728 Route de Villerest, Ouches, 42155, France

Back to search results

Chef interview

Michel Troisgros is chef/patron of Troisgros, founded in 1930. Three generations of the same family have cooked at the restaurant.

Read more

I first came to Troisgros in 1996, which seems a long time ago and yet it has been running since 1930, with three generations of the family as chef. The kitchen is now in the safe hands of Michel Troisgros, who had 17 chefs working at this lunch sitting, which had barely more than 20 diners. It is situated in the unlikely setting of Roanne, a town with considerable history as a trading centre due to its situation on the Loire, but now a rather sleepy, unappealing place. The restaurant (which also has rooms) is an oasis amongst such blandness, situated almost opposite the main train station, which is a leisurely one hour train ride from Lyon. The décor uses a lot of grey in the building, and the dining room itself looks out onto the pretty garden, where we sat to look at the menu. 

The wine list is vast, and the wine cellar impressive. It is all temperature and humidity controlled, with 40,000 bottles and 2,000 separate wines stored.  Unlike so many three- star places, the wine list is affordable. Etienne Sauzet Batard Montrachet 2003 was listed at EUR 290, yet this wine will cost you around EUR 178 in the shops. There are some non-French wines, such as Kistler Dutton Ranch 1997 at EUR 152 for a wine that will cost you at least EUR 80, and Diel Spatlese Trocken Dorsheimer 1992 at EUR 41 for a wine that you will struggle to find for less than EUR 25. The bargain of the list was the Coche Dury Puligny Les Enseigneres 1999. At EUR 130 this would appear to be well below the level of its retail price (around EUR 200), so that is what we drank (hat tip to SG for the recommendation). 

Nibbles were little tomato fritters with sesame seeds and ginger, which featured beautiful tomatoes, semolina and lime with lovely texture, and crackers with coriander chutney, rather like an ultra-light poori (20/20). Bread was served warm and was a choice of classic baguette, cereal bread and, my favourite of the three, a remarkably light corn bread (19/20 average). The first dish was a pair of small pieces of mackerel in cassis jelly with sweet onion, and just a hint of mustard. This was an unusual idea, but the acidic balance of the dish was sound, and the little bite of spice lifted the dish (19/20). 

Gnocchi made with artichokes with slivers of sardine was a technical triumph (20/20). A “pillow” of mousserons was made from milk skin; the mushrooms themselves were excellent, with a little of the mushroom cooking juices inside the pillow, but although this was all very clever I would have preferred a wrapping of, say, pasta (18/20). Better were discs of potato containing truffles, resting in a mushroom veloute and garnished with peas and a few additional mushrooms. This dish had lovely balance, the vegetables again having the finest flavour (20/20). 

A little piece of cod with tomato essence was a fine piece of cooking, the cod flaking perfectly, the tomato essence having great flavour concentration. Cod is not my favourite fish, so for me to get excited by this shows real culinary talent (20/20). I most enjoyed the next dish, blue lobster on a bed of perfect spinach, the lobster lightly spiced and having little slices of redcurrant skin to provide acidity, plus a little fennel. This dish worked really well, and the lobster itself was magnificent, with great flavour and tender as could be (20/20). 

A pair of pieces of lamb were served simply with some cooking juices, a few sliced broad beans, a red pepper sauce and garlic, with red pepper slices garnishing the top of the lamb; a fine aubergine was served on the side. The meat was cooked beautifully, seasoning was just right, and again the purity of flavour of the vegetables was striking (20/20). Cheese is from the affineur Herve Mons in Lyon, and was in excellent condition e.g. ultra-creamy Brillat Savarin, excellent Munster, lovely St Marcellin, which is fairly local to this area (20/20).

Afterwards the desserts began with a verveine sabayon with a dusting of chocolate. I am not going to score this, as I personally find verveine something that simply should not appear on a plate. Ironically the excellent soap used in the bathrooms here are scented with verveine, so to me this was like tasting soap sabayon. Of all the wonderful flavours in the world to create sweets, why chefs in recent years insist on going out of their way to find odder and odder ingredients simply eludes me. I am sure it was a well made verveine sabayon, but that does not mean that I want to eat it. Pear sorbet with meringue, a hint of ginger with wild strawberries was back on track (19/20). Rhubarb soufflé was very well made, with fluffy texture and the natural acidity of the rhubarb making it an ideal constituent for a soufflé; I am not sure it needed the addition of mint which it seemed to have (19/20). Petit fours included an excellent almond biscuit and superb raspberries, as well as a fine tuile (19/20). The bill was EUR 281, which  included an EUR 130 bottle of wine. Service, with the exception of one rather curt elderly waiter, was superb, with the staff helpful and attentive. I have to say that, despite the technical perfection of the cooking here, I preferred my meal here a dozen years ago; I think this must just be a sign of me getting old.

