“The essence of comfort food”
What can I say – Beaune is my idea of heaven.
I don´t need long beaches, shopping malls, posh restaurants and the hype of a big city. Beaune does just about the trick for me. Anywhere you look the city breathes WINE. In the shops, in the local food, the butcher, the baker, the bars, the people on the street. It is all about wine.
So going there with new friend and wine lover Gijs was a gift from heaven – or from Bacchus. Since I am the senior in this friendship as regard to dining (and in age) – I got to choose some most of our dining choices on this trip. And I had no doubts in my mind about the first one on my list. Because the last few times I had missed out on this recommendation from Jan in Denmark. His favourite place – Cave Madeleine. And man – does Jan know his places.
Table was booked and we arrived around 7 pm full of hope and anticipation. The thing with Cave Madeleine is that they serve regional food without too much of a fuss, with no wine list, but a wall full of all the Bourgogne wines you could wish for – some bottles impossible to find elsewhere – and most of them with do I dare to say – a modest pricing policy. Therefore it is also favourite restaurant among locals- on this evening most of the large community table was occupied by a famous Meursault wine maker with his group of American clients.
I think there is around 6 tables for 2, plus the large community table. So a good 24 people can eat here – many were rejected after we arrived. Booking is essential. I felt sorry for the young Australian couple that did not get a table this evening.
The madam of the house did the service the first hour or so on her own, and was later joined by her husband. It is laid back service with a smile. We were shown to our table, but actually preferred another one, and got that. No problem. Besides the both English and French speaking hosts there is 3 persons in the kitchen. And they were just about to spoil us with what turned out to be – as Gijs put it – “the essence of comfort food”.
Gijs had no doubts that this was the one. Raveneau being one of the two top producers in Chablis.
Having had the village version once at Söllerod Kro – being an extra bottle Jan told us we just HAD TO taste, I was happy to find Philippe Pacalet in the wall. It had to be that one. Gijs loved it. Which releaved me. I admire Gijs knowledge about wine and ability to describe them so detailed as he can. I will never reach his level. But I am learning. In that respect Gijs I am very much your junior.
As for the food….The menu – the dishes are presented on a black board behind the counter….Hard choice, because many of the dishes spoke to us. We settled for this…
Absolutely wonderful terrine, crisp salad, great produce, truly homemade. One of the best I have ever had. It lacked a bit pepper for my taste. But the taste of the terrine…stunning. You had to be there…6p
Simply one of the best lamb dishes I have ever had. The simplicity of the arrangement makes it off course difficult to compare a dish like this with a more detailed presentation from a michelin starred establishment. But does it need to be ? In this case no. Wonderful tastefull meat, tender, great reduction, great mash (as good as mine) – crispy vegetables. If I had a last menu to order before heading off this planet…this dish would be in there…I asked if the chef was married (forgot I was lol), and intererested…the chef came smiling out. I guess he hoped for a long-legged blond Danish girl. I know I had hoped for a female chef. We both laughed and congratulated him on this dish. Truly the dish of the day, …of the trip. 9p
After this Gijs was on a roll and offered this pearler….
As good as it gets. A perfect companion to the shared plate of cheese that finalized our dinner.
The cheese plate was a little let down in compare to the dishes above. But the 3 choises, consisted of 1 aged stunning compté and 2 average ones. Cheese 4p
It is easy to make simple and good food. You need good produce, a chef who knows what he is doing and cooks with passion. This is most certainly the case at Cave Madelaine. Combine this with a cosy room, perfect hosts and a wine concept others could learn from – well what do you get ? You get a perfect restaurant. Now people sometimes complain about my point system, how can you compare a brasserie – or your local sushi bar to 3 star michelin restaurant within the same scale? Well maybe you can – maybe you can´t. But let tell you this. If all my restaurants reviews were of brasseries, this one would get a 19.5p rating. No doubt. It was simply as good as a restaurant at this level can get, minus the minor flaw with the cheeses. Great bread, great service, funny but cosy ambience. Wines and food to die for – or with. I know Gijs loved it so much he swore NEVER to visit Beaune again without making sure that he could eat at Cave Madeleine. I felt proud and happy to have chosen this one.
Having had a disappointing lunch at La Ciboulette for lunch its easy to see where a restaurant and thus tourists can go wrong. Choosing a restaurant in a town that is so full of them is not easy. And the two meals we had on this first day learned us that man does it matter. Thank you Jan for directing us to Cave Madeleine. I remembered the two young Australian tourists that was rejected earlier that night. and truly hope they did not end up at La Ciboulette. But thats another story I guess.
I shall be back again for sure – hopefully with you Gijs. Here´s to our new friendship. Cheers – Big Ears….
My rating for this visit:
I shall add one happiness point for the wine concept and the general vibe of that GREAT evening we spend.
Food 7p (10) service 4p (5) ambience 5p (5), Happiness point 1p : Total Score 17p (20)