Wednesday, April 10, 2013

La Mère Brazier (**)

Eugenie Brazier started this establishment in 1921 with only fifteen couverts at the time and soon transformed the place to a gastronomical destination. She gained her 3 michelin stars in 1933 and retained them for many years. 

The restaurant reopened in 2008 by Mathieu Viannay(MOF)  who is currently the owner and the head chef. The restaurant now seats up to 70 people and has 2 Michelin stars. There are many options to choose from in lunch or dinner. Starting, available only for lunch, with the dejeuner option for main course and starter or dessert, but with only 3 euros extra, you can have starter, main course and dessert. There is also the Menu de saison with starter-main-dessert, the Menu classique, which revisits the classics of Eugenie Brazier's cuisine, like the artichoke and foie gras, and combines two or three courses, cheese and dessert. Then there is the Menu degustation, and the a la carte option.

The restaurant is in a small street a few minutes walk from the Opera of Lyon. There is parking available with a cost. The decoration is modern, comfortable and of very good taste. You can see the connection with the past of the establishment as it has been renovated smartly enough to do so. On the other hand the dishes were too modern and like a piece of art, you can judge from the pictures below.

We chose the full lunch menu with starter main course and dessert, and the menu de saison. To start they offered us some nibbles, fried pastry with olives and a paprika dip. It had good taste, but it was heavy, especially for a start. A piece of bread was then given to each accompanied by two types of butter, salted and red pepper. The bread was very good with nice crust and many aromas, the butter was also very good. The amuse bouche was an asparagus creme, with foam and a crouton. This had a nice texture and very good taste. I wanted a glass of wine, the sommelier was very helpful and proposed me the Domaine des Remizieres Cuvee Christophe Crozes-Hermitage 2010 from the northern Rhone region, which was exceptional. It was full bodied, it had many fruity aromas and little metallic taste.  

The starter of the dejeuner Menu was a salmon tartare with finely sliced radish, pink as well. The salmon was of great quality, great taste and presentation. The starter of the menu de saison was octopus confit with black radish, pink radish and very finely chopped green apple. The combination was quite odd, and  didn't really worked. The octopus had good quality and flavor, it was fresh but a bit hard to chew, not at all near as good as you can get in many restaurants in Greece. 

The main course of the dejeuner menu was a dorade fillet with a potato cylinder filled with spinach, and other two made of leek. The fish although was fresh and juicy, had a bit bland taste. The potato cylinder on the other hand was really good with intense potato flavor. The other main course  fera fillet with multicolor vegetables and soy sauce was nicely cooked and had very good taste. It was accompanied by an excellent sweet potato creme puree, with smoked flavor. The puree was really really good. 

A very good madeleine with white cheese icecream was the predessert. Some mignardises were a macaron, a nougat chocolate piece, a bite-size tarte praline(typical lyonnais) and a small sphere with caramel interior. All were very good. And finally the desserts. The chocolate tarte with pineapple, even thought every element of it was done well, the result was not what we expected. It seemed uninspiring. The other dessert was a cube of Jiavara chocolate, with a chocolate sphere inside full of liquid passion fruit and topped with chocolate icecream and a gold leaf. A very good dessert. 

The service was very good, very very helpful, always with a smile on the face, but it seemed they need more staff for the capacity of the restaurant. The food had many ups and downs, missing the wow factor in the biggest part of the meal, but overall I think this is a restaurant that is worth visiting or revisiting. The price is lower than you would expect at this level, so the value for money is very good.    


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