We had some hits and misses in Lyon due to our hotel making errors with our reservations there. In addition to my time as a student at Institute Paul Bocuse at Ecully, MG and I have eaten our way around Lyon several times. This time we took some tips from hounds to try some different bouchons, and since we were so close, we finally made it out to Troisgros in Roanne.
DANIEL & DENISE
We arrived at the original location at 156 rue de Crequi, only to be told the hotel reserved for us at their second location in the old town at 36 rue Tramassac. The original location is tiny and authentic, the new location is large and modern with many large groups of tourists, exactly what I was trying to avoid. Although same owners, and under the direction of same chef, Joseph Viola, I do wonder if there is a difference in the two kitchens. For sure the atmospheres in the two locations are as different as black and white.
We both had the Menu de Canut, 32 euro each, several choices for each course, typically Lyonnaise. The starter of Viola's pate en croute was excellent, but the main, Quenelles Nantua, I found to spongy in texture, unseasoned and without any flavour of crayfish in the sauce. The apple tart praline was a sad heap of apple over soggy pastry.
Including a bottle of Jean-Paul Brun Cote de Brouilly at 28 e, and some water, the total for two 96.40 euros. Good prices, disappointing food and ambience.
CHEZ HUGON 12 rue Pizay
This tiny bouchon oozes atmosphere, with mama visible cooking on her gas stove in the back, and one young saucy waitress out front. This place is for meat and offal lovers, cooked up home-style. The 25 euro menu offers several choices over three courses. The only vegetables are white potatoes, and they bring the mains to the table in their cooking pots.
Starters - Jambon Persille, Hareng Pomme a l'huile
Mains - Boudin aux aux Pommes, Veau de Ris Meuniere
Dessert - Praline Tart, Poires vin rouge
12e supplement for the sweetbreads, 28e bottle of Chenas 2011, total 70 euros. All good.
Left without a reservation for Saturday, we tried without success to book at several bouchons that came recommended to us by locals:
LE MUSEE, and LA TETE DE LARD. Wonder if any hounds have eaten at either? Another long time fave of ours is CAFE COMPTOIR ABEL, which we did not eat at this time.
We did find a table at Georges Blanc's newest addition to his stable of bistros. It occupies the space that was previously NICOLAS LE BEC at 14 rue Grolee. (Sorry he has departed Lyon, his food was terrific.) They have repainted the walls red, and it is now a modern bistro focusing on high quality beef and local Bresse chicken.
LE CENTRE by GEORGES
We had no expectations here, so we were pleasantly surprised with the outcome. We splurged and had the Cote de Boeuf Charolais at 70 euros for two. This also included your choices of sides. MG took the frites, which came in a cone and were excellent, and I took the lettuce hearts salad, and we both took the haricot verts, nicely done sautéed with shallots. ( I believe these were the only vegetables we had in Lyon.) Choice of sauces as well, we took the Syrah wine sauce. The beef had good flavour and was perfectly cooked rare. It was enough for three good appetites however, so they wrapped the leftover in foil for us.
With a shared sardine rillet to start, Chateldon water, and a mighty bottle of Saint Joseph red to drink, 153 e. No dessert, of course.
For most, a trip to Lyon wouldn't be complete without some time spent at the Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse market. We spent all of Saturday morning there, first café, then shopping, and finally lunch:
Mere Richard for her Saint Marcellin, Banon, and yogurt from Normandy
Etienne Boissy, fromager affineur - any cheese you buy here is superb.
Instead of our usual oysters for lunch, MG wanted Jambon Iberico, so we shared a large plate of bellota at Bellota Bellota at the market, 33e, along with glasses of Grenache from Catalonia, 6e. each.
Since Bernachon Chocolate was nearby, we stopped and bought a box to bring home, and a few for immediate eating.
I was pleased to see an outpost of A.Simon and G.Detou now in Lyon, on 4 rue du Plat, 2nd - Bellecour. I picked up a bulk package of vanilla beans, and then headed over to the cookbook store/cafe on Place Bellecour, and found an English 2002 edition of CUISINE NICOISE by Jacques Medecin.
Francaise: Thanks for your wonderful write up!! It sounds like you had a scrumptious eating adventure through France. My hubby and I are planning a brief trip through Lyon, Metz and Nancy. After reading your 21-day odyssey, I am tempted to drive all the way down to Nice, but that will have to wait for another time. Thanks again for sharing your finds and experience.
I think your review of the "modern" Daniel et Denise said it all. Not at all the same as the original.
We got such a kick out of Madame at Chez Hugon pretending to cook. From our vantage point, we could see inside the whole kitchen, and there was a young woman really doing the cooking. But Mme brings out the dishes with a flourish as if she'd been slaving away. We loved everything about that place!
I've heard of LE MUSEE, but not LA TETE DE LARD. Where are they located? I'm always wary of places in the Old Town. It seems so much more touristy than the rest of Lyon.
That Georges Blanc brasserie must be new since last November. I don't remember seeing it in the old LeBec space. I wonder where Nicolas went? He is a very talented chef.
You're right - we caught glimpses of a young man in chef whites behind her. From her position, she could keep an eye on her cook, and another on her waitress! I figured that she had help back there, because without fail, she came out to handle all the money when people paid. She was very sweet, shook my hand and thanked us.
LE MUSEE is in the 2nd, Cordeliers, at 2 rue des Forces,
LA TETE DE LARD is also in the 2nd, Terreaux, at 13 rue Desiree.
I, too, stay away from the Old Town for dining. It was heartbreaking to miss out on rue de Crequi.
It seems that Nicolas has gone to Shanghai.