Lameloise – Chagny
Lameloise is the three star Michelin restaurant in Chagny that is uniformly praised by food critics and bloggers alike. It has been in existence since 1921 where, until recently, two generations of the Lameloise family helmed the kitchen. The toque has since passed to Eric Pras, a recipient of Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Craftsman of France); the front of the house, to his nephew, Frederick Lamy. Both continue the tradition of excellence that enables the restaurant to remain at the top of its game.
At 8pm, we’re the first guests to arrive. Instead of aperitifs, we start off with a 2008 Puligny Montrachet that fills our wine glasses with a discernable aroma of fresh almonds.
Amuse bouche, part un: Comte cheese sticks, snail butter crackers, beef tartare with avocado, sardines on disks of concentrated tomato paste, foie gras cubes topped with mango, codfish beignets dipped in squid ink powder on potato puree. So many little morsels on this slab of slate, and we enjoy them all. The sardine/tomato combination brings back fond memories of a childhood treat — tins of Spanish sardines in tomato sauce. Surprisingly, I also like the beef tartare even though I’m not generally a fan of raw meat.
Amuse bouche, part deux: Strawberry tomato gazpacho, puffed bread filled with Italian bacon, stawberry with coriander underneath mozzarella foam.
Crab and roasted langoustine with fennel, yellow courgette and coeur de boeuf tomato gazpacho. What piques my curiosity is the frou-frou tuile halo which looks like it’s been perforated with a hole punch. How did they do that?
John Dory with a layer of calamari mousse, celeriac salad, and a carrot parsley emulsion poured tableside. For me, this dish elevates the meal to an “exceeds expectations”. The calamari mousse, which looks like a sheet of pasta draped over the fish, has an interesting texture. It’s like eating espasol, a sticky Filipino concoction made with ground rice. The John Dory is perfectly cooked to barely opaque and flakes with a fork. But most of all, I cannot get enough of the carrot parsley emulsion. It’s what happens when the sweetness of carrots meets the richness of butter. Maybe I’m hallucinating but I also taste a hint of curry even though it’s not explicitly mentioned by our waiter. I know I’m not alone in loving this dish because the pair of Lameloise regulars in the table beside us are also raving about it.
Steamed foie gras wrapped in a cabbage leaf and rolled like a sushi in a thin sheet of potato. It’s topped with artichokes and summer truffle shavings then surrounded by a truffle-infused sauce. A pairing of the luxe and the mundane that results in a winning dish.
Roasted breast of pigeon in its own jus is resting on a bed of girolle mushrooms and gingerbread and topped with a crispy polenta cruller.
It’s served with a glass containing bits of the pigeon leg at the bottom and creamy polenta with hazelnut oil on top. While the pigeon breast is very good, it’s the unassuming side dish that steals the limelight. The nutty element in the creamy polenta evokes mushrooms and toasted rice. The taste is quite hard to pin down and only makes me want to keep spooning it into my mouth.
We say hello again to Citeaux (top). This time it’s accompanied by its sisters from the region: Brillat Savarin (bottom) and Aisy Cendre (middle). Brillat Savarin is a triple cream cow’s cheese that’s mild, rich and luscious while Aisy Cendre is a variation of Burgundy’s famous stink bomb, the Epoisses. It’s essentially an Epoisses that’s wrapped in ashes to tone down the funky smell. Apparently, it’s only available from one producer called Berthaut. It pairs very well with our Puligny Montrachet.
This leaning glass tower contains a multi-layered palate cleanser (bottom to top): cherry jelly, rhubarb purée, vanilla baba, rhubarb sorbet, white chocolate tuile.
An assortment of small sweets as pre-dessert.
The month of July calls for an overdose of strawberries: strawberry fromage blanc, strawberry ice cream, strawberries cooked in syrup, and last but not the least, strawberry red wine sorbet on the side. Good thing I love strawberries.
Crepes Suzette with Grand Marnier served with vanilla and chocolate ice cream.
Mignardise brings our fabulous dinner to a close. Another parting gift is a Lameloise menu with our meal.
Before I forget, hats off to this incredibly versatile and diligent man. He is juggling several tables simultaneously, painstakingly explaining the dishes in both French and English as well as flambeeing the crepes tableside without singing his eyebrows. Bravo! Give this man a raise. I’m sure our experience at Lameloise would be a shade less fantastic without him.
This is certainly one of the most complicated meals I’ve eaten in the sense that there are so many moving parts to each dish. Lesser lights may have a hard time pulling everything together, but Chef Pras, Monsieur Lamy and team have done so beautifully. Overall, our dining experience at Lameloise has been damn near perfect!!!
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