Quite honestly, this could be one of the best lunches I've ever had. As we were leaving Les Pasquiers in Beaujolais, our hosts Guillaume and Marylène Peyraverney recommended a few restaurants for lunch in Lyon as we were continuing our journey south. The Peyraverneys lived in Lyon until they took over Les Pasquiers earlier last year and given how much we'd enjoyed lunch at Domaine de la Madone which they'd suggested, we were keen to ask for more advice.
Anyway, it was one of those days when everything just fell into place. The weather was bright and sunny, our drive took us through the southerly Beaujolais crus before we picked up the A6 to Lyon and the satnav did its thing, directing us to a cool industrial site on the leafy banks of the Saône river on the outskirts of Lyon. Given the predictable image of dining in Lyon is based on traditional bouchons in the city centre, this airy, modern brasserie was quite unexpected. L'Ouest is part of the Nordsud chain of brasseries established by the hero of Lyonnaise cuisine, Paul Bocuse.
We parked beside the river and, without a booking, settled down inside at one end of a large shared table with views across the terrace to the Saône and around the buzzy restaurant and the open kitchen. It was a busy Friday lunchtime with a fascinating mixed urban crowd. The rotisserie caught our eye, so we instantly ear-marked the roast Montrevel chicken from the set menu for our main course. For starter Nathan had tartare of fresh salmon with dill and I had melon with Serrano ham – almost too generous a portion to finish. I managed though. Daughter Alice did splendidly with the menu enfant – salmon fillets with buttered noodles.
Having already been bowled over by the starters, our chicken arrived which was exceptionally good. Juicy, richly flavoured corn fed chicken with a buttery sauce and a medley of seasonal vegetables. Beautifully simple. Keen to have some Rhône wine as that's where we were heading, glasses of St Joseph blanc partnered the dish brilliantly.
On to dessert and Nathan was very happy with his raspberry tarte sablée and I was delighted with my rum baba, served deconstructed with the bottle of rum left on the table (I wasn't driving). Alice had ice cream. With two coffees, this lunchtime feast came to less than 100 Euros (the set lunch cost 32.50 Euros, 35.50 if you included cheese; menu enfant 11.50). Fantastic.