Dining Review: La Mutinerie – Lyon, France
La Mutinerie was on the other side of town by the Part Dieux train station so it was a nice long walk that forced us to explored a new part of the city. Our reservations were for 8:30PM and it appeared that reservations were a must for this restaurant. I found it online as one of the newer restaurants with high praise though the website was very vague about the menu or what to expect dining here.
We arrived to simple but clean and modern decor full of burnt sienna and white throughout the room. There are ceiling to (almost) floor windows so it feels like you are sitting outside. The place was already full of guests and the staff had to turn away anyone without a reservation.
The menu was handed to us though it seems a little shore. There were only wine options – bottles or different glass amounts for a wine pairing with the dinner. The only mention of dinner was the price to eat a chef’s tasting menu. Not even a hint of the type of food! Our server explained the style of this restaurant is a bit different than others. The only option for food is the chef’s tasting menu. The plot twist being you are blind tasting everything! The dish is brought out and served to you with not explanation of the dish. You have to guess what you are eating, then after the server goes through the dish with you to see how you did. Crazy! It was not even clear to us how many courses there were – everything was going to be a surprise. What a concept and we were so excited to give it our best try.
As if we did not have enough wine today on the wine tour, we got a bottle of Anjou Les Pierres Girard 2017 Chenin Blanc from Loire Valley. Another excellent bottle – got to love these French white wines – just lovely.
Our first shot with this blind tasting experience was the butter for the bread.
Guess: Rosemary butter
Answer: Rosemary butter
Ding Ding! I have a high distaste for rosemary so I knew this immediately when I tried it. Needless to say my bread count this dinner was much lower than the previous night and that was A-O-K with me.
Guess: Our first official dish! The ingredient on the left was an oyster – we felt pretty confident about that. There was a vegetable of some sort under the oyster that felt like an artichoke in texture. The right portion was definitely a tartar but we didn’t know of what so we guessed tuna. Figured the green sauce was a pesto of sorts because it lacked a strong vegetable flavor.
Answer: Tartare de veau / Huitre Gilardeau / Poireaux / Ravigote – Oyster, leek, veal tartar, pesto sauce with capers and shallots
Not to bad to start! Got some of the major strokes of the dish right. It was really delicious – the oyster was amazing and just look at the size of it! There was also something that made the tartar have a crunchy texture and it was a fun addition.
Guess: There was a big chunk of lobster that was unmistakable. The mushrooms around the lobster were also definitely mushrooms – we love that flavor. The red sauce, I will admit I was scared to try but it was not spicy but rather had a smokey element. It could have been crab since we did not think the chef would use lobster again. The sorbet was tart like a lemon-lime-ish flavor. And we were clueless with what was in the dumpling.
Answer: Homard / Granny Smith / Oseille / Shiitake / Jus de carapace – Lobster foam bisque, skiitake mushroom, lobster, Granny Smith sorbet, dumpling/gyoza filled with lobster and peanuts
I think this was my favorite dish of the night – it was just incredible. The sauce was smokey and complex with flavors, the lobster was insanely fresh and sweet, and I think we could have each had ten more dumplings. Loved this dish!
Guess: Welp this was a stumper. It was a fish but I do not eat fish and Kevin does not eat fish enough to tell the different between them. We threw a wide net (ha) for halibut or turbot. Unfortunately the red dots were spicy so I had to be cautious with my bites. We could not figure out what the foam was but there was an orange puree that tasted like a sweet potato.
Answer: Daurade en 2 Facons / Emulsion Butternut / Patates douces / Butternut aigre douce – Brim fish two ways, orange gel, sweet potato puree, butternut foam
I am not surprised that this fish dish was our weakest guess. The fish was prepared very well and the butternut flavors throughout were a fun compliment to the fish. The puree was one of our favorite ingredients of the night – something about pairing a vegetable with equal parts butter.
Guess: Ok this should be easier right? The meat was charred and a little pink on the inside. It maintained a smokey flavor but we could not figure it out. It was a bit gamey but the only red meat we could come up with was beef. The pink salad on the side reminded us of pear but it was not sweet. This dish was starting to feel like we got nothing right.
Answer: Biche au Barbecue / Betterave confite / Peche vin rouge / Escabeche peche de vigne et rhubarbe – Deer smoked with hay, peach and wine sauce, peach and rhubarb salad, yellow beet root
Well we were correct on one this – we got very little right on this dish. When the server told us it was deer we wanted to smack our heads! Oddly enough, the couple at the table next to us, ahead in their meal, told the server to be careful giving Americans deer as we would get offended (“they don’t eat Bambi!”). Luckily, that is not the case for us – you have to be open to trying pretty much anything when dining like this or traveling somewhere new – it’s part of the experience! I just did not think deer was a common meat to have even considered it as an option (we were not in New Zealand!). The smokey quality of the meat was definitely my favorite part of the dish.
Guess: Goat cheese! This was easy and we had to get a win back on the board. We went with the safe guess of a fig sorbet as there were figs all around the cheese. Under the cheese was a mix of something – we guessed a nut of somekind.
Answer: Sainte Maure de Touraine goat cheese / fig / black cherry sorbet / toasted pines
We got almost every element but the sorbet – definitely a surprise that is was black cherry as it felt too sweet to be a cherry and I typically do not like the flavors cherry has so well done.
Guess: We had no idea what we were looking at – was that pieces on concrete in our dish?? It was certainly less intimidating once we took a few bites. There were blackberries on top and a sorbet that we picked to be blackberry as well. Underneath was a chocolate panna cotta. The crumble bits on top were so good but we could not find an ingredient to match. And that concrete – no idea.
Answer: Mure / Myrtille sauvage / Pannacotta Jivara / Cacao – Chocolate panna cotta, chocolate streusel crumbs, chocolate meringue, blackberries, wild blueberry sorbet
The wild blueberry sorbet was a nice curve ball and the meringue made so much sense – the concrete tasted like marshmallow in retrospect. This was a fun dish showcasing chocolate in several different forms to create the full dish.
Guess: Another dessert! Goodness we were so full. All the little black dots around the dish reminded me of fresh vanilla. The balls in the middle felt like a frozen grape. The sorbet had tartness to it like an earlier sorbet we had so I called lemon-lime again. The foam was puzzling – there was a fruit element but subtle, like an apple. And that caramelized goodness was 100% creme brûlée.
Answer: Poire / Cardamome / Vanille / Tonka / Citron Vert – Cardamom spice and pear foam, pear and lime sorbet, pear balls, creme brûlée with nutmeg
I don’t think I have a clue what Cardamom spice tastes like so there was no shot of me guessing that! The pear was a surprise ingredient but we were not confident with our apple choice. The creme brûlée was so delicious! The perfect way to end the meal.
We got to know our server as it is a small operation but more that this style of dining forces a conversation. Not just “oh that was good” but a deeper conversation about the ingredients and how the chef paired them together – the true intent of the dish. We learned that the lunch serving (half the number of dishes) has a menu that changes weekly and the dinner menu changes about every three weeks. This is a game you could keep playing!
What a unique and fun dining experience – unlike anything we have done before! It really makes you think about each element and ingredient in a way that knowing what you area about to did could never evoke. I felt like we took our time eating to really figure out the ingredients and appreciate the dish for each element used. You could not use anything to help but you taste buds, your sight, and your nose. Not knowing what you were about to eat stripped away any pre-thoughts of judgments about a dish – both in a positive or negative. You truly just trusted the chef and let the chef present the work.