Bernard Loiseau sadly made headlines in February 2003 by shooting himself shortly after being demoted from 19/20 to 17/20 in the Gault Millault (contrary to some misguided reports, he never lost his 3rd Michelin star). We will never know the true reason for his suicide, but his cooking lives on in the village of Saulieu. The hotel is very attractive, having a huge log fire in the main lounge, and very attractive gardens. Rooms are excellent, with good showers and Loewe TVs with vast numbers of satellite channels. There is even a small gym. The dining room looks out over the gardens. While we studied the menu in the conservatory we were served a nibble of foie gras terrine (16/20), a delicate wafer with anchovy paste (18/20), an excellent wafer of cream cheese and tapenade (19/20) and frogs legs coated in herbs (a signature dish, but for me only 15/20). A cold cucumber soup was not to my taste but brown and country bread rolls were very good (18/20).
I started with langoustine ravioli, which had good texture and excellent langoustine, but was bizarrely served with watery artichokes, which were so awful they could have been tinned, though that is surely inconceivable here. There was also a little cooked celery and a shellfish sauce as garnish. A hard dish to mark as the ravioli itself was 18/20 but the dire artichokes drag the mark down, perhaps to 16/20. Lobster was served cold on a bed of chopped vegetables, decorated with a little lobster shell stuffed with spiced vegetables and a sauce of the coral (17/20).
For main course I had excellent Charolais beef, cooked perfectly and served with asparagus that once again tasted soggy, though an oxtail-based sauce had suitable intensity and a local Burgundy specialty was deep fried vegetables cooked with cottage cheese (19/20 if I ignore the asparagus). Monkfish was delicate, served with girolles and barley, mixed herbs, roasted garlic on a bed of baby leeks, all resting in a pool of beurre blanc flavoured with chives (18/20).
The cheese board was a little disappointing: I tried a good Langres (18/20), Bleu d’Auvergnes (18/20), an unripe Epoisses (16/20), a soapy fresh goat cheese and a dull local hard cheese (13/20). As a pre-dessert there was a glass of blackcurrant jelly, topped with blackcurrant sauce and a nage of cream (18/20). Dessert proper was a good apple soufflé, served with a baked apple stuffed with nuts and cubes of apple, served next to an apple sorbet served between crisp fried apple slices, the plate decorated with tiny spheres of apple (17/20). My wife had a rich chocolate mousse served in a ring of nut tuiles and garnished with blackcurrants. On the side was a square of dark chocolate and mousse on a chocolate tuile, all surrounded by a ring of blackcurrant sauce (18/20).
Petit fours were an almond tuile, a delicate biscuit, a cassis mousse, a tarte of raspberry jelly, a coffee mousse in a chocolate shell, some nougat, a blackcurrant jelly and white and dark chocolates (18/20). Coffee was oddly bitter (14/20) which was particularly bizarre since we had drunk some perfectly good coffee here at lunch on the same day as dinner. Service was excellent though not faultless, with minor topping up issues.
Further reviews: 21st Aug 2015