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Restaurant review: Rue le Bec, Lyon

43 Quai Rambaud, Lyon, 69002
04 78 92 87 87
Cuisine: French
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Rue Le Bec is the younger, funkier offspring of Chef Nicolas Le Bec's original Michelin-starred offering. His enfant terrible, if you will.
 
Rue Le Bec is a rather apt name for this mini-empire, housing not only a restaurant, but also a bakery/patisserie, fruit and vegetable merchant, deli, apartment with sauna, smoking room and private bar.
 
Chef Nicolas Le Bec's original 'Le Bec' restaurant is all sleek lines, elegance and muted colours. Here though, with its fish-filled Smart car, human-size rabbit house and a river running through, Rue Le Bec is the younger, funkier offspring. His enfant terrible, if you will.
 
The food's anything but terrible though, if you'll pardon the pun. Le Bec is heavily influenced by street food discovered on his global travels, expressed through both the decor and the menu. We begin with a bone-dry glass of Drappier Brut Nature at the tapas bar-style Chai 8 wine bar, to help nibbles of nutty Spanish Wagyu chorizo and ridiculously moreish grattons (duck scratchings) on their way. If you like what you're drinking (and you will), you can buy a bottle to take away.
 
Seated in the main restaurant, you feel as though you're in an alfresco Renaissance piazza. The clientele are as diverse as Le Bec's menu- from groups of young office workers grabbing an after-work snack to well-to-do older couples having a romantic tête-á-tête. There's a decent, uncontrived buzz, too.
 
It's a good job I can pack it in- portions here are vast. A companion's starter of duck spring rolls consists of a trio of plump specimens, well-done if over-heavy on the raw spring onion, with dark and sticky 'sauce Zen' to dip. My own attempt to be healthy with a tomato, mozzarella and basil-based starter immediately falls flat, meanwhile, with the delivery of pesto, oil-slicked sundried toms, and a fat ball of creamy buttermilk-filled burrata. All 200 grams of it. I'm utterly powerless to resist.
 
At least this gears me up for the main event- a flavoursome slab of teriyaki-glazed Scottish salmon with a bisque shellfish sauce. The elongated plate puts me in the mind of Jaws. As in, we're going to need a bigger boat. Especially if it's going to be loaded up with the accompanying burnished frites, garlicky green beans and heart-attack-in-a bowl mash. Death by pommes purées, indeed.
 
Meat's good here, too. Kansas Black Angus Onglet- better known in England as skirt steak- is served rare, tender and liverish with a red wine jus. Wagyu beef is delivered sliced and sizzling, the chargrilled outer crust providing just the right amount of savour to offset the almost overly butter-soft inner flesh.
 
Cheeses are wheeled over next- although I feel I'm more in need of the trolley at the moment. A house selection includes the local favourite, Saint Marcellin and a nicely pungent Camembert. By this stage, though, I'm more than happy to stick to the accompanying lettuce wedge, and keep supping my Mâcon-La Roche Chardonnay.
 
But La Petite Glouton never could resist a good pud. As other members of our group are slain by full-sized kilner jars stuffed with dense Vahlrona mousse, I mange gamely on a luscious Tarte du jour a deeply crusty tart crowned with ripe red raspberries, filled with probably the best crème pâtissière I've encountered. It's all perched on a flood of crème anglaise and raspberry caulis- albeit not for long.
 
We're at Rue Le Bec far longer than planned. Despite the fact it takes quite some time to ingest such a quantity of scrumptiousness, the ambience is one that positively encourages you to linger. And linger we do, over coffee, digestifs, chocolates... But all good things must come to an end, and finally we roll home, totally, utterly sated.
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26 November 2010
By: Zoe Perrett
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