L’Auberge du Père Bise, Talloires, Savoie, Restaurant Jean Sulpice

November 28, 2017

On our second evening at the Auberge du Père Bise, October 19, 2017, Linda and I dined at its Restaurant Jean Sulpice.

Jean Sulpice was born into a family of restauranteurs in nearby Aix-les-Bains.  Starting at age 16, he apprenticed and worked under a variety of chefs, including five years with Marc Veyrat.  At age 24, in 2002, he and his wife Magali opened their own restaurant in Val Thorens, the highest ski resort in Europe. Two years later he became the youngest chef to have been awarded a Michelin star. A second star came five years later. His style is to use local ingredients, some of which he forages himself in the mountain forests and meadows. He has learned to adapt cooking techniques, sometimes necessary because of the altitude. At the end of 2016 the Sulpices agreed to acquire the Auberge du Père Bise, but, needing to finish the season at Val Thorens and putting the restaurant there up for sale, they did not start in Talloires until May of 2017.

Our table was by the glass wall of the  renovated dining room, looking out over the terrace to the lake and the mountains beyond. We started with glasses of Bollinger Brut Champagne.

The first appetizers were tartelettes of crayfish and tempura frogs legs.

Next came beef tongue, green herbs on a buckwheat wafer and marinated plum.

The final appetizer was a soft boiled egg with crayfish and local saffron.

The appetizers all showed successful creativity and prepared us for the meal ahead. 

We ordered the Menu Horizon and a bottle of
2012 Antoine Jobard Meursault Porizots.

This had good Meursault characteristics. It was not too heavy for the first three fish, which were mild local lake fish. 

A loaf of country bread was presented.

It was served sliced with a cube of caraway topped butter.

The first menu course was
Féra, courge spaghetti au foin et pistache.

A lake whitefish with a delicate flavor was served on a pistachio sauce. It was topped with spaghetti squash and herbs. 

Brochet, œufs de truite et cresson des bassins.

A creamy mousse of pike meat, as in traditional quenelles de brochet, was formed into rings which enclosed three different fillings. One was topped with trout roe. Underneath was a watercress sauce.

Omble Chevalier à l’oignon doux, serpolet

A filet of lake char was served with a roll of its crisped skin on top. It was accompanied by a little pyramid of sweet onion and wild thyme mousse.

Homard bleu et tanaisie.

This dish of Breton lobster was quite rich in contrast to the first three delicate dishes. The lobster chunks were covered with a tansy-flavored hollandaise sauce. This showed that the chef could wander from Savoyard cuisine when needed to advance the menu.  

Now we started on a half-bottle of
2012 Domaine Jamey Côte-Rôtie.

In recommending it, the sommelier had assured us that this was ready to drink and it was. Very good.

Agneau, noix de Grenoble et pimprenelle.

Two double lamb chops were dressed with walnut crumble and little scoops of walnut purée. (Walnuts are a major crop in the region south of Annecy.) Salad burnet added color and continued the theme of locally foraged herbs.

Dans l’esprit d’un alpage ou Les fromages de Savoie.

Linda chose to select from the large trolley of Savoy cheeses.
I had « the spirit of an alpine meadow ». A light, frothy mousse of Beaufort cheese was under Alpine herbs. I really enjoyed this.

Figue de Solliès et sauge.

A scoop of fig ice cream was accompanied by three little fig pastries.

Pomme meringuée au parfum d’Antésite.

A meringue sphere revealed a licorice-flavored apple compote when broken open.

For a single dramatic, delicious mignardise, a chocolate-covered ball of ice cream was served to us; flaming Chartreuse was then slowly poured over it.

The chef came to visit our table and we had a good chat.

We had other opportunities to talk with the chef since he and his wife were very much at work and present in the hotel and bistro during our stay at Père Bise. 

We really enjoyed our evening. I did not enthuse over each dish above as that would have been repetitive. They were all very good in their ingredients, combinations, inventiveness and presentation. The service and pace were just right. The well-spaced tables and quiet ambiance were a good setting. We will be hearing a lot about Jean Sulpice in the coming years.

PS: The 2018  Gault&Millau Guide, issued on November 6, 2017, designates Jean Sulpice as “le Cuisinier de l’année 2018,” or Chef of the year 2018, a major award. We await the 2018 Michelin Guide due in February 2018. Pére Bise is not currently listed as the restaurant was closed when the Bise family put it up for sale last year.


2 Responses to “L’Auberge du Père Bise, Talloires, Savoie, Restaurant Jean Sulpice”

  1. Stephen Says:

    I am wondering if you (or anyone reading this) have an opinion of the restaurant in Val Thorens under its new ownership. I am not associated with the restaurant. I only ask as a potential patron. Thank you.

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