One of Lyon's historical gourmet destinations, La Mère Brazier, was founded in the 1920s by Eugénie Brazier, the sensation of the French culinary scene of the time, the first woman to earn a tiara of three Michelin stars.
At the age of 26, Eugénie Brazier, the offspring of a farmer's family, bought a small and modestly priced tavern in Rue Royale; it did not take her long to transform it into a genuine temple of gastronomy, particularly popular among the French political elite of the time.
Today, the decor of the restaurant seems to have retained its image, historically formed over the course of time.
La Mère Brazier is one of the restaurants which make no attempt to make a secret of the magical goings-on in the kitchen, confident enough to reveal them to the eyes of the guests. Since 2008, the open kitchen is run by celebrity chef Mathieu Viannay who enjoys the support of a loyal and united team.
We were not lucky enough to catch Mathieu Viannay in the kitchen on the night of our visit, and yet it did not prevent us from spending our night enjoying some excellent contemporary variations on the theme of Lyonnais culinary traditions.
As the January menu is marked by the seasonal triumph of truffles, we started our dinner with a plate of truffles, fresh scallops and marinated vegetables, served in the shape of a magnificent bouquet (Tartelette de Saint-Jacques, Pétales de Granny Smith et Racines en Vinaigrette - 45 €).
I made a small digression from the culinary path laid out in the menu to succumb to the intriguing promise of the day's special and was rewarded with a genuine surprise: the black French Périgord truffles with rich and creamy polenta, crowned with an egg yolk and Parmesan cappuccino. I had never tasted a combination like this and was definitely not disappointed by it!
I never miss an opportunity to enjoy a pigeon - a favourite of mine - whenever it is on offer (Pigeon Rôti et Céleri Braisé, Chutney de Coing, Les Cuisses Confites et Toast de Foie - 50 €). At La Mère Brazier, pigeon is served with chutney and celeriac - and it is perfect and melts in the mouth.
As we approach the climax of the culinary adventure, I sample some veal sweetbreads complemented by mashed potatoes, mushrooms and Mediterranean sauce (Pomme de Ris de Veau à la Grenobloise, Champignons des Bois et Purée de Pomme de Terre - 50 €).
The night comes to a delightful conclusion with an array of delicious pastries and Paris-Brest, a French choux pastry dessert historically created to mark the 1891 Paris-Brest-Paris bicycle race. At La Mère Brazier, they serve it with chestnut filling, chestnut ice-cream and caramelised nuts (Paris-Brest en Ligne Directe, Glace aux Noisettes Caramélisées, Pralin - 18 €).
Please be advised that the restaurant is open on weekdays only and you will need to book your table well in advance: call 0478231720.
12 Rue Royale
69001 Lyon, France
Keywords: Lyon, France, restaurant