The restaurant within the Cour des Loges hotel was awarded a Michelin star in 2012, which it has retained ever since. The dining room is set in the central atrium of this historic building. The hotel is an amalgam of three mediaeval merchants' houses in the historic old town of Lyon. The tables are set out in the stone courtyard, lit by candlelight. Chef Anthony Bonnet trained with Jean Brouilly and Philippe Gauvreau at La Rotonde, and has been head chef here for eight years.
The menu is classical, featuring dishes from the region. Tasting menus were priced at €85 and €105 in addition to the à la carte menu. The mostly French wine list featured labels such as Torre dei Beati d'Abruzzo 2009 at €50 for a wine that you can find in the high street at €22, the exvellent Weinbach Cuvee Theo Riesling at €82 compared to a shop price of €39 and Cote Rotie Chapoutier Les Becasses 2010 at €140 for a bottle that retails at €67.
A little pate en croute had a rich terrine and well made pastry (16/20), whilst smoked salmon with goat cheese and herbs was also enjoyable (15/20). An amuse-bouche of scallop confit with yuzu citrus foam, fennel foam and passion fruit cream with fennel jelly and assorted fruit and vegetables was pleasant but had rather indistinct flavour (14/20). Bread was bought in from a local baker called Bettant, and included good levain.
Much better than the nibbles was a pithivier of sweetbreads with cardamom sauce, the pastry excellent and having a rich filling of sweetbreads with a slightly spiced, gorgeous sauce made from the cooking juices (18/20). Langoustine came with cream of artichokes and girolles and trompette de la mort mushrooms with rum and hazelnut sauce with langoustine stock, hazelnut cauliflower and oyster sauce with a caviar garnish, the shellfish tender and the sauce nicely made (16/20).
Lobster was served in two separate stages. The tail came with risotto of spelt, trompette de la mort mushrooms, salad leaves and a sauce made from the cooking juices. This was followed by a second serving of claw with squid ink and fennel cream, tomato and lobster sauce. The lobster was extremely tender, the risotto excellent and the rich sauce lovely (18/20).
Pigeon from Bresse was cooked pink and served with confit of the leg in a pastry case along with spiced fruits, with mash garnished with chives on the side. The bird had excellent flavour and was carefully cooked, and the confit leg was suitably rich; for me the spiced fruits were too subtle, and more of these would have provided better balance to the richness of the rest of the dish (16/20).
A pre-dessert of apple compote with honey chips, Madagascar vanilla and tangerine sorbet was lovely, the sorbet superb and nicely balancing the honey (17/20). Chocolate with winter fruits came with hazelnut and almonds with chocolate ice cream, the texture of the dish lovely, the rich chocolate nicely balanced by the texture of the nuts (17/20), Slices of marinated pineapple came with mango, passion fruit and a basil and lemon sorbet, a refreshing combination (16/20).
The bill came to €147 (£118) a head with plenty of nice wine. If you shared a modest bottle then a typical bill would be around £100 a head. Service was friendly and well-meaning but not as slick as it might have been. The pace was slow, and dishes were left uncollected for much longer than they should have been, whilst drinks topping up was a little erratic. Getting the bill was a lengthy process too, and the whole meal took 3 hours and 21 minutes, which was on the slow end of leisurely for a notional three courses. Other than the service issues, the experience was enjoyable. The setting is lovely, the menu appealing and the best dishes very good indeed.