If you are well versed in French gastronomy, you probably know who Paul Bocuse (Monsieur Bocuse as they say) is: he is an icon in France and his restaurant, L'auberge du Pont de Collonges is the only restaurant in the world that had three Michelin stars for 50 years in a row. Some, like me, may think that Paul Bocuse serves classic French cuisine, but in fact, he is said to be the father of the nouvelle cuisine, a lighter, more delicate cuisine that focuses on presentation. People from all over the world come to L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges and it is fairly common to see people taking a picture in front of what could be a lifetime experience (it is not us on the photo below...).
Once in the restaurant, there is definitely a cult of personality when it comes to Paul Bocuse, whether it is his photo on the menu or his name everywhere.
So, we decided to go with my brother and my sister-in-law. We started off by having a drink before our meal. Jodi got the house cocktail that was made with raspberry, cassis and crémant de Bourgogne, a delicious sparkling wine, perfect for this type of mix. On my side, I got a glass of champagne.
We decided to order a la carte, meaning from the menu, instead of picking a prix-fixe that would have been too much food, especially considering we were having a late dinner (it was 9pm) and we had a very early flight the next day.
After few bites of delicious bread and butter (I had to restrain myself), they brought us a tomato velouté with a quenelle of cream of curry and, on the side, a parmesan cheese shortbread.
This was a good start, the velouté being refreshing and the shortbread fantastic (why do they only give one?).
Then, I got the Truffle soup V.G.E, a soup that was created in 1975 for the French president at that time, Valéry Giscard D'Estaing. It is one of the signature dishes of the restaurant and its price (85 EUR at the time of the post) is justified by the quantity of black truffle and foie gras that is in it.
It comes covered by a dome made of puff pastry that acts as a lid. So, what you need to do is open the top and then reach inside to discover the pricey ingredients. Surprisingly, I did not smell the truffle, before or after I opened that dome, and was not overwhelmed by the taste of the truffle, that was a bit a disappointment in fact.
It was good, but I was not astonished by it: it is good to try once, but, if I went back to L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges, I would probably choose another dish. Maybe the Maine lobster salad ‘à la française‘ that my brother picked and that looked delicious.
At that time, we decided to order a glass of wine and chose a red: Volnay Clos Des Ducs 2006.
Then was the dish that made this whole experience worth it: Bresse chicken truffled cooked in a bladder ‘à la Mère Fillioux’. At 230 EUR (at the time of the post), this is the kind of dish to share and so, my brother, sister-in-law and I decided to order it. When it came, it looked like a dinosaur egg and the video below shows you how they carved it.
The result was the following:
I admit that I did not care for the vegetables and rice and only wanted the chicken and the morel mushrooms. The chicken was perfectly cooked, smothered in a sauce that was not too rich and complemented it very well. They were also generous as far as the quantity of mushrooms and Jodi was glad I am the kind to share. Talking about Jodi, she went for the Filet of sole with noodles, ‘à la Fernand Point’.
It was a fairly good dish, but nothing compared to the chicken.
Already full, we decided to pass on the cheese. Know that, if you want fresh cheeses, you can get all-you-can-eat for 35 EUR (at the time of this post). A bit pricey, and the same concept applies in fact for dessert.
But, before they brought us desserts, we got a creme chocolat et griotte (chocolate cream and morello cherry) that was like a pot de creme: very dense and chocolatey; very addictive.
As well as some cookies and chocolates.
Then came the unlimited desserts. There were so many carts (I might have missed one or two) that we were a bit overwhelmed.
Jodi went for the Ile flottante, a dessert made with egg whites, smothered in a vanilla custard. Topped with candied pistachio, it was a pretty good one.
On my side, remembering that we were paying 35 EUR, I decided to order few desserts and try a bit of each. I went for:
The baba au rhum (for sure there was plenty of rum!):
The raspberry tart:
A creme brûlée:
All these desserts were good, especially the raspberry tart.
We finished the meal full and glad that we had to experience L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges. Paul Bocuse is definitely a legend in the French gastronomy and his legacy is tremendous; know that Daniel Boulud and Jean-George Vongerichten worked under him! Now, I admit that I was expecting to be wowed much more when going there. Maybe it is the choice of dishes that we ordered, I do not know. But there are restaurants like Per Se or Daniel that gave me more chills than L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges.
Enjoy (I did)!
If you like this post, the photos or the blog, please feel free to share it or post a comment. Merci!