56 Place de Armes, Chagny, France

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This restaurant is named after the Lameloise family, who have owned this Burgundy restaurant since 1921, and adopted its current name in 1960. In the 1933 Michelin Guide, the first to introduce the modern multi-star system, it is listed as the solitary starred restaurant in the town of Chagny under its old name “Commerce”. At that time Pierre Lameloise was in charge, handing over in turn to his son Jean. Jacques Lameloise took over in 1971 from his father Pierre and in 1974 gained a second Michelin star, and then in 1979 the ultimate third Michelin star for the restaurant. It kept this until 2004 but it was downgraded to two stars in 2005 and 2006. Most unusually, it regained the third star in 2007 and has kept at this level ever since. The owner and head chef now is Eric Pras, who moved to Lameloise in 2008 and took over the property in 2009 when Jacques Lameloise retired at the age of 62.  Mr Pras has cooked in some of the top kitchens in France, including those of Troisgros, Pierre Gagnaire and Bernard Loiseau, and more recently was sous chef at Regis Marcon. He gained the prestigious MOF (Meilleur Ouvrier de France) title in 2004.

Lameloise is situated in the quiet commune of Chagny, 16km (10 miles) south west of the city of Beaune in Burgundy.  The dining room had well-spaced tables but the room is rather gloomy, so the photos here do not do justice to the food. There were menus of increasing length priced respectively at €135 (£98), €175 (£129) and €195 (£141), and a set lunch menu at €78 (£57). The wine list had around 600 different wine labels in all. Chateau de Chamirey Mercurey 2012 was €60 for a bottle that can be found in the high street for €35, Javillier Mersault les Tillets 2013 at €120 compared to a shop price of €49, and Bouchard Mersault Perrieres 2011 was €160 for a wine that retails at €75. At the posh end of the list the mark-ups levels flattened out, with Emmanuel Rouget Echezeaux 2007 at €450 for a wine that has a UK shop price of €485, and Richebourg Romanee Conti 2005 at €2,400 for a label with a current market price of €2,375.

The meal began with some nibbles, served on the small terrace in front of the building. Particularly good was a little canapé of foie gras and white chocolate, and saucisson on toast was also excellent. The first formal amuse-bouche was smoked fillet of duck in corn soup with mushroom jelly, which was lovely, the earthiness of the corn working nicely with the smoky richness of the duck (19/20).

I began with a pair of large langoustine tails coated in crisp rice . This came with a tartare of langoustine with celery and green apple cream flavoured with mustard. The shellfish were magnificent, sweet and beautifully tender. the balance of the tartare with the acidity of the apple flawless (20/20). An intermediate course was monkfish with a crust of mushroom and paprika, artichoke and a glass of fish soup. Monkfish is tricky to cook correctly, but here it was excellent, and the fish soup had great intensity of flavour (19/20). 

Fillet of pigeon was roasted and glazed with a cream of almond reduction and garnished with slivers of fresh almonds, alongside little Mirabelle plums and a reduction of the cooking juices. This was another superb dish, the pigeon perfectly cooked and having lovely flavour, the plums giving just a hint of acidity to balance the richness of the meat (20/20).

A little pre-dessert of apple granita topped a compote of cherry with lime zest and basil emulsion, which was refreshing and enjoyable. My lemon dessert had a dome of sugar with acacia honey mousse, lemon sorbet, and a biscuit filled with white chocolate, lemon cream and lemon confit. This had perfect balance between sharpness and acidity, the different textures working really well - the product of a serious high end French pastry chef (20/20). I also tried a bite of an apricot dessert with sable, praline and creme caramel, and this was of the same very high standard.

Service was faultless, our Japanese waitress in particular being helpful, friendly and expert. I was taken here by a friend so did not see the final bill, but if you shared a modest bottle of wine then a typical cost per head might be £160, barely half that of a top table in Paris these days. Overall this was a magnificent meal, with dish after superb dish showing off the talents of a chef at the height of his capabilities. There are plenty of somewhat disappointing three star Michelin restaurants around these days, but this is not one of them. 

Further reviews: 01st Sep 2003

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  • Jeffrey merrihue

    Went with a group of 6 and ordered everything on the menu and it was all impeccable. This is what french fine dining is all about. Great review here!