The Bouchon Lyonnais festival at Brasserie CiÇou in Greenhills is an exciting dining experience. Anna Soenen, wife of CiÇou’s chef Cyrille Soenen, says it is the closest thing the French have to a buffet.
“Le bouchon lyonnais is a typical restaurant in Lyon, France: a small space for a few covers, simple decor, checkered tablecloths, carafes of Beaujolais on the bar and some sausages hanging near the counter.”
Anna says that her husband had been wanting to do this since 2012, but she couldn’t imagine how it would be possible. During a trip to Lyon last April, she experienced the bouchon herself. Upon her return, she and Cyrille discussed how they could replicate it. Et voilà, Bouchon Lyonnais is now in Manila!
For their version, Soenen and his crew prepare the salads, the charcuterie and pâtes in substantial portions, according to the number of guests per table. The visitor’s choice of main course is served plated just as they do it in Lyon.
My bouchon experience
What was there not to love, especially if you fancy the idea of feasting on a myriad dishes?
The choices of Charcuterie et Pate were delicious (Pâté en Croûte, Pork Head Pâté, Chicken Aspic with Tarragon, Pâte de Campagne, Pork Rillettes, served with horseradish and cornichon) as were the salads (potatoes and smoked fish in olive oil; beetroot with sour cream; French green beans with vinaigrette; pork sausage, onions, vinaigrette; lentils with shallots and parsley vinaigrette; red cabbage confit, mustard vinaigrette, egg mimosa).
With a spread like that, there’s no dull moment for the palate. Each dish is different from the other in taste, texture and flavor. Sophisticated yet simple, with that comforting, well-prepared home-cooked quality to it.
The fact that the baguette they serve comes straight out of the oven adds more excitement to the already highly pleasurable experience.
Of the main course offerings, I found the Fish Quennelle, Crab Bisque, Gruyère Cheese, delicious. I loved their Roasted Home-made Boudouille, too ( a combination of blood sausage and andouillette, crushed potatoes with parsley, sautéed apple and beef jus with thyme and shallots). The Coq au Vin (marinated and braised chicken in red wine, carrots, mushrooms, shallots, croutons and pasta tossed in cream and parsley) was tasty.
To cap the meal, a platter of sweets was laid before us— Crème Caramel, Apple Compote, Choux Chantilly, Tarte à la Praline, Floating Island, Praline, Crème Anglaise and Les Bugnes de
Lyon with Strawberry Coulis.
Afterwards, I had to agree with Cassandra (Cyrille and Anna’s daughter) that the consequence of the bouchon experience is “food coma.” I must say, however, that it’s of the delightful kind—too delicious to resist.
Le Bouchon Lyonnais is on its last week but the organizers promise to bring it back soon after receiving such positive reviews. Next time, Cyrille will be featuring dishes from the other regions of France.
Brasserie CiÇou recently launched its Truffle festival but even that is almost over, says Anna, as there are “not so much truffles left!”
Brasserie CiÇou is at 57 Annapolis St., Greenhills, San Juan. Call tel. 6619200 or 0917-8858841.
Coq au Vin recipe
Chef Cyrille shares his delicious Coq au Vin recipe. The traditional way is to use a coq (rooster) but chicken will do just fine. “It’s a dish that needs to be braised, so marinating overnight is key. This allows the wine to really penetrate the meat. This dish requires slow cooking.”
1 whole chicken (1.3 to 1.5 kg), cleaned and cut into 8 pcs
1 liter red wine (choose a good brand)
30 g carrots, small dice
60 g white onions, small dice
30 g leeks, sliced
20 g garlic, peeled and crushed
2 g parsley stems
1 g thyme
1 pc bay leaf
10 g iodized salt
3 g pepper
10 ml soya oil
30 g flour
30 ml chicken stock
30 g cold butter, to finish
1. Combine red wine, carrots, white onions, leeks, garlic, thyme, parsley stems and bay leaf.
2. Pour the wine mixture over the chicken, making sure that the chicken is completely submerged. Cover with cling wrap and put in the chiller.
3. Marinate chicken preferably overnight.
4. Separate chicken from the vegetables.
5. Strain chicken from the marinade, drain well; season with salt and pepper. Save the marinade.
6. In a deep casserole with a tight-fitting lid, heat the soya oil. Sear the chicken in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pot. Set the chicken aside.
7. Sauté the vegetables in the same pot. Sprinkle with flour and cook for a minute.
8. Deglaze the pan with the red wine marinade.
9. Put the chicken back to the pot. If the chicken is not completely submerged in the marinade, add chicken stock to cover the chicken. Put the lid on the pan.
10. Bring to a boil, then reduce the fire to low, simmer for 2-3 hours. You can also bake this in a pre-heated 300ºF for 2-3 hours, until tender and almost falling off the bone.
11. Once the chicken is cooked, take it out from the pot and transfer to a warm serving bowl.
12. Strain the sauce and return it to the pot.
13. Reduce the sauce to approximately 1 1/2 cups, then whisk in 30 grams of cold butter. Season to taste, serve with chicken.
While at CiÇou, order my favorite Kouign-Aman—a crisp, gooey, sugary, buttery pastry that resembles a cinnamon roll in shape, lacquered in caramel, served with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream. They’ve introduced other variants such as cinnamon, chocolate and s’mores!