Christian Tetedoie trained under Paul Bocuse and George Blanc, and is a MOF (Meilleurs Ouvriers de France). He opened his first restaurant in 1986 and was awarded his first Michelin star in 1990. He moved to the current premises in 2010, and at present holds one Michelin star. This restaurant is perched on the top of a hillside above the old town, looking out over the city. The dining room has a panoramic view, with picture windows for those tables that happen to be on one side of the dining room. There were several menus on offer. There was a set menu at €68, with tasting menus of increasing length at €85 (five courses), €110 (seven courses) and €140 (nine courses) as well as a full a la carte selection.
The tables were large and well spaced, and although there was a wooden floor the noise levels were fine, with no music being played. The wine list was seemingly all-French. I asked the young-looking sommelier roughly how many different labels were on the list and was surprised by the reply: "No idea. Quite a lot I guess". The same sommelier failed almost entirely to top up our wine during the meal, so I ended up walking over, extracting the bottle from its cooler and pouring it myself on more than one occasion. I do not really have a problem with that except that we were in a Michelin starred restaurant, where basic topping up should be second nature. The list itself had labels such as Domaine de la Cadette Les Saulniers 2014 at €65 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for €25, Francois Merlin Condrieu Les Terroirs 2014 at €90 compared to its retail price of €46, and Etienne Sauzet Puligny Montrachet 2010 at €135 for a bottle that will set you back €64 in a shop, There were plenty of prestige bottles too, such as Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle 1995 at €250 for a wine that retails at €83, and Leflaive Bienvenue Batard Montrachet 2006 a steal at €330 for a label whose current market value is €468. Comtes Lafon Meursault 2011 was €175, a relatively fair price given its high street price was currently €73, so we drank that.
A tray of nibbles began the meal. This comprised duck liver lollipops, jelly of red wine and vegetables, tart of eel with lemon mousse and sardine with black curry. The pastry on the tart was a little clunky, though the eel had good flavour, the jelly was fine and the sardine and curry combination worked better than it sounded (14/20 average).
Bread was from a local Lyon baker called Francois Pozzoli, who is unusually well qualified for a baker in that he earned the prestigious MOF award in 2004. I have to say that I have tried his bread before, and despite his reputation I have never been that taken with it, either the version at his shop in town or served in restaurants. Again tonight it was pleasant but no more than that, the best being the cereal bread, followed by the country bread and least interesting the classic white (15/20 average). The bread I tried for lunch at another local bakery, Boulangerie Du Palais in the old town, was vastly better. An amuse-bouche was langoustine tartare with polenta espuma and citrus. This was very effective, the natural sweetness of the shellfish precisely balanced by the citrus, the polenta adding a gentle earthy contrast (16/20).
My starter was a nicely presented carpaccio of blue lobster with broccoli in several forms, along with black garlic and pistachio. This was a pretty dish, the broccoli crumb quite an effective textural contrast to the lobster, which had good natural flavour (15/20). I preferred lobster "zephyr", roasted with wild garlic sauce, alongside agar stuffed with lobster mousse. The shellfish was very tender and the garlic flavour worked well with it (16/20).
The main courses were even better. Langoustines were poached in butter with slow-cooked shallots, baby leeks and finger lime. The shellfish were carefully cooked and their flavour balanced by the acidity of the lime, the shallots and leeks bringing a pleasing earthiness as a contrast. Alongside this were superb, delicate pike quenelles, a fine rendition of the classic Lyon dish (easily 16/20, more for the quenelles). Guinea fowl from Merial was prepared in several ways. The breast was stuffed with foie gras, alongside confit guinea fowl and the leg braised and then deep-fried as tempura with onions. On the side was salsify, the dish completed with albufera sauce. This is a classic French sauce, a veloute (stock made from the bones of the bird and thickened with roux) enriched with foie gras butter, Madeira and Armagnac. The guinea fowl was superb, its flavour excellent, the tempura light and the salsify and a little unannounced spinach offsetting the richness of the dish. The sauce in particular was magnificent: rich and glorious, the kind of sauce you rarely see these days as it is so labour intensive to make. This was an outstanding dish (19/20).
For pre-dessert, apple compote with ginger Chantilly was lovely, the apple and ginger combination excellent (17/20). I had a dessert of tropical fruit, with a central sphere of coconut and lime mousse, mango and passion fruit bavarois and passion fruit sorbet. This was a fabulous dish, the textures lovely, the coconut flavour coming through well, the mango lovely and the passion fruit sorbet having just the right level of sharpness, the various elements each resting on a delicate biscuit base (19/20). A modern take on tiramisu had sponge that had stunningly deeply coffee flavour, a lovely cocoa nib ganache, and a terrific mascarpone and Arabica coffee sorbet (19/20). These desserts could easily have come from a three star Michelin restaurant.
Coffee was from a Nespresso machine and was pleasant enough. This came with a tray of petit fours. There was a very impressive delicate cherry macaron, pleasant passion fruit marshmallow, very good apple jelly on a biscuit base and a nice enough chocolate cake (17/20 average).
The bill came to €223 (£193), albeit with pre-dinner drinks and some pretty serious wine. If you shared a modest bottle then a more typical cost per head would be around £110. Service was quite good other than that of the young sommelier, who seemed completely out of his depth. Getting attention was not always as easy as it should have been, and although this was a fairly busy service the dining room was not quite full, so the waiters should have been able to pay attention to their customers better than they did. This was a rather unusual meal in that the standard steadily improved as it progressed. The starters were better than the nibbles, the mains better than the starters and the desserts from the top drawer. This felt two star more than one to me, despite the odd element of inconsistency.