Restaurant Stéphane Derbord turned out to be a surprise. Well, with a Michelin star under its belt and glowing reviews online, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that it was good.
But it did. I think it’s because in addition to having booked a dinner there months in advance, I had also booked several other fine dining places, including a couple of 3-Michelin-starred restaurants – Restaurant Paul Bocuse near Lyon and Pierre Gagnaire in Paris for my recent jaunt around France.
So, somewhere along the way, Restaurant Stéphane Derbord got lost, I had forgotten its starred position and the presumed formal dining aspect of the place, and my hubby nearly turned up in shorts.
We were staying at Beaune during this trip and had spent the morning at its market, then had driven ourselves vine-crazy along Burgundy’s Route des Grand Crus, where we had a wonderful picnic lunch at the Chateau de Corton-André vineyard.
We had planned to hit Dijon by 4pm, so that we could explore the city a little before dinner, but by the time we arrived at Dijon, it was 6pm.
Wardrobe malfunction avoided!
This having been one of the hottest summers in France’s history, naturally hubby was strolling the vineyards in shorts and a tee. Luckily though, he had brought along a pair of jeans to change into should we peek into Stéphane Derbord and realise shorts would not cut it.
Like I said, we just forgot it was a starred, fine dining restaurant.
Anyway, potential wardrobe malfunction settled, we settled down with a wine tome in hand. Not kidding, you could cause a concussion with that massive livre.
Apéritif sorted, we proceeded to study the delectable-sounding menu, featuring classics with lots of unique flavour additions.
At first, we thought we’d do the standard menu of 55€ (halfway into the trip and we were feeling like we could do with a lot less calories), but reading deeper into the next level up, we were enticed and chose the 72€ menu.
The items that swayed us to the pricier menu were interesting dishes such as the Perch and Frog Cannelloni – an amazing dish, and the Pan-fried Foie Gras with Pear and Barberry Tarte Tatin, so unctuous!
For mains, my hubby enjoyed the Pigeon from Corton cooked in gingerbread crumbs. The picture does not lie, the tender meat is caramelised perfectly with a pink centre and a fabulous honey and caramelised ginger jus.
While I savoured the fresh and sweet Langoustine tails, with Comté cheese and Morteau sausage sticks.
Now, I mentioned that we had already had a perfect picnic for lunch where we feasted on Époisses and saucisson, but that didn’t stop me from taking advantage of the cheese service that was part of the menu.
The Perfect Cheese Service
The cheese cart was great. What was perfect was the service. Now, a few days before, I had dined at the culinary institution that is Restaurant Paul Bocuse near Lyon, a 3-star establishment renowned worldwide. You would expect perfection there, but comparing the cheese service at these two places, Restaurant Stéphane Derbord wins hands down.
You’re not just asked what you want after the waiter rattles off a bunch of names. No, here you are asked what type of cheese you like (soft, medium, hard, goat’s, cow’s, sheep’s, blue and whether you want local, regional etc). Then they custom make a plate for you.
It’s a subtle difference because often when you’re presented with a cheese cart with 50 varieties, you tend to just pick a few, and those that are familiar because, well, you can’t keep asking them to repeat the cheese names, right?
This way, we got their expert selection based on our preferences. Something you can’t quite take for granted at restaurants.
A Delectable End with Stéphane Derbord
The dessert menu featured six options for us to choose from. Now, despite the fact that it featured the traditional Grand Marnier soufflé (and I had yet to have a soufflé on this trip), I couldn’t say no to a chocolate based dessert. Mine was a Kayambe Chocolate Ganache with crème brulée ice cream. Yum.
Hubby chose a soft-centred Banana Cake with ginger-marinated pineapple slice and rosemary ice cream.
Service was warm, especially the lovely hostess who went around with a huge smile for everyone, and pacing was well-maintained.
All in, Restaurant Stéphane Derbord is one I would look forward to re-visiting when I’m back in Dijon.
Restaurant Stéphane Derbord:
Address: 10 Place du Président Wilson, 21000 Dijon, France
Contact: +33 3 80 67 74 64