Lyon Restaurant – Paul Bocuse Auberge du Pont de Collonges
For people who love great food, the name Paul Bocuse is as synonymous to food as the Eiffel Tower is to French landmarks. In other words, the 3 star Michelin chef is a name revered amongst foodies and he is considered the grandfather of the traditional French cuisine.
His primary restaurant (he has a few, including at Disney World) is the “Auberge du Pont de Collonges” located 4 kilometres from Lyon. The restaurant is holds the record for the most number of consecutive years with a 3 star Michelin rating; namely 50 years!
For foodies the world over, this restaurant is the Mecca of food, the prime pilgrimage destination for any self-respecting gastronomic connoisseur (with rather deep pockets).
The food made and served here has been unchanged for half a century. You’ll not see microscopic portions of designer food on your enormous plate, glass domes to hold in smoked air, or food made by using chemistry. No, here food is traditional and very rich. The preferred ingredient in this kitchen are the black truffles and they use a lot of butter.
One of his most famous dishes is the black truffle VGE dish, a soup created for the then-president of France, Valery Giscard d’Estaing. Cutting open the crust with your fork and smelling the incredible perfumes of the truffles is mouthwatering and an experience to remember for the rest of your life.
Another dish that is made traditionally and can be considered one of Paul Bocuse’s signature dishes is a whole Bresse chicken cooked in a bladder (which keeps it moist and with full flavour).
The chicken is shown to you still in the bladder, and then ….
…… it is prepared at your table. The chicken is ordered whole, and can typically be eaten by 2 to 6 people.
TIP: Do NOT come here without having fasted for at least 12 hours, if not you’ll miss out on a lot of great food. Food is heavy and abundant.
TIP: Buying the chicken when there are at least 2 of you makes financial sense. 4 people can have a feast with one chicken!
Celebrity status and a master in his art comes at a price (Rembrandt paintings are much more expensive then Joe Bloke’s painting on the street next to you). You will not need to take a second mortgage but it’ll be close. Expect to eat at the temple of French food for at least €250 per person, EXCLUDING WINE! The top menu with 7 courses will set you back €270 per person, and again, EXCLUDING WINE!
And wines there are aplenty:
The wine cellar is filled with some 20,000 bottles of wine and champagne. The most expensive bottles are limited to a “mere” €10,000 per bottle.
This is an upmarket restaurant but you’ll not need to bring your black tie outfit. Obviously shorts, swimming trunks and things are forbidden but slacks and jeans are okay (just about). It’s not formal dining, but they do prefer you to look & dress your best.
Although you may think it’s formal (men don’t need a tie), service is reasonably relaxed. There is a lot of staff to look after you, but they are not in your face. They keep a respectful distance but watch your table like a hawk if they need to pour the wine or remove items from the table. They will not interrupt you when you are speaking, so it’s obviously a great place to bring your business partners/customers.
This is the temple of French gastronomy…. they have resisted changing their style since the beginning. Paul Bocuse doesn’t cook anymore, but does come down (he lives upstairs and is over 90 years old) to check on the kitchen. The current chef, Christophe Muller, is a worthy heir to the Kingdom.
So this is a very recommendable restaurant to put on your bucket list. It’s a small distance taxi ride from Lyon, and if you do get in (reservations are a must and difficult to get), you will remember the experience and meal for the rest of your life.
TIP: You can simply ask to visit the kitchen, and not only will it involve a short visit to the heart of the restaurant but also your picture will be taken with the chef!
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