Further reviews: 20th Jun 2019 | 17th Jun 2016 | 01st Jun 1996

Add a comment


User comments

  • David W

    I will have to be the dissenting voice here. On my first visit four of us thought the tasting menu (circa 2007) was relatively speaking terrible, although on my second visit things did improve a lot. Whatever you do, order the salmon with sorrel - probably the world's best fish dish. In fact, given the number of amuse bouches and pre-deserts, this dish by itself makes a not insubstantial, and very delicious, meal.

  • Papillon

    This is a follow-up review. I recently visited Maison Troisgros and happy to report that Michel Troisgros is still on top form. I decided to forego the starter and chose two classic Troisgros dishes as main courses: Firt came the "Saumon a l'Oseille" and then the "Sole a la Ciboulette". Both were refreshingly simple, pure and crisp in flavour. There was no fuss, no gimicks and no cheating. Just great pieces of fish, simply prepared and paired with a fantastic tasting sauce. I had a selection of cheeses from their fantastic trolley and was on my way back to Paris, happy as can be... . Service was faultless: efficient and discreet.

  • Dr Wilbur Hughes

    Troisgros I guess the important fact about this restaurant is that SOUS VIDE cooking was invented here in the early seventies.

  • Bruhlmeier

    Troisgros was last stop of our Bordeaux trip this June, a truly happy end vacation. The food is light and with Asia spices touch, nice ambience (room, garden & restaurant) and reasonable price. We plan to visit it again in December. More photos please click here:

  • Dino Joannides

    I have been fortunate to eat here twice with my wife and agree totally with your comments and score. This institution is in very safe hands !

  • Papillon

    Roanne was a town well-known for its textile industry which happens to be the field I work in. I have been going there for over fifteen years. TroisGros being right opposite the train station it was really the first gastronomic restaurant I had come across event tough I grew-up in Paris. The name "Troisgros" when translated literally into English means "Three Fats" so it is what we call in French a "gourmand" name! I first visited the restaurant about three years ago and then every year since. I love the simplicity of the cooking, the light Asian touches that, as mentionned by Tariq Khan, do not fall into the "Asian Fusion" trap. Being also of Indian origin I would not be impressesed by poor attemps at exoticism. Troisgros strikes the perfect balance. The wine list is sumptuous and some great finds can be had for reasonable money. I have stayed several times in their hotel and I must say that for me the rooms are a perfect example of modern elegance. In this era of celebrity Chefs, it is reassuring to see that it is Michel Troisgros himself, a very humble man, who still does the cooking in his Roanne restaurant. His wife runs the hotel and together they are the most charming of hosts. Whenever I crave his cooking and cannot visit Roanne I dine at the Hotel Lancaster in Paris where the kitchen is supervised by Michel Troisgros. He has recently opened "Iguerande", a retreat set in a renovated farm near Roanne. I plan on visiting soon!

  • Tariq Khan

    Visited September 2006 & again in March 2007. I would venture a guess that since Andy visited in 1996 Troisgros senior has retired. On our visits the restaurant was run by his son. The current Troisgros is into fusion of some Japanese tastes into the menu. There was one dish where the recommended drink was actually a rather nice sake! Now I am not usually one for all this Asian fusion (my wife is Japanese & my origins are Indian sub-continent so chucking a few asiatic spices at dishes is not going to excite us) - however I take my hat off to Troisgros as he has got it absolutely spot on. The prices are around the EUR120 per person mark without wine. Wine list is superb. The recommended bottle of Burgundy we had was around EUR90 & a very nice companion to the beef I had... Try the fresh vegetable plate as a starter - includes yuzu (a japanese lemon) from his garden that my wife is still raving about. For an eating experience I would rate this place as one of the top three 3 star places we have been to (between us we have now visited 20+). There are also some lovely rooms to stay at - prices range from EUR190-300. A good idea if you are planning dinner as Roanne is a little too far from Lyon & without being unfair to the town the only reason to go is this restaurant!