Lyon’s most celebrated chef, Paul Bocuse, has several brasseries in Lyon called North, South, East and West across the city. I reserved us a table for dinner at Le Nord, the closest one to our hotel.
Walking inside, it was just how I imagined a French brasserie to be – ornate globed light fittings, deep red walls broken up with wood panelling, white table clothes and napkins, quality cutlery and glassware, mirrors and black and white photographic prints on the walls. The wait staff were smartly dressed in black and whites with ties, vests and uniform aprons.
We were shown to our table and immediately passed a drinks menu as the waitress asked us if we would like an aperitif. I choose Lyon’s famous aperitif of champagne with crème di cassis (red currant liqueur), Zorbs had a beer.
Entrée was foie gras of duck’s liver for me, and Zorba chose Lyonaisse pork sausage with pistachio. My foie gras was very butter and rich. It was delicious, but I could hardly finish the serve I found it so rich. In fact, I didn’t, I gave a big chunk of it to Zorba. Zorba’s sausage was surprisingly presented, a thick slice of sausage encased in bread. The bread was fine, but the sausage sang. It was salty, meaty, and packed full of savoury pork flavour.
Main course was a tough decision for me. I chose steak tartar, classic with egg yolk. Zorba chose cod. My tartar was studded with tiny capers and herbs. It was soft, delicate and the meat just melted on my tongue. Again, I found this dish very rich, so Zorba finished it off for me. Zorba’s cod was flaky, cooked perfectly, and served with potatoes and bacon. His dishes tonight were the picks of our meal.
The wine we chose was a Burgogne Pinot Noir, 2012 (26 euro) that was fine. Drinkable, yet not amazing.
The service was very efficient, and rather quite snippity. I think it just could be the French way. It felt a little cold – like the wait staff were devoid of friendliness or personality.
Verdict: 8/10 – It was a pleasant meal out, but a lot less memorable than lunch.
Le Nord – Brassierie de Paul Bocuse
18 Rue Neuve, 69002 Lyon
Tel: +33 (0)4 72106969