Lyon is well known as the ‘Gastronomical Capital of The World’ and most eateries are traditional, wood panelled, candlelit establishments – a somewhat cliched yet iconic image of a French restaurant. So it was most refreshing to walk in to Prairial, an intimate contemporary restaurant.
Chef Gaetan Gentil’s Prairial Restaurant is a bright and intimate restaurant that pays homage to the natural world with walls covered with plants and organically shaped crockery. When seated one can not help but feel at peace. A lot of thought has gone into the setting and it shows.
The menu, itself, is not set in stone with Chef Gentil having the flexibility to change his offerings depending on the season. The lovely and attentive waitstaff made sure I was comfortable and explained the menus in detail and good English – another welcome touch in a French restaurant. After listening to the menus, I decided on the 6 course “Menu Herbier”.
After a selection of tasty and playful hors d’oeuvres including a lovely zucchini soup, the first course arrived. A piece of art. A 36 hour heirloom tomato, mixed with chunks of grapefruit, topped with beautiful edible flowers, sprinkled with brioche crumbs and drizzled with tagetes oil. An amazing and immeasurable success of a dish! Bravo! I could hardly wait for the next courses.
Next up was a white tuna with fennel and cherry. Again a visual feast! However, after the orgasmic high of the tomato, this was a little bit of a letdown. Ultimately, the dish was flat and lacked depth. The fennel was definitely fresh and crisp however was bland and coupled with the lightly seasoned tuna, it just led to a very nondescript dish.
The fish course that followed was a delightful Merlan fillet done perfectly and served with wild carrots and this was closely followed by Beef with artichoke served with a beef/beer jus. Truthfully, I was a little bit worried here that the beef was brought without asking about my preference of doneness but, thankfully it was done rare. Both dishes, again, were works of art and tasted as good as one would expect.
Dessert started off with a refreshing herbal ice cream – a pleasing dish that plays with textures and temperatures and was simply quite extraordinary. The final instalment of the meal was a peach yoghurt with fresh peaches and apricot and a peach yoghurt. Like all dishes, a visual feast with a good flavour.
Prairial Restaurant is a Very Good restaurant that is deserving of its Michelin star. The dining room is beautiful and the food artistic in its presentation. The menu price represents good value and the service is fun and attentive. The food itself is good as expected, yet with a few narrow misses. However, this is certainly a place I recommend in Lyon and you definitely will not come away disappointed.
‘Triple F’ Factor 0/1