Le Beaujolais {A Lunch from Central France}

   I have written about Le Beaujolais once before, and while they do keep a steady menu offering all year long, they also have a chalkboard full of daily specials, AND..their "Tour de France", which is a creation of a special menus every few months that features a new area of France.  It really highlights the culinary talents of Chefs Phillip and Omaar.  In only the masterfully French way, they perfectly (and simply, according to them) execute dishes from all over the country.  The special menu until the 11th of August highlights favorites from Central France.

The meal begins with the best leek and potato soup  that you have probably ever tasted.  While it is guaranteed vegetarian from start to finish, you would swear it was made with a salty rich meat broth. I was mopping up the last bits of tender leek with my sweet crusty baguette.   The starters are two salads, and the uber popular Chicken and Mushroom Vol Au Vent. While the chefs claim that it is actually a simpler version of the sausage filled traditional dish, there is clear understanding for its popularity the moment that you take your first bite.  The flaky crust holds a pocket of tender mushrooms and moist chunks of chicken, coated in an herb-flecked buttery sauce.  While it might seem a bit chic to the untrained eye, you will devour it, quickly realizing that it reminds you of an incredibly delicious version of a comfort food from your past.

The main dish selections are varied with something for every taste.  We tried the tender Entrecote (Ribeye in wine sauce) and the Grilled Hamour in a creamy seafood sauce known as "Merou Marguery.  The steak was juicy and rich, complemented only by a side of freshly steamed vegetables, highlighting the little mentioned "balance" of French cuisine.  The Hamour was seared with a moist center, and drizzled in a briny cream sauce.  As if that wasn't satisfying enough, it was accompanied by a few tender prawn, a handful of shelled mussels and a fluffy side of mashed potatoes.

The meal finishes with two superb desserts, a Creme Caramel and a Baba au Rhum.  The Creme Caramel we agreed was too pretty eat, but we didn't let that stop us.  And if you make friends with Chef Philip, he may accidentally douse your Baba au Rhum with an extra glug of sweet potency.

On this most recent trip to Le Beaujolais, I dragged my "dying-for-a-burger" husband along with me.  But, after the soup, before we had even tasted an ounce of meat, he was already thanking me.  Le Beaujolais is something special, and I can't wait to return for the next stop on the "Tour de France".

The Mercure Hotel

02 633 3555



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