A Beginner’s Guide to the Bouchon

Le Bouchon des Filles

20 Rue Sergent Blandan, 69001, Lyon, France

As a food lover, Lyon was an obvious and integral stop on my European journey. Known as the gastronomic capital of France, it is home to the bouchon, a small bistro that serves traditional dishes using local produce. A word of warning for the weak-stomached – while the food is delicious, it often features offal and more unusual cuts of meat, which can be a strange experience for some. Common dishes include ‘tablier de sapeur’ or ‘fireman’s apron’, which is fried breaded tripe, ‘andouillette’, a pork offal sausage and ‘quenelles’, a light seafood dumpling.

Due to the booming tourist market, there are countless ‘bouchons’ to choose from in Lyon, but not all are authentic. The organisation L’Association de défense des bouchons lyonnais certifies restaurants that it deems to be the real deal and awards them the title of ‘Les Authentiques Bouchons Lyonnais’, complete with a little sticker to display at the window.

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K and I decided to start our culinary experience in Lyon with a trip to Le Bouchon des Filles, a restaurant that’s not necessarily the most traditional, but highly rated for taking a modern approach to the original concept. It’s a small space with a cosy, rustic atmosphere and seemed very popular with locals and tourists alike. We both opted for the set menu for €25, each consisting of a salad/entree course, main dish, cheese course and dessert. In reality, a few extra complimentary dishes were also included, which was a nice surprise.

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Amuse-bouche
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Entree/salad course

Entrees actually came with a bowl of lentil salad, of which I’ve just pictured a spoonful. Everything was really delicious, although I got a little sick of lentils by the end of the course (it was a very big bowl).

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Palate Cleanser – carrot puree

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Quenelle – Fish dumpling with a lemon and crayfish sauce

A super light, fluffy and soft with a beautifully intense, rich sauce – this definitely lived up to its reputation as being one of the best quenelles in Lyon.

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Pâté soufflé with mushrooms in a tomato sauce

I don’t remember exactly what K’s main dish was, but it was akin to a pâté soufflé with mushrooms in a rich tomato sauce. He absolutely loved it – the intense umami worked really well with the sweetness and acidity of the sauce.

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The fromage course consisted of a Brillat-Savarin, a triple cream Brie cheese, and a Cervelle de Canut, a specialty cheese dip from Lyon that’s enhanced with herbs, garlic and shallots.

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Desserts

For dessert I ordered a poached pear dish with strawberries and cream, while K chose a taste plate including a sorbet, a slice of praline tart and a mousse (all in a very manly shade of pink). I was quite underwhelmed by the desserts considering the quality of the rest of the meal, but they were still quite enjoyable.

Needless to say, both K and I were absolutely stuffed after such a big meal – not bad for €25 each! The service was delightful and the food of a very high standard, so it’s no wonder that it’s such a highly recommended restaurant. If you’re visiting Lyon and want to dip your toes first into the world of bouchon food, then this would be a great place to start!

xx Judy

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