Having driven past Le Petit Blanc many times en route to the Côte Chalonnaise wine towns of Mercurey, Givry and Rully, I was looking forward to trying it last weekend on a child-free visit to Burgundy. Having said that, we would have been just as happy to have taken the children to the restaurant as they cater well for young ones. Billed as a no-fuss, family-run restaurant serving traditional Burgundian cuisine and with an excellent local wine list, I felt sure we were in for a treat.
Arriving at 8pm to a sea of gingham red tables, we perused the three menus (Euro 15.90, 23 & 33) which were laid out on blackboards. No ‘à la carte’ menu was proferred and we were quite content without it. The husband, of course, wanted a ‘mélange’ of the E23 and the E33 menus and the very charming and accommodating waitress offered him a special E28 menu. Both menus came with ‘amuses-bouches’ of lovely green, salty olives and a terrine de volaille et légumes. These little nibbles were delicious and went well with the half-bottle of white Mercurey we had ordered to kick things off.
Le Petit Blanc has gone against the trend for fancy food and sticks to its guns (most successfully) with the tried and tested format of excellently cooked local specialities and the most amazing local wine list that I have ever seen – nothing but the best wines from the Côte Chalonnaise and the Côtes de Beaune.
Our starters were delicious: St Jacques (scallops) aux asperges and 12 snails in garlic butter. Both came with sumptuous sauces which we mopped up with soft-in-the-middle, very crusty-on-the-outside local bread. The white Mercurey continued to be a good choice to match each of these starters.
Our choice of red wine was a Givry 2008 by François Lumpp. I honestly couldn’t fault it. Bursting with red fruit and very mellow, it went well with all of the courses to come.
The husband had chosen Boeuf Bourguignon for his main course – it arrived in a big casserole dish and was more than enough for two. He pronounced it to be the best he had ever eaten but the quantity was excessive for even him. I had opted for a faux fillet (cooked à point) with a sauce à l’Epoisses. Delicious, it was served with sauteed mushrooms and a dauphinoise. Again, the accompaniments were really in excess of what was required and, whilst very tasty and perfectly executed, I had trouble finishing the course.
Cheeses were brought out, all local, and were a fantastic sight to behold on the cheeseboard. Some of them were displayed in their typical wooden boxes like the oozing Soumaintrain and we also sampled a chèvre from the Maconnais, a bleue de Bresse and a Delice de Pommard. All lovely but the Soumaintrain was a definite favourite.
As if we hadn’t had enough, a sweet blackboard was then presented. We both went for what seemed to be the lightest option – summer fruits in syrup with a summer fruit sorbet. Other suggestions included profiteroles and crème caramel. The sorbet was very refreshing but the syrupy fruits were abundant and heavy yet they went well with the Givry that we were still sipping.
A lovely evening – quite laid back and somewhere you could turn up in a suit or jeans and not feel out of place. The locally-inspired food is cooked to perfection and if you are happy to go for Burgundy dishes, you’ll love it. We shall go back with our children next time, probably for lunch as there is an outside terrace. A childrens’ menu is available but there are things on the other menus that would appeal to the younger palate just as well.
We’d enjoyed our evening at Le Petit Blanc but, if we had one criticism, it would be that the portions were too large and we really felt that we needed to ‘faire un petit tour’ before we went to bed that night.