Bakerboy From Lyon

12/12/2013

A Feast Fit for a King


Today was sick! We were done with all shaping before 5. Everyone just got on with work. It was the A Team as usual, myself, Alexandre and Alex...all A’s get it? So yeah knocked that shit out and then just pumped those baguettes out like a machine! It was one of those days when everything just flows nicely, my scoring was good, shaping on form and going things all over the place.

After work we had a glass of wine in the kitchen...which was kinda a bad idea since we’re all usually so tired. It hits hard! Alexandre and I then were discussing some recipes that I sent him that he wants to try out so he just wanted translations and explanations.

Now that I have heating at home, I almost constantly have the gas on a low setting and my small oil heater on high to keep the place warm because these walls retain jack heat and the wooden floors aren’t insulated either so that doesn’t help.

Had a short nap and did chores before heading out just before 8pm with William for dinner. We were joined by Rudolph and Valeria, Rudolph’s Russian gf who works with them at PB Boulangerie in America.
Valeria was pretty cool...she is into dnb [ brum ‘n bass ] and dubstep and knows a lot of the music I have and she is very strong about her opinions and kept getting annoyed when we were talking about Russian stereotypes and not feeling cold or drinking vodka, but we were just playing around.

I thought we were going to Orsi, which is the Michelin star gastronomic restaurant of chef Pierre Orsi, but we instead went to Cazenove which is the sister restaurant to Orsi. It’s not gastronomic but I wouldn’t call it a brasserie either. But when you enter it feels like you’ve entered another time. With a rich carpeted floor, mirror panelled walls and wooden statues of cupids it has an early 1900’s feel to it. This kind of atmosphere you would only find in some old school hotels nowadays.

Right after you enter there is a rack for your jacket and we were escorted to our table. Chef Pierre arrived shortly thereafter as the 2 restaurants are on the corners of 2 opposite blocks, and greeted us and chatted a bit. It’s remarkable to see a man of over 70 with so much vibrancy. He is always alive and animated and inquisitive. We were served a glass of champagne to start. Which was really light with subtle fruity flavours? There were also bread rolls on a side plate, with rounds of butter and a small plate of thinly sliced rosette (French salami) which, at room temperature is so smooth and tasty with the fat melting in your mouth.
was a lobster bisque which was amazing. I haven’t tasted bisque with that consistency that has that much flavour. I could have eaten litres of that stuff. It was intense but soft...no strong aftertaste at all and it was smooth too.

For starters William and Rudolph had a slab of foie gras terrine quenelle
of soft pear brunoise with some watercress. I had roasted prawns which were beautifully cooked, still soft, juicy and firm, with julienne black radish and a tomato gazpacho like sauce.
Interesting combination with the prawn and tomato. Valeria had a Carpaccio of scallops (SCALLOPS!!!!! MMMM) since she doesn’t eat meat, with a julienne of granny smith apples and watercress (yeah I think they love watercress in the kitchen). We had this with a red wine, which was unexpectedly good with the prawns. But it was a slightly more semi dry red with soft tannins and lots of plum and berry flavours.
with a sweet wine jelly, green peppercorns and a basil sauce. And a

For mains William had the rack of lamb which was beautifully cooked...super moist and pink (just the way we like it),
with a caramelised banana shallot and some courgette thing which I couldn’t make out. Valeria and I had the sea bass
while Rudolph had the John Dory, and both dishes came with the same garnishes. A curried butternut puree (was surprised to see butternut). A celeriac puree with some brunoise veg and some hazelnut things that were almost like Yorkshire puddings. This was served drizzled with a light lemon oil. Really interesting to have hazelnut with fish but it was really tasty. I normally would’ve taken the lamb but I can braai [barbecue ] a nice chop [ lamb chop ]at home anytime ;)

Phew, then onto cheese. They brought out a cheese trolley and all their cheeses are made by a MOF Frommagier, Didier Lassagne.

Oh I forgot to mention that the bread they serve and use at the restaurant is supplied by Mr Pozzoli. I could choose as many cheeses as I wanted but I was pretty stuffed already so chose some interesting ones. There was one that gets put on chestnut leaves to mature which had a creamy camembert consistency but a slight earthy flavour, a firm blue cheese, a chevre and a cheese that is made with garlic inside and the whole piece is actually shaped like a head of garlic which is really cool. Cheese was with another red wine which was really brought alive by the contrasts of the cheeses.

Afterwards a small plate with petit fours was given to use...with small passion fruit marshmallows (so good), chocolate and mint macaroons and orange peel financiers. What was really interesting is that we were also given a small bowl with mandarins/clementine. It’s an interesting concept and it was really refreshing and helps cleanse your palate, much like a sorbet would.

Oh wait...I’m not done. Then we had dessert (say WHAT???) yeah homey, dessert: chocolate cake base, chocolate mousse with a nougatine centre, chocolate ice cream and a chocolate sauce and tuile. We had this with an Italian muscadel. Afterwards was coffee...with the little pot with sugar chunks. One thing I really liked was how all the crockery had the same motif on it, very old school which just fits with everything else. Nowadays everyone is being contemporary so you won’t see that. We also had beautiful crockery and stemware.
But were still weren’t done... William asked for shots of chartreuse which is a green digestif, served in a cognac sniffer and is apparently made with over 100 different herbs. It smelled flippen strong. Mother Russia downed hers of course. J We sipped ours but after 2 sips I knocked the rest back...that stuff gave me goose bumps.
After all this we finally left, being the last table as well.

The best part? It was all on the house. Chef Orsi was very generous and hospitable. If I still have some money before I leave I’d like to try his gastronomic restaurant...but a minimum spend on food alone is 60 euros...
We then drove to a small “club” (it was 1am on a Tuesday night....in Lyon. So not much choice) they were playing Latino music and had an instructor sort of guiding everyone and then everyone danced and changed partners the whole time. I was so full I didn’t want to dance but just before the end I got on the floor and started moving once they started playing tunes with a bit more BASS! One girl was trying to help me to salsa but I have no rhythm for that...but I still had fun.
Finally got home for some much deserved rest at 2 am. Man I was full.