les lyonnais, lyon

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decent french food in a bouchon in old lyon. most guidebooks usually recommend visiting a bouchon while in lyon, and this is a traditional restaurant that serves lyonnaise food, which incidentally is marked by use of offal and those odd bits of meat.

I’m not sure this is the best one, really, but we were recommended it by our hosts and so we visited it, without having any sort of prior experience of lyonnais food. I felt it was decent, but it is probably a result of having been lucky with my choices of courses whereas my partner didn’t enjoy it quite so much.

it sure looked traditional inside, though we chose to sit al fresco. we decided on set menus, both priced at just below 30€. the one commendable thing about the restaurant was the fact that the proprietor could speak english and went through the unfamiliar french menu with us, even though I think we might have tried his patience a little asking about most of the dishes.

my partner decided on a starter of lyonnais pistachio-studded sausage that was baked in a brioche bread, and it came with a nicely-dressed side salad. the brioche was quite surprisingly crumbly and dry, though it still tasted sweet and buttery. a bit strange though, that texture. my own starter was a salad of ravioli and prawns, and can I just say that I have never had a salad quite like this before – with tiny fried ravioli placed atop salad with 2 large prawns. it was really tasty though rather heavy, and the ravioli had quite a tasty filling of some sort of meat paste (I think). starters also come with a basket of (rather dry) bread, so you don’t have to ask for it.

for mains, I had a salmon tartare, which was brilliant. it came with a wedge of lemon which I used most liberally, making it incredibly tangy and fresh, and very tasty. it had peanuts and pears in it (which were the reasons I had ordered it) which didn’t taste all that distinct but gave it body and texture. very nice.

my partner had a main of lamb, which he said was rather tasty but not phenomenal. he did finish it all though. I only ate one of the tasty potatoes that were served with both our plates because I was too full, but boy were they good.

for dessert, we shared a tiramisu and a baba rum. the baba rum was in a form I have never had: it came as a mildly alcoholic-syrupy soaked large brioche with a side of whipped cream and a shot of rum. it was a bit strange as the brioche tasted really rather insipid on its own, and in desperation my partner dumped allof the rum on the brioche, which made it unbearably bitter and alcoholic. I don’t really like hard alcohol, and so I could barely eat it after this stage. there were also small bits of what I think are glace fruit in the brioche, and I think if it were more fruity (and maybe hence less authentic) it would have been very tasty.

my own tiramisu was very nice, and came with grapes – which tasted good but ere unexpected since we expected dark cherries – and was light and a good satisfying end to the meal.

this isn’t a bad restaurant, and as to its credibility as a bouchon I must suppose it isn’t too bad since it was filled to the brim at dinner time, with lots of (french) people walking in for a meal. not a bad choice if you have no previous inkling of where to go for traditional lyonnais food!

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