L’Auberge de l’ île is a Michelin 2 Star restaurant on the Ile Barbe Island, on the Saone river in Lyon, France. An absolutely wonderful experience for the ambience, the food, the conversation with a great customer, and my first Michelin starred restaurant experience. An aerial view (I didn’t take this picture) of the island with it’s relatively few buildings:
Dinner was after a surgeon reception that was part of the SRS Annual Meeting. We arrived after dark to lighted trees and patio furniture where we enjoyed amuse-bouche and champagne while the staff prepared our menu. In layman’s terms, we sat down on couches and enjoyed three little finger food bites with our champagne while one of the many waiters reviewed the menu options and our selections. The view of the front of the restaurant from my patio seat:
The hors d’oeuvres options were: (1) creamy crab tart with garden herbs, red bell pepper and raspberry sorbet, (2) langoustines, creamy avocado, shaked watermelon gaspacho, or (3) red tuna like a tartare, beetroot, vodka sorbet & caviar oscietre royal. Ryan and I chose the langoustines and Mariusz and Carol chose the tuna.
There was an optional second hors d’oeuvres special of blue lobster in thai flavoured sauce, so we ordered two of those and had them split for sharing. There was an extra carrot in there to balance the presentation, but I got excited and ate it before I remembered to take the picture.
The main course options were: (1) alpine char on its crispy skin from the Oron River, chantrelles butter, (2) line caught seabass roasted on its skin, artichokes, fingerling potatoes and summer truffle, (3) bourbonnais saddle of lamb, stuffed ‘a la royale’ like it was served in Versailles for the Gala of the World Heritage Unesco diner, or (4) exceptional piece of Aubrac beef, souffles potatoes, beaubernaise sauce. Ryan and I chose the lamb and Mariusz and Carol chose the seabass. Before serving the course, they brought out an enameled dutch oven, removed the lid and presented the uncut lamb roast on a bed of grasses where lamb was roasted.
The soup course was ceps mushroom veloute, just like a cappuccino, steamed foie gras. In layman’s terms, cream of porcini mushroom soup with foam over a piece of foie gras.
The cheese course was one of the most entertaining as it was incredibly indulgent and required audience participation for the table side service. The cheese was presented on three carts surrounding the table – one each for the goat, sheep and cow’s milk cheeses.
Each plate was prepared with our individual selections and arranged from mild to strong for our cheesy pleasure. My plate:
The dessert options were: (1) salted butter soufflé, green apple sorbet, (2) chocolate raspberry truffier, (3) crispy cannellono with red and black fruits, verbena sorbet, or (4) liquorice ice cream, almond milk and gingerbread. Carol and I had the soufflé and Mariusz and Ryan had the truffier.
We had at least 6 different staff members serving us throughout the meal. As dessert was wrapping up, the table next to us had gone outside between dinner and dessert and no staff was in the room with us. I goaded Ryan into not wasting even the slightest bit of his raspberry sorbet:
Who doesn’t want to lick their plate after a meal like that?!? So that was my first Michelin starred restaurant experience… I think I should break out my Ratatouille DVD and enjoy a great Disney movie all over again with my new found perspective.