During the 11 years that have passed since the untimely death of three-star chef Bernard Loiseau (he took his own life in 2003 when reports leaked that he would lose his third Michelin star), Dominique Loiseau, his widow, has admirably succeeded in perpetuating her late husband’s reputation the best way possible, which is by opening an ever expanding number of restaurants that bear his name and promote his style of cooking.
The latest is Loiseau des Ducs, which opened in Dijon, Burgundy’s largest city, bien sur, in 2013 and won a Michelin star in the 2014 edition of its guide to France. It’s a very welcome address, too, as the capital of Burgundy becomes an ever more alluring gastronomic destination.
Located in the 16th-century Hôtel de Talmay, not far from the fascinating Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, this elegant restaurant with warm exposed stone walls serves a variety of classic Loiseau dishes, including frog’s legs with garlic purée and parsley jus, a starter, and sautéed veal sweetbreads with truffled potato purée.
Meeting friends here for dinner recently, I preferred to sample dishes that revealed more about the style of chef Louis-Philippe Vigilant and so enjoyed an excellent meal of foie gras with a sour cherry chutney, pan roasted Anjou pigeon with baby peas and finely chopped bacon, and an outstanding Black Forest cake. To wit, Vigilant is a deeply gifted classicist who signs his dishes with great subtlety, as seen in a rougets (red mullet) en croute with a cake of sautéed peppers and a racy garnish of basil and bottarga (pressed fish eggs).
Not surprisingly, this very well-run restaurant has quickly gained a midday following among local wine merchants, so booking for lunch is essential.
Loiseau des Ducs, 3 rue Vauban, 21000 Dijon, Tel: +33 3 80 30 28 09. Closed Sundays and Mondays. Lunch menu from €20, dinner from €51. Average à la carte €65.
From France Today magazine