding meal at the wine bar Part des Anges. I'd go back there in a heartbeat.

                    1. re: jeremyholmes

                      thanks, Aupres du Clocher was also on the short list. will be sure to report back!

            3. The reviews sound great but can you give me an idea of what the prices for food are approximately?


              2 Replies
                1. re: Parigi

                  Expect to spend around 40-50 euros for three courses if you are going a la carte at dinner.