Classical french cuisine from Chef of the Century, Paul Bocuse.

Restaurant: L’Auberge_Du Pont De Collonges

Location: 40 rue de la Plage, 69660 Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or, France

Chef: Troy Rhoades-Brown

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“Paul Bocuse” is all that needs saying to the taxi driver in Lyon. Off it races winding along the river until we reach the destination. Garish is the word comes to mind on approach but Mookie and Pookie are not here to admire the exterior of the building. Rather, to enjoy the menu of the longest standard 3 Michelin starred restaurant – 50 years is longer than either of us have lived. We arrive, to be greeted at the door in perfect English and inquiry made as to our trip from Australia. Pookie’s jacket is taken. We are escorted to our tables. All seats drawn and patrons seated, refreshment queried and served and we are briefly left, though not forgotten, to look around in wonder at the decor of this stalwart icon of french traditional cuisine.

The sommelier appears, the wine list is exceptional. The sommelier knowledgeable, helpful but not a trace haughty or ostentatious. Unfortunately the same cant really be said for the crockery. Looking down at the “Paul Bocuse” brand on the butter dish, plate and innumerable other items garishly branded around the room Pookie briefly wonder to himself whether the same brand will appear on the toiletries. Naughty naughty Pookie, focus on the food and forget that blatant brand marketing hitting you from every corner. Looking beyond the brand the sheer elegance of the room asserts itself. Back to the task at hand. Mersault to start and a bottle of Chateau Latour to accompany the mains please.

Rolls arrive closely followed by a trio of amuse bouche. It is simply not possible to visit france, let alone fine establishments akin to Bocuse’s, without acknowledging that the bread is just simple better. Its a small but marvelous thing. The rolls are an excellent example. The amuse bouche does exactly what is intended, my appetite rises. The signature soup – Soupe aux Truffles Noir and a Quenelle (Fish ball) de Brochet Aux Ecrevisses for Pookie. Mookie chooses only La Cassolette de Homard à l’Armoricaine as she wants to sample the desserts. Kookie, growing young lad that he is, chooses for himself Salmon marine a la Scandinave to start and filet de bouef Rossini, sauce Perigueux.

The black truffle soup is a beef consomme with diced root vegetable and a generous serve of black truffles. Its aroma added to by a pastry crust. Pookie finds soup a touch little light and the flavour of the truffles are not showing through, he recalls that truffles are generally hunted between November and February. He finishes but is ultimately disappointed with the dish given the 85 euro price tag. Thank goodness for the wine. Settling in he sips on the mineral lemoniness and watches Kookie devouring his Salmon, quiet and involved which is unusual in a teen. The service staff are amazing in the attention to details, plates wait only until all diners have finished and comfortably relaxed before being removed. They seem almost prescient as the sommelier appears to offer to open the red and allow it time to breath whilst the white is only part way through. The cork is presented and the red set upon the table in a cradle. Pookie muses perhaps they believe Kookie will be partaking the Latour, this is France after all.

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Pragmatic wine guy.