Lyon is a city in which one is simply spoiled for choice when it comes to eating out. After incredible experiences in the local bouchons, we fancied something a little lighter for lunch at a low price. We found exactly what we were looking for at La Maison Marie.
This is an idyllic and very popular spot in the centre of Lyon. A short stroll from Cordeliers metro station, La Maison Marie is definitely worth arriving at with a reservation. Fortunately for visitors outside of France, you can book a table online through the restaurant website.
With our table secured, we arrived for lunch. The weather outside was beautiful so we couldn’t turn down Marie’s offer of a table out front. Marie is just lovely. speaks very good English and is incredibly friendly, a great host.
The lunch menu stands out a mile. Two courses, either a starter and main or main and dessert, comes to just €18.90. Three courses is €23.90 with three courses plus cheese coming in at €28.90. Very good value whichever option you choose.
We decided on three courses. Starting off with a very generous Aperol Spritz we perused the options with two dishes to select from per course. For the starters, we decided to try one of each.
A beetroot gazpacho is something that I would never normally head towards on a menu. With the weather being so perfect, it made real sense to try this famous cold soup. Complete with fromage blanc to add sourness and Bellota Ham for that salty, Spanish kick – it did sound tempting.
The portion was incredibly generous. A large soup bowl of purple, chilled goodness garnished with a baguette crouton, Bellota Ham and spoonfuls of fromage blanc is indeed a wonderful thing. The sourness and creaminess of the fromage blanc really works well with beetroot in similarity to goats cheese. Perfect on a hot day.
A salmon sashimi, not typically French, appeared across the table. Garnished with green beans and shaved parisian mushrooms, this was a unique take on a salad. The salmon being in its raw state provided a fresh hit and was the star of the dish.
I couldn’t really turn down a piece of beef that had been cooking away for 50 hours now could I? That’s exactly what arrived for the main course. Large slices of fork-tender protein unusually served on top of a creamy risotto,garnished with vegetables and finished with a reduction of the daube sauce. Very tasty it was too.
Continuing the theme of ordering opposite dishes from the lunch menu (in a way, creating our own tasting menu) Ali went again for fish. In this case, hake. In a similar style to the beef, the hake sat on top of a creamy onion puree and arrived garnished with similar vegetables to the beef. The fish was superbly cooked and the puree was smooth, rich and moreish.
The French are in a different league when it comes to desserts. The selection of two desserts was a tough one to decide between, so we did exactly as we had done with the previous courses and picked opposites.
I’m not a great fan of figs but these roasted figs with mascarpone ‘snow’, crushed biscuits, strawberries and caramel shard tuiles were truly epic. This was simply an unbelievable pudding. The figs were full of flavour and juicy in stark contrast to the lifeless ones that we seem to get here in the UK. The combination was sensational.
The other dessert option was a tribute to a Mont-Blanc. A chestnut biscuit with chestnut cream, raspberry cream and mint. A lot lighter than a heavy, cream-laden Mont-Blanc but with all the flavour of a traditional version. The fresh mint running through the cream was a lovely touch.
With the spritz’s coming in at €9 each – the final bill arrived at €65.80. Given that this is a beautiful restaurant in the very centre of town, this was incredible value. The service throughout our meal had been spot on, the food was a relief from the heavy cuisine around the city and we left extremely happy. We highly recommend La Maison Marie when in Lyon.
Opening Times: Tuesday-Saturday 1200-1400,1900-2200
Nearest Metro: Cordeliers