Posts tagged “informal

Le Bouchon aux Vins, Lyon – chilled and informal

Review:

Wondering up and down rue Mercière in Lyon around 3pm on a Sunday looking for a late lunch saw my companion and I ending up at Le Bouchon aux Vins, one of Jean-Paul Lacombe’s more informal eateries.

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Food: Trad Lyonnais dishes, but lightly executed. I keep reading that people find Lyonnais food rather stodgy and heavy, but this wasn’t my impression at the restaurants I went to. Although, I was there in winter, so hearty food was what I was after.

In fact, I was delighted by my pot-au-feu. The broth was crystal clear, very flavoursome, with the beef and vegetables cooked to perfection. I can only deduce that the elements were constructed separately. Total simplicity, executed perfectly.

We had St Marcellin cheese here again for afters, being that it had quickly become my new addiction since arriving in Lyon. It was good, but didn’t come close to that of Auberge Rabelais.

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Drinks: What I love about France, is that you can order wine by carafes. This meant that I can drink wine at my own pace whilst the companion has a beer.

There is something eminently civilised being given a carafe of wine and a small glass to fill as you like. In HK, if you order a large glass of wine, then you basically get a balloon as big as your head, with as much wine in it as a normal carafe in France, it’s just cumbersome for the tiny-handed like myself.

Ambience: Mix of decor, lots to look at, very cosy, tables quite close together, has two rooms, one a little more glam than the other more informal side we ate in.

Service: Service was efficient – by this stage in Lyon I wasn’t expected much in the way of warm and friendly service, and here it was fine. No brusqueness, swift, unobtrusive.

Cost: Prix-fixe menus and a la carte. Very reasonable, I think we ate for around €15-€20 each.

Location: 62 rue Mericère, 69002, Lyon. Tel: 04 7838 4740.

Open: Usefully it’s open every day from midday to midnight, and serves food all the way through. Many restaurants/bouchon in Lyon don’t serve food all day, so this is a useful little place to know about.

All in all Le Bouchon aux Vins was a great place to spend a couple of hours. It certainly lived up to what a bouchon is meant to be – informal, convivial, serving hearty food for travelers and merchants. We could have gone there just to sit, drink and while away the afternoon, or have something to eat, we were welcome to be there and lounge about as long as we wanted.

Brantos – veggie Indian canteen. Quick and tasty.

Review:

So I found myself on the Dark Side yesterday at a tailor on Hankow Road around suppertime and it struck me that I hadn’t been to Brantos for bloomin ages. My partner and I both felt we could do with laying off the meat for a day, and so a veggie Indian was the perfect solution.

Food: Brantos is awesome for fast food style snacks. They serve all sorts of puri, idli and wada, as well as having a list of Dosa as long as your arm, which when they arrive are also as long as your arm.

I could fill my boots purely from this left hand side of the menu, but then I’d miss out on the curries, which are really very good. Yesterday we had a yellow dahl which was really intensely flavoured, and a jalfrezi whose vegetables maintained a good bite on them, (which was a delightful change to some of the mush I have been served in many curry houses). Everything was very tasty and satisfying.

You can order thalis and set menus for well under $100, and after I’d stuffed myself to bursting was wishing I’d ordered one of them instead.

Drinks: Non-alcoholic drinks only here, usual sodas, lassi’s and tea.

Service: Service is pretty informal and not particularly attentive, levels of English vary by waiter, but if you need any dishes explained they are very friendly and helpful.

Ambience: Canteen style, rough around the edges, packing in as many tables as possible. It’s about the food here and nothing else. Usually pretty bustling and at weekends you can expect to wait for a table if you hit at rush hour. Caters very much to families and office workers.

Price: It would be almost impossible to spend even $200 per person no matter how large your group or your appetite.  Yesterday the two of us had four dishes, a bunch of chapatis and three soft drinks for $278 before service. We were stuffed to the gills and could easily have done without any one of those dishes. Good value for money.

Location: 1F, 9-11 Lock Road, TST. Lock Road is off Peking Road about 50m from TST MTR exit C1. Look for the more obvious signs of the Red Lion Pub and Branto’s is in the building next door. It looks like you are going into a set of old flats, you have to ring the buzzer for them to let you in – so don’t be confused, you are at the right place. Tel: 2366 8171

Open: Branto’s is open for lunch (11-3) and dinner (6-10:30) 7 days a week.