21 Boulevard – Beaune

The last in our French series, but by no means least, is a round up of the delightful dishes we sampled on our last night in Beaune. Beaune is a beautifully quaint town in the Burgundy region, known for the copious amounts of wine it produces as well as beautiful architecture, including an impressive Cathedral.

We spent our last night here, and decided on booking 21 Boulevard as a bit of a treat. The restaurant is stunning; exposed stone walls continue the wine cellar theme, but with a refined, stylish edge as the rest of the decor is minimalist and modern. We sat on the beautiful terrace; eclectic candelabras and light fittings illuminated the exterior wall and each table felt incredibly romantic as there was ample space between them. We knew we were in for something special here!

The Wine Bible

Oh yes, you read that right. Perhaps the most famous thing about 21 Boulevard, as well as the fantastic owners who love to chat and advise wine choices, is the Wine Bible. Appropriately-named, this tome is the list of nearly 600 wines that are stocked in the restaurant cellar, all of which come from the Burgundy region. Matt was so happy to receive it to peruse! We also took the advice of Jean, one of the owners, and had two fantastic bottles of local red.

A Taste of Burgundy

The restaurant itself, and the menu, is elegant, refined but still traditional. We decided on the tasting menus, which promised to give a true reflection of Burgundian cuisine. However, this wasn’t any old down-home cooking; the plates were some of the most beautiful we had encountered on the trip.

To begin, we had an amuse bouche of melon gazpacho served with mustard puff-pastry straws. The fresh, slightly savoury notes of the cold soup paired perfectly with the punch from the pastry twists and was a really surprising and pleasant way to begin.

I then had ravioli of Burgundy snails; snails really are not something to be avoided. If you like mussels, clams, whelks you are likely to enjoy the texture and flavour of snails. These were not in their shell, but paired with small ravioli which were delicate and soft. The highlight for me was the garlic cream sauce that surrounded it; topped with chives, which brought a welcome onion tone, it was so savoury and moreish that I was quite sad when it ended! Matt had a traditional steak tartare, served with mustard, pickles and toast. He enjoyed the succulent meat and the crisp toast, with the pickles lightening up the iron-rich dish.

When in Burgundy…

Have Beef Bourgignon! Or an incredibly delicious twist on it. I had braised beef cheek, served Bourgignon style; which is to say that there was the infamously deep, sweet red wine sauce, the pop of tiny pearl onions and beef that melted against the welcome firmness of carrots and some silky mashed potato. Matt had veal two ways; a rose-pink, butter-soft escalope and earthy, rare kidneys which was accompanied by a deep red wine sauce. Both hearty dishes, which felt like a taste of the region on a plate.

Start as you mean to go on…

To end the meal, I continued with the wine theme (it would be rude not to) and enjoyed a spicy, red wine-poached pear served with dessert wine (yay, more wine!) and delicate vanilla ice cream. Matt had a beautiful raspberry macaron, filled with sorbet and ice cream, which was ALMOST to pretty to eat. Luckily, he overcame that, and confirmed it was delicious; chewy meringue, sharp raspberry and fresh fruit.

All in all, 21 Boulevard was incredibly special; not only because it was the final night of our trip. The whole meal felt like an occasion, without being intimidateingly (that’s not a word) fancy. The owners are knowledgeable without being patronising, the wine is exceptionally good quality and varies in price and the food was as satisfying to eat as it was beautiful to look at. I would definitely recommend to anyone going to Beaune.

Here endeth the French series. Don’t be too sad though, the Spice Diaries chilli update it up next! Until then!

Published by TheEnthusiasticEater

Full time teacher; full time foodie. Based in Essex. For any enquiries please email me at claudiamartin34@hotmail.co.uk or find me on LinkedIn.

